Natural/Organic Farming: articles, references and resources

organic-farming

#21

Hi?
Sharan Gowda adopted as per his convenience of fence only during the crop starting yield or when he sense the problems , but you can decide what kind of fence is required.

I suggest to not to adopt same method, but take good effort from it and have your own design of fence.


#22

Swamyji,
    thanks a lot for providing details . Do you have info on how he electrified it. It must have components/Circuits to make electric shock bearable and disconnect after any animals come in contact of it. A single electrified wire at 2 to 3 feets above ground is enough to stop cattle, since it will definitely touch wire if try to cross .

Thanks,
Prashant


#23

[quote="ppb"]
Swamyji,
    thanks a lot for providing details . Do you have info on how he electrified it. It must have components/Circuits to make electric shock bearable and disconnect after any animals come in contact of it. A single electrified wire at 2 to 3 feets above ground is enough to stop cattle, since it will definitely touch wire if try to cross .

Thanks,
Prashant

[/quote] 12 volt battery, siren connected to single fence, If anything like cutting or laid down on the fencing wire or disconnect power connection, siren bell alerts/makes sound.


#24

Farming With Nature - Permaculture with Sepp Holzer –

Interesting Permaculturist who has a wide following for doing farming in the alps;-) including raising fish and generating own power…BTW - One of the top rated Farms in the world

youtube.com/watch?v=Bw7mQZHfFVE

youtube.com/watch?v=WddekwA2 … re=related

youtube.com/watch?v=Bar82jvG … ure=relmfu

youtube.com/watch?v=9HH3lFrz … re=related

Farming with Nature - A Case Study of Successful Temperate Permaculture Sepp Holzer

youtube.com/watch?v=oF6-xh34 … re=related

PS - If he can grow there we can grow anywhere ???

Cheers and keep the faith in Farming!.
Madhukali


#25

Hi Anant and Shiv,

I did look up the source of the article but did not find any numbers but will try linked / google to see if we get an email id & ph #'s

Thanks for reading the article,
Madhukali


#26

Another really %ing Saga from main stream life to Farming dreams…and reality

KARNATAKA
Shri. Vivek and Julie Cariappa
KRAC-A-Dawna Organic Farm, Halasnur Village, Birwal P.O., Mysore, H.D. Kote Taluka, – 571-121, Karnataka. Ph: 08221 210101, Email: krac_a_dawna@yahoo.com, Website: geocities. Com/kracadawnaorganiks

