Saturday, March 22, 2008

SRI (System of Rice Intensification) and Zero Budget Natural Farming

System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Zero Budget Natural Farming:-

System of Rice Intensification was first introduced by Madagascar in the African continent. Due to its resounding success, it started spreading to other rice growing areas and has successfully transformed the rice cultivation techniques and practices. This has lead to significantly higher yield despite the decrease in input costs when compared to the traditional methods of cultivation that have been in practice in India. In the SRI technique you can avoid inorganic chemical application as fertilizer completely.

All the techniques of SRI are not new to the Indian rice farmers. Only some of them are significantly different from traditional methods. Normally, the Indian farmer is known to plant a bunch of 4 to 5 saplings together and the normal age of his sapling will be over 25 days whereas under SRI you only plant a single saplings and the age of the saplings is between 7 and 15 days, the younger the better.

The seed requirement under SRI is rather small when compared to the traditional methods that the Indian farmers have been adopting. In the traditional method we need about 25 to 30 kgs of seeds per acre where as in the SRI method we need only 600 grams of seeds for a spacing of 50 cm by 50 cm. You need 1 kilo of seeds for 40cm by 40 cm spacing. You need 1.3 kgs of seeds for 33cm by 33cm spacing. You would need 2.6 kilos of seeds for 25 cm by 25 cm spacing. You can follow any spacing convenient to you.

What are the fundamental rules of SRI method of cultivation?

1. The saplings for transplantation have to be very tender and young. Best is to use the sapling between 7 to 15 days of age. The younger the better;
2. Only single plant has to be transplanted;
3. Gap between rows and plants have to be larger than traditional method (minimum recommendation if 22cm x 22cm;
4. Shallow transplantation of saplings should be followed;
5. Before every water the field should be allowed to dry sufficiently to the extent that the land shows up hairline cracks;
6. Use of mechanical or manual weed removers to remove the weeds and integrate the weeds in the soil.

What are the benefits?

1. There is no external inputs from any distributor;
2. Excellent and multiple growth of shoots;
3. Deep and broad root base for the plants;
4. Minimum seed cost;
5. Area for seedbed much smaller and requirement of seeds also small;
6. Much lower water requirement;
7. Increase in microbial activity in the soil due to excellent aeration areation;

Why do you need young and tender plants?

In order to fully utilize the capacity of multiple shooting tendency of the paddy plant, it is recommended to transplant the 7 to 15 day old plants from the seed bed to field. Normally, a paddy plants gives its first shoot within ten days of transplantation. When adequate spacing is given for aeration, the mother plant give the first shoot in about ten days from transplantation, the mother plant there after gives out a shoot every 5 to 7 days depending on the field, at the same time, every new shoots becomes a mother within ten days of her arrival and continues to provide a short every 5 to 7 days thereafter. This process continues on every shoot. Consequently, the single sapling planted by you multiplies into several plants within her life time and delivers higher yield to the farmer.

Why do you need higher space between plants?

It is not enough to have high shoots alone. Unless, the shoots receive adequate sunlight and air, the root base can not grow adequately. Only when the root base of the plants increases significantly, the plants tend to be healthier and begin to deliver higher yield. With greater spacing there is increased air circulation which in turn reduces pest attack.

Why do we need to practice shallow planting?

Shallow planting will ensure aeration to the root zone. This will spur the shooting activity in the plant. Hence, it is recommended to plant the sapling within 1 to 2 cm deep and not more.

Why do we need to dry the field before every watering?

This needs to be done to increase the aeration in the root zone of the paddy plant to spur greater activity. However, once we enter the stage of maturity, we should not drain the water completely but we need to ensure a thin layer of water in the field continuously.

If we drain the field regularly then would it not increase the growth of weeds?

Yes, there will be an amount of weed growth. But remember, weeds are wealth. Integrate the weed plants in the soil and convert them into food for the plant at regular intervals. For this use mechanical weed removers regularly starting 10 th day of transplantation for four times. The gap between every weeding operation is to be about 12 days. What is most important in this operation is not only integrating the weeds into the fields by ploughing them back and but also increasing the aeration of the soil.

Where can we integrate the Palekar’s Zero Budget Natural farming in the SRI method and reap greater benefits?

