Scientists and progressive farmers believe that the state needs to make combined efforts in ex-situ and in-situ management of paddy stubble to control air pollution and maintain soil health.

Burning of 1 tonne of paddy straw releases 3 kg particulate matter, 60 kg carbon oxide, 1,460 kg CO₂, 199 kg ash and 2 kg sulphur dioxide. These gases aggravate eye, skin, heart and lung diseases.

Sell straw to biomass plants for power

The best way to prevent stubble burning is to make bales of straw with the help of balers and sell them to biomass plants for power generation. Dr Jaswinder Brar, Scientist

Agro-scientist Dr Jaswinder Singh Brar said 1 tonne of paddy straw contains approximately 5.5 kg nitrogen, 2.3 kg phosphorous pentoxide, 25 kg potassium oxide, 1.2 kg sulphur, 50 to 70 per cent of micro-nutrients absorbed by rice and 400 kg of carbon, which are lost due to burning.

Under in-situ management, various machines, such as super straw management system attached with existing combine harvester, ‘happy seeder’, straw chopper or mulcher, rotary slasher, reversible MB plough, rotavator etc., have been developed and demonstrated to farmers in the fields by agro-scientists.

After making bales of loose straw (ex-situ management), these machines could be used for direct sowing of the next crop (in-situ management) for sustainable agriculture growth, said Moga chief agriculture officer Dr Balwinder Singh.

Sharanjit Sharma, a progressive farmer of Rode village, said ‘happy seeder’ or zero-tillage technology cuts paddy straw, sows wheat into the soil, and puts straw over the sown area ensuring that the nutrients in the soil are restored.

Source: 26 October, 2021, The Tribune