When the winds of fortune blow two unilikely souls into a partnership of perfect amity, people exclaim ‘but, how id you do it? Absurd temptation to give a ludicrous answer often crossed our minds. Instead, we are intrigued that testimonies of honest hard work yielding achievement are so surprising to many.
It’s hard work to dream of a world worth livng in these days. Especially when you corner yourself into duty and a 9 to 5 job, encirled by plastic, cement and steel that say nothing of the earth below, where you come from and where you will go same day. And between the coming and the going what have you to show for it and whom are you going to show it to, for what? I guess that’s why we got our act togethr and started to dream.
Dreaming is a risky business. It makes you want to do things and when you are twenty with life’s passion pulsing throught your body, flowing in you mind, doing risky things seems like a wise idea. So we got risky, gave up our jobs to more worthy contenders and went scarching for the holy grail… A place to set down our dream.
This dream invloved finding out about whether all this talk of our earth dying before our very eyes was true. It is distrubing to be just beginnng your adult life and hear pronoucements regarding its very futility. So together, unlikely and impossible, armoured generously with love, we began our walk to the other side.
We found same land. Beautiful, hopeless, stony soil bordered by a trickling river and crowned with a naked hill of thorns. We thus challenged our earth, giver of life, to show us she was dead. We built a small stone house among the nakedness and began to plant trees, till the soil, sow seeds… you think we knew a thing about planting? We did not. But, we knew how to dream. That power made the two of us learn faster and work harder. We worked fourteen and a half acres of land with two pairs of hands, never giving up hope. Insane. Once we bungled things so badly that we had only 73 rupees left to survice an entire month, but Juli made stone soup and we got by. Along the way we quickly learnt that farming is perhaps the most under-valued profession that exists. Its complexity challenged us to innovate at every trun and continues to do so.
One part of the dream became a crusade. We vowed never to use chemicals, fertilisers or pesticides on the land. We have managed to keep that promise. Imagine eating a whole meal grown solely by your own effort, on your own land, without Malathion, lindane, DDT, or Roundup!! It’s a marvellous feeling… good for the soul and a lot else too.
Over the years we realized that the conventional agricultural model has not been and efficient design for small farming. Which makes up the majority of agrarian economy in India. Principles of seed-saving, multiple cropping, integrated and inter-dependent animal and soil husbandry, optimal utilization of animal and plant-waste, small-scale food preservation and storage and ultimately the cornerstone of strong community-family participations, have no value in the new scheme of things. Chemical agro-inputs have been terribly abused because their effects on the soil and ecological balance have been mis-undertstood. In the end, although our national food surplus is statistically pleasing, rural India is more food insecure than ever before and steadily losing its aility to survive in a ‘free-trade’ world, let alone fight for its share of resources.
Rural children are taught to yearn for city jobs and urban lifestyles and in a population of 1 Billion +, with all the cards stacked against them, they are unlikely to achieve their dreams. Instead, society will reap their anger and hunger not to speak of the collaps of rural economy. Our own childeren do not go through the conventional schooling system as the rural negative bias is very strong in the India system. As they grow up and work beside us on the farm they are aware that they are different. Their bonding with the Earth already tells us that they love her in a special way that we do not know.
Hopefully they will be proud, innovative citizens of a helthy farming India, in their time.
Even our own experience has been a struggle with all the advantages of educations and background that we have. We have had to learn not only how to farm per se, but also how to survive as a farming family. It has become clear that the sustainability of our operation depends on the diversity of our crops both from the aspect of establishing a fundamentally stable ecology on the farm as well as in terms of optimising energy inputs to sustainably maximise fertility, bio-mass and crop output.
From here on began another saga. The ‘how to maximixe the monetary RETURNS from our produce’ question. During the first two decades of our farming experience we developed a value addition system that helped us to ensure that nothing left our farm in its raw state; we tried to get the final produce to the consumer … directly. The grains are sold as flour, the perishable fruit as jams and jellies, the sugar cane as jaggery powder, the coconuts as cold-pressed coconut oil, soap and the cotton as hand spun vegetable dyed fabric and garments. This takes a lot of our effort and imagination, but it has also improved our economic viability and our sustainability in the market society, where every thing is for sale.
Our cotton story in particular, illustrates the challenge amd extraordinary effort we have had to put in to turn around the view of cotton growing as a losing proposition (as it is for small growers of raw cotton), into a highly integrated rural product benfiting rural society as a whole. We chose to grow cottong 19 years ago because it was a major crop in our area, consuming 60% of the national pesticide use. It took us several years of field trials before we could feel sure we were on the right track, but we finally grew good organic cotton and then were faced with the dilemma of what to do with the damn thing! It was completely demoralizing to consider selling our organic cotton on the conventional market.
Our age-old tradition of KHADI or home spun was staring us in the face. In the first years of our journey into creating what we now call ‘sustain life’ textiles, we had trained a team of women locally to spin our cotton. This became unviable eventually as the activity required a stamina which was too challenging in an agricultural community which was too busy trying to survive. Now, in a world of ever increasing scales and volumes we attempt to spin our cotton in spinning mills which can provide us with a service of segregating our cotton and ensuring the yarn we get back is from our own cotton. The challenges are always there to keep our small productions viable. Once our yarn is returned to us it is then sent to a weaving village in Kannur district, kerala where 3rd and 4th generation handloom weaving families help us to convert our yarn into a wide variety of fabrics. We have trained ourselves in traditional vegetable dyeing and the art of shibori tie and dye and produce about 3000-5000 metres of cloth from 3 to 5 acres of cotton not to mention growing and extracting many of the vegetable dyes on farm). Our fabric is transformed into a number of different styles by urban women tailors and from beginning to end Krac-a Dawna cotton ends up weaving together about 50 families, the majority of whom are rurally based! In 2008 we were able to produce possibly the only turly handmade indigo jeans. Even our coconut buttons are produced by local artisans from Kerala. The ‘sustain life; cotton story will, we are sure, further evolve as we meet the chalenge of creating a quality product in an ever- changing and fickle marketplace.
Krac-a Dawna organic farm at present covers about 30 acres of land and grows, besides hedgerows and wild species of shrubs and trees, about 30 different kinds of crops, to which we value-add on farm in one way or another. On a regular basis we employ six persons besides our selves and sell produce to at least 100 families locally in Mysore and other cities. For six years now we have participated in a bi-monthly green market and also supply many of our products to a growing number of eco-shops around India.
