Friday, December 3, 2010

SRI method and tillering

Under SRI method, it is found that we have much more tillering when compared to the traditional method. The reason for these are as follows:

- transplantation is done very early between 8 to 15 days of age of nursery. The younger the more the chance of higher tillering;

- further,in this system, you give the chance for both aerobic and unaerobic bacteria to play its part which helps in healthy development of the tillering as well as over all healthy growth of the plant

- further, you integrate the weeds into the soil using the konoweeder or rotary weeder or similar weed integrating machine. The weeds become food for the plant

- the process of weeding helps in loosing the soil around and along the plant which helps in the better establishment of the roots and the growth of the roots

- the growth of the root zone is excellent and this in turn helps in collecting the nutrients from the soil more effectively for the plant

Hence this is a very successful method. Though this has recently has been adopted from the island nation of Africa this is not new to Indians and particularly the South Indians. South India has practiced this in the early 19th century when this was referred to as "yard gap planting". Ofcourse, the current method appears to be more refined and effective both in terms of cost as well as yeild.

One additional practice can be included in this method, that is of gap filling where the transplanted plant has failed to establish itsefl. If you plough the land properly and level the same properly, then the chance of plant failing to establish itself is rather very rare. However, it is essential to be careful when you do weeding operations with weeding machines. Improper handling can lead to damage to transplanted samplings. If due care is taken in this regard, there is no cause for concern.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Naturalfarmingpalekarway - Answer to clarification on seedbed for paddy


Dear Sir, Thanks. On a carefull reading of your articles on SRI and Zero Budget farming. If you can add how to prepare Seed Bed before transplantation under SRI, mentioning the requirement of seed per bed etc., it will be very useful.
Ok bye-

Answer for the above doubt is as follows:-

Before I go ahead with the answer, a small introduction on Sri K. Swaminathan. Sri Swaminathan is an advocate by profession. He hails from the delta area and his family has been actively into the agricultural farming of paddy for well over several decades. He is currently practising Zero Budget Natural farming. Now coming to the answer for the question,

Prepare a raised bed in the field itself. The recommended height of the raised bed should be 6" to 9" lower the better for easy handling. Ensure that the width of the bed is not it excess of 3 feet for easy management. Level the raised bed properly. Apply well decomposed organic compost on top. Don't be too much concerned as to the quantity of compost to be applied. Apply what you feel is required. It is enough that the compost should adequately cover the soil area. In the meantime, collect the paddy soaked paddy seeds in a thin muslin cloth and dip the seeds covered by the muslin cloth into the solution of Bijamurtham for twenty minutes. Remove the cloth covered seeds allow the bijumurtham water to drain off and then spread the dried seeds on the raised bed evenly. Cover the seeds with compost adequately to avoid birds picking up the seeds. Please make a thin coverage with straw to avoid direct contact with rainfall or sun. Keep sprinkling water regularly. On the fifth and 8th day please sprinkle jeevamurtham. You may transplant the saplings any time between 9th and 15th day. The earlier the better.

While transplanting, ensure that you do not pluck the saplings from the bed. Instead, remove the sapling alongwith the soil and plant it on the surface of the soil itself following the SRI technique. Deep transplantation is not recommended.

The requirement of seed per acre for a spacing of 22.5cm X 22.5cm is 3.5kgs.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Naturalfarmingpalekarway + SRI Paddy + pulses intercrop

How to integrate the benefits of Zero Budget Natural Farming Techniques with SRI techniques to enhance crop yield and protect microbial value of the soil?

This is a very useful one for the paddy farmer. The benefits of SRI are very well known and the techniques have been published in our blogspot earlier. This technique can further be modified and made more effective which we will deal later in this post. However, the agricultural universities in Tamil Nadu have been of the opinion that the paddy plant requires more nitrogen than what is available and hence have been recommending a basel dose of Urea. Some government agricultural officers have been recommending a top dressing in addition to basel dosage. Both these in my opinion are shortsighted and expensive approach to the problem though it will address the assumed shortage of Nitrogen it will only lead to more input costs for the farmer. Further, the increased application of nitrogen will invite pests and the farmer will have to spray pesticides spending scarce resources. It will be a vicious cycle of getting trapped into expensive advice and the consequent debt trap. This mindless and continued application of Nitrogen through salts like Urea will certainly affect the microbial value of the soil which is not what we work for. Farmer’s only capital is his soil health. He can not and should not allow it to be weakened. Now comes the question how do we address this problem? The answer is very simple. Ensure that you plant glyricidia plants all along the border of your land. This plant grows very profusely. You can harvest the leaves of this plant once in three or four weeks and integrate the leaves into paddy field. This leave is full of nitrogen. Hence, you can manage to get your Nitrogen on your own and at practically no cost. Further, you will be integrating the weeds three or four times during the crop period this will also bring in nitrogen to the soil. So you can understand that there is no need for external inorganic nitrogen for paddy cultivation. Hence, what we need is a holistic approach to the issue.

