Mahabubnagar: In recent times, innovative methods of farming (especially in Yasangi) have been tried and tested by agricultural scientists in the fields of farmers, which have yielded good results, increasing the returns and at the same time reducing costs.
Setaria, which is also known as foxtail millet and ‘Korralu’ in Telugu, has been part of the diet and is produced in many countries across the world. It helps in proper functioning of the heart as it contains vitamin B1 and it slows down the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It cures weakness in muscles and because of its high iron content, aids in maintaining the health of brain.
The protein content in it helps in smooth functioning of the nervous system. It is also is low in gluten content and is high in anti-oxidants.
However, especially in Telangana, cultivation of setaria and its consumption has gone off the fields and dinner tables for the past several decades and found its way into the group of archived indigenous species.
A team of researchers led by Dr Morupoju Padmaiah, retired Principal Scientist at Indian institute of Oil Seeds Research- ICAR, had encouraged some farmers in Garkampet village of Gudihathnuru mandal in Adilabad district to go for inter-cropping setaria with sesame and the results were profitable for the farmers.
The benefits to farmer because of this inter cropping were many. Setaria acted as good fodder for cattle and was saved for consumption throughout the summer. Crop rotation was made possible to preserve soil health and control of insects spreading was done due to the inter-cropping. While setaria was sold in the market for Rs 3000-4000 per quintal, the farmers were able to sell sesame at an average of Rs 8000 per quintal in the market, according to Dr Padmaiah.
“In Cuddappah, farmers who tried this method could get 7 quintals of sesame per acre and in Armoor of Nizamabad, they were able to get 5 quintals. But this can be done only in non-saline soils and good crop management needs to be followed,” Dr Padmaiah told Telangana Today.
Another interesting experiment done by the researchers was inter-cropping sugarcane with sesame in different lands with drip and flood irrigation in Gorgal, Magi and Thakkadipally villages of Nizamabad district, where sugarcane cultivation is done on a large scale.
While the cost of cane cultivation worked out to Rs 41,000 per acre in sugarcane inter-cropped with sesame, it was Rs 36,000 per acre where cane was cultivated entirely. The average yield obtained in inter-cropping method was 35 tonnes per acre. The grossed returns accrued in the inter-cropped cane with sesame was Rs 1,18,500 per acre, while in the sole cane area it was Rs 94,500. The net benefits accrued in the inter-cropped area were Rs 77,500 per acre as against Rs 58,500 per acre in sole cane fields. The average rate of cane was Rs 2,700 per tonne and for sesame it was Rs 8,000 per quintal in that year. It was a water-stressed year; otherwise both the yields of sugarcane and sesame could have been higher, observed the researchers.
“It had enabled the farmers to meet the midterm expenditure in growing cane. Generally farmers get the money one or two months after supply of cane to the crushing industry. Therefore, the technology needs to be validated in other cane growing areas like Medak, Khammam, Wanaparthy, Karimnagar and other places, so that it becomes a common practice in order to meet mid-term expenditure on cane,” suggested Dr Padmaiah.