Article about Organic Farming - Part 7

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Some important formulations for soil enrichment

Preparation of liquid manures

Many variants of liquid manures are being used by farmers of different states.
Few important and widely used formulations are given below: Sanjivak – Mix 100 kg cow dung, 100 lit cow urine and 500 gm jaggary in 300 litof water in a 500-lit closed drum. Ferment for 10 days. Dilute with 20 times water and sprinkle in one acre either as soil spray or along with irrigation water.

Jivamrut – Mix cow dung 10 kg, cow urine 10 lit, Jaggary 2 kg, any pulse grain flour 2 kg and Live forest soil 1 kg in 200 lit water. Ferment for 5 to 7 days. Stir the solution regularly three times a day. Use in one acre with irrigation water.

Amritpani - Mix 10 kg cow dung with 500 gm honey and mix thoroughly to form a creamy paste. Add 250 gm of cow desi ghee and mix at high speed. Dilute with 200 lit water. Sprinkle this suspension in one acre over soil or with irrigation water. After 30 days apply second dose in between the row of plants or through irrigation water.

Panchgavya – Mix fresh cow dung 5 kg, cow urine 3 lit, cow milk 2 lit, curd 2 lit, cow butter oil 1 kg and ferment for 7 days with twice stirring per day. Dilute 3 lit of Panchgavya in 100 lit water and spray over soil. 20 lit panchgavya is needed per acre for soil application along with irrigation water.

Enriched Panchgavya (or Dashagavya) – Ingredients - cow dung 5 kg, cow urine 3 lit, cow milk 2 lit, curd 2 lit, cow deshi ghee 1 kg, sugarcane juice 3 lit, tender coconut water 3 lit, banana paste of 12 fruits and toddy or grape juice 2 lit. Mix cow dung and ghee in a container and ferment for 3 days with intermittent stirring. Add rest of the ingredients on the fourth day and ferment for 15 days with stirring twice daily. The formulation will be ready in 18 days. Sugarcane juice can be replaced wit 500 g jaggery in 3 lits water. In case of non-availability of toddy or grape juice 100g yeast powder mixed with 100 g jaggery and 2 lit of warm water can also be used. For foliar spray 3-4 lit panchgavya is diluted with 100lit water. For soil application 50 lit panchagavya is sufficient for one ha. It can also be used for seed treatment.

Management of Temperature

Temperature in summer season is quite high and need to be managed. It can be achieved by keeping soil covered with biological mulch. Surface mulch has been reported to conserve soil moisture and improve water use efficiency. In the long term experiment at ICRISAT, it has been reported that mulch applied in this manner on the hottest day of summer (April 30) in 2002 the soil temperature at 5 and 10 cm depth in the mulch applied plots was 6.5 to 7.3o C lower than in control plot (Rupela et al 2005). Temperature control can also be achieved by planting different types of trees like neem, amla, tamarind, gular, zizipus bushes, gliricidia on bunds.

Protection to all life forms

Practice of maintaining enough biomass and mulching with crop and weed residue will ensure the protection to all life forms in soil. Another important practice of banning the chemical fertilizers and pesticides in farming definitely helps in protecting the life forms in soil. For the survivability of different life forms the field must have dry organic matter as a food for small insects and small animals in soil, semi decomposed organic matter as food for earthworms and fully decomposed organic matter for micro organisms in the soil at all times. These insects, small animals, earthworms and microorganisms are the tireless natural employees of the soil, wherein small animals and insects feed on the larvae of pests and thus controlling the pest ,earthworms makes the soil porous thus creating the more aerobic conditions in soil and also decompose the half digested organic residue and release locked nutrients into soil. Soil rich in organic carbon contain ample quantity of beneficial micro flora which plays an important role in recycling of nutrients and nitrogen fixation, phosphate solubilization and photosynthesis activity, cellulolytic activity. Therefore protection to all life forms in soil should be ensured at all time.

Pest management

As in organic farming management use of synthetic chemicals are prohibited, the pest management is done by: (i) cultural or agronomic (ii) mechanical (iii) biological or by (iv) organically acceptable botanical extract or some chemicals such as copper sulphate and soft soap etc.

Cultural alternative - Use of disease free seed or stock and resistant varieties are best preventive practice in organic pest management. Maintenance of biodiversity, effective crop rotation, multiple cropping, habitat manipulation and use of trap crops are also effective practices which can keep the population of pests below economical threshold limit (ETL).

Mechanical alternative - Removal of affected plants and plant parts, collection & destruction of egg masses and larvae, installation of bird perches, light traps, sticky colored plates and pheromone traps are most effective mechanical methods of pest control.

Biological alternative - Use of pest predators and pathogens has also proved to be effective method of keeping pest problem below ETL. Inundative release of Trichogramma sp. @ 40,000 to 50,000 eggs per hectare, Chelonus blackburni @15,000 to 20, 000 per hectare, Apanteles sp.@15,000 to 20,000 per ha and Chrysoperla sp.@ 5,000 per ha., after 15 days & others parasites & predators after 30 days of sowing, can also effectively control pest problem in organic farming .

Use of Biopesticides - Trichoderma viride or T. harazianum or Pseudomonas fluorescence formulation @ 4gm/kg seed either alone or in combination, manage most of the seed borne & soil borne diseases. There are other formulations viz. Beauvaria bassiana, Metarizium anisopliae, Numeria rileyi, Verticillium sp, which are available in the market and can manage their specific host pest. Bacillus thurengensis stenebrionis and B.thurengensis sandigo are effective against coleopterans as well as some other insect species. Bt. has been used in the management of diamond back moth on crucifers and vegetables @ 0.5-1.0 kg. formulation per ha.

Viral biopesticides of baculovirus group viz. granulosis viruses (GV) and nuclear polyhedrosis viruses provided a great scope in plant protection field. Spray of nuclear polyhedrosis viruses (NPV) of Helicoverpa armigera (H) or Spodoptera litura (S) @ 250 larval equivalents are very effective tools to manage the Helicoverpa sp. or Spodoptera sp. respectively.

Botanical pesticides
Many plants are known to have pesticidal properties and the extract of such plants or its refined forms can be used in the management of pests. Among various plants identified for the purpose, neem has been found to be most effective.

The article will continue tomorrow.

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Panchagavya – an organic fertilizer

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V Sudhindranath
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LTA Trading Private Limited
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Richmond Road,
Bangalore 560 025.
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