Due to rains, farmers in DK, Udupi face paddy shortage

Due to rains, farmers in Dakshin Kannada, Udupi face paddy straw shortage

The paddy straw available in DK and Udupi is not sufficient to cater to the cattle in the districts

Paddy straw drenched in rain water in one of the field in Udupi. Credit: DH Photo

The untimely rain during the harvest season in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi will lead to a scarcity of paddy straw which is primarily used as fodder for cattle. The straw that was left behind after the harvest has started to rot as fields are inundated with water.

“Around 3,000 small bundles ('kattu') of paddy straw are damaged due to rainfall in my paddy field. Last year, I sold paddy straw worth Rs 20,000 after feeding the cows in my house. This year, I am unable to get  them due to the damage caused by the rain,” said Gulabi, a farmer.

“We may not face shortage of fodder for the time being as green grass is available in plenty. But during summer, the cattle may face shortage of paddy straw,” said Vasudeva, also a farmer.

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Farmers were fetching Rs 6 per ‘kattu’ (small bundle) of paddy straw that is harvested in a traditional method. Some were even happy to sell the straw immediately after the harvest.

With paddy straw rotting in the paddy fields inundated with water, the farmers might face fodder shortage for their cattle heads as the summer progresses, the farmers said.

If the paddy is harvested using a harvester, then a roller is used for bundling paddy straws and each bundle weighs somewhere from 30 kg to 50 kg.

According to statistics from the district administration, agricultural crops on 74.938 hectares and horticultural crops on 282.995 hectares were damaged due to rains in Dakshina Kannada since January this year.

While in Udupi, paddy on 89.41 hectares in 69 villages were damaged since June, Kundapura has registered the highest damage on 34.52 hectares. However, the farmers feel that the damage in
reality is much higher than the official statistics.

Raitha Sangha Hasiru Sene State Secretary Manohar Shetty said, “Paddy got drenched in the inundated fields. Even the district administration has failed to listen to the woes of the farmers in the district.”

The paddy straw available in DK and Udupi is not sufficient to cater to the cattle in the districts. Every year, farmers procured paddy straw from Shivamogga, Chitradurga and Davangere districts.

A load of dry paddy straw costs Rs 10,000. This year, the rain has damaged the paddy straw in Shivamogga and Davangere as well. In such a scenario, dairy farmers will have to shell out extra to fetch paddy straw, the farmers said.

“The wet paddy straw, even if dried after a few days, will lose its taste and is not consumed by the cows,” said another farmer.

The paddy straw is not transported from the fields immediately after the harvest. It is left for drying in the fields. However, the district has been receiving showers for the last 10 to 15 days. As a result, the paddy straw started to rot in the fields.

According to officials, “About 90 per cent of paddy harvest has been completed. The paddy straw is damaged and this is likely to lead to shortage of fodder for the cattle.”

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