Despite the facility of modern technology of harvesting, the farmers are returning to the traditional system of harvesting. The reason being the increasing demand of wheat shuck followed with the price hike.
Keeping in view the profit-loss comparing traditional and modern system by the farmers, a significant increase in manual harvesting of wheat is there.
To cope up with the high demand for dry fodder (shuck, chaff) witnessed in the district during the current season, the prices of wheat chaff during the past few months had been around Rupees 800 per quintal and even touched Rupees 1000 per quintal, days before the harvesting began.
“A price of Rupees 10 per kg of shuck is considered a high price as even potatoes are being sold for much less,” says Devinder Singh, a farmer of village Janiyal.
The farmers say while no increase in crop yield witnessed during the recent years, the increase in dry fodder prices has opened a new avenue for them.
Karan Singh, a farmer from Chambey Da Bagh village, says, “A farmer can get about 10-24 quintals of chaff from an acre of wheat if the field is harvested with combine harvester and then straw is chopped with straw reaper. But with manual harvesting, 22 to 26 quintals of dry fodder can be obtained.”
Even as the harvesting season is in full swing and there is no dearth of dry fodder, still the rate of shuck is Rupees 400 per quintal. The prices would escalate as soon as the harvesting gets over and that why farmers are storing shuck in large amounts, says Karan Singh.
“A few farmers have even been spotted using new reaper-binder machines, which make ‘bundles’ after cutting the crop. These bundles are then, fed into a thresher, as in manual harvesting, to separate grains from the chaff”, he added.
Ram Lal of village Jarai says, “The reaper-binder can harvest four to five acres in a day. On the other hand, six persons are required to harvest an acre. With reaper-binder, one can get the same quantity of shuck as in manual harvesting.”
Agriculture Extension Officer Sanjeev Rai says that for earlier, the farmers use to harvest the crop manually and by using wheat thrashers. Nevertheless, to save time, money, labour and due to fear of bad weather, farmers now use mechanical method i.e. using combine harvesters and reapers.