Natural Farming - new project

Dear Farm nest Members,

I am negotiating a farmland of 25 acres and on verge of finalizing the same.
I am not a farmer but have researched a lot on farming and have come to the conclusion that Natural farming is the way to go forward.

Now coming to the query and information from the farming experts.
After Purchase of the land what is the first thing to do other than fencing and preparing the land. This land has not been cultivated upon for a long time.

What will be the ideal way to bring back the soil fertility in the natural farming philosophy.

Thanks and Regards
Arun Kumar Menon.

What do you mean by preparing the land? if you mean to say levelling. it is against natural farming. First foundation of natural farming is zero or minimum tilling.

Natural farming says start with green manure.

What crops are you going to have on this field?

Mr Menon,
            Please explain what is the plan for the 25 acres land. Is it monoculture.? or an orchard. If you are going by the natural farming practice, do you want to grow food grains or Palekar’s Multi layer models. We can suggest only after we get the full details.

Regards,
AKS

Dear Sri

Thanks for your early response.

By land preparation I meant removing of any existing grass bushes etc.

Arun Kumar Menon

Dear AKS

Thanks for your response.

I plan to have an integrated farming starting with
Dairy farm of 20 cows GIR breed.
I was thinking of Subash Palekars multi layer model.I have been reading his books on ZBNF.
By the way the farmand is in Tirunelveli Tamil Nadu.

Thanks and Regards
Arun Kumar Menon

Mr.Menon,

My understanding is 3-5 cows need atleast 1 acre.  So, you need atleast 4-5 acres for Dairy Farming itself.

You can use the other areas for Palekar’s model of farming.

Hi Every one,

This is Hema from Mysore.
I am also in the same position like Mr Menon. I want to start natural farming.
I really very much eager to know how to kick start it., since everyone at my home are negligent about zbnf , they r not bothered about my ideas.
Since I live in japan it is difficult for me to take any step. July first I am going to india,  few steps guided by u guys to start it will be usefull .

Land is about 7 acres in mysore.
My Mom who lives there has already got it ploughed it by using tractor, since it was not cultivated for about. 8 years. And the land was hard.

What should do next. I want to grow ragi and jowar to start with.
It is a dry land with good soil.
What do u guys suggest for water sources. If there is water scarcity what should I do, do i need to dig a borewell.

Please suggest. It will be helpful for me and my urge to be a farmer.

Regards,
Hema

Hi Hema,

First of all, form an idea about what you want to do in your 7 acres land.  This will be the starting point after which you can think about Farm Design, Integrated Farming etc.

Next comes the methodology to accomplish.  For Eg., Organic Farming, Natural Farming etc.  Please note that Organic Farming or crops that have not been used chemical farming fetch premium price as well as good for your own consumption.

Since the land has not been cultivated for a long time and it is hard, you have to make it soft and responsive to crops.  For that, there are many method available.  My blog has a few ideas. (Cost Efficiency can be achieved if local available materials are used).

Try the other crops after this.  My question is why Ragi & Jowar?  What specific purpose it will solve?  May be you want to utilize the rains and do something is my understanding.

For Water Sources, you should either have an Open Well or a Borewell.  Its a must for better productivity.  To accrue water, have RWH in your farm.  This also will help you to go for water guzzling crops (like banana & coconut) in future, if need be.

Note: ZBNF is actually not “natural farming” in the true sense.

Please will you enlighten on the quote you have made.

Natural Farming is what Masanobu Fukuoka has practised and is considered Natural Farming or Do Nothing Farming.  ZBNF is Organic Faming with Zero Budget concepts.  Zero Budget here means not to get any input to the farm from outside.

Dear  padmanabhan_ganesan

It was nice see your post explaining to Hema. Meanwhile I was going through your blog how to improve soil.
if i plan to go the Subash Plekar model of 5 layer, do i  start of with the Land Improvement - Method 1 and then plan the land for the main crops based on the model.
one more doubt is it advisable to do the land improvement in patches of 3 acres or can do the whole 20 acres in one go.

Thanks and Regards
Arun Kumar menon

[color=green]Natural Farming is what Masanobu Fukuoka has practised and is considered Natural Farming or Do Nothing Farming.  ZBNF is Organic Faming with Zero Budget concepts.  Zero Budget here means not to get any input to the farm from outside.[/color]

Yes I agree that Mr. Fukuoka method is natural farming.  But he is also not bringing anything from outside and in ZBNF of Mr. Palekar also says the same.  Here in ZBNF method also doing little to get what you plan with minimum work at farm.

Mr. Fukuoka also suggests mulching means not taking any husk after harvesting which serves dual purpose of mulching and creates humas and also speaks about dicot and monocot. 

With ZBNF, only extra work we are doing is watering every 7/15 days and supplying jeevamruth.

Please also note with ZBNF our produce quantity will be more per unit area.  With Fukuoka it is either way.

Mr. Swamy Anand who translated Mr. Palekar’s book in to Kannada Language  was practicing Mr. Fukuoka’s method and his out put from his farm was very less.  Now he is practicing Mr. Palekar’s method.

Both the cases many things are in control with the nature.

In ZBNF even pesticides are also natural items only.

Please clarify me how it is not natural. 

Fukuoka Method:
No pruning of trees, No pesticide, No deweeding etc. pests will be taken care by natural enemies. They dont prune because, pruning will modify the genetics gradually and imbalances the natural resistivity.

These fundamentals are not followed in ZBNF.

Recent studies say pollution from agriculture is almost equal to pollution from automobiles. The methane gas produced from compost, agriwastes, paddy fields creating a menace.

Above issue is addressed in ZBNF(Sri.Palekar, Jeevamritha), Korean Natural Farming(Dr.Cho’s Global farming,IMO2,3,4), Kueise Natural Farming (Dr. Tuero Higa, EM1,2,3,4,5)methods.

All above uses microbial inoculants to avoid bad microorganisms(mentioned above in brackets) and bad gases. I personally believe these are more friendlier than any other methods.

Let me know if above pointd has to be explained in detail.

So lets keep aside debating which method is superior and move farward with most ecofriendly,scalable,selfsustainable methods. debating on these topic is equally controverial as debating on “aryans are suprior”.

Thanks sri that was the anwser I was looking.

Do nothing to get less and do little and get more.

Yes. you got it.

I haven’t had an opportunity to go through 5 layer model.  So I do not know what Palekar has suggested for land improvement.

You can do Soil Improvement in Patches.  Make sure that the chemical sprayed (if any) does not come to the improving land(soil) by wind or other means.

Let me know if you need more details.