Ranchi, May 25: The Birsa Agriculture University (BAU) has predicted a few spells of pre-monsoon rain in coming weeks and asked farmers to gear up for ploughing.
“The rain is coming, be prepared,” said D.N. Singh, chief scientist (rice), BAU, in a special advisory to farmers across the state.
“With summer temperatures crossing the 40 degree mark across the state, good days cannot be far behind. The rain is coming, though for a short stint. As soon as it rains, make good use of the water. Take out your tractors and ploughs, and irrespective of the type — lowland or highland — go in for deep ploughing, at least two-three times to destroy weeds, pests and diseases buried under the soils,” the advisory further adds.
The BAU advisory is being relayed to farmers through 23 Krishi Vigyan Kendras spread across the 24 districts and three BAU zonal research stations in Dumka, Chiyanki of Palamau and Jamshedpur of East Singhbhum district.
Even if it rains, the pre-monsoon showers may drag down the mercury for a few days only, and the temperatures will soon return to the 40 mark. Then what is the logic behind advising ploughing now?
According to Singh, weeds compete with crops for space, nutrients, water and light, damaging them during the early growth stages. This apart, weeds host pests and diseases that damage the crops. Deep ploughing not only cuts the weeds’ roots but also exposes the soil to the intense heat of the sun.
Temperatures around 40 degrees and above will kill the weeds, destroy pests and diseases furrowed deep inside the soil in a natural way.
“Instead of being afraid of the heat, farmers need to make use of the high daytime temperatures for reaping a bumper harvest and to improve the quality of the output,” Singh explained.
He added weed and pest control from the time of sowing to harvesting was a costly affair, comprising at least 25-30 per cent of the total cost of cultivation.
“It can be minimised by deep ploughing,” he added.
Once ploughing is done, farmers must leave the fields and wait for the monsoon.
“We are also telling farmers that the monsoon rains are expected to be normal this year. Last year, it was delayed but was more than 105 per cent of the normal, which resulted in a bumper harvest. This year too it will not be an exception,” he predicted.
But farmers have been asked to not irrigate fields to undertake deep ploughing, it will shoot up cost.