Most of our input are produced on–farm (such as vermicompost and biodynamic compost) and these are enhanced by sustainable biotechnologies. We depend heavily on green manuring and cropping systems which utilise different yet mutually beneficial types of crops including, horticultural and plantation crops. In most cased we do not produce more than two acres of a single crop at one time and even these are generally inter-cropped with short-term crops like pulses, especially in cash crops.
Crop-protection is defined largely by careful soil management. It has been our experience that organic farming in itself is a tool to correct pest imbalance. Frequently pest problems are easier to control because the diversity of plants diffuses the situation quickly. Along with this we attempt to plan our sowing with respect to moon-phase activity and known pest peak periods which helps to reduce critical situations. Additional plant-derived pest control is occasionally used when the above systems prove inadequate.
As much as possible, we try to use seeds that are grown by other organic farmers or ourselves because the seeds produced for conventional farming are designed to respond to chemical inputs. However there are a few crops that we do grow from commercial seed for a lack of any other alternative.
Weed-control, intercultivation and successive planting using manual, mechanical and powered tools have proved to be an effective combination. Shallow tillage, whether bullock-drawn or using a small tractor, has conserved our soil and rehabilitated its natural self-sustaining mechanisms. Practical realities are the best motivation to constantly innovated and develop better rechniques.
Every year we find the complementary relationship between the soil, crops, animals and humans requires less effort to maintain. This is proof of sustainable design; that no one part deprives another part of its ability to access the basic requirements of helthy living.
For many years Krac-a Dawna has been evolving into an ever more beautiful and productive space for all the creatures who depend upon her. As her human family we have been ever grateful to be part of this experience and have tried, at every turn, to make choices that regard her overall health and vitality as the most important critieria in our decisions. Our children Kabir, Azad and Sukanya like the trees on Krac-a Dawns, are speading their branches in all kinds of ways knowing fully well that their roots are firm and well-nourished.
About four years ago, our eldest son Kabir (now20) went to biodynamic agriculture course in Kodaikanal and spent a week with our friend David Hogg, a long time bio-dynamics practitioner. As a young person raised in the spirit and born into organic living, Kabir came back from the workshop bubbling with Peter Proctor’s enthusiasm and speaking with remarkable fluency about the effect of planets, moon and sun movements on the earth, thanks to Rachel Pomeroys’ good teaching. He felt we should apply some of the techiniques he learnt there to energise the soil in an even more optimal way. Believing that the instinct of a child raised in organic farming was to be respectedd, we all agreed to take part and learn whatever there was to learn from Steiner’s teaching.
Krac-a-Dawna is a place that was never ‘idea’ for agriculture. It is stony in most parts. Uneven, hilly and with a very thin layer of soil in many areas. Our diversity in crops, mixing horticulture, agriculture and plantation crops was really our salvation. The mixing of crops had the two-fold effect of revitalising the soil, while maximising the utilisation of whatever was there. Through the seasons this further effected a spiralling cycle of aeration, humifications and water holding capacity in the soil while the microbial life returned en-masse thanks to the regular green-manuring, vermi-composting and mulching we pratised. We were doing well, but our harvests were never quite as good as they ought to have been; the healing was taking place no doubt, but it was slow. Years of soil and wind crosion as well as de-forestation prior to our stewardship had taken a deep toll that was not going to recover quickly. It was at this juncture that biodynamic principles as well as the application of panchagavya began to take effect and literally, turn the tide.
Within the first three months of using biodynamic preparation 500 and 501 and applying panchagavya at critical intervals there was a distinct effect. We thought we were imagining the heightened sense of wakefulness in the life around us until several visitors, who had visited us before, remarked ‘some thing has really changed on this farm’ …. ‘everything looks so green and alive! When the food began to taste different and the solidity of the produce reflected an ability to withstand pests and diverse weather conditions we relised that we were not just dreaming it all up.
It was probably the sugarcane and cotton that finally verified that there was a qualitative difference in the performance of the living energy of the microcosm of the farm. The harvest of sugarcane brought a 30% increse in sugar yield and the cotton fibre was tested to show there was a substantial increase in the tensile strength of the fibre besides an increase in yield. Almost across the board we were seeing a comparative qualitative improvement in our almost 30 different crops, which required almost no intervention in pest management, had better keeping quality and definitely improved taste as frequently told to us by our consumers. Much of these improvements were also influenced by our increased understanting of the cosmic rhythms with relation to the earth’s seasons. The subsequent years have also seen a remarkable difference in the health of our animals and our own bodies seem to be more resilient and have more stamina. 2007 brought us to the point where we are producing our own cowpat pit, BD 500, BD 501 and our own formulations of panchagavya and jivamrutha which are essentially ancient Indian liquid soil conditioners that can be made by any farming family.
The last few years have also broadened our experience to embrace many other farming families in our taluka who have asked us to help them develop a strategy to make a transition to organic farming. Thus was born the Savaiyava Krishikara Sagha (SKS) with a present membership of 150 farming families. For many years we had waited for other farmers to want this change. Often we were criticised for not going our and ‘converting’ other farmers, but we belived that the missionary way was best left to missionaries and when the time was right we would be ready with a model not only for organic farming but family based organic farming and living. We have developed a unique internal self-assessment system based on our own experience and earlier organic certification with JAS (thanks to the inspired thinking of Kihata-san) which is implemented through record keeping, farmer inspections and monthly meetings to discuss a wide variety of issues regarding the growing and marketing of our produce. We are all under a group certification with IMO; Krac-a-Dawna is the model farm where all different techniques we use are a resource for the entire group. Some families have even adopted some bio-dynamic principles but the process of transition is different for everyone. The important thing is that these farming families are developing sustaining strategies to take care of the land and feed their own families; in befriending the land we all tend to change the way we view ourselves and the life around us. We change, we breathe easier, we grow, we learn to live in harmony with the earth and the cosmic rhythms.
We have now been farming organically for more than half our lives and one could almost say the transformation has been complete. We are not the same creatures we were 24 years ago. As we grow older, we begin to see that the most important things are the ones that are gradual and are likely to have a long term effect. Our business relationships, whether with our consumers or with buyers small or big, are ones that take the long view. With them we build the soil responsibly, with us they can make responsible investments for the future of the Earth. This is largely why bio-dynamic composting and vegetable growing have become important things to do here. Building soil, improving air and water quality and building healthy plants, happy animals and happy people are the most lasting things we can do for this planet.
farmers by choice. (Source; Communication with OIP)Juli and Vivek Cariapp

