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Burning of rice stubbles is widely practised in Punjab, India, due to a lack of suitable machinery to direct drill wheat into combine-harvested rice residues. Although burning is a rapid and cheap option, and allows quick turn around between crops, it has serious effects on human and animal health due to air pollution, reduced soil fertility due to loss of nutrients and organic matter, and green house gas (GHG) emissions. The recently developed Happy Seeder (HS) overcomes the technical problems associated with direct drilling into rice residues. The primary aim of the present study was to conduct a preliminary evaluation of the direct financial benefits and costs to farmers of use of the HS in comparison with the current practices of straw burning followed by direct drilling or conventional tillage prior to sowing. The results of the evaluation suggest that the HS technology is more profitable than conventional cultivation or direct drilling after burning, and that it is viable for farmers from a financial perspective. The net present value (NPV) of the benefits is highly sensitive to yield; a 5% increase in yield with the HS doubles the increase in NPV of the HS over conventional tillage. The NPV is also quite sensitive to changes in herbicide use, and less sensitive to changes in irrigation water saving and discount rate. Furthermore, there are significant economic, community and environmental benefits through adoption of the technology. For widespread adoption of the technology, a range of potential mechanical, technical, social, institutional and policy constraints need to be considered and addressed in conjunction with a detailed economic assessment of the HS technology.


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