How to convert dry land to productive lands?

Hi,

I am new to this forum and  has no experience in farming or agriculture related.  I am thinking of cultivating it with the help of friends and locals initially before shifting myself completely  to native .
I got 5 acres of dry agricultural land which I never used. 
Please any of us guide me how effectively I can make use of my 5 acres of land for agriculture?

Regards
Mahantesh

Dear Mahantesh sir, Pl dig pits of 3 ft depth. Take soil samples at depths 6 inch, 1 ft,1.5 ft,2 ft,2.5 ft and 3 ft. and mix them at randum per each acre. atleast take 5 samples each of 0.5 kgs  in all your 5 acres. Give the samples for test either to kvk’s and/or private labs. Pl inform the results to the forum.

Pl inform about the soil type, ( red,black,stony,sandy etc ), availability of water source etc and weather conditions of your area.

we invite you and our forum co-operation will be to you.

g.p.rao, farmer and forum member

Mr.Mahentesh ,

Plan perfectly and undertake conversion operation in the order of priority …because situation differs from location to location …if feasible proceed with investing your money on land conversion and if it does not seem feasible simply please leave it and look for other alternative …

1.You said dry land - means no existing water sources like open well, borewell , tank or canal and purely depends on rainfall . so you need to determine the source of water and available or possible quantity which can be best made available for future crop cultivation …

In such a situation first you look for ground water potential . If that does not click then try nearby source and bring water through pipeline .If any of these sources do not work positively , then you may be obliged to rely purely on rainwater . If rain water is the only available choice then do determine quantity of rainfall received in different month or seasons ( South west monsoon , North east monsoon and summer shower ) .Based on the time and amount of rainfall that your location receive , decide your farming operation…

Generally dry land means those land which is located in such a region receiving rainfall around 600 mm per year …In that case you try water conservation measures like check dam , percolation ponds , farm ponds , summer ploughing , broad bed cultivation etc…

If land is undulated terrain with bushes , plan to remove and clear bushes during rainy season and level the land and divide it into small compartment so as to collect and store rain water insitu…

Do not use chemical fertilizers in dry land area unless otherwise need arises …in case of need use chemical fertilizers in small quantity only during critical period of crop growth , like flowering and fruiting . As far as possible use more organic manure which sustain crop growth in dry land …

In case of land being lateritic or sandy which has poor moisture retention , mix the existing soil with black clayey soil which improve water holding capacity of the soil .

Use mulch that is most important factor in dry land cultivation - variant of mulch is organic and synthetic …As far as possible use organic mulch …

If you grow seasonal crop , then adjust your sowing time to effectively utilize rainwater …

In nutshel  the conversion of dry land into productive land  necessitate efforts to find available water source . Other things come next in the process …

Different crop needs different level of water to produce economic yield …For example for Paddy and banana it needs 1200 to 130 mm, sugarcane 2000 to 2200 mm, sorghum and maize - 500 to 700 mm.groundnut 400 to 500 mm.pulses and sunglower 300 to 350 mm…

Native crop plants sustain well in dry land…Hybrid crops could not produce much in dry land situation …

Intercropping with suitable companion crops is advisable in dry land situation …

So the conversion of dry land into productive land depends on so many factors that are location specific …It is a comprehensive subject . Farmers needs to be prudent and intelligent to apply his mind to the specific situation …

You just learn from others experience and select those techniques which best fit your situation vis a vis apply your mind in case of exigency . Because ultimate aim of farming is to gain , not to loose …

In case of dry land , better opt for integrated farming …with different components like short duration rainfed crops , goat , fodder , drought tolerant fruit crops like Tamarind …There are lot of options and choices …so plan your program after studying all the parameters that are relevant to your condition …

Stay blessed

Ramu,
chennai

Hi,

Thanks alot…

Surely I will test the soil first  as mentioned in the below forum.
A river is close to my farmland  about 3 km away, I am planning for a bore well, how to find the source of ground water for borewell?
Approximately How much it cost for 150-200ft borwell?  As it is village (far from city) there is no or less supply of electricity, do you guys think Solar pump will be best solution.

Regards
Mahantesh

Regards
Mahantesh

Dear sri Mahantesh, To check the ground water availability two methods are followed. First method is approaching Geology experts/profesoors. They come, check with electric/electronic meters and fix points, if water is available. Second method, generally farmers follows ( un scintific ofcourse ), some persons will be there at nearby villages and they check the water source with a coconut, with a stick or some other means and fix the points.It is only beleif. No surity in both the ways , upto my knowledge, and beleive or not it is purely luck also.

For digging a bore well to a depth of 200 ft, the charges for digging will be at the rate of 75/- per ft approximately (5 % + or _). Casing cost will be around rs 200/ per ft and fixing charges will be around 60/- per ft. ( casing pipe depth depends on your land )

Going for solor is a best decision I beleive and you may take the decision of our forum member sri saravanan sir, as he is an expert.

all the best to you.  g.p.rao, farmer

Dear Ramu sir,

That was very informative. Thank you.

Even I have a similar case of low water availability. In my farm, there is no source of water supply, till now managed with my neighbour’s dug well, even this well dries up during summer season (Apr to Jun). But as per local expert there is a possibility of water in my farm dugwell/borewell but it is not certain, hence did not took a chance to expend on testing. instead i am looking for another option - a river is flowing at a distance of 2 kms from my farm, i am thinking to make some arrangement with underground pipe lines and gen set to draw water from the river. If this can be done then water will be available for 12 months. Will it be advisable and economical (keeping maintenance cost in mind) to do same. Kindly advice.

Regards
Prosanjit

Dear Mr.Prosanjit

You can lay pipeline to get river/ canal water to your field .One time investment on infrastructure but consider

1.whether your government allows people to draw water from river …if so then good
2.Using power motor to draw water is economical in lieu of Diesel operated Oil engine .If no other alternative then consider to use Oil Engine
3.Since you say there is a river running nearby your field at 2 kms distance , explore an opportunity to locate underground water source in various locations in your field and little further away in nearby neighbor  field . sometimes this effort click and reward you with good underground water source .For this you need not involve expensive geologist …In my experience I have seen some local expert who exactly locate the underground water source with an aid of dry coconut that swing in high speed in  such a location where good underground water is found to be flowing ( Aquifer rock ) .This effort will not cost you much from your pocket …

4.Suppose you could find potential water source nearby your field in neighbour’s land then you buy piece of land where water source is located , drill a bore and bring water to your field …

5.If none of the above method works in your favor then better do bring river water through underground pipeline .Nothing wrong in laying pipeline to convert unproductive dry land into fertile crop land …

When I was working as Agricultural Development officer in Thiruvallur near chennai  I have given lot of farmers with water carrying pipe under government subsidy scheme …This is mainly done to take irrigation water to farthest field from the water source without loss through seepage , percolation and evaporation …even some of the farmers laid pipe line for s distance of 5 to 7 kms …

Because water is most essential and first nutrient in growing plants .Without which cultivation can be taken up but will not yield expected benefits to the cultivator …

Further the level of water requirement depends on the type of crops/ trees you like to grow …so you do plan accordingly and first work out the economies of the crop / farming …find out whether it is feasible to undertake pipe laying and expending some money on infrstructure like this one…if you want to grow tree crops for paper mills or power plant then you will need water only during initial establishment stage then the tree will sustain through rainwater …if suppose you would like to grow garden crop , or high value commercial crop , then certainly you need copious water for crop management …

But keep trying on alternative source as I mentioned above…Sometimes miracle happen in dry land …

Thank you Sir.