A new study has found that farmers in north India, can not only help reduce air pollution but also improve the productivity of their soil and earn more profits if they stop burning their crop residue and instead adopted the concept of no-till farming.
The researchers compared the cost and benefits of 10 distinct land preparation and sowing practices for rice-wheat cropping rotations prevalent in north India, spread across more than 4 million hectares. They also collected primary date from 1,015 farmers in Punjab.
Based on this, they have concluded that the direct seeding of wheat into unplowed soil and with rice residues left behind was the best option.
It saved on water, labour and use of agro-chemicals, reduced green house gas emissions, and improved soil health and crop yield and thus benefiting both farmers and the society at large.
The Happy Seeder option will eliminate air pollution by crop burning and reduce GHG emissions from on-farm activities by more than 78% relative to all burning options.
Happy Seeder is a tractor-mounted device. It cuts and lifts the residue of previous crop (in this case the rice straw) and sows a new crop (wheat) in its place.
It is a direct sowing machine that is capable of seeding for the new wheat crop even in presence of the rice straw residues on the soil surface without any tillage. To add to the benefit for the farmers, they can deploy the system immediately after the harvest of the rice crop. It deposited the straw over the sown area as mulch.
This is a “India Science Wire” story; edited by Clean Future Team