THANJAVUR: With the price offered for paddy straw falling, farmers who are harvesting Samba paddy belatedly are facing a loss of revenue.
According to sources, Samba and Thalady paddy has been cultivated in 1.37 lakh hectares during this season in the district. Of this, 1.12 lakh hectares have so far been harvested. Paddy crop on 25,000 hectares is yet to be harvested. As the straw of Kuruvai paddy used to get drenched in north east monsoon rains, traders usually buy the straw during Samba season. Farmers used to get around 30 to 40 bales/bundles of straw per acre and the sale proceeds used to offset the rent for the harvesting machine deployed for harvesting.
"During the start of this Samba harvest season (two months ago), farmers got even up to `110 per bundle of straw. But, the rate gradually came down when harvest picked up," said K S Antonysamy, a farmer from Palliagraharam. He said he could sell the straw only at `50 a bundle. Another farmer Raja, from Pasupathikoil, said he got only `40 a bundle as he had to spend `40 for the machine which packs the bundle. Following the rains, the rate has gone down to `30 as rain-soaked straw is not preferred by the cattle.
Traders who buy straw for mushroom cultivation in areas like Salem and Namakkal prefer very dry paddy straw, which would fetch a good price, Antonysamy says.
The type of harvest machine used also determines the quality of straw. The straw which becomes like dust would be burnt by the farmers in the field, Raja adds.