A farmer's best friend

A farmer's best friend


A farmer's best friend

White egrets that land on tur crops in Haveri and surrounding villages have turned out    to be the best allies of farmers. For, the birds are feasting on the pests that have infested crops, saving farmers the trouble of spraying pesticide, writes R S Patil.

Tur plants that have been sown in the Haveri region are now infested with pests, thanks largely due to the failure of the monsoon in the region. Farmers who are tired of spraying pesticide have now found an ally in the form of white egrets that are feasting on the pests. Tur is not grown as the principal crop in Haveri, Ranebennur, Byadgi, Hanagal, Savanur and other regions. The main crops here are green gram, groundnut, maize and sunflower. Tur is grown an intercrop. 

While tur is a long-term crop, the principal crops such as green gram and groundnut are short-term crops. 

It is after the short-term crops are harvested that tur grows freely, rid as the land is, of weeds. However, because rain played truant, the crops didn’t turn out fine, and now, there are pests attacking tur crops. But, the egrets have played an important role in feeding on them, and helping farmers. Egrets are known for their social behaviour, and live in groups. 

Wisdom from a farmer

Farmers know this, all too well. Take this old farmer at Akkur village near Hosaritti in the Haveri region. 

In the middle of a conversation with the farmer, this writer noticed a lone egret land on a tur farm in the vicinity. Then, another, and yet another, before a flock of birds had made themselves comfortable in the field.

While this writer was worried that the birds would destroy the crop, the farmer on the other hand was not perturbed one bit. He knew the birds would not feed on the tur, rather on the pests that had infested the crop. A farmer’s wisdom, gained from having been in constant touch with nature.