From my archives … for folks who already read it b4 Pardon me for the repaste :sunglasses:.
Madhukali…


#27

As part of the design of the farm these plants not only will act as windbreakers but also contribute to micro climate if planted along each plot border 4 sides, along roads, fence boundaries swale bunds on down stream side.

Multipurpose Exotic Species in Small Farm Agroforestry
Dr. J.N. Daniel

Abstract

Traditional agroforestry systems in India have usually included native tree species as the perennial component.  Fast-growing multipurpose tree species (MPTS) are preferred in intensive agroforestry models introduced in recent times.  Most of these species are exotics of small to medium size, amenable to repeated pruning management and ideally suited for small farm conditions.  BAIF Development Research Foundation has introduced several of these species in small farms through rural development programmes.  Among them, Leucaena leucocephala (varieties K8 and K636) has succeeded as a preferred species for agroforestry and farm forestry interventions throughout the country.  Improved genotypes of Gliricidia sepium and Sesbania sesban have shown promise for agroforestry, but their use in small farms is limited at present.  The use of Casuarina cunninghamiana in social forestry programmes has been growing in Karnataka.  Field experimentation with Jatropha curcas showed that seed yields under low fertility rainfed conditions are much lower than those reported in literature. 

  In agroforestry systems on small farms of less than 1.0 ha, the border is the most preferred site for MPTS.  Therefore, it is the exotics suitable for live fencing that figure prominently in the development projects implemented by BAIF.  Participants in these projects are mostly subsistence farmers owning less than 2.0 ha of low-fertility land in the semi-arid tropics and depend totally or predominantly on rain-fed agriculture.  In the tree-based model introduced by BAIF, the live fence constitutes of at least five MPTS at the time of establishment, but the species diversity tends to come down with time. 

Key words: agroforestry, live fencing, multipurpose trees, small farms

1.  Introduction

Exotic tree species have found their way into Indian farming systems since long.  In dry tropical areas, the traditional practice of farmers has been to plant species like neem and mango within the cropping area, but include the exotics along the fence and on farm bunds.  Hence, species such as Jatropha curcas and Prosopis juliflora are usually found on farm boundaries.  Many of the exotic tree species probably entered the local farm scene through plantation agriculture.  Because commercial plantations were mostly established in humid tropical areas, the species introduced were generally those adapted to high moisture regimes.  In due course, small farmers brought some of these species with adaptation to a wider environmental range to semi-arid areas.
The common characteristics of exotic species preferred for agroforestry are fast growth, multiple uses and small to medium canopy size.  A majority of these species also have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen and are amenable to repeated pruning management.  Recognising the range of benefits, BAIF Development Research Foundation has been interested in multi-purpose tree species since the early 1970s.  Initially, the focus was to produce fodder in hedges.  The vigorous growth seen in some of them, particularly in Leucaena leucocephala, shifted the interest to fodder trees.  Thereafter, elite germplasm of some multipurpose tree species was obtained, their performance tested under local conditions and promoted through the development projects implemented by BAIF.  The experiences of the promotional efforts and information on some of the elite germplasm are discussed in this paper.

2.  Production Systems with Multi-Purpose Tree Species

In the production system popularised by BAIF in its development projects, annual crops and horticultural perennials are planted in the cropping area of the land whereas the multi-purpose tree species (MPTS) are planted along the perimeter.  Apprehensions about the suitability of MPTS for dry land agroforestry are expressed by many because of the substantial reduction in annual crop yields due to the competition from perennial species in the system.  This is partially overcome in the BAIF-promoted model as the interface area between the MPTS and annual crops is minimised by restricting the trees to the perimeter as live fencing.  The MPTS preferred for this purpose are mostly exotics like Leucaena leucocephala, Gliricidia sepium, Acacia species and Sesbania species. 

