Agro tech

ORGANIC FARMING TECHNIQUES:

 Earthworms wriggling on top of vermicompost Tray

Organic farming is not only beneficial for the environment; it also helps improve health of people.
Vermicomposting is an ideal way of not only adding nutrients, but create own natural fertiliser
Worms are naturally occurring workers in the soil and especially in rich soils.
These convert rotting vegetation and waste in such a way to create compost as natural end organic matter.
While creating fresh organic compost, they also help to decrease waste in the farms.



As the name indicates, vermiculture means artificial cultivation of worms and vermicopost is the excreta of the earthworm which is rich in humus

The conversion of garbage by earthworms into compost and the multiplication of earthworms is a simple process and easily to manage.
Firstly a 5’ to 20’ long shed made of bamboo, wire and straw is erected .It should be high enough to permit a human to enter for watering. Now litters of dried grass 4” thick are spread over it.


Thereafter a layer of 6” of well rotten FYM is placed over it. These layers need thorough watering and then kept for 48 hours. Now some 10,000 worms (100 worms per sq ft) are put into it. About 8 “ thick layer of garbage, cow dung, farm waste or city waste devoid of glass pieces , metals and plastics are provided watering above it and cover with gunny cloth and watering is done every day for about a month.


In summer watering needs to be done twice a day. After 30 days the garbage is turned upside down and watered for another 30 days. After that a sheet of plastic is spread on the ground and the decomposed garbage is transferred onto it. It is kept open on sunny days for about 5to 6 hours without watering .The earthworms being sensitive to heat and light conditions will settle inside for protection.


Now the upper layer is removed. This is vermicompost. One may need to use a sieve to separate the earthworms from the compost. It is observed that 40% of the garbage that are fed to the earthworms converted to compost and the population of the earthworm is doubled.


If required another shed may be erected and thus repeat the process for further requirement of compost. In an area of 100 sq feet where the earthworms are numbering 1000 are fed 300 kg FYM, 350 kg of garbage, there will be a recovery of atleast 400 kg compost and nearly 25 to 30 thousand earthworms.

The vermicompost is rich N, P, K and Calcium and other nutrients besides containing valuable vitamins, enzymes and hormones like gibberlins.

It can be used in the following doses:

For horticulture crops 100 to 200 grams per tree
For forest trees: 100 to 200 grams per tree
For raising crops: 2 tonnes per hectare
For kitchen garden and pots 50 grams per pot

 

TRICHODERMA & BIOLOGICAL CONTROL:

Trichoderma spp. are fungi present in substantial numbers in most agricultural soils and in other environments such as decaying wood. Among their other activities, they grow tropically toward hyphae of other fungi, and degrade cell walls of the target fungi.  The process limits growth and activity of plant pathogenic fungi. The antifungal abilities of these beneficial microbes have been well known and there have been extensive efforts to use them for plant disease control since then.


Trichoderma spp., are free-living fungi that are common in soil and root ecosystems. They are highly interactive in root, soil and foliar environments.


They produce or release a variety of compounds that induce localized or systemic resistance responses in plants and Trichoderma strains have long been recognized as biological agents, for the control of plant disease and for their ability to increase root growth and development, crop productivity, resistance to abiotic stresses, and uptake and use of nutrients


In addition to colonizing roots, Trichoderma spp. attack, parasitize and otherwise gain nutrition from other fungi. Since Trichoderma spp. grow and proliferate best when there are abundant healthy roots, they have evolved numerous mechanisms for both attack of other fungi and for enhancing plant and root growth. Several new general methods have been evolved for both biocontrol and for causing enhancement of plant growth.

 

PSEUDOMONAS & BIOLOGICAL CONTROL:

Pseudomonas and Biological Control has emerged since mid 1980s and certain members of the Pseudomonas genus have been applied to cereal seeds or applied directly to soils as a way of preventing the growth or establishment of crop pathogens.


The bacteria induces systemic resistance in the host plant, so it can better resist attack by a true pathogen; the bacteria might out compete other (pathogenic) e microbes   by giving a competitive advantage at scavenging for iron;

the bacteria might produce compounds antagonistic to other soil microbes. Notable Pseudomonas species with biocontrol properties include P. chloroaphis and P. aurantiaca 

 

CATTLE:

Cattle in the farm are helpful in both the farm operations as well as the production of Farm Yard Manure and Compost. The location of compost pit should be nearer to the cattle shed. All the waste from the cattle shed is utilized for different purposes.

 

The Dung is directly used to make compost. The cattle urine is used for making both liquid manure as well as liquid spray for control of insects. The liquid manure is utilised in the farms.

