Commercial vegetable project in a toughest and challenging environment


Brief history of  project site
Soil type – Red lateritic / sandy gravel
Bed rock – Archean Gneiss
Underground water level – 710 feet
Elevation – 780 MSL
Temperature  range- 15 - 37 degree Celsius with diurnal variation of 12-14 degree celsius
Humidity – 60- 85%
Wind speed – 12 kms/ hour
Climate – semi dry with annual average temperature of 650 mm…30 year cycle average -550 mm and 100 year cycle – 750 mm
Major portion of rainfall- south west monsoon concentrated in few months June, July ,August and small part in October and November and occasionally summer showers in march and April
Distribution of rainfall is erratic …The number of rainy days are more but effective rainfall were noticed in very few days
Soil PH – 5.5
Available nutrients – poor in Nitrogen, Phosphorus and potassium and manganese content is significantly more
Underground water PH is 6.9 that is good otherwise
Ground water recharge is somewhat better than other site in semi dry climate
Sub soil hard layer is very tough to break open
Land terrain – undulated and gravels with iron cankers …
Above challenges presented by environment to test our capabilities
But very toughest challenges are man made …
When I advocated Laser leveling , some of the members advised ordinary land leveling
The drip company guy did not lay drip system as per drawing – When I asked for 5 feet lateral length and 2 feet  emitter space , the guy installed system with drip lateral pipe at the spacing of 4 feet , and emitter spacing of 1.5 feet with 2.85 LPH discharges capacity …The implication here is the drip guy concerned only with marketing an d selling of his material but he never heeded to our requirement …Because the lateral and emitter ‘s cost is the major share of total cost of drip system almost 55 to 60 % …
Further the lateral pipe does not seem to be quality material …ie, second hand material that is collected back from those farmers who either run the system for few months and left the drip unused for many months or years …such plastics are melted and remade into new lateral pipe that breaks easily or could not withstand adverse weather condition prevailing in the field .
In our case the lateral twisted and bent and broke so easily utterly failing most of the emitters ,escalating our tensions .Because emitters failure will cause mortality of plants that reduce plant population and finally yield and quality of the produce will be less…
In semi dry condition , the main pipe and sub main pipes need to be fixed in tune with ground water potential and rate of flow/ discharge …and the dia of the sub main pipe must progressively get reduced so as to build pressure and ensure uniform emitters discharge …But the drip guy did a blunder mistake knowingly that most of the farmers are not aware of the implications involved in drip system and its functioning …
Under this condition we faced very toughest challenges in getting our project initiated successfully  atleast initially when we did the planting …
Precautions when doing planting in semi dry area
1.Mulching sheet 25 to 30 micron thickness
2.We originally planned paired row planting …But the sandy lateritic soil did not allow water to spread sideward across the surface , instead percolated down …so under reduced dia of wetting around emitters , we happened to change our original plan and kept the planting at the centre where the emitters discharge water …
Naturally the soil needs t be fully wet in the beginning of the planting process…but dripper could not help wetting the soil completely …so we used hose pipe to drench soil fully atleast where the holes fall …
3.Intercropping – Main crop French beans ( duration 100-120 days) intercropped with Annual drumstick PKM1 that is tolerant to moderate drought  and short duration crops like cucumber …
4.wherever we could not use mulching sheet the banana trash will be used to mulch the field
5.Since soil condition and terrain is posing unformidable challenges , we immediately shifted planting from ridge to furrow …First flood irrigation assisted us to take up planting and subsequent irrigation is done through drip systems
6.Weedicide spraying could not be done because poor wetting of the soil …
7.Yet we hope we succeed amid toughest challenges , both environmental and man made…
8.So we sandwich both conventional and organic cultivation methods with contingency to meet any unforeseen circumstances and challenges


Dear Dr Ramu Sir,

All the best for your this, valuable new project. We wish best results and waiting for your periodical narrations.

On the intrest of our farmers, can I request you to come up with the drip company and its dealers particulars, so that we all can be with good watch.

