Farmers in the district are fast adopting modern scientific tools for cultivation as it saves time, labour and money alongside bringing additional output.
During the last couple of years, the use of modern agricultural tools by farmers has increased tremendously in the district among big, medium and small farmers having at least 50 decimals of land, said officials of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Nilphamari.
However, a section of farmers, especially marginal ones and landless sharecroppers still use traditional tools, they said.
About 90% farmers now till their land with tractors or power tillers, said Sub Assistant Agriculture Officer (SAAO) Shamsul Huda, who compiles and updates different agriculture related data at the district DAE.
"Eighty percent farmers use harvesters to thresh and clean paddy, wheat and maize, 60% use weeders, 50% use LCC (leaf colour chart) machine for putting urea in their crops field without wastage and all the farmers use manual or diesel run spray machines for spraying insecticide," he added.
A good number of farmers like to test soil of their land in 'mini soil kits laboratory' set up in each of the 64 union parishad complexes of the district, he added.
"Modern cultivation method has become greatly popular as we are motivating farmers and providing them with modern agricultural tools at 25% subsidized rates,” said SM Sirajul Islam, deputy director of district DAE.
Visiting different villages of the district during the last couple of days, this correspondent found extensive use of harvesters for reaping boro paddy.
“My harvester can thresh paddy of 20 bigha in a day. At the same time the threshed paddy gets clean as wind blows during the task,” Golam Mostofa of Kundopukur village in Sadar upazila, who cultivated boro on a 40-bigha land (1 bigha=30 decimal), said as he was threshing paddy with a diesel-run harvester.
Many farmers who have no harvesters of their own hire the machine for Tk 300 to 400 to thresh paddy of a bigha.
"I hired a harvester to thresh and clean boro paddy of my four-bigha land for Tk 1600. It will take only four hours while it would require engaging ten day labourers for a total of Tk 2500 and at least eight hours to complete the harvesting manually,” Rabiul Islam, a farmer of Chhatnai village in Dimla upazila, said on Saturday.
Besides harvesters, other modern tools serve as effective and cheaper means for agricultural work, said farmers.
“It needs two times tilling in two hours by tractors or power tillers at a cost of Tk 800 to prepare a bigha of land for cultivation whereas it takes six times tilling with traditional ploughs and bullocks, costing Tk 1800,” said Tayeb Ali of Kishoreganj upazila.