Bed-planting method of wheat farming gains popularity in Rajshahi

BSS, Rajshahi :
By virtue of gradually rising interest among the farmers and others concerned, acreage of wheat farming in bed-planting method has started gaining popularity in the region including its vast barind tract for the last couple of years.
In the current season, the wheat farmers are hopeful about harvesting better yield like the previous year through adopting the bed plantation system.
Not only in the wheat farming, the farmers were seen showing to adopt the method in some other seasonal crops like mugbean, maize, potato and lentil in the current season.
Some of the farmers, scientists and researchers narrated the success story while talking to BSS here yesterday. They revealed that raised-bed planting of wheat is advantageous in areas where ground water level is receding and herbicide-resistant weeds are creating a problem.
Farmers, Ashraf Ali and Abdul Latif, of Baduria village under Charghat Upazila of the district said that they got two bed-planter machines from Regional Wheat Research Center (RWRC) and cultivated wheat on around 250 bighas of land last year. They harvested 5/7 mounds more yield from per bigha of land than the conventional system.
The donation inspired them to purchase two machines. By which, they brought around 450 bighas under the wheat farming in the current season.
Besides, they have become machinery service providers and are doing business and making money through sowing seeds on others lands. Similarly, the landowners are also getting benefits in the system.
The farmers, however, said they need subsidy to purchase adequate planters for large-scale expansion of the wheat and other crops farming in the region.
RWRC Chief Scientific Officer Dr Israil Hossain told BSS that the wheat was cultivated on around 1.70 lakh hectares of land in the region this year and 5,000 hectares of those were brought under the bed-plantation method. He expected that the wheat farming in the modern system will be increased in next season.
For planting wheat on beds, a tractor drawn bed planter is used. The bed planter is mounted at the back of a medium size tractor. In one pass of tractor, the front big lines of planter makes two beds and three furrows and seeds drill at back sow three or four rows of wheat and heavy iron bar behind it close the seeded rows and smoothen the beds.
Under the conventional system, the single largest constraint requires planting of wheat in the country late in winter, leading to a poor yield. Sowing bed could be a good alternative to the country’s dominant wet culture, he said.
Bed planting improves water distribution and irrigation efficiency, gives better results in using fertilisers and pesticides and reduces weed infestation and crop lodging. It saves crops from disturbance from rats, Hossain opined.
The pattern helps farmers save 30 percent irrigation water and 30 to 40 percent of seeds and fertilisers.
To maintain sound soil health, it could be advisable to grow rice using a different system in order to improve compatibility between monsoon rice and upland winter crops.
Dr Hossian recommended minimising the constraints for the sake of sustainable wheat production. Farmers needed to be aware about the resource conserving technologies and modern scientific methods so that wheat production remained technologically sound, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally secure.