Come summer, farmers raise alternative crops
Thanjavur: Come summer, it is time for raising alternative crops in Thanjavur district.
Farmers take to cultivation of oilseed crops such as sunflower and gingelly in a bigger way. These are all short-duration crops, consume less water and give more profit. This year also farmers have taken up sunflower and gingelly cultivation in some areas.
According to M. Jothi, Joint Director of Agriculture, Thanjavur district, sunflower has been raised on 500 hectares in the Thirukattupalli, Budalur, Thiruvaiyaru, Neelathanallur, Thirupanandal and Ammapettai areas.
A short-term crop with a duration of 85 to 90 days, sunflower gives an yield of 1500 kg of sunflower grains per acre. One kg of grain is sold at Rs. 5 to Rs. 6 and a farmer can take a net profit of Rs. 4500 to Rs. 5000 per acre.
Pest and disease attack is less and marshy soil is enough for the crop to come up. There are agents who purchase sunflower grains in Kumbakonam and Thanjavur and hence marketing is not a problem, Mr. Jothi said.
Gingelly cultivation is also popular among farmers of Thanjavur district. This year also the crop has been raised on 3000 hectares in the Thirukattupalli, Thiruvaiyaru, Orathanadu, Kumbakonam and Ammapettai areas. ``Gingelly is the highest profit yielding crop. Farmers can easily get Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 16000 as net profit per acre'', Mr. Jothi said. The cost of cultivation is also less. It works out to Rs. 1000 to Rs. 1500 per acre. A farmer can take a yield of 800 kg per acre. This is also a short-duration crop of 85 to 90 days and water requirement is less. Farmers have taken up maize cultivation also in the district.
According to the Joint Director, the crop has been raised on 2000 hectares so far. ``We expect another 1000 hectares to come under maize as farmers are in the process of raising the crop,'' he said.
A farmer can get Rs. 5000 as net profit per acre with respect to maize.