Broom Grass (Thysanolaena maxima) family poaceae, is found naturally grown in the forest of Garo Hills. Many Truck loads of broom are being transported yearly to other parts of the country which is very costly & in great in demand. In recent, the stock has been depleting fast. Surprisingly, no cultivation has yet been taken up commercially. Though, it gives a good return with minimum efforts. The farmers are not aware of its multipurpose uses. Its penicle portion only i.e., broom is collected from the jungle and used by every household.
In recent advancement, the plant has been identified as a potential multipurpose grass for agro-forestry specially for checking the soil erosion. In modern farming, it can be fitted best as a great barrier for soil erosion than any other crop. All degraded, wasteland or spaces between orchard can be utilizes for potential and profitable broom grass cultivation. In Khasi Hills, it has received considerable attention & cultivation in some pockets has been taken up. In Garo Hills too, it can be commercialized with a good return with recommended practices.
- It helps in minimizing the soil loss to a great extent than any other crop when used as a vegetative bunding in hills.
- It generates employment & income with a minimum efforts and management.
- It supplies broom which is costly in other parts of the country and in great demand.
- It supplies fodder specially during lean period in winter months when there is a great scarcity of fodder. It has crude protein 8-10% and TDN 50-55%.
- It utilizes steep hill slopes, degraded land even space between orchard.
- It also serves as a good fencing material.
Agro-techniques (To be followed)
Site Selection: Steep hill slope or a part of waste hill slope or degraded land or spaces between cashew or rubber orchard or bunds is selected for planting of broom.
Land preparation: It does not required ploughing etc. Only the land is cleared by cutting by burning in the month of February or March. In case of planting in orchard, contour bunds are made in between two rows of cashew or rubber etc.
Spacing: Single line plantation at 75 cm, apart on bunds is done in cashew or rubber orchard. Double row system with spacing 75 cm x 100 cm x 200 cm is followed as:
Planting: Root slips; 9000 numbers for pure crop x 2500 for a cashew orchard are collected from jungle for planting in the month of April or May. Planting is done during rainy hours for cent per cent survival. A furrow system for planting is also followed.
Aftercare & harvest of broom
Not much care is needed. The crop should be kept free from weeds at least up to six months. Urea 50 Kg per ha is applied as a top dressing for the use as fodder in the month of July or August. First cutting for fodder is taken in the month of July & August before top dressing of Urea.
Penicle for broom is harvested in the month of January or February followed by 2nd cutting of leaves for fodder.
Economics of Two Years (approx.) Pure Crop
1st Year Mandays:-
Jungle cutting, cleaning and burning etc
Collection of root slips
Digging of holes/furrow and planting of slips
Weeding; 3 times; 25 x 3
Harvesting of leaves for fodder; two times
Harvesting of broom sticks
IInd Year Mandays:-
Weeding; 3 times; 25 x 3
Harvesting for fodder
Harvesting of broom
1.Cost of input i.e. urea for top dressing in two years(approx.) - Rs. 1000.00 equal to 30 mandays. Grand Total of Mandays; 245 – 135 + 30 - 410
Broom sticks (Green)
- 1st Year -94.0 q.
- IInd Year -135.0 q.
Total -229.0 q.
- 1st year -190 – 220 q.
- IInd year -220 – 250 q.
Total -410 – 470
Approximate sale cost
- Broom @ Rs. 100/- q. ~ Rs. 22,900.00
- Fodder @ Rs. 50/- q. ~ Rs. 22,000.00
Rs. 44,900.00 equal to 1282.85 mandays
1283 – 410 – 873 mandays (one manday is calculated @ Rs. 35).