The main reason for the instant acceptance of exotic MPTS by farming communities is their fast-growing nature.  In L. leucocephala, for example, the slow-growing early introduction did not find favour with growers although it had become naturalised in the country.  Fast-growing MPTS produce substantial quantities of biomass within a short period of time.  This biomass in the form of fresh foliage, leaf litter and wood meets the fodder, fuel, timber and manure requirements of the rural population.  The introduction of MPTS on farmlands enabled communities that had become dependent on nearby forests and common lands for their biomass to grow at least some of it on their own land.  

There are some exotic species such as Eucalyptus tereticornis and Acacia auriculiformis that have gained popularity among farmers in semi-arid areas.  BAIF’s strategy is to have diversity in the species planted as live fencing.  For this reason, beneficiaries in development projects are encouraged to plant not more than 20% of a single species, necessitating the inclusion of at least five species.  However, this is not an easy goal to achieve.  Although species diversity is ensured at the time of planting, it is not maintained in the long run.  Preferential selection of species by farmers during gap filling and harvesting ultimately results in a live fence dominated by 1-3 species.   

3.  Experiences with Exotics in Agroforestry

The experience of BAIF with exotic tree species includes obtaining germplasm, performance evaluation under local conditions, multiplication and promotion.  The status of five key species in this regard is presented below.

3.1 Leucaena leucocephala

BAIF, known for its work on cattle development, received attention among the forestry community in the country with its work with Leucaena leucocephala (subabul).  The Hawaiian Giant type of subabul made an immediate impact on its introduction because of its unusually high rates of growth and biomass accumulation.  The value of this biomass as fodder, wood and manure appealed to small farmers throughout the country.  The K-8 variety of subabul adapted extremely well to semi-arid conditions and soon became one of the most popular species for all types of forestry programmes in India.

Subabul did have certain shortcomings as an agroforestry species.  Unlike Prosopis cineraria and Butea monosperma in the native agroforestry systems, in intensive systems such as alley cropping, subabul causes substantial yield losses of annual crops.  This is undesirable in small farms where food production is the priority.  These losses can be minimised by adopting plant arrangements that reduce the tree-crop interface.  For example, in the model promoted by BAIF, subabul and other forestry species are confined to the farm boundary.  Even such an arrangement does not overcome the second drawback of subabul, that of weediness.  

Huge quantities of seed produced annually by subabul trees get dispersed over a large area of land.  They germinate during the rainy season and establish easily.  The seedlings make an excellent green manure when ploughed under after the kharif crop.  In single cropped areas, however, this may not be possible.  But the seedlings that survive the summer can still be ploughed under during the land preparation for the kharif crop.  If a land remains uncultivated, the seedlings will be almost two years old by the next rainy season and they would have become woody and difficult to weed out.  It is at this stage subabul becomes a weed. 

A serious problem that subabul successfully overcame in the late 1980s was the psyllid pest.  The initial devastation in most areas was acute, but the ability of the trees to recover after defoliation by the pest and the build up of natural enemies of the pest resulted in the continued use of K-8 variety of subabul.  Globally, in most planting programmes K-8 was discontinued and was replaced by K-636.  Under Indian conditions, the differences in the growth characteristics between the two varieties are not too evident, but growers have reported K-636 to be superior.  In general, K-636 has a better tree foam, faster growth and greater tolerance to low temperature than K-8.  In recent years, subabul has become popular in farm forestry systems of Andhra Pradesh that grow this species for the paper pulp industry. 

3.2 Gliricidia sepium

In spite of its familiarity, the use of gliricidia by small farmers is limited.  In Karnataka, it is referred to as the green manure plant and this is perhaps the main use of this species in India.  In other countries, gliricidia is regarded as an excellent fodder.  The Oxford Forestry Institute of United Kingdom conducted a long-term international provenance trial of gliricidia (OFI, 1996).  Results of this trial showed three provenances of gliricidia from its native range of Guatamala to be more productive than other entries.  These provenances – Retalhuleu, Belen Rivas and Monterrico - have been introduced in the development projects of BAIF.  Their performance under local conditions does not appear to be drastically different from the local genotype.  Some of the farmers in whose field boundaries these provenances have been planted use the foliage as green manure for rice.  Because the usual fertiliser or manure application rates of these farmers are very small, they have been able to increase the rice yields by about 10% by green manuring with gliricidia alone.

3.3 Sesbania species

There are two Sesbania species of interest: S. sesban (sesban) and S. formosa.  The commonly occurring S. sesban in India tends to have an upright growth with limited lateral spread.  In contrast, a cultivar named Mount Cotton, obtained from Australia, has a bushy spreading habit.  This cultivar produces more biomass than the erect-growing type (Gutteridge and Shelton, 1995).  Whereas the earlier type is suitable for farm bunds and borders, Mount Cotton can be used for intensive fodder production systems and planting as hedgerows.  Another Sesbania in BAIF’s collection is S. formosa.  This native of Australia closely resembles S. grandiflora.  Preliminary observations show a potential use of the wood of this species for pencil making.

