Monday, April 7, 2008
'i can see clearly now the rain is gone'
The recent rains meant there was a very short window when the paddy could be cut and stashed in piles for the ‘Tsunami’ as the large threshing machines are known to thresh. Due to this short cutting window, there was a shortage of labor to cut the paddy, and accordingly the rates charged went up significantly. Using contract labor to cut and heap in one area ran at about Rs7000/- per acre. The ‘Tsunami’ costs about Rs3000/- an hour, and roughly an acre can be threshed in an hour of the paddy is dry and longer if wet.
I used a small machine, about the size of a two-wheel tractor that cut the paddy and partially threshed into bags instead of getting people to cut and then using the ‘Tsunami’. This cost me Rs 6000/- an acre, but I had to then clean the threshed paddy using a borrowed tractor and blower, which is not necessary with the Tsunami which cleans also.
If I were to make a forecast, labor is going to be more costly and difficult in the future so the answer lies in one of the two machines currently available, namely the two wheeled Kubota that cuts and partially threshes and the other a combine harvester like Kubotas that cuts, threshes, and bags and is on chain tracks. The Tsunami will become obsolete in a few years, with the costs of labor spiraling even if there are people available to cut the paddy.
The big combine harvesters are over Rs 3 million, so they will be gradually introduced into the market by the wealthier farmers, while the cheaper two wheeled cutting and threshing machines will become common.
In order to complement these smaller machines, and avoid the use of a tractor with the blower, ‘hulang gahanawa’ it would be appropriate to see someone come up with a small contraption, that can be fitted to a hand tractor instead of the current blower, where the paddy will be put in one end and the cleaned paddy come out at the other speeding up the cleaning job.
I don’t expect this to cost more than Rs 30,000, which can then be brought by the operator to clean, which currently is done not just with the tractor, and fitted fan, but with about 4 people assisting in the process and the attendant costs. I used this system within last few weeks so am speaking out of experience and expressing a wish to speed up and reduce the cleaning process. Let me know if there is such a unit and how I could obtain one.