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Experts Suggest Government to Increase Subsidy to Prevent Stubble Burning

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Stubble Burning

Due to reports of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, experts have advised that the govt.  boost the subsidy amount, as farmers spend more money on the happy seeder machine, insect control, and higher fertilizer application in the first three years. 

According to Nasa data, the amount of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana increased steadily between September 1 and October 1. In Punjab, the number of fires climbed from 40-50 around September 19 to 255 on October 1, while in Haryana, the number jumped from 8-9 to 35 during the same time. 

According to statistics from the environment ministry, Punjab recorded 76,590 stubble burning occurrences last year, up from 52,991 in 2019, and Haryana had 5,000 counts in 2020, down from 6,652 in 2019. 

"Incorporating paddy straw or retaining it for more than three years through a happy seeder helps increase wheat yield and enhance soil health." "From the fourth year onwards, 20 kg urea can be saved each acre," according to an ICAR agricultural specialist. 

Because Punjab consumes about 14 lakh tons of urea during the rabi season, primarily for wheat, a 22 percent reduction in urea use through the use of the happy seeder will save the government around 400 crore. 

According to an expert, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has recognized that farmers can save money on urea by employing happy seeders, but they also pay additional expenditures in spraying pesticides to avoid insect attacks in areas with huge loads of paddy straw. 

Wheat farmers in Punjab should use 5-10 kg more seed per acre than advised if sowing with a cheerful seeder, according to an ICAR recommendation published last week. "Drill 65 kg DAP/acre before sowing, apply 40 kg urea/acre before first irrigation, and broadcast another dosage of 40 kg urea/acre before second irrigation," the warning stated, adding that in thick textured soils, 33 kg urea/acre may be applied before planting. 

In Punjab, 90 kg urea and 55 kg DAP per acre are usually advised for wheat in medium fertility soils. Similarly, during the 2021-22 rabi season, 45 kg seed per acre for Unnat PBW 550 and 40 kg for all other types has been recommended. 

Individual farmers are eligible for a 50% subsidy on happy seeder purchases, while groups of farmers are eligible for a 75% subsidy. The happy seeder machine is placed on a tractor to sow wheat into the soil while simultaneously cutting and lifting paddy straw for use as mulch. Farmers like to burn the leftovers after harvesting rice to clear the land for growing wheat, therefore stubble burning has been practiced in these states for a few years. The labour cost of removing the stubble which is higher than its market worth, is the primary cause. 

In Punjab and Haryana, the first fortnight of November is the optimal period to sow wheat for the best yield. Long-duration cultivars, on the other hand, can be planted as early as the fourth week of October. 

Though armyworm generally attacks wheat in March-April, there have been reports of it in December, particularly in areas with heavy loads of paddy straw. This insect attacks the crop's leaves and ear heads. 

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