Kurnool farmers favour low-cost, risk-free, short cycle crops
More and more farmers are now focusing at low-cost, risk-free and short cycle crops like bajra (pearl millet) and jowar as commercial crops have not been lucrative of late.
A boom in the production of Bengal gram has led the farmers to allocate more area for cultivating pulses in Kurnool district a few years ago. At one stage, Bengal gram occupied over 2.5 lakh ha while jowar, sunflower, cotton and other crops were ignored.
With a drop in the prices of Bengal gram in the last two years, farmers this year are opting for alternative crops.
The area under jowar and bajra is likely to increase in Kurnool district too, after a long gap. Bajra has the smallest cycle of 80 to 85 days only. More over, the incidence of pest is very low on bajra which could be grown in any season of the year.
The bajra yields, under irrigated conditions, touched 25 to 30 quintals per acre and 15 quintals under rain-fed conditions. With the demand from poultry feed industry growing, the price of coarse also looked up and reached Rs. 1,100 a quintal. Jowar is also another promising crop in the district. Unlike bajra, jowar crop took 100 to 110 days and could be cultivated only between September and January.
Ch. S.R. Murthy of Nagalapuram, who cultivates bajra and jowar, says farmers should shift to coarse grain in the traditional areas of black cotton soil of the district since jowar area in Maharashtra is shrinking due to good support for cotton and soybean. According to Mr. Murthy, farmers should follow the cropping trends in different areas for profitable agriculture.