Rain-soaked rice straw depresses Thanjai farmers’ incomes – The New Indian Express

Express press service

THANJAVUR: With the falling price offered for paddy straw, farmers who harvest Samba paddy late are facing loss of income.

According to sources, Samba and Thalady paddy has been grown on 1.37 lakh hectares this season in the district. Of these, 1.12 lakh hectares have so far been harvested. The paddy crop on 25,000 hectares has yet to be harvested. As the Kuruvai paddy straw was soaked in the northeast monsoon rains, traders usually buy the straw during the samba season. Farmers used to get about 30-40 bales/bundles of straw per acre and the proceeds from the sale were used to offset the rent of the harvesting machine deployed for the harvest.

“At the beginning of this Samba harvesting season (two months ago), farmers even earned up to 110 `per straw bale. But the rate gradually dropped when the harvest resumed,” said KS Antonysamy, a farmer from Palliagraharam. He said he could only sell the straw for 50 a pack. Another farmer Raja, from Pasupathikoil, said he only received £40 a bundle because he had to spend £40 on the machine that wraps the bundle. Following the rains, the rate dropped to 30 because rain-soaked straw is not preferred by livestock.

Traders buying straw for mushroom cultivation in areas like Salem and Namakkal prefer very dry paddy straw, which would fetch a good price, says Antonysamy.

The type of harvesting machine used also determines the quality of the straw. The straw that becomes like dust would be burned by the farmers in the field, adds Raja.