Friday, April 3, 2015

Paddy straw bales enable the marginal farmers to rear cows.

Paddy straw bales for feeding cattle in SEVAI

Paddy straw bales enable the marginal farmers to rear cows. In SEVAI villages of Cauvery delta, Paddy has been cultivated in a large scale by the farmers. Scarcity of labour is forcing paddy farmers to embrace machines in a big way. The small and marginal farmers always complain of non-availability of agriculture laborers for helping them in Agriculture operations. SEVAI Technical person K.Sakthivel organized a training program for the marginal and small farmers and enlightened them about the optimum use of paddy straw for cattle rearing and he also spoke, “The farm mechanization is spreading
Paddy straw Bales made in the field
fast to Tamil Nadu. Paddy straw availability has drastically decreased. So has cattle rearing. For a farmer keeping cattle is feasible only if he has his own stock of fodder. Buying straw is unaffordable. After paddy is harvested, straw is left uncollected in the fields. Combined harvesters for paddy fields are of two types – cut straw and whole straw. In the cut straw harvester, after reaping and threshing, straw collects behind the tracks in small pieces. Collecting these bits is cumbersome and impractical. In the whole straw model, the machine leaves behind whole straw in a line or in heaps. Collecting this is only a little easier. Collection of straw requires a lot of manual labour. Since labour is scarce and costly, farmers abandon the straw in the fields. It decomposes before the next cropping season. Many farmers burn the straw to make things easier. The majority of harvesters that are commissioned in Trichy area are of the cut straw type. They decided to use a baling machine to collect the straw. A straw bale was bought and thoroughly tested for bundling straw.. After the paddy field is reaped with the combined harvester, straw is left behind in a row. The baler
Transportation of paddy straw bales to the cow farm
attached to the tractor, is run over the straw. As the baler moves on, reels fitted on a roller pick up bits of straw. These bits automatically get fed to its internal roller mechanism. Straw bits are collected and made into rolls. Once the cylindrical bale rolls up the straw bits to its maximum girth, an alarm rings. Hearing the alarm, the tractor operator stops. The tractor engine however continues to be on. A roll of rope is attached to the top of the baler. The arms now start dropping the rope. Within seconds the rope is wound around the bale. Once binding is complete, the arm cuts the rope. The tractor operator has to be careful. Experience tells him the frequency with which he has to watch for two important signals. The first is the alarm to stop the tractor from moving. If he continues moving the tractor the rollers in the baler get jammed. Secondly, while stationary the tractor operator has to keep looking back. Once he sees the arm cutting the rope he has to manually pull a string to open the baler's mouth. Once this is done, the baler ejects the bale into the field. As the tractor moves, the bale of straw rolls on to the field, from where it can easily be picked up. Normally a trained operator doesn’t find the job difficult and is happy to have found employment. One unit requires two people, a driver and an assistant. The straw which is collected has good demand. The local demand for straw has been growing and so perhaps he is right” -Govin

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