STATUS AND PROSPECTS OF MECHANIZATION IN SAFFRON CULTIVATION IN KASHMIR
Saffron is a very important cash crop of Kashmir and has been in cultivation for a long time on small farms. Average holding of saffron farmers is 0.56 ha. However, other than primary and secondary tillage in seedbed preparation, operations are carried out manually using indigenous tools mainly Ramba or Khurpi for weeding, Tungrusmall and large for hoeing and Bel (spade) for movement of soil/opening drain. About 600-625 man-days/ha are used in saffron farming from seedbed to drying. Weeding is most laborious operation in saffron farming in Kashmir requiring 160 man-d/ha (2 weedings). Next labour intensive operations are hoeing (120), picking and separation (120), bed forming and sowing (80) and corm digging (80) which needs to be mechanized. For tillage animal-drawn plough as well as tractor mounted plough and disc harrows are used. In recent the past, rotovators have come in use for seedbed preparation especially where fine tilth is required. Power tillers have also become popular in Kashmir Valley and are suited to achieving well pulverized seedbed once soil is deep ploughed. In rice-wheat rotation tractor mounted raised bed planters have come in use which can be adopted for bed forming for saffron cultivation. Corms are sown in deep furrows at a spacing of 20 cm made using bullock-drawn plough. Onion/potato/tulip planter can be easily adopted for saffron corm planting. By suitably modifying metering of Raised Bed Planter saffron corm can be planted. It is proposed to adopt wheel hoes, power weeders and power tillers for weeding and hoeing saffron plots. Potato and groundnut diggers can be adopted for digging and collecting corms with some modifications. Besides size grader electronic corm grader can be developed for grading corms by weight. For drying solar dryers developed are working well, at the same time electric heated saffron dryer is under development.
Alam, A. (2007). STATUS AND PROSPECTS OF MECHANIZATION IN SAFFRON CULTIVATION IN KASHMIR. Acta Hortic. 739, 383-388
corm digging, cormplanting, harvesting, land preparation, packing, weeding