3.4 Jatropha curcas

A species generating a great deal of interest in recent times is Jatropha curcas.  Interest in this species stems from the biodiesel utility of its seed oil.  Like gliricidia, it is also a species of Central American origin, but has become naturalised in India.  This species shows wide variation in the natural stands found in different parts of the country.  Most promotional literature on jatropha emphasise the hardiness of the species, low management requirement, starts bearing in the second year, more than 10 tons per ha of seed yield and 25-50% kernel oil content.  BAIF conducted a field trial on jatropha in its Karnataka station to evaluate three genotypes planted in three plant densities.  The genotypes were collections from Karnataka and Maharashtra and a variety from Nicaragua; the densities were 2500, 3300 and 4000 plants per ha.  The nine treatments were replicated three times and arranged in a randomised complete block design.  The average annual rainfall of the site is about 600 mm, and the experimental field was of marginal soil fertility.  The seed yields obtained at 40 and 60 months after planting are shown in Figures 1 and 2.

The results showed that there are substantial differences among the genotypes in their seed production potential, with the local collection outperforming others.  Another observation was that seed yield declined with increasing plant density.  The maximum seed yield obtained was about 500 kg per ha from the fourth year onwards.  The soil and input application rates in this study were at levels appropriate for small farmers.  At such levels, it does appear that the very high yields often projected are unlikely to be achieved.

3.5 Other species

The commonly found Casuarina species in India is C. equisetifolia.  In its Karnataka site, BAIF tried C. cunninghamiana and the results are very encouraging.  The tree has a beautiful shape and it is an excellent candidate for agroforestry.  There are some indications that it may be more susceptible to moisture stress than C. equisetifolia, but this needs to be verified through multi-locational trials.  The Karnataka Forest Department has established block plantations of C. cunninghamiana while many small farmers have been planting it on bunds and as live fencing.  BAIF also participated in an international provenance trial for C. equisetifolia that was coordinated by CSIRO in Australia.  This trial was also carried out at the Karnataka location, but none of the genotypes appeared to be outstanding.

Calliandra calothyrsus is another species that BAIF tried in its research centres in Maharashtra and Karnataka.  Although this is a species for humid tropical conditions, the genetic variation in adaptability to dry conditions was examined with five genotypes obtained from the Oxford Forestry Institute, United Kingdom.  In both locations, the growth was not to the level of yielding high quantities of fodder, which is the main utility of the species.  There was no seed production in the Maharashtra location, probably because of the absence of appropriate pollinators.  There is seed production in the Karnataka location and farmers in humid areas of the state are including it in their farming system.  Like subabul, this species also has the tendency to become a weed in humid areas.

4.  Concluding Remarks

Small farmers in the country have benefited by the introduction of exotic species on small farms.  In general, it appears that the benefits of exotics outweigh the problems.  Ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions and produce enormous quantities of biomass are the major benefits of this group of species, but these same traits also make them to be potential weeds.  Fast-growing species are likely to compete with annual crops and this has to be minimised by management and plant arrangement.  Planned introduction of exotics in combination with natives and their regular management in the chosen agroforestry or farm forestry systems are necessary to realise their potential.

Acknowledgements

The author gratefully acknowledges the information provided by Dr. G. V. Hegde (BAIF Institute for Rural Development – Karnataka) and Mr. P. S. Takawale (BAIF Central Research Station, Urulikanchan, Pune).

References

Gutteridge, R. C. and H. M. Shelton (1995). New herbage plant cultivar: (a) Sesbania sesban (L.) Merrill (sesban) cv. Mount Cotton. Tropical Grasslands 29(3): 188-189. Dep. Agric., Univ. Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia.

Hughes, C. E. 1998.  The Genus Leucaena: A Genetic Resources Handbook. Tropical Forestry Paper 37. Oxford Forestry Institute, Oxford, U.K.

Oxford Forestry Institute, 1996.  Gliricidia sepium: Genetic Resources for Farmers.  Tropical Forestry Paper 33.  (J. L. Stewart, G. E. Allison and A. J. Simon, eds.), Oxford Forestry Institute, Oxford, U.K.

Cheers
MadhuKali


#28

Folks,

A nice article again reinforcing the basic  principle

“Simply surrender to Nature and Nature will take care of itself"

Swamy’s army
P M Vijendra Rao , Aug 28 , 2012
AGRICULTURE

Swamy Anand, a farmer from Mysore district, has triggered a revolution in Karnataka, thanks to his firm belief in zero-investment farming.

