Groundnut is an important oil seed crop in Krishnagiri and cultivated in area of 10,037 hectares & with a production of 2.1 lakh qtl. The productivity of groundnut in the district is 20.97 qtl per hectare under irrigation while it is 15.2 qtl per hectare under rainfed conditions.
Traditional methods of field operations require huge number of labour and more time, ultimately lead to increase in cost of cultivation. Acute shortage of labour is experience now a days during field operations due to increased industrialization and other opportunities for labour like migration of labour to urban areas for better-paid employment coupled with policy changes like implementation of MGNREGA has made a profound impact on labour availability in the rural areas. In addition, labour shortage problems are being faced by farmers during peak seasons and labors are available at a higher cost.
To overcome the shortage of labour and to perform the field operations at right time and to take the advantage of favorable climatic conditions, the farmers can go for farm mechanization by the use of efficient and improved tools, equipment and machines suitable to the soil conditions for groundnut crop cultivation. ‘Farm mechanization’ implies the use of various power sources and improved farm tools and equipment, with a view to reduce the drudgery of the human beings and draught animals, enhance the cropping intensity, precision and timelines of efficiency of utilization of various crop inputs and reduce the losses at different stages of crop production. Therefore, there is a greater need to adopt new farm machinery or to improve the existing farm machinery in groundnut cultivation. For every cultural operation under groundnut, the scientists have developed different farm implements but their reach into the farming communities was found to be very sparse. Hence, KVK decided to extent of awareness, knowledge and adoption of different farm machinery by the farming community in groundnut cultivation and proposed a Front-Line Demonstration on “Farm Mechanization in Groundnut cultivation” during 2019-20.
Plan, Implement and Support: The demonstration was conducted in 10 farmers filed at Valluvarpuram village of Krishnagiri taluk. The following machines were demonstrated during FLD.
1. Hand operated decorticator:
Hand operated groundnut decorticator can be used to shell groundnut pods and to separate kernels. It consists of and oscillating sector with sieve bottom and a handle. Number of hard rubber or cast-iron lined assemblies is fitted in the oscillating sector unit. The groundnut pods are shelled between the oscillating sector and the fixed perforated concave screen by rubbing action. The decorticated shells and kernels fall down through the perforated concave sieve. The kernel and shells are collected at the bottom of the unit and separated manually. Clearance between the concave and oscillating sector is adjustable to suit the different varieties and concave sieves are also replaceable depending upon the pod size. Its overall dimensions are 600 X 350 X 700 mm. the capacity and efficiency of the unit are 50 kg/ha and 98% respectively.
2. Tractor drawn seed cum fertilizer drill:
Tractor drawn groundnut seed cum fertilizer drill 9 row tractor operated groundnut seed drill with row to row spacing of 30 cm fir timely sowing with mechanical advantage and intercropping fertilizer facility is provided. This is provided with a hopper and seed metering mechanism as the main components. The hopper is divided into boxes each can accommodate 5 kg of seed (total 40 kg). The inclined plate seed metering mechanism gives correct seed to seed distance of 10 cm in a row and maintains the recommended seed rate of 100 kg/ha with optimum plant population of 33 per square meter area. Placement of seed is at proper depth of 4 - 5 cm. the seed damage is negligible and the field capacity is 6 to 7 ha/day and facilitates coverage of large area before the soil moisture is dried up. A 5 cm width covering blade is also attached behind the furrow openers to cover the furrows opened after seed placement. The intercropping of redgram or castor can also be possible using Anantha planter along with groundnut sowing. The spring type cultivator frame of this planter facilitates to work even in stony soils.
3. Tractor drawn inter-cultivation implement:
A 8 row tractor operated inter - culture implement used for weeding in groundnut crop was demonstrated. Its frame is provided with 8 tynes each tyne attached with T or V - shape sweeps to work in between 30 cm row spacing of the crop without any plant damage. Two small width pneumatic tyres of 8.3 X 28” size need to be fitted to the rear axle of the tractor to run in between rows of the crop instead of normal size tyres to prevent trampling of plants under the tyres. The size of the sweeps range from 4” to 6”. Its field capacity is 4 to 5 ha/day.
4. Groundnut fresh pod thresher:
It is suitable for stripping of groundnut pods from harvested crop and consists of a wire spike type cylinder powered with 0.25 hp electric motor. Stripping is done by holding the portion of a bunch manually over spiked cylinder. Three persons can work at a time. It is also provided with a blower and sieve for separation of pods from plant stalk, leaves etc. it saves 40% labour, 50% operating time and 30% cost of operation and it also results in 4% reduction in losses compared to conventional method of stripping. It was developed by MYRADA, KVK, Tamil Nadu. Output capacity is 120 kg/ha with 100% stripping efficiency and 98% cleaning efficiency.
The productivity of the groundnut has been increased due to uniform spacing between plant to plant and row to row and depth of planting was maintained after intervention of KVK. The net income also increased due to the reduction in cost of cultivation which resulted in the increased cost benefit ratio. There was 87.50 percent of time saving and 37.50 percent cost saving while adopting Groundnut seed drill for sowing.
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From the Front-Line Demonstrations conducted during the 2019-20 it was found that adoption of Farm mechanization in groundnut cultivation significantly reduced the scarcity of labour. This technology was well received by the farmers due its effective nature. The farmer from the other blocks of Krishnagiri has also been made aware of the performance of farm machineries particularly the Tractor drawn seed sowing machine. Prior to this technology, the only option available with the farmer was to indigenous plough and human power. Mr. Krishnan, progressive farmers bought one tractor drawn seed sowing machine for his farmers group. When he started to use the machine for sowing the depth of planting and population was maintained which could increase his yield.
KVK play a vital role in transfer of technology. Any activity can be hastened up through the active participation and encouragement of the members of the society. Our FLD farmers have inclination towards interdependence which strengthens the co-operative spirit among the group members. Hence, the FLD farmers have look forward for formation of fraternities, which helps in improving the positive attitude towards innovation and its adoption. The farm machinery in groundnut can be disseminated effectively among the group members. Due to the continuous effort taken by KVK this technology reached to wider areas. Different extension activities like Method demonstration, Field demonstration, field visits, and publishing extension literatures were done. The adoption percentage is about 78 percentages now from a meager value of 5 percentages.
Overall, the farm mechanization was found to be very sparse in each operation and there is an ample scope for improving the farm mechanization status in groundnut cultivation. The ultimate goal is to bring out seed to seed farm mechanization so as to enable groundnut cultivation more lucrative.