“Happy Seeder” saves farmers money over burning straw, new study in India shows
- Impact Area
Compared to conventional tillage practices, sowing wheat directly into just-harvested rice fields without burning or removing straw or other residues will not only reduce pollution in New Delhi and other parts of northern India, but will save over $130 per hectare in farmer expenses, lessen irrigation needs by as much as 25%, and allow early planting of wheat to avoid yield-reducing heat stress, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability.
The practice requires use of a tractor-mounted implement that opens grooves in the soil, drops in wheat seed and fertilizer, and covers the seeded row, all in one pass. This contrasts with the typical method for planting wheat after rice, which involves first burning rice residues, followed by multiple tractor passes to plow, harrow, plank, and sow, according to Harminder S. Sidhu, principal research engineer at the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) and a co-author of the study.