Besides spearheading this movement across the State, he has also set up his ‘Hasiru’ outlet to encourage farmers not to rely on middlemen and bring their produce directly to his shop in Mysore, writes P M Vijendra Rao

‘Zero Investment Farming’ is the title of Swamy Anand’s award-winning Kannada book. While it has easily set a record in Kannada publishing by selling more than 65,000 copies, it has, more importantly, triggered a major agriculture revolution in Karnataka.

Swamy and friends of his ilk, 60,000 in number, all with a pervading consciousness of natural farming and a strengthening zeal to remain committed to the cause. They are on the firm path of bringing fertility back to soil and dignity to the farming community, which is increasingly finding itself in distress due to faulty agriculture policies.

For his kind of background, Swamy was bound to find himself in his present role of a farmer-activist. His family migrated to Heggadadevana Kote in Mysore district in 1982 as his father, Ramegowda, found agriculture unsustainable in Maddur, his native taluk. The family grew cotton and maize, two popular crops in the region. When Chennamma, in 1984, found her chickens dropping dead on eating their feed, she traced the cause to the urea used as a fertiliser for maize.

Swamy recalls that the chickens, considered an extended family, began to drop dead in 1984 and his mother Chennamma found the urea used as a fertiliser for maize to be the culprit. What harm were artificial chemicals causing human beings, she asked herself, and that was the last the family ever used any fertilisers or insecticide.

Swamy, much against his father’s wishes, wanted to study beyond SSLC and eventually got an MA degree before taking to teaching. The family was also into sericulture but his mother could ill-afford a silk sari! She always wanted her son to settle down in the city, as she had seen her brothers-in-law free from financial worries. With a background in sociology, he came in contact with P Lankesh and started working in the latter’s tabloid in Mysore. He got to know about Fukuwaka’s nature-friendly farming and also became familiar with Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha.

With artificial growth agents already out of the picture, it was not too long before he got in touch with like-minded Subhash Palekar, the progressive farmer from Maharashtra and also an agri-scholar. ‘Zero Investment Farming’ is a book based on years of weighty reading, extensive field research, intuition attendant to such complete involvement, besides tremendous respect and love for nature and its every creation. Swamy relies as much on Palekar’s epoch-making work as his own vast experience as a farmer.

Dalit writer Devanooru Mahadeva correctly observes in his foreword to the book that Swamy approaches his subject like a man on his way to realising god. Swamy is determined in his resolve to restore soil to its original sanctity. The observations made in the book once again brings to the fore the values traditional agriculture always enshrined. “Simply surrender to Nature and Nature will take care of itself,” says Swamy in an interview with this writer.

Trust in the earthworm

According to Swamy’s philosophy, a tractor has no place whatsoever in farming. It adversely affects the soil (and therefore the yield). There is not even the need for a plough. The farmer still needs to find a friend better than the earthworm.

In farms where fertilisers are in use, earthworms don’t die, they simply go deeper down to levels where they have no beneficial use to the farmer.  Zero investment farming also pooh-poohs the use of vermicompost, derived from rearing earthworms. Earthworms imported from outside the country have created havoc, Swamy avers. He squarely blames the scientists at our agriculture universities for the plight of the farmers.

“Nothing our agri universities are doing is for the good of the community,” he says. His prescription, “An immediate end to chemical fertilisers and return to natural farming. Treat the soil with jeevamrutha, a composition with the dung of any native cow as the main ingredient. In a span of four days from the treatment, the earthworms will be back in action. Such is the power of the scent of jeevamrutha in attracting earthworms. Within no time they multiply into a huge army.”

Native breeds vital

In this context, Swamy highlights the role of the native cow (naada hasu), whose dung or urine has such a potency that one cow’s waste is good enough to take care of the fertility needs of 30 acres of land.

He echoes Palekar’s sentiments and exhorts the farming community to go back to the rearing of only local varieties.

It is unfortunate that the Jersey or Holstein varieties have come to play such a major role in the lives of our farmers, he says. Palekar has no doubts that the Jersey/Holstein varieties don’t yield milk but only a milk-like liquid. He has proof that their dung or urine is the source of diseases. He has announced a reward of Rs ten lakh to whoever that can demonstrate otherwise. Swamy declares that hybrid cow varieties have together destroyed India’s culture of agriculture. 

Swamy’s knowledge of agriculture runs deep. He talks about the amount of light needed for each species. For instance, paddy - like other grass varieties - absorbs 12,000 footcandles of light (for photosynthesis).

(You light a candle and what light it emits to a radius of one foot is one footcandle). Take a 100-kilo branch of any tree, allow it to completely dry and it shrinks to 26 kilos after evaporation of its water content. When you burn the dry branch, it is reduced to 1.5 kilo of ash, no matter what the tree variety is. Plants depend on the soil for their sustenance only to the extent of less than two per cent. The rest of their nutritional requirement is provided by their environment (atmosphere).

