Mangaluru: Agricultural fields that otherwise would have been left uncultivated are being worked on thanks to mechanisation, said Ganesh, a farmer at Maravanthe village in Udupi district pointing to a paddy harvester in his field.
As the harvester cuts paddy shoots, separating the grains and disposing of the grass systematically, Mr. Ganesh, who owns about two acres of paddy field, said he does not mind paying ₹2,000 an hour for the harvester within which time the fully grown paddy crop in one acre could be harvested.
“If I were to go for traditional harvesting, it would have taken at least a week to take the paddy home, cutting the crop, bundling the shoots together, taking them to harvesting yard, beating the shoots to separate paddy, cleaning the paddy and bagging it.”
“With the harvester however, the entire task is over within half a day. There is not even the need for cleaning the paddy,” he said.
Venkatesh Hebbar, another farmer-cum-caterer of the village, said almost all farmers who own paddy fields adjacent to the Souparnika river in Maravanthe have gone for mechanised farming.
They hire paddy planting machines during the sowing season and go for harvesters to take the produce home.
Come October, one can see truck-mounted paddy harvesters moving along NH 66 in coastal Karnataka with the arrival of paddy harvesting season.
Mr. Hebbar said that owners of harvesters, most of them from Raichur, entrust them to a local agent, who deploys them in paddy fields as and when requests came.
Channabasava, assistant operator with the harvester at Maravanthe, said his owner is from Sindhanur in Raichur district and he owns about 10 machines. Owners also have their own trucks for transporting the machines.
While the machines are stationed at a centrally located town, at times, operators stay back with harvesters at agricultural fields when there is continuous booking, he said. By mid-November, the machines move to Davangere region and thereafter to their home turf.
“We work for about 10 hours in the coastal region whereas these machines work almost for 20 hours in Raichur,” Mr. Channabasava said.