I appreciate your,column no 8, where you mentioned " sandwitch both conventional and Organic methods ". I too follow the same.

Best wishes for your project,    g.p.rao,  farmer


Dear Dr Ramu Sir,

All the best for your this, valuable new project. We wish best results and waiting for your periodical narrations.

On the intrest of our farmers, can I request you to come up with the drip company and its dealers particulars, so that we all can be with good watch.

I appreciate your,column no 8, where you mentioned " sandwitch both conventional and Organic methods ". I too follow the same.

Best wishes for your project,    g.p.rao,  far

Dear sir
Thank you very much for your encouragement …He is one of the main dealer there…Since this is public forum we need to be careful in disclosing the name …I will tell you personally sir …



Dear Dr Ramu sir,

you are right sir. understood. It may not be correct to disclose.

Best wishes to you all ways.  g.p.rao,    farmer,


In semi arid climate , the sustainable farming method with 60:40 ratio of organic and chemicals use , the vegetable performance is great…The high value crop Capsicum and also brinjal registered nice growth so far…what we see here is 35 days old vegetables after transplanting in the main field


Dear Dr Ramu sir,

Good work sir.

Pl inform the spacing between rows and plants , in brinjal and Capsicum. Is staking is required and if so what is the method, in detail pl explain.

Pl inform the products details like variety name, company etc for both.

with best wishes,    g.p.rao,    farmer


Dearest Dr.G.P.Rao sir
Actually we have spaced both brinjal ( EBH ) and capsicum ( Indra green ) at 45 cm apart plant to plant and 90 cms apart row to row …
The plant population density should be 4 per sq m …but we happened to have just 2 per sq m at the above spacing … I wanted to provide emitter discharge @ 4 LPH but the drip company guy did not provide for my specification and finally installed drip system @ 2.85 LPH with emitters spacing of 0.45 M .
As you know the red lateritic soil has poor horizontal wetting and all the water discharged through emitters just goes deep down instead of sideward spread …So I avoided double row ( paired row planting ) and hence half the original plant density .
However we invite another guy from different drip company to provide for additional lateral line alongside existing lateral drip line that measures 12.00 mm dia with 0.45 emitter spacing …
So by providing parallel lateral line I am sure I can go for paired row planting with plant density of 4 / sq m …and per acre plant population will be around 16,000 each allowed to produce 4 branches altogether producing 64,000 vines . An individual vine is expected to produce on an average 10 fruits each weighing 200 grams .so 64,000 vines will produce 128 MT in 10 months …I give cushion of 20 % for agriculture risk and expect realizable yield of around 102 MT…Hope this yield will fetch an income of around Rs.20 lac @ Rs.20 per kg farm gate price …Out of 20 lac I have planned to spend 10% on inputs like Organic amendments, mulching , WSF, Hormone, Plant protection measures ,staking , Micronutrients , pruning and training etc…
In sum total I am going to blend the best technologies from  oriental as well as western world
Also I decided to initiate nursery just 45 days before onset of monsoon and possibly expecting to do planting one week before rain . The drip can sustain early establishment of seedlings till onset of monsoon rain and seedlings may escape the wrath of disease like damping off , color rot and root rot that kill the young seedlings in heavy down pour …However I planned protective spray to face any eventuality and safely have reserve for gap filling to compensate for mortality …
The idea is South west monsoon and North east monsoon will keep the soil wet for 5 months irrespective of the quantity and for another 5 months ,say till April the drip will take care of water requirement…
The soil and prevailing climate confessed what trouble I may expect and experience in these semi arid location …
So I am mentally equipped to what necessary care I need to take in the ensuing planting season say kharif …So I have plan for soil amendments that make good of deficiency in soil as regarding nutrients and moisture and nutrients retaining capacity …
Also I planned for “PLANT MICRO INJECTION” along with regular spray …The micro injection is to feed the crop with plant hormone and systemic pesticide …
My concept is 60% organic and 40% chemicals …I trust I can harvest yield on par with Hydroponics that involves huge cost on infrastructure and nutrients …
Probably I am expecting your good self to celebrate the success soon …
Stay blessed


spellbound with your explanation.
The knowledge and the confidence you have on the agriculture practice will definitely reap good benefits.
Thanks for sharing.
r seshaadri