We have already explained you the fundamentals of SRI technique in our earlier post. We have also now addressed the question of source of nitrogen. P and K are very much available in the soil at the root zones of paddy and your regular application of Jeevamurtha will help in converting the P and K values to such forms which the plant can uptake easily. So you have no worry on major nutrients. Similarly, secondary and micro nutrients are available in soil and various forms. Regular application of Jeevamurtha will increase the density of a number of helpful and healthy microbes and will convert these nutrients into forms from which the plant can uptake them easily. (I can give you a detailed explanation on the sources and form of major, secondary and micro nutrients available in the soil. But it will only serve academic interest and hence I am avoiding the same) So you need not approach any dealer for your needs of fertilizer and the small and marginal farmer need not borrow at heavy interest rates. The Government too need not subsidise the fertilizer or waive off loans for this system of farming.

Once you have ploughed and muddled your soil apply 200 litres of Jeevamurtham per acre, when the soil of the field is in the stage of a smooth paste, take about 100 to 200 kilos of Ghanajeevamurtham blend the same in about equal quantity of the dry soil from your field and keep them ready. Now use one person to use the markers to begin marking the field for transplantation of paddy samplings (8 to 10 days old saplings for paddy and Bijamurtham treated seeds for pulses) and seeding of pulses. Apply a handful Ghanajeevamurtha mixture at every point where you intend planting the saplings. While one person does this application, the other person will continue planting the sapling In addition to the market you would need three people, one person will be applying the Ghanajeevamurtham mixture, the second one will be planting the paddy sapling and the third one will be seeding the black gram or mungbeans crop in rows. You will follow the system of rows of PADDY ALLOW A SPACE OF 30 TO 45 CMS THEN SOW A SEED OF BLACK GRAM OR GREEN MUNG BEANS OR PIGEON PEAS THEN ALLOW 30 TO 45 CMS AND PLANT IN THE THIRD ROW PADDY. You will repeat this process will until you complete your entire field. Your field will appear like this once completed.

(If your holding is large you can have more than one item of the pulses so that you can spread your risk more evenly. You will also have more number of items to consume and to sell.)

Once you plant, remember to pumping 200 litres of jeevamurtha every 15 days. Remember to spray jeevamurtha regularly as recommended. In addition, broadcast 100 kilos of Ghana jeevamurtha powder once a month on the paddy field. Your plants will be very healthy and will not require any special plant protection. If required you can always fall on Neemastra or Brahmastra or Agniastra depending on your situation to control pests and infestations. If you find pests and infestations in less than five percent of the area please ignore the same. At the stage of seed formation if the it is winter time spray 5% buttermilk solution. Alternatively, you can apply 5% solution of Sapthadhanyakuraarka. How to make all these items like Ghanajeevamurtham, jeevamurtham, neemastra, agniastra, brahmastra, buttermilk solution, spathadanyakuraaraka have been explained in the blog in my earlier posts.

You can harvest your pulses like black gram or greenmung or pigeonpeas in about 75 to 80 days. So you can conveniently harvest the seeds and then integrate the plants into the soil simultaneously between the rows of the paddy crop. Since pulses are dicot plants they carry lot of nitrogen in their nodules when integrated in the soil, the soil gets adequate source of nitrogen which the paddy plants can uptake if required. Further, these pulses will prevent pest attack on paddy plants. Subsequently, you can harvest your paddy crop.

Points to take note:-

Remember to mulch your field with Neemleaves or pungamia leaves alongwith jeevamurtham.

Seedtreatment of paddy should be done with Bijamurtham in the recommended manner before seeding in the seedbed. spray 5% solution of jeevamurtha on 5 day old sapling in the seedbed. Drench the seedbed with small quantity of bijamurtha half an hour before you begin transplanting.

For seedtreatment of pulses like blackgram (URAD)Greenmung (pasipayaru), pigeonpeas (thoovarai) please follow the recommended method very carefully and avoid damaging the outer cover of the seeds.

Ensure spacing of 30 cms between rows and 25 cms between plants for short duration varieties. Spacing will vary for other varieties.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Zero Budget Natural Farming - Farmers Meeting

It gives me immense pleasure to let the Tamil Nadu farming community know that Shri Subash Palekar will be conducting a conference at Vallam in Tanjore District. The conference will be conducted on 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th of June, 2007. The conference is being organised by "The Director, Centre for Rural Development, Periar Maniammai University, Vallam, Tanjore, Tamil Nadu.

Those farmers who wish to participate in the conference are requested to register themselves with "The Director, Centre for Rural Development, Periar Maniammai University, Vallam, Tanjore, Tamil Nadu". The cost for participation is Rs.300 per person. The payment has to be sent by a demand draft payable at Tanjore. The Demand draft should be in favour of "The Director, Centre for Rural Development, Periar Maniammai University".

Those of you who are interested may kindly rush your registration immediately and make use of this opportunity.