 

EARTHWORMS:

Earthworms are friends of farmers. In different soils their numbers varies from 1 to 8 lakh per hectare. Their numbers can be increased by making the soil rich in organic carbon and by adoption of minimum tillage practices. They make the soil porous in addition to make it fertile by passing it through their digestive system.

 

FISHMEAL:

Fish meal is a great natural fertilizer, high in phosphorous and high in organic nitrogen. Fish meal is quick acting, offering a sustained supply of nutrients. Don't scatter fish meal, because of the strong odor; plug it in a series of holes about ten inches deep that can then be covered with about four inches of soil. Fish meal is ideally utilized for preparing compost 

 

AZOTOBACTER and AZOSPIRILLUM:

Many genera and species of Nitrogen fixing bacteria have been isolated from the rhizosphere of various cereals. They mainly belong to Azotobacter and Azospirillum genera.


These are free living bacteria and fix atmospheric Nitrogen in cereal crops without any symbiosis. Azotobacter sp also has the ability to produce antifungal compounds against many plant pathogens. They increase the germination and vigour in young plants leading to an improved stand in crops. There is evidence that Azotobacter biologically controls various nematode diseases of plants.

 

RHIZOBIUM:

Symbiotic Nitrogen fixation by Rhizobium in legumes contributes substantially to total biological Nitrogen fixation. Rhizobium inoculation is a well know agronomic practice to ensure adequate nitrogen nutrition of legume in lieu of N-fertiliser in inorganic form.

 

AZOLLA:

Azolla is a floating fresh water fern. There are several species of Azolla. It grows in ditches and stagnant water. This fern usually forms a green mat over water. Azolla is readily decomposed to ammonia which is available to cereals like Rice plants. It has been observed that the nitrogen content of Rice receiving Azolla mexicana is noticeable   when compared to the nitrogen content of control Rice plants.

 

FRIENDLY INSECTS:

The "friendly insects" include ladybeetles, bees, ground beetles, hoverflies, and parasitic wasps. These insects especially bees and wasps can be attracted to the farms by growing a wide   variety of ornamental flowering plants. The non usage of chemicals and harmful sprays encourages their population and they provide the natural control for various harmful insects like Aphids and Mites which actually encourage the emergence of other fungus diseases of crop plants. Thus these friendly insects not only help pollination, they also provide indirect control of various pests and diseases of crop plants. 

 

INTEGRATED PEST & DISEASE MANAGEMENT:

Vanpro’s Organic farming systems aim at controlling the insects to such a threshold level that the economic loss is averted rather than aiming at destroying them completely. The cultural practices are modified by measures like use of tolerant varieties, mixed inter cropping, balanced nutrients and management of parasites, insects and predaceous birds, frogs and use of techniques like light traps, sticky traps, antifeedants and other innovative eco friendly practices in controlling insects and pest and at the same time they are efficient in preserving the biodiversity and keeping the environment free from pollution. 

 

WEED CONTROL & MULCHING:

Attempts are made to restrict growth of weeds and not their total eradication. Weeds have extensive root systems and they compete with crops for water and nutrients. Weeds taken out from the field are left out to form mulch. This is used for vermicomposting.  Green and soft plants start decomposing in a short time and add plant nutrients as well as nourish soil biotic life and conserve soil and water. Weeds therefore are a blessing.

 

NEEMCAKE:

Neem cake organic manure protects plant roots from nematodes, soil grubs and white ants. It also acts as a natural fertilizer with pesticidal properties. Neem cake is widely used to fertilize paddy, cotton and sugarcane and several other crops. Usage of neem cake has shown an increase in the dry matter in various crops as well as other plant species and forest trees.

Neem seed cake also reduces alkalinity in soil, as it produces organic acids on decomposition. Being totally natural, it is compatible with soil microbes, improves the rhizosphere, microflora and hence ensures fertility of the soil. Neem Cake improves the organic matter content of the soil, helping improvement in soil texture, water holding capacity, soil aeration for better root development.


Neem cake is effective in the management of insects and pests. The use of Neem cake on the soil has been reported to have seven types of activities (a) antifeedant (b) attractant (c) repellent (d) insecticide  (e)nematicide (f) growth disruptor and (g) antimicrobial.

 

NEEM OIL:

Neem oil is pressed out of the seeds obtained from neem trees. In addition to its use as an organic insecticide spray, neem oil has been used medicinally and in the cosmetics industry. Neem oil works as an organic insecticide as follows: "It disrupts insects' hormonal balance so they die before they molt to the next life stage.