Dear Dr Ramu sir,

great sir. I assure you that shortly i will follow your advise. Please explain what is EBH brinjal.

with best wishes to you,  g.p.rao,  farmer


Dearest Dr.G.P.Rao sir

The EBH is nothing but brinjal variety called MEBH 11 produced and sold by Mahyco seeds company …This particular variety produced 150 MT of brinjal fruits in over 1.25 acres and the farmer who cultivated this brinjal earned huge income of Rs.7.5 lac in 11 months period and purchased a Scorpio car with brinjal money …This brinjal variety keeps producing in precision farming …

In karnataka people like green long brinjal because it is most used in the preparation of special food " VANGEBATH " .but EBH is used in sambar and bathanakai palya …And bangalore SAFAL market bought  EBH brinjal  in huge quantity …

Also unlike green long brinjal the EBH brinjal has more Vitamin A & B and Calcium mineral and also enhance Libido in men folk


Dear G.P.Rao sir

I am copying here the the article appeared in Hindu English daily about EBH brinjal cultivated in precision farming

THE HINDU Dated January 31, 2008
Continuing success of precision farming in Tamil Nadu

A farmer has earned more than 5 lakhs from 120 cents in 11 months

New innovations and technologies for increasing crop yield have mostly been the fort of agricultural scientists and researchers.

Precision Farming Technology is one such innovationthat has been introduced for the first time in the country by scientists from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore.

Precision farming promises to increase the yield of crops, and practically any crop variety can be cultivated under this system.

Very popular

Presently this project is meeting with large success in many districts of Tamil Nadu. Those farmers, already under this project, have surrendered their success in terms of yield and marketing to this technology.

Unlike certain other technologies which teach or guide the farmer to grow his cropsbut leave himto market hisown produce, precision technology scientists stay with the farmers right from sowing the seeds to marketing the produce.

Marketing made easy

The research team identifies prospective buyers in and around the area andbinds the farmer and the buyer in a sort of contract agreement, and oversees the entire operation.

Mr. P.M. Chinnasamy is one such precision farmer from Somenahalli village who has earned more thanRs. 5 lakh from his brinjal crop grown in 120 cents in about 11 months.

“A progressive farmer can get only 60 tonnes per hectare whereas Mr. Chinnasamy has harvested about 170 tonnes in 120 cents, which is quite a feat.

“It is 467 per cent higher than the conventional system of cultivation,” said Dr. Vadivel, Director of Extension Education, TNAU. Giving details he said, the seeds were sown in protrays raised under shade net and transplanted on the 35th day after sowing.

Field preparation

The field was prepared by using chisel plough first, followed by disc and cultivatorsfour times. Before last ploughing, a basal dose of 700 kg of super phosphate, 25 tonnes offarmyard manure along with Azospirillum and Phosphobacteria each at 2 kg per hectare was applied.

Raised beds of 60 cm width were formed and the seedlings planted on the centre of the raised beds at a spacing of 45 cm.

Wastage avoided

Under the conventional system 23,000 plants are required for planting.But, forprecision farming system, only 14,500 plants are required.

Fertilizers were given only through fertigation, which avoids wastage through flood irrigation.

All water soluble fertilizers were applied based on the time and the stage of the crop.

The plant growth was found to be good,and thiscontinued till the last harvest. Due to the continuous growth and flowering, harvesting was done once in two days. The flowering is mainly due to continuous supply of fertigation and constant absorption of nutrients.

Extended crop life

Brinjal is a six month crop but under precision farming the duration can be extended up to one year. It is an advantage over the traditional system since the extension of harvest increases the productivity, according to Dr. I. Muthuvel, Assistant Professor, Horticulture of the University.