This information is based on my telephone call with the organiser Prof. Muthukumar who can be contacted on his mobile no. 9443160501.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A cost comparison between Inorganic cultivation of paddy and Zero Budget "SRI" method of cultivation of paddy

We all agree on the point that Organic cultivation and Zero Budget Natural Farming is certainly superior when it come to protection of soil health. On this issue there is no dispute.

I had the experience of cultivating paddy under both inorganic method as well as by following Zero Budget Natural Farming Techniques at our farm at Chitlapakkam and Kayapakkam Village respectively in Kanchipuram District.

I give below the detailed costing for the benefit of farming community. I am sure hard core practicioners will be able to improve upon and fine tune the costs better than me. Please note that in both these farm, the farm owners only participate in decision making and are not directly involved in cultivation. So every human resource used is paid for and physically the farm onwers contribution is not significant.

Inorganic Cultivation Costs for a shortduration crop (ADT 37):-

Preparation of seed beds Rs. 400/-
Cost of 30 kgs of seeds @ Rs.25/kg Rs. 750/-
Field preparation (Ploughing twice) Rs. 1,800/-
Cleaning of border + Levelling of field Rs. 400/-
Removing of saplings from seedbed & distribution of bunches Rs. 790/-
Transplantation with 18 lady workers per acre Rs. 1,080/-
Basel dosage of fertiliser Rs. 750/-
First top dressing of fertiliser Rs. 300/-
Deweeding with 10 lady labourers Rs. 600/-
Second top dressing of fertiliser Rs. 150/-
Application of pesticides & insecticides Rs. 800/-
Cost of harvesting per acre Rs. 1,100/-
Collection of hay Rs. 300/-
Total cost as per inorganic cultivation Rs. 9,120/-

(Normal yeild 27 to 30 bags of 72 kgs of paddy. However, the yeild tends to decrease over continued practice of inoraganic cultivation as the humus gets destroyed over a period of time due to excessive and continued usage of inorganic fertiliser and pesticides. This substantially reduces the microbial activity in the soil)

Zero Budget "SRI" Cost of short duration paddy (ADT 37)

Preparation of seedbed Rs. 60/-
Cost of seeds for seedbed @ 4kgs @ Rs.25/kg Rs. 100/-
Field preparation ploughing with 10 pairs of cow per acre Rs. 800/-
Cleaning the field borders (varappu adnaivettal & levelling Rs. 400/-
Removing & Transplantation of saplings 12 ladies per acre Rs. 720/-
Cost of Bijamurtham & Jeevamurtham for whole period Rs. 500/-
Spraying of Jeevamurtham every 15 days @ 10 tanks per acre Rs. 400/-
Spraying of Agniastra & Brahmastra (if required only) Rs. 160/-
Deweeding 4 times with Konoweeder or rotory weeder 5x4 ladies Rs. 1,200/-
Harvesting @ 1,100 per acre Rs. 1,100/-
Collection of hay Rs. 300/-
Total expenses per acre on Zero budget natural farming Rs. 5,740/-

(On change over, the first time estimated yeild is 23 to 25 bags of 72 kgs. Guarantee of increased yeild on continued practice this method. I know of successful farmers have achieved yeild of over 40 bags of 72 kgs in this method).

I am sure those who integrate "SRI" into Naturalfarming palekarway will certainly succeed on the long terms even when they practice monocropping. Ofcourse, their returns will surely increase when they follow multicropping as recommended by Shri Subash Palekar. Please await details of multicropping techniques recommended by Shri Subash Palekar in my next publishing on multicropping of paddy with legume crops. This is sure to be of significant use to hard core practicioners naturalfarming.

New Year Greetings



Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Questions & Answers on the technique and practices

Shri Rajasekaran Ponniah has raised a querry on how to use Bijamurtham for Paddy and Black gram by a private email after going through this blogspot. I through that it would be better to answer this question through the blogspot itself so that along with Shri Rajasekaran Ponniah, others too can use the information. We must thank Shri Subash Palekar for developing this method which is proving beneficial to the farming community in general.

Question: How to use Bijamurtham for Paddy and Black gram?

Bijamurtham treatment for Paddy Seeds: Take adequate chlorine free clear water from your water source in a large wide mouthed can or vessel. Add small quantity of natural crystal salt (Kal Uppu). Now you can immerse the seeds in this water and allow the water to become still. This process should take about 15 minutes. Damaged and infested seeds will come up to the surface and float. Remove these seeds with the help of a strainer (tea vadikatti) and use it for mulching only. Now drain the water and allow the seeds to become dry. Add the prepared Bijamurtham and treat the seeds. Once this is done, the paddy seeds are ready for sowing into the seedbed.

Bijamurtham treatment for Black gram Seeds: Manually remove the infested and damaged seeds from the Black gram Seeds. Put the selected seeds into a thin cloth and soak the same well in the Bijamurtham solution for about a minute or two. Then open the cloth and allow the seeds to dry in shade till it is nearly free from external moisture. Now the Black Gram seeds are ready for sowing. Most Important: DO NOT RUB THE SEEDS TO AVOID DAMAGE TO OUTER COVER OF THE SEEDS.