To begin with, while preparing the field, apply 400 litres per acre of Jivamirtha on final ploughing. This will the food for the microorganisms in the field and will stimulate the growth of micro organisms in the field. You would have already mulched the soil sufficiently in a convenient method chosen by you. The micro organisms in the mulched ingredients will multiply rapidly and assist in mobilizing the food for the plants. When the saplings are in the seed bed, spray 5% solutions of Jivamurtha every alternative day from the fourth day till you collect the saplings for transplantation. Collect the sapling bed and keep the root zone are in a solution of Bijamurtha for 30 minutes and then start the transplantation.

Once you have completed the transplantation, apply Jivamurtha 200 litres per acre once in two weeks. Begin foliar application of 5% solution of Jivamurtha on the 21st day of transplantation. Thereafter once in every fifteen days till entering the stage of maturity continue the foliar application of 7 to 10% solution of the Jivamurtha. On entering the stage of maturity spray 5% solution of sour butter milk or 5% solution of coconut water (not tender coconut, use only mature coconut water) or 5% solution of Dhanya Kura arka. This will ensure preventing of shedding of grains and help in increasing the number of grains as well as the weight per grain. The SRI plants will be strong enough to resist any infestation. However, if you face infestation due to certain peculiar local conditions (like being surrounded with fields cultivating paddy in inorganic method), you may apply neemastra and it should help in controlling the pest attack. Please apply neemastra only if there is an attack of pests. No point in doing it before any attack takes place. If you find heavy attack of pests, you may use the Brahmastra. Normally, you will not have to resort to this as the plants raised in this method would be strong enough to resist pests.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Naturalfarming palekarway plant protection

Proactive plant protection is recommended under the Zero Budget Natural Farming of Shri Subash Palekar. The first instrument is using of Bijamurtha to improve the germination of the seed; next is Jivamurtha, to increase the microbial activity in the soil we apply Jivamurtha alongwith water. To protect the plants and improve their health we should regularly apply Jivamurtha through the foliar method. 5% solution is recommended on the 21st day of planting, increase the strength of the solution to 10% for the second spraying, 15% solution for the third spraying. Ensure foliar application of Jivamurtha once in 21 days. At the plant maturing stage, remember to use 5% solution of sour butter milk to protect the grains from infestation and consequent yield loss.

Normally, there will be no need for spraying of any medicine to control infestation as it is found that when Jivamurtha is applied regularly, the plants have sufficient resistance capacity to diseases. However, if you find high percentage of sucking pest or mealy bug you can use Neemastra, If you find pod borer or stem borer then you can use Bramastra, If you find leaf roller, then you can use Agniastra. We give below the method to make Neemastra, Bramastra and Agniastra. To control fungal attack you have to prepare and use Chukkuastra or drygingerastra.

How to make Neemastra?

Take 100 litres of water + 5 litres of gomuthra + 2kg of cow dung + 5kgs of neem leaf pulp, allow the mixture to ferment for 24 hours, stir the mixture twice a day. Filter the solution. Apply on the plants by mixing 2 litres of the mixture in 100 litres of water. This is a very good insecticide.

How to prepare Bramhastra?

Take 10 litres of gomuthra add 3 kgs of neem leaf pulp, add 2 kgs of sitafal leaf pulp, add 2 kgs of pulp of papaya leaf, add 2 kg of pulp of pomogranade, add 2 kg of pulp of guavava, or 2kg of Oomathai leafpulp, or 2kgs of castorleaf pulp, 2kgs of bittergourdpulp 2kgs of punganleafpulp, 2kgs of karuvelamleafpulp (You need any 5 of these leaf pulp for this mixture). Then boil the solution for 10 minutes and allow the solution to cool down for 48 hours. Filter the solution and mix 2 to 2.5 litres in 100 litres depending on the intensity of the attack and spray on the plants. This is a stronger insecticide to be used when infestation is stronger.

How to make Agniastra?

Take 10 litres of Gomuthra, add 1 kg of tobacoo, add 500 grams of green chilli pulp, add 500 grams of garlic pulp, add 5 kgs of neem leaf pulp, add 15 litres of gomuthra, then boil mixture five times continuously. Leave the solution to cool down for 48 hours, filter the solution. Mix the solution 2 litres in 100 litres of water and spray to control leaf roller, stem borer, fruit borer, pod borer, etc.