The main pests were fruit borer that was controlled effectively spraying monocrotophos or chloripyriphos at 2 ml per litre of water, and in later stages Indoxacarb at 0.5 ml per litre of water, according to Dr. Muthuvel.

Attractive fruits

Diseases such as blight and fruit rot were controlled by spraying mancozeb at 2 ml per litre of water. The fruits are quite attractive and the shelf life is more compared to that grown under conventional system. Mr. Chinnasamy has so far harvested 170 tonnes and has sold them for Rs. 5 -15 a kg.

The picture first one represent sambar variety EBH brinjal  and picture third one represent VANGEBATH and Bathanekai palya variety green long …

Why I am posting this is to let you know the feat of successful commercial cultivation of vegetable and make Dr.G.p.Rao the exporter of Brinjal Fresh soon …


40 days old brinjal and capsicum …

Performing well under toughest environment …


Great Progress and thanks for sharing the update.

What is the one in the last pic? Mixing supplements in the water being used for irrigation?


It is nothing but water soluble fertilizers …WSF + Dispersing agent fed to vegetable via ventury


Dear Dr Ramu sir,

Good work/progress done by you and well narrated. We are satisfied and under good motivation. We, the farmers should utilise your services, suggestions and getting the results fruitfully.

As stated by you, i will be, one of your precision farmer and try my best to get your appreciations.

with best wishes,    g.p.rao,  farmer


Dear Rao sir…

Thank you for your honor …It is nothing sir…Everybody can do wonder …Technology development is nothing but unfolding the mystery of plant life …It is exactly the study of cause and effect relationship …The Israeli made wonder in Agriculture by completely understanding the plant physiology , Genetics and molecular biology …

We are almost backward in agriculture when the countries like Israel, Thaiwan , China and Japan have been doing innovations and miracle in agriculture industry …

The scientists have almost decoded all the genetic information of the plants .Hence future will be the revolution in agriculture field that people need not eat tablets or get injections for any ailments and diseases …Instead agriculture scientist in this world will have plant made to produce drugs and medicines in plant parts that can be directly consumed…

As for my knowledge is concerned about future trend in agriculture industry , farmers themselves will be earning good profit by cultivating and selling unique agriculture produce of health and medicinal importance …

But some powerful MNC companies that are involved in pharmacheutical drug manufacture kept everything secret …that is some unique plants growing in the equator regions of Amazon forest in south America and even some parts of India are having extraordinary medicinal principle that can cure almost all the diseases in human being …And these MNC companies are making synthetic version of same chemicals naturally produced in plant systems …

So I think the farming will soon assume new dimension and bring the farmers a divine place …

So when the trend is going like that , producing 100 MT brinjal in an acre land is no more a marvelous Job …

That is why I requested your good self to organize a consortium where all the relevant knowledge could be pooled together and made to work in the best interest of farming community …

1.To convert the semi dry land into the most productive land by appropriately integrating knowledge and resources .So the farmers eking out in dry area will not succumb to the vagaries and risk of Monsoon
2.Finding ways to increase the yield and quality of farm produce and increase the farm income in an unit area …ie  increase yield two times and farm income three times
3.Segregating the land and advocating  only those suitable crops that comes up well in that specific categories of land…

What I have shown here through pictures are oldest technology sir …


Human intelligence can even convert desert into oasis by using every drop of water, either ground water or rainwater …Survival of the fittest and struggle for existence …Success behind every agriculture project is understanding the language of the nature and orienting our lives and activities in tune with nature . blaming nature and committing  suicide is unfortunate and unwarranted and purely man made cause …


In a semi arid region , a comprehensive and intelligent planning will reward us with good harvest


Great inspirational work. Motivates every body.
r seshaadri.


Thank you for your compliments …Today we have harvested 12 kgs of Capsicum , being the very first harvest and also french beans …Expecting to harvest more in next few days