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In a concerted effort to revolutionize agricultural practices, Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal, the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, along with his team comprising Dr. Ajmer Singh Dhatt, Director of Research, Dr. Makhan Singh Bhullar, Director of Extension Education and Dr. Jasvir Singh Gill, Agronomist, embarked on a whirlwind tour across Ludhiana, Jalandhar, and Kapurthala districts. Their mission was to assess the efficacy (performance) of the Surface Seeder sown wheat and engage with the farmers who have embraced this pioneering technique.

Dr. S.S. Gosal’s assessment radiated optimism as he observed the crop’s vigorous growth, largely untouched by common pests like aphids and yellow rust, progressing smoothly towards grain development. He commended farmers for their strict adherence to irrigation schedules, reassuring them that prevailing temperatures posed minimal risk to yields. Notably, wheat sown with Surface Seeder exhibited exceptional uniformity, good crop stand, devoid of lodging issues across various locations. Dr. Gosal highlighted the advantages of Surface Seeding-cum-Mulching Technology, emphasizing its capacity to prevent lodging with minimal irrigation and decreased herbicide use thanks to a dense mulch layer, promoting strong root development in wheat crop. He stressed that this method is not only cost-effective but also eco-friendly and water-efficient, requiring one less irrigation cycle. Furthermore, it encourages early crop emergence while suppressing weed growth, including problematic varieties like gulli danda (Phalaris minor).

Encouraging farmers to embrace this approach, Dr. Gosal pointed out its significant benefits for soil health, particularly in increasing carbon content, and enhancing crop yield. He also underlined its role in safe residue management, eliminating the need for a three to four-week gap between paddy harvest and wheat sowing, thereby streamlining agricultural processes and ensuring a more sustainable farming cycle. Aside from its environmental benefits, Dr. Gosal stressed the ease of implementation and cost-effectiveness of Surface Seeding-cum-Mulching, boasting sowing costs lower than traditional methods, including post-straw burning. Furthermore, it requires no expensive machinery or high horsepower tractors. This approach not only conserves water and protects crops from heat stress but also eliminates the harmful practice of rice straw burning, promoting sustainable agriculture practices for a brighter agricultural future.

Among the adopters, S. Tejinder Singh of Jassian Farm, Village Talwara, attested to the economic benefits of the Surface Seeder. With a minimal expenditure of Rs. 400-500 per acre for sowing wheat and efficient mulching using rice stubble, he reported substantial savings compared to conventional methods. This frontline demonstration achieved success under the guidance of Agriculture Extension Officer, Dr. Sherjit Singh, and his team. Similarly, farmers in Gandharan village, Jalandhar, including S. Karamjit Singh, S. Harpreet Singh, and S. Gurpreet, expressed their satisfaction with the Surface Seeder, citing ease of operation, low operational costs, and reduced weed infestation as key factors driving adoption of the technique.

The success stories didn’t end there. Dr. Sanjeev Kumar and Dr. Maninder Singh, along with other agricultural experts, accompanied Dr. Jaswant Rai (CAO, Jalandhar) and Er. Navdeep Singh, Agricultural Engineer, to witness firsthand the impact of the Surface Seeder in enhancing productivity. Encouraged by the positive outcomes, there was a collective enthusiasm among farmers to expand the adoption of this innovative technique in the upcoming Rabi season.

Each demonstration became a forum for knowledge exchange, with farmers attesting to the cost-effectiveness and eco-friendliness of the Surface Seeder. They underscored advantages such as early crop emergence, superior foliage color, and streamlined sowing without heavy machinery. Notably, those who adopted the technique in the previous season reported a yield advantage of one quintal per acre, reflecting its efficacy.

As the tour extended to Kapurthala district, the success story continued with S. Joginder Singh of village Shah Wala Indresa showcasing a thriving wheat crop, free from weeds. For S. Joginder Singh, the Surface Seeder not only minimized costs but also ensured a seamless transition from paddy harvesting to wheat sowing, indicating its practicality and efficiency. Dr. Pardeep Kumar, DES (SM), and Dr. Harinder Singh, Deputy Director (Training) of KVK, Kapurthala, collaborated to organize visits to this village. They provided continuous guidance to farmers on adopting new technology for wheat crop cultivation.

PAU’s Surface Seeder technique is not just a technological innovation but a catalyst for transformative change in agricultural practices. With each successful adoption, it paves the way for sustainable, high-yield farming, promising a brighter future for Punjab’s agrarian landscape.

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