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Pursuing the noble cause of non-burning of rice residue, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in association with the State Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare organised a training programme on “Paddy Stubble Management” for the extension functionaries.

Speaking as chief guest at the inaugural function, Dr Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, pointed out the challenge of paddy straw burning which has remained a burning issue till date. Advising the participants to bolster their extension set-up to bring down the number of burning cases in Punjab, he warned against the smog that resulted from stubble blaze, engulfing the entire region and causing accidents and leading to hazardous effects on health of masses, animals and soil due to loss of essential nutrients. Dr Gosal advocated various in-situ management technologies including the use of Surface Seeder, Super Seeder, Smart Seeder, Happy Seeder, Super SMS on combine, zero till drill, reversible mould board plough, mulcher and cutter for effective paddy residue management. The idea of paddy straw decomposer has not gone well with Punjab due to climatic conditions, he observed, while promoting in-field solution to paddy straw which was sustainable environmentally and economically. Further, he suggested use of basmati as fodder for animals due to less silicon content. Dr Gosal also lauded some areas of Punjab where there was no burning or the number of burning cases had slipped as per the newspaper reports.

Agricultural Engineer from State Agriculture Department, Sardar Jagdish Singh said that during the last year, farmers were equipped with substantial number of machines and that this year also, farmers would be getting machines and subsidy for straw management. The official called for decreasing the burning cases and adopting machinery on custom hiring basis or from cooperative societies for timely management of straw. “It is essential to motivate the farmers to opt for in-field management technologies rather than going in for off-field solutions,” he told field level functionaries.

Dr GS Buttar, Director of Extension Education, provided details of the training programmes organised by PAU on crop residue management. “Several farmers have benefited from PAU trainings and have transferred the knowledge to the fellow farmers as well, thus paving the way for pollution-free environment,” he added. Besides, he highlighted the rice residue management technologies and chemical properties of straw.

Dr GPS Sodhi, Additional Director of Extension Education, welcomed the dignitaries and the farmers, while Dr AS Dhatt, Director of Research, proposed a vote of thanks.

On the occasion, Dr MK Narang, Head, Department of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering; Dr MS Bhullar, Head, Department of Agronomy; Dr SS Sooch, Principal Scientist of Renewable Energy Engineering and Dr GS Kochar, Head, Department of Microbiology, explained straw management machinery, wheat sowing agronomic practices, biogas generation from straw and use of straw in mushroom growing, respectively.

Dr Vishal Bector, Associate Director (Institutional Linkages), coordinated the programme.

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