How to make dry ginger astra?

Take 200 grams of dry ginger powder mix it in 2 litres of water. Put the mixture to boil till the volume of water is reduced by half. Allow the solution to cool down. Take five litres of cow milk or buffalo milk bring it to a boil and remove the cream away and allow it to cool down. Add the cooled milk to the dryginger solution and mix it. Add this to 200 litres of water and apply on the plants to control fungal attack

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Practicioners of Zero Budget Farming in Maharashtra and Karnataka

Zero Budget Natural Farming picked up initially in Maharashtra and moved to Karnataka where farmers have successfully been practicing this method of cultivation. I give below a list of farmers with their location of contact details. I collected this information from the book named “The Techniques of Spiritual Farming” authored by Shri Subash Palekar and published by Ancient (Vedas) Agriculture Research Development & Extension Movement, Lane No.5, Namuna Peth, Amravati 444601, Maharashtra, India. Contact Numbers : 09423601004 / 9423702877 / 09850352745.

Please note I have no personal contact or knowledge with any of the farmers below except for Shri Ramanna who manages the farm of Adhi Chunchunagiri Mutt which I have personally visited.

Name of the farmer Location Phone Number
Mrs. Vasudha Sardar Pargaon Tk., Pune 02119277660/289010
Mr. Jayantrao Deshmuk Chalisgaon, Jalgaon 02589222773
Mr. Millind Bhawsar Nyahaloda Tk., Dhulia Dist 0982210357
Mr. Ajit Appasaheb Pharate Miraj Tk., Sangli Dist
Mr. Kundlik Chaugule Kagal Tk., Kholapur 02312336516
Mr. Santosh Jambhale Bardapur, Bheed
Mr. Maruti Bhusaheb Jadhav Radhanagari, Kholapur 02321277077
Mr. Vasant Niphade Niphad, Nasik 02550222715
Mr. Vijay Newse Phaltan, Satara 02166220732
Mr.Vilas Vidhal Benke Junner, Pune 02132288303
Ms. Vidyatai Rudraksha Renapur, Latur
Prof. Narendra Raut Amaravati 09422190272
Mr. Ghanshyam Chopade Bapatwadi, Wardha 09372910189
Mr. Vinod Bomale Wayfal, Wardha 071522851106
Mr. Balasaheb Bhand Amaravati 09850393979
Mr. Suresh Zanwar Nagargaon, Shirur, Pune 09373001918
Mr. Prasanna Murthy Near Bangalore 09243138136
Mr. E.R. Sreeraman Kote Tk., Mysore Dist 08226263525
Mr. Kantilal Nagle Shirur, Pune 09890984066
Mr. Suresh Zanwar Shirur, Pune 09373001918
Mr. H.K. Ramesh Raju Hadaya, Mandya 09845268377
Mr. Balagnur Bijapur 08488221013
Mr. Lakshmikanth Deogavkar Ambajogai, Bheed 02446258571
Mr. M.P. Devraj Lakkavali, Tarikere 09448245043
Mr. Babasaheb Sarade Mandwa Tk., Warda 07152283603
Mr. Krishnappa Dasappa Gowda Bannur, Narasipura 09880587545
Mr. Krishnappa Murthy Devanahalli, Tumkur 09448708960
Mr. Prakash Sherif Kote, Mysore 09242471280
Mr. R. Narayana Narasipura, Mysore 08227276027
Mr. Satappa Mali Kagal, Kholapur 02325243291
Mr. Ramanna Komarahalli, Mandya

Naturalfarming Palekarway

What is Bija-Amrutha?

Bija-Amrutha is a deshi cow based product. For “Vidhai Nerthi” or seed treatment, for some seeds it is used in the form of a solution and for some others it is used in powdery form.

Bija-Amrutha contains, fresh desh cow dung, aged komiyam, small quantity of limestone or limepowder, handful of soil and adequate water.

The objective of Bija-Amrutha is to neutralise the the antigerminating alfa toxins that are found in the outer layer of the various seeds.

