he expert of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has appealed to the farmers of Punjab to desist from paddy straw burning and use PAU Super Straw Management System (SMS) for its management. Dr GS Manes, Additional Director of Research (Farm Mechanization and Bioenergy), PAU, said: “This technology can chop and spread the straw coming out of the rear of combine harvester evenly in the field for uniform straw-load in the field. This also helps in ease of straw handling, better crop emergence and establishment. In fact, the use of PAU Super SMS, is a requisite for the adoption of specialized machines for wheat sowing like Happy Seeder, Super Seeder, etc.” The use of Super SMS attachment on paddy combine harvesters was made mandatory by Punjab Pollution Control Board in February 2018 and PAU has licensed this technology to about 120 manufacturers, he informed.
Referring to its benefits, Dr Manes said the uniform spread of the paddy residue helps to retain uniform moisture content in the field and favours better germination of following wheat crop. The chopping of paddy residue enhances the drying rate of residue due to increased surface area. As the paddy residue contains 60-70 per cent moisture on weight basis, the accelerated evaporation of moisture reduces the effective residue load in the field, he added.
SMS IMPROVES WORKING OF OTHER INSITU MANAGEMENT MACHINES
As the residue load in the field reduces to about one-third of its initial amount, the working of machines used for in-situ residue management improves. Machines like Happy Seeder, Super Seeder and paddy straw chopper/mulcher (used for incorporation of paddy straw) benefit from Super SMS technology in terms of their field performance, he said. In case of Happy Seeder, there is increase in field capacity by about 18 per cent, enabling custom operator to cover 0.5 ha more per day, he told. The Super SMS has an option of switching on or off using a small metal sheet. This enables the combine harvester with Super SMS attachment to be used as traditional combine harvester without dismantling the SMS attachment (for collection of residues from the field), he added.
Dr Manes said, “All traditional combine harvester operators are already categorized as skilled operators. Any operator/person who can operate the combine harvester is skilled enough to operate the Super SMS attached with the combine harvester.”
He further explained, “The Super SMS requires about 8-10 hp to operate in the field. The commercially available self-propelled combine harvesters have sufficient power to operate Super SMS attachment in addition to its conventional field work. The fuel consumption for combine harvester with Super SMS attachment is about 25 per cent higher (at about 26 cm height of cut) for combine with Super SMS attachment as compared to conventional combine harvester. Higher fuel consumption and lower field capacity of combine harvester fitted with Super SMS translates into about Rs 375 to 400 extra per acre. This is compensated by improved efficiency of the subsequent incorporation/mulching and seeding operations.”
Emphasizing on balancing the Super SMS, he said, “The Super SMS rotor once properly balanced, works fine for a complete harvesting season until there is a major breakdown of the flails, blades of SMS rotor. When properly balanced, the threshing efficiency (about 99.5%) and cleaning efficiency (about 96%) of the combine harvester with and without Super SMS are similar.” The unbalanced Super SMS units may cause excessive vibrations in the combine harvester, leading to grain loss by harvester, he cautioned.