Cotton farmers, after harvesting the bolls, leave the entire plant stalk in the field or burnt, resulting in environmental pollution. Also, routine biomass composting process will not work for cotton stalks due to their hard woody nature. The conventional composting process will take 3 to 6 months, depending on the process conditions. Hence, ICAR-CIRCOT developed an accelerated process of cotton stalk composting using microbial consortium. Duration of composting is 45 days for wet and 60 days for dry cotton stalks. It has higher NPK value compared to normal composting, resulting in better soil health. The NPK content of this compost is 1.43:0.78:0.82 as compared to 0.5:0.5:0.5 of FYM. This also reduces chemical fertilizer use, prevents burning of cotton stalks in the field. This technology helps to improve the cotton crop residue management and production of good quality compost. It helps to reduce pollution created by burning of cotton stalks in the field.
The cost to be incurred is Rs. 2.5 lakhs per village having 1000 acres of cotton cultivated land for purchasing one chipper. If tree shaded place is not available, shed may be erected as per the required capacity. The cost of operation per unit size is Rs. 2960 per tonne of compost. The benefit cost ratio is 1.08. There will be a saving of Rs. 9000 per ha by replacing FYM (12 tonnes) with cotton stalk compost (5 tonnes).
ICAR-CIRCOT, Matunga, Mumbai 400019.
Web: www.circot.icar.gov.in; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org