By following this method we avoid application of dangerous toxic substances like bevastine, agrimysin, etc which are normally used in the inorganic way of cultivation. These chemicals are very dangerous to the soil. These chemicals when used regularly disturbs and destroys the microbial activity of the soil

How do you prepare Bija-Amrutha?

Water 20 litres
Deshi Cow Komiyum 5 litres
Deshi Fresh Cow Dung 5 Kilos
Lime 50 grams
Soil from your farm land 100 grams

Mix them well in the evening and keep them in a cool and dry place overnight and the mixture is ready for use immediately there after.

What is Jiva-Amrutha?

Jivaarutha is a solution prepared by the farmer with the help of Komiyam, Fresh Deshi Cow Dung, Jaggery, flour of pulses dissolved in adequate water. Such a solution is permitted to achieve adequate level of fermentation over a period of four to five days. During this period the microbial activity in the solution multiplies several times. Application of this solution on a regular interval of 7 days increases the microbial activity in the soil and brings back the lost humus. The increased microbial activity and humus in the soil will mobilise and make available the different macro and micro nutrients in the soil and enable the plants to uptake them efficiently.

How do you prepare Jiva-Amrutha?

200 litres of water
10 Kilos of fresh Deshi Cow Dung
5 to 10 litres of aged Deshi Cow Komeyum (Cow Urine)
2 Kilograms of Jaggery
2 Kilograms of any pulses in flour form
100 grams of soil from your farm land
Mix them well in any vessel or tank except copper vessel. Cover the mouth with a cloth to permit release of methane. Stir the solution thrice a day. Keep it under shade in a cool and dry place. Continue the process for 4 days. Now Jiva-Amrutha is ready for use
Filter the solution if you have to make foliar application

How to use Jiva-Amrutha?
First method of application is for increasing the humus of the soil.
For this you need to apply 200 litres to 400 litres per acre of this solution when you water your field
For soil application you need not filter the prepared solution
You must apply this solution with 4 to 5 days of preparation of the solution
Is there any other use for Jiva-Amrutha?
Yes, you can apply it to all types of crops through the foliar way in addition to soil application.
For foliar application, you need to filter the prepared solution.
You need to dilute the prepared solution and spray the same during evening hours or during the first hour of sunrise
How do you dilute the Jiva-Amrutha for foliar application and when do you make foliar application on plants with life upto 120 days
Take 100 litres of water and add 5 litres of the filtered Jiva Amrutha and mix the same well and spray the same and drench the plant completely 30 days after sowing of the seeds;
30 days after this first foliar application, take 150 litres of water add 10 litres of Jiva-Amrutha and spray the same to drench the plants completely;
30 days after the second application, take 200 litres of water and add 20 litres of Jiva-Amrutham and spray the same to drench the plants completely;
At the time of seed formation ie. Palpikum paruvathil, take 200 lites of water and 5 litres of sour buttermilk and stir the solution well and drench the plants completely
How to dilute and make foliar application of Jiva-Amrutha on plants with life upto 180 days
In the first phase take 100 litres of water and add 5 litres of filtered Jiva-Amrutham and spray to the plants on the 30th day of sowing;
In the second phase take 150 litres of water and add 10 litres of filtered Jiva-Amrutham and spray on the plants 30 days after the first phase of spraying;
In the third phase take 200 litres of water and add 20 litres of Jiva-Amrutham and spray in such a way that you fully drench the plants, this should be done on the 30th day after 2nd phase;
On the fourth phase, take 200 litres of water and add 5 litres of sour buttermilk and stir the solution well and spray the same on the plants so as to drench the plants; the fourth phase should be done 30 days from 3rd phase;
On the fifth phase, take 200 litres of water and add Sapthadanya add ten litres of Komeyum and leave it for 24 hour in a cool dry plance and filter this solution and spray so as to drench the plants well. This fifth phase should be done 30 days from fourth phase.

