Business Opportunities in Agriculture: 150 Field Interviews (Book)

Article About Organic Farming - Part 4


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Developing organic farm

As organic management is an integrated approach, manipulation and adoption of one or few steps may not yield significant results. For optimization of productivity all the essential components need to be developed in a systematic manner. These steps include: (i) Habitat development, (ii) on-farm facilities for input production (iii) cropping sequence and combination planning, (iv) 3-4 year rotation plan and (vi) growing of crops suiting to the region, soil and climate.

Development of farm facilities and habitat

Infrastructure – Reserve 3-5% of farm space for utilities, such as space for cattle, vermin compost bed, compost tank, Vermi wash/ compost tea unit etc. 5-7 trees should be planted only on this space, as all utility infrastructure need shade. Irrigation well, water pumping infrastructure etc can also be in this utility area. Dig some percolation tanks (7x3x3mt or of any other size depending upon the rainfall and run-off pattern) for rain water conservation (1 pit per ha) at appropriate places depending upon slope and water flow. If possible develop a farm pond of preferably 20x10 mt size. Keep few 200 lit tanks (1 per acre) for liquid manure preparation and few containers for botanicals. For a 5 acre farm, develop 1-2 vermicompost beds, 1 NADEP tank, 2 biodynamic compost beds, 2-3 compost tea/ vermiwash units, 5 liquid manure tanks, five cowpat pits and one underground cattle-urine collection tank. Efforts should also be made to produce sufficient quantities of BD-500 (cow horn manure) and BD-501 (cow horn silica). 10-12 horn products are sufficient for 5 acre farm. Use of biodynamic compost prepared with the use of BD-502-507 has also been found to be very effective. Habitat and biodiversity- Management of an appropriate habitat for sustenance of different life forms is an essential component of organic farming. This can be achieved by ensuring crop diversity and by maintaining a wide variety of trees and bushes as per climatic suitability. These trees and bushes will not only ensure the nutrients from air and deep soil layers to surface layer but also attract the birds and predators, friendly insects and also provide the food and shelter. More specifically, if we classify areas into wet and dry farms, then on the wet farms there should be five to six neem trees, one to two wood apples, one to two star fruit, eight to ten guava or sour soap, three to four drumstick, one to two fig and 10–15 bushes of mulberry, star gooseberry, curry leaf etc, and on the dry farms there must be at least five to six neem, one to two bael fruit, eight to ten ber or custard apple, one to two aonla , one to two drumstick and 10–15 bushes of sasaka , nirgundi (Vitex negundo), Cassia auriculata, C. tora, etc. In hilly areas, Alnus nepalensis is considered to be a wonder tree as it fixes good amount of nitrogen. It is being promoted in a cropping system mode particularly in northeastern India. Bushes of Prunus, oak (Quercus glauca), Pinus species along the farm boundary and yarrow (Achillea millifolium), buck wheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), lupin (Lupinus sativus), Himalayan stinging nettle (Urtica parviflora), marigold, etc., in between the plots invite a lot of predators and also attract a large number of pests. Fruit orchards also need to maintain adequate diversity with at least 3-5 types of fruit plants and few non-fruit trees (as listed above). Major and minor plots should be separated by bunds about 1.5m wide and should be planted with Glyricidia, perennial Sesbania (jayanti), Leucaena leucocephala, cassia siamea, etc. The internal hedgerow should consist of perennial pigeon pea, Crotalaria , seasonal Sesbania, etc. Lops from these trees will provide enough quantity of biologically fixed nitrogen. In between Glyricidia/Sesbania rows insert few plants of pesticidal value such as Adathoda vesica, Vitax nigundo, Calotropis, Datura alba, Ipomea (Besharam) etc. Surrounding the farm or garden, there should be hedgerows or a live fence of coppiced or pollarded, multipurpose, deep-rooted trees and shrubs and medicinal herbs such as Adathoda vasica, Vitex negundo, Jatropha curcas, etc. Ecological diversity is an essential component of any successful organic farming system. Trees on utility space can be allowed to grow fully. Trees and bushes on farm bunds should be placed randomly at sufficient distance and pruned at repeated intervals. Glyricidia plants should be planted at close spacing on all major bunds and all around the farm. They will act not only as biological fence but also provide biologically fixed nitrogen to soil.

A 400 mt long Glyricidia strip can provide 22.5 kg N/ha per year from the year 3 and up to 77 Kg N/ha from year 7 under rainfed conditions. This can be 75-100% higher under irrigated conditions. Three to four harvests can be made under irrigated conditions and two harvests under unirrigated conditions. Never allow them to grow above 5.5 ft to avoid shading effect. Lopping is used as green leaf manure. Simply harvest them and incorporate in soil before sowing or use as mulch.

Conversion of soil to organic Banning of chemicals- It is widely known fact that some biological processes of plants involved in acquiring nutrients such as nitrogen e.g. N2 fixation are generally inhibited by adding Nitrogen fertilizer. Soil scientists generally caution against non-judicious fertilizer use and encourage use of organic compost otherwise it may lead to deficiency of micronutrients. Therefore in organic farming systems there is no place for chemicals.

The article will continue tomorrow.

Our Product Details with regard to Organic Farming:

We are producing the following two products.

Panchagavya – an organic fertilizer

Agnihastra – an organic pesticides / insecticides / fungicides.

The details about this product and the certificates can be viewed in our website Welcome to Buy Panchagavya | Organic Fertilizer Online

Please contact us for any requirement of this product.

V Sudhindranath
LTA Trading Private Limited
No.51/7/1, Chitrakoot, Ratna Avenue,
Richmond Road,
Bangalore 560 025.
Ph: 080 41138389
Mobile: +91 99450 66699

Business Opportunities in Agriculture: 150 Field Interviews (Book)