Comprehensive straw management begins with harvest


On 25 April, 2017 the German Agribusiness Alliance at OAV - German Asia-Pacific Business Association together with DEULA-Nienburg and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) organized a workshop on the topic of "Comprehensive straw management begins with harvest" on campus of PAU in Ludhiana, Punjab. A second workshop was organized at BISA/CIMMYT Ladhowal station on 26 April, 2017.

The one day practical training on the adjustment and optimisation of combine harvester for wheat harvest focused on pre-harvesting skills, operator coaching during harvest and post-harvest checks. A number of 40 participants attended the workshop with practical demonstration, discussing how to recognize and evaluate grain loss and correctly adjust settings of devices and units as well for harvest as for post-harvesting operations. The expert Mr Christian Bachnicke from DEULA-Nienburg, who conducted the practical training, stated that there was huge potential for increasing harvest output through optimisation of pre-harvesting, harvesting and post-harvesting operations. At the same time he emphasised the importance of correct harvesting for straw management. “Any straw management begins with the harvesting of the crop, if this is not planned and conducted correctly, then it becomes much more difficult to handle the straw afterwards – stubble burning might then seem to be the easiest way of managing the straw”, he stated.

The challenges with regard to comprehensive straw management was the topic of a series of events, which were organised in Punjab by the German Agribusiness Alliance together with DEULA, an agricultural training institute certified by the State of Lower Saxony in Germany and accredited with the responsibility for practical education and extension service to farmers in the framework of official practical professional education in agriculture. In November 2016, a workshop with CII, which was attended by leading farmers, NABARD, State government officials, BISA/CIMMYT, PAU and private sector companies, brought together experts from India and Germany to discuss different approaches and solutions. This was followed by a one-day workshop at BJ Farms (Sarabha village, Ludhiana district), in January of this year, during which the importance of soil tillage in the framework of comprehensive straw management was discussed and demonstrated by an invited expert from DEULA Germany. The aim of all activities was to demonstrate that the adoption of suitable straw management practices and technologies can contribute to efficient residue management without stubble burning – avoiding air and soil pollution and at the same time contributing to enhancement of soil nutrition.

“The various activities during the last months showed that the ongoing exchange of experience and knowledge combined with practical demonstration and application is very important and holds enormous potential for dealing with present challenges in the agricultural sector. Currently, we are planning a next workshop during the month of September in Punjab, prior to paddy harvest, to focus on specific challenges of paddy straw management. We do see great potential for further intensifying the cooperation between India and Germany especially with regard to professional training and skill development in agriculture, as those are the key to empowering the farming community and consolidating competitiveness and sustainability of the agricultural sector – anywhere around the world”, stated Alina Gumpert, Director of the German Agribusiness Alliance at OAV, which organised the workshop together with all partners. In 2015, the German Agribusiness Alliance at OAV signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Agriculture Skill Council of India (ASCI) to establish a co-operation in practical education in agriculture in the framework of Centers of Excellence for professional agricultural skilling.