How to use Jiva-Amrutha on plants with one year life cycle?
On the 30th day of planting take 100 litres of water and add 5 litres of filtered Jiva-Amrutham and spray it on the plants;
On the 60th day of planting take 150 litres of water and add 10 litres of filtered Jiva-Amrutham and spray the same on the plants;
On the 90th day of planting take 200 litres of water and add 20 litres of filtered Jiva-Amrutham and spray the same on the plants;
On the 120th day of planting take 200 litres of water and add 20 litres of Jiva-Amrutham and spray the same on the plants;
On the 150th day of planting take 200 litres of water and add 5 litres of Sour Butter Milk and spray the same on the plants;
On the 180th day of planting take 200 litres of water and add 20 litres of filtered Jiva-Amrutham and spray the same on the plants
How to use Jiva-Amrutha on plants with life cycle of one year and over continued
On the 210th day take 200 litres of water and add 2 litres of Matured Coconut water and stir the solution and spray the same on the plants;
On the 240th day take 200 litres of water and add 20 litres of filtered Jiva-Amrutham and spray the same on the plants;
On the 240th day take 200 litres of water add Saptha Dhanyakura Arka and spray the same on the plants.

What is Saptha Dhanyakura Arka?

Saptha Dhanyakura Arka is a formulation of protein rich cereals and white seaseme seeds. This is helps in increasing the yield of the plants very substantially when sprays on the plants at the time of flowering on fruit plants and at the time of formation of seeds on paddy, groundnut, etc. The application of this is on foliar basis.

How to prepare Saptha Dhanyakura Arka?
• 100 gram Blackgram
• 100 gram Greenmung
• 100 gram Cowpea
• 100 gram Horsegram
• 100 gram Bengalgram
• 100 gram Deshi Wheat or Ragi
• 100 gram White Sesame

Soak the Whitesesame separately over night and keep it separately.
On the 600 grams of dhanya add just sufficient water to soak it for some time and then tie it in a cloth to permit it to germinate sufficiently. Upon germination, make this into a paste. Grind the sesame into a paste and mix them both.
This quantity is sufficient to spray once for one acre. Ofcourse, you have to follow the method of recommended dilution to spray this paste. (Jiwamirutha spraying method).
Is there any other hormonal treatment in the Zero Budget Natural farming method?

Yes, another method to increase the yield in plants is to prepare a buttermilk of five litres, keep the same for one week. Then mix it in 200 litres of water and spray the same at the time of seed formation for paddy, groundnut, etc. This will help in increasing the yield significantly.

Have we to prepare Jiva-Amrutham every time or do we have a method to make them in bulk and store them?

Yes, you can prepare Ghana Jiva-Amrutham in bulk and dry the same and mix the same in water and use where ever you want. Such well dried Ghana Jiva-Amrutha has a shelf life of 180 days
To prepare Ghana Jiva-Amrutha take:
100 kilograms of Fresh Deshi Cow Dung
2 Kilograms of Jaggery
2 kilograms of flour of pulses
Add small quantity of aged Komiyum such that the mixture will become like a halwa. Mix this composition very well and dry them in shade. Once they are dry powder them finely with your hands and use them when needed

Proactive plant protection the zero budget way
The plant protection can be achieved on a proactive way by strengthening the plant, the zero budget way. To achieve this follow this practice:-
For all plants take 10 litres of Jiva-Amrutha and dilute the same in 200 liters of water and spray the same on plants starting 25 days of sowing, once every three weeks. This will help the plants stronger and stronger plants are more likely to resist the disease attack.
On all plants remember to spray the solution of Sour buttermilk mixed with water just before the stage of palpidikal or the stage of maturity. This will help in preventing disease setting on young fruits and ensure yeild is not lost to disease creators.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Naturalfarming Palekarway

What are the implements used to achieve the objectives of Zero Budget Natural Farming?

Obtain disease free seeds through seed cleaning, protection and fortification with the help of beejamirthum;

Regular application of Jeevamurthum to the cultivable land to increase microbiological activity;

Aachadana, ie. Mulching

Waaphaso, ie. Ensure areation through increased vapourisation of water and increase air circulation in the root zone of the plants, which in turn will promote healthy and disease resistant growth of the plant

Why this method better than Inorganic Chemical farming practiced world over?

Chemical farming destroys the humus in the soil;

Repeated application of inorganic chemicals kill the microbial activity in the soil
Due to increased use of various salts that are predominant in the inorganic fertilisers the plants tend to demand more water to keep them alive and fresh;

Inorganic chemical farming makes the farmer dependent on the fertiliser and pesticide suppliers for a successful crop which in turn actually takes away the economic independence of the farmer

Why is this method better than the “Organic” farming which is becoming a fad of late?

