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.