Owing to the damage to paddy straw due to untimely rainfall, the price of paddy straw has skyrocketed, causing distress to farmers.
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Following untimely rain in November, huge quantities of paddy straw were damaged in Shivamogga, Davanagere and Chikkamagaluru districts. About 80% of the straw had rotted in the fields. As a result, paddy straw had become expensive and short in supply as fodder for cattle.

Udupi district had experienced heavy showers when paddy harvest was in progress. As a result, about 80 to 85% of the paddy straw was damaged.

The demand for paddy straw had increased and with it, the price has gone up as well, said, dairy farmers.

In the past, one ‘soodi’ (small bundle) of paddy straw fetched Rs 40 to Rs 45. Now, it has increased to Rs 60.

A load of paddy straw from outside the district was fetching Rs 20,000 in the past. Now, it has increased to Rs 30,000-Rs 35,000, said the farmers.

“A soodi of paddy straw was fetching Rs 20 in Shivamogga a year ago. We are not getting paddy straw even if we pay for it. The price is likely to decline after the paddy harvest during the rabi season,” hoped farmers in Udupi.

Farmer Vijay Kumar said, “The rise in the price of paddy straw will affect dairy farmers. Without paddy straw, we have to cut green grass and offer it to the cattle. Paddy straw will remain in short supply for a period of three to four months.”

Dairy farmer Mithun said, “We have to offer paddy straw to cattle to increase the fat content in milk. The rise in the price of paddy straw will be a blow to the income of the dairy farmers.”

As per the statistics of the animal husbandry department, there are 2.57 lakh cattle in the Udupi district.

The district does not have enough paddy straw to cater to the demand. As a result, paddy straw is procured from neighbouring Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru and Davanagere districts.

The delay in details being issued on the proposed dairy reduction scheme is “playing with the futures” of farm families, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

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