In organic farming, you are recommended to use earthworm fortified farm yard manure, this is expensive and worm used for this purpose commercially is not an earthworm expected by the farming community;

Further, the worm used is called “Esino Fatida”, is not an earth worm. This is a worm that works on wastes and can not survive in the soil on its own. It can survive only on “kuppai”. This does not penetrate or eat the soil and hence does no activity that an earthwork does;

Further, the wastes of this worm carries traces of heavy metals like cadmium, lead, mercury which are harmful to both plant and the people who consume the plant produce;
Further, Esino Fatida wates releases 76% of the carbon from the FYM and degrades the atmosphere.

Zero budget natural farming better than organic farming. why?

Other inputs for organic farming are bio based and needs the farmer to be dependent on a supplier. The cost of such supply is very expensive and makes the farmer loose his economic independence;

The standards of quality of the bio inputs are a matter of question and they are beyond the capabilities of a normal farmer to test and find out the reality;

This bio-technique organic farming could very well turn into a “bio-terrorism” over which farmer has no adequate control

Naturalfarming Palekarway

What are the fundamental objectives of Zero Budget Natural farming?

Through the technique of Zero Budget Farming we work to increase the humus in the cultivable soil and there by increase the microbial activity in the soil; Microbial activity in the soil enriches the soil very substantially

Through this technique we work to reduce pathogenic bacteria getting into the soil through improper use of excessive farm yard manure generated from nondeshi cows and other animals; by proper use of limited farm yard manure combines with cow urine, small quantity of jaggery, flour and soil through a simple process of fermentation;

The soil has sufficient macro and micro nutrients required for the growth of plants.

However, since some of them are not in soluble form ie. They are not ready for direct uptake by the roots of the plant.

The net work of increased microbial activity will ensure proper uptake of all nutrients available in the soil by the plants and will ensure a healthy and sturdy growth of plants.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Naturalfarming Palekarway

Why is this alternative method of Zero Budget naturalfarming being promoted ?

This method is being promoted to address the problem of soil fertility and conservation of water and other resources;

Through practicising this system we protect and enhance the micorbial value of the cultivable land by increasing the humus content in the land;

This in turn helps the plants to uptake the available macro and micro nutrients in the soil effectively. This helps in healthy growth of the plant;

Further, the inputs required for this method of cultivation need not be purchased from any dealers or manufacturers as they are mostly available at the farm site or village itself;

The cost of inputs going into this method of cultivation is very negligible/marginal as the inputs are available in most of the Indian farms;

This method is more closer to the traditional method farming and also delivers viable results at economical cost;

The water requirement per acre is drastically reduced when the package of practice of Zero budget natural farming namely the “four wheels of the chariot” are followed meticulously.

Naturalfarming Palekar way

What is Zero Budget Natural Farming or Spiritual farming?

Zero budget natural farming/spiritual farming is a method of farming being promoted by Subash Palekar of Maharashtra as an viable alternative to Inorganic chemical based farming and Biobased organic farming,

In this method of farming the input costs is next to nil. All resources required as inputs for farming is obtained mostly from the farm site/produce itself at the village level itself. There is no dependence on any large company or dealer of inputs for the “input” needs of the farm.

Naturalfarming/Spiritualfarming - Palekarway

Who is Shri Subash Palekar? What is his contribution of the Indian farmers?

Shri Subash Palekar is a graduate in Agriculture from the drought affected district of Vidharba in Maharashtra in India. He had practiced for about two decades inorganic cultivation methods that he had learnt as an agricultural student. After practicing the Government promoted, university supported inorganic cultivation, he felt a thorough dissatisfaction due to increasing costs and decreasing yields in his farm. On analyzing he found that the soil wealth had depleted very substantially in his farm due to extended and indiscriminate use of fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, etc. Subsequently, he researched on the subject and came to the conclusion that the cause for all the trouble was the inorganic method of cultivation. He worked on a solution for this problem over six years and arrived at an acceptable and successful method of cultivation which he called “Zero budget Natural Farming”.

His contribution to the Indian farmer is the instilling faith in the traditional methods of cultivation and providing them with techniques and implements to successfully practice his system of cultivation.