Straw Management

Rice and wheat is cultivated on 2.82 M ha and 3.51 m ha area in Punjab respectively. Punjab contributed apx 26.69 % Rice and 39.03 % Wheat to the central pool. Out of the total area under rice and wheat, around 80 % wheat and 90 % paddy is harvested by combine harvesters in the state. Cultivation of high yielding varieties of the rice and wheat has resulted in production of huge quantities of crop residues. There is no problem of managing wheat straw as it can be collected with the help of straw combine and is used as animal feed. Combine harvesters after harvesting paddy crop leave behind 2-8 t/ha straw in the form of standing stubbles of 30-45 cm height and loose straw of 35-60 cm length. Around 21 million ton of paddy straw is produced in the state. Burning is the normal and easiest method of rice stubble management because residues interfere with tillage and seeding operations for the next crop, but it is a major contributor to reduced air quality (particulates, greenhouse gases), and human respiratory ailments in intensive rice-production areas. One ton of paddy residue on burning releases 1515 kg CO2, 92 kg CO, 3.83 kg NOx, 0.4 kg SO2, 2.7 kg CH4, and 15.7 kg non-methane volatile organic compounds. Substantial loss of plant nutrients (especially N and S) and organic carbon also occurs during burning of paddy residues. One ton of paddy straw contains approximately 5.5 kg N, 2.3 kg P2O5, 25 kg K2O, 1.2 kg S, 50-70% of micronutrients absorbed by rice and 400 kg of Carbon. In view of the serious problems associated with the burning of paddy residues, sincere efforts are needed to find ways and means to efficiently utilize the huge amount of surplus rice residues produced in the state for maintaining soil, human and animal health, and increasing farmer’s profits.


Machine: Paddy Straw Chopper

The incorporation of paddy residues in soil can be done by a tractor operated paddy straw chopper. This machine is operated in the combine harvested paddy fields which chop the straw into pieces of 7-10cm and spreads in the field. Chopped straw can then be easily mixed in the soil by the use of rotary puddler after irrigation and decayed for subsequent wheat drilling with the use of no-till drill or traditional drill. The field takes about 15-20 days to come in to proper moisture content for sowing depending upon the type of soil. The capacity of the machine is about 0.3-0.4 ha/h and can be operated by a 45-50 hp tractor with fuel consumption of 6.0-6.5 l/h.


View of paddy straw chopper in operation



Machine: Straw Baler

The straw baler is used for bailing of straw and collecting bales in the combine harvested paddy field. In the first step the stubble shaver machine is operated to harvest the standing stubbles from base level before baling operation. It can form bales of varying length from 40 to 110 cm and, height and width of the bales is generally fixed at 36 cm and 46 cm respectively. Depending on moisture content of straw and length of bales the weight of bales varies from 15 to 35 kg. The capacity of the baler varied from 0.3-0.4 ha/h. These bales are compact and rectangular in shape which can easily be transported to end user.




Machine: Happy Seeder

Happy seeder sows wheat directly in standing paddy residue combine harvested field. (Fig. 3). This PTO driven machine can be operated with 45 hp tractor and covers 0.2-0.3 ha/h having fuel consumption of 16-17 l/ha. It reduces the number of field operations (as followed in conventional method like various number of passes of plow, harrow, cultivator and planker) and results in saving of fuel, time, labour and natural resources. However, wheat seeding with Happy Seeder requires even spreading of loose paddy straw. This machine can also be used for the direct sowing of mungbean and maize fodder in wheat residue after combine harvesting of wheat.


Happy Seeder


PAU Happy Seeder



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