AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION
The implements and farm tools used by agriculturists in the district are generally of the old and indigenous pattern. Even pace does not appear to have been maintained by the agriculturist with the improvement in the technique of agricultural production. The size of existing farms also sometimes does not allow the farmer to use mechanical appliances.
Ploughs, harrows, levellers, sowing drill and clod-crushers are the important implements connected with the various phases of agricultural operations. Besides these, several hand tools are also used for allied farm operations. A few improved implements, such as, iron ploughs, blowing fans, threshing and separating appliances have been introduced. The iron plough is gradually replacing the old indigenous wooden plough.
A description of some of the major implements is given below.
The wooden plough (nangar) is made of babhul (acacia arabica)
wood by local carpenters. It comprises four essential parts, viz.. the main body (khod), beam (dandi), ploughshare (phal), and
stilt (rumhane). The main body is the central part to which the
others are attached. It gives the necessary weight for the
penetrating action of the ploughshare. It is about three feet long and consists of a head and shoe. The head is thicker while the shoe is tapering to a point, flat at the top and triangular at the bottom. The share which is sharp at the end is fixed to the shoe. It is about two feet long and projects about six inches beyond the point of the shoe. It is secured to the shoe by means of an iron ring. The beam which is fixed to the body in a particular angle is about 3.048 to 3.658 metres (10 to 12 feet) long. The stilt which is fixed with a short grip or handle (muthya) is attached to the beam at the back end. It is used for handling the plough by the plough-man. The yoke is tied to the front end of the beam by means of a thick rope, known as waltya. Plough opens a triangular furrow with a depth of 0.152 m. to 0.229 m. (6" to 9").
A number of progressive cultivators, owning big holdings, possess iron ploughs. The iron ploughs are preferred to the indigenous type because they make the soil more loose and friable. Iron ploughs are worked with two to
five pairs of bullocks depending upon the size of the plough and the texture of the land.
The harrow (bakhar), an indigenous implement, is used for
crushing the clods and making the soil arable. It is generally made of babhul and comprises five main components, viz., head, prongs (jankudav), iron blade (pas), beam (dandi) and stilt (rumhane). The iron blade is attached to the two prongs fixed ro the head. It is about 3' to 3½' long. The yoke is attached to the beam by means of a thick rope.
There are two types of harrows prevalent in the district, viz., the heavy harrow (moghada bakhar) and the small one. The heavy harrow is usually used for deep harrowing which serves as preparatory tillage before sowing. The small harrow is used for removing jowar stubbles and cotton stalks. It is also used for preliminary harrowing, for covering the seeds sown and for inferculturing the broad spaced crops.
The seed-drill (tifan) is also an indigenous implement used for sowing operations. It is made of good babhul wood by village carpenters. The main components of this implement are the main head, three coulters (jankudav), a beam (danda), three bamboo tubes and a bowl (chale). The head is the central part to which are attached the coulters at the bottom, stilt on the upper side and beam on the front side. Pointed drills, made of iron are attached to the coulters. The bowl (chale) is connected with the three coulters by three bamboo tubes. Seeds are put in the bowl from where they pass through the tubes into the furrows created by the coulters.
The following type of seed-drills are prevalent in Amravati:-
(1) Tifan.--It is a three coultered drill used for sowing
(2) Argada.-It is either three coultered or four coultered. Bowl and bamboo tubes are not attached to the coulters of an argada. But bamboo pipes, each fixed with a small howl on the top (locally known as sarate), are tied by ropes to each of the coulters of the seed-drill. The senates are operated by women who pour seeds into the respective bowls in a specified proportion. The sarates are pulled along with the seed-drill and the seeds pass into the furrows opened by the coulters. The argada is used for sowing of cotton and groundnut. In some cases groundnut seeds are dibbled by female workers in furrows drilled by the argada.
(3) Duse or Kathani Tifan.-This is usually a two coultered drill. It is heavy in weight which enables seeds in the rabi season to be sown deep in the soil. The weight of the head helps penetrating action of the coulters. It resembles the tifan in all other respects, and is used for sowing operations of wheat, gram, coriander, and mustard. Usually a pair of bullocks is yoked to a duse though two pairs are also required to be yoked sometimes.
Interculturing implements are miniature harrows. Dawra (hoe) which has a constructional design like the harrow is used for interculturing cotton, jowar, mug, udid, groundnut, etc. At times a small bakhar is also used for interculturing broad spaced crops, viz., chillis, brinjals. banana and jowar.
Generally two or three hoes are tied to the yoke by thin ropes around the respective head pieces and beams. This enables the farmer to speed up the interculturing operations. Big landholders operate even five hoes at a time. Each hoe is guided by one man. With a set of five hoes, about 8 acres of land are intercultured in a day, whereas a set of three intercultures about five acres.
The principal tool for harvesting is sickle (koyata) which is used for cutting jowar, bajra. tur, mug, udid, wheat and gram. The kudali is used for digging out groundnut and root crops.
Very few implements are used for threshing of grain. They consist of datari,
tivhar (tripod stand), baskets, chaff-cutter and blowing fan. Threshing of jowar, bajra, wheat and udid is usually done by driving a few bullocks in a circular motion on the ear-heads of the corn. A gang of bullocks, with their necks tied to one another, is driven around. Datari (a tool having five to six teeth fixed on a small head piece) is used for stirring and separating grains from the chaff or husk. A special broom is also used for separating chaff from the heap of grains.
Besides sickle, there are a number of hand tools used in various operations. They consist of axe (kurhad), pick-axe, pawada, Kudali, sabbal, etc. Budding knife is used for preparing orange nurseries. Many farmers now use rotary dusters,
hand sprayers and bucket sprayers for spraying or dusting crops
Water-lift (mot) is the chief contrivance for lifting water from
wells. Mot is made of tanned hide by a local cobbler. The two ends of the mot are tied by two separate ropes to the yoke. There is actually a double yoke, about four feet in length. The bullocks yoked to the mot are driven forward and backward over the ramp. The two ropes pass over the two revolving wheels.
A number of water-pumps worked either on oil engines or electric motors are found in the district. This has facilitated well-irrigation on a larger scale.
Bullock-cart still continues to be the most common means of
transport of agricultural produce and appliances. It is known as gadi or bandi. The frame of a cart is like an isosceles triangle tapering towards the front side. The frame is supported on two cart-wheels. A few planks are fixed on the frame with some space. There are about four holes on two sides of the frame for fixing vertical props. The entire frame is covered by a mat made of thick bamboo straps. The frame is made of either shadada or sag wood. The axle is fixed in a rectangular log of the right size. The axle is tied with the front angle of the frame by a tight rope or iron rope.