If the government is really serious about propagating organic farming, it must simply close all chemical fertiliser plants and also ban imports. Any action less than that, like spending huge amounts on publicity in favour of the organic method, is always questionable. Once the fertiliser plants are shut down, the farmer will stop using fertilisers and within no time, the soil regains its fertility and the farmer will bounce back to life. There won’t be any suicides, says Swamy.

Since it is a tall order, the other alternative is to launch a movement to educate farmers on the ill-effects of chemical fertilisers.

Farmer to consumer

Swamy, besides spearheading this movement across Karnataka, has also set up his ‘Hasiru’ outlet which eliminates the middleman and farmers across the State bring their produce directly to his shop in Mysore where they get duly rewarded. The produces include vegetables, fruits, cereals and milk. It is a small outlet that Swamy has set up, but it is already finding due support from the urban consumer.

This farmer-to-consumer movement is just about garnering attention and its further success depends as much on the consumer as the farmer. The farmer has to disband fertilisers altogether and become completely self-dependent - and it is possible because it costs no money to take to this method of agriculture; while the consumer has to understand that on the success of this movement depends the very food security of the nation as we have a long way to go before undoing the deleterious effects of the once-touted Green Revolution.

It also needs to be borne in mind that the use of fertilisers has severely affected the water retention of the soil.

Link from DH

deccanherald.com/content/274 … -army.html

Cheers,
Madhukali


#29

Folks,

Here the link and how to avail a copy of Mr. Bhasker Save’s long awaited book. :-X Am sure he must have captured his 6 decades of hand of farming experiences and will be very useful for folks treading the NF path. :stuck_out_tongue:

"
To access the Great Agricultural Challenge for free, please register with us.

Please send your name, address and email id to:

earthcarebooks@gmail.com

Donations are accepted.  "

Link below…

greatagriculturalchallenge.wordp … /register/

Cheers,
Madhukali :sunglasses:


#30

Folks,

For those who do not have a copy already of

" SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES"

Here you go ;D

Regards,
Madhukali.

BTW - That was from Green Foundation where you can buy seeds as well.


#31

Ooops exceeded attachments size so work around am pasting the source link

Enjoy…

greenconserve.com/content/re … blications

Mk


#32

Dear members
In the said subject  according my openion            there is only two ways of farming method.
One is natural/NISARGA  farming and another chemical farming.
In my village we had no idea of chemical farming till 1975.
We used to grow paddy vegetable sugarcane and arecanut/coconut only by using farmyard manure.Nothing else.And FIVE acre land was yielding enough for 20 people at home after giving some portion to the owner of the land.
We did not know

        about the  plant disease except for the arecanut plants during the heavy rain require two time spraying of  mylatuttha.
Please attend workshop conducted by Subhash palekar and read  the books written by him.YOU GET VERY GOOD KNOWLEDGE ABOUT NATURE FARM METHOD.
Also please visit ‘NAVADARSHAN’ nisarga farm  in GUMMALAPURAM NEAR ANEKAL ABOUT 50 KM FROM BANGALORE.
Please  GO THROUGH  THEIR WEBSITES.
1.NAVADARSHANAM  2.ZERO BUDJET FARMING BY SUBHASH PALEKAR.
I have seen from  my own eyes  two ashgourd plants grown themselves  midst banana plantation in MALAVALLI NEAR MANDYA yield three tons  of ashgourds.The
banana plants were cultivated by natural method.
Thanks with warm deepawali greetings.


#33

Here is a demonstartion of maintaining biodiversity or bio-harmony.

The theory(but it is practical) goes like this. Coconut shells are tied to trees as shown in pictures below. These hollow shells attract spiders,wasps,butterflies… what not. Thus creating natural enimies for all insects. These shots were taken from “PunyaBhumi” a non profit making organisation which is involved in Jaivik Agriculture. They conduct lot of awareness camps for farmers, school childeren. They use thier premises of 1.5 acres land which was a barren land 8 years back. Now the entire land is filled with green. The water source they have is a borewell with a hand pump.

The convenor Dr.Vijay Angadi promotes natural ways of pest control.









#34

Hi All,
Check this link .
youtube.com/watch?v=lRArvolnaJU
youtube.com/watch?v=nknxV4IVkVE

Thanks,
Avinash


#35

The below video is in Gujarathi, Can someone knowledgeable in the language please post a summary of the conversation? Thanks.

youtube.com/watch?v=7X793So5AaM


#36

While I was googling I found a document on Sustainable Practices on Organic farming.
It is a ready reckoner for organic farming

here is the link greenconserve.com/content/re … blications

Document is “Sustainable Agricultural Practices” the document is available in Englisha dn Kannda.It covers all the area of organic agriculture.


#37

Pl give the procedure for preparation of Panchgavya.
give in very short write up.


#38

Hi all
I am farmer from koppal taluk karnataka I am totally new to the agricultural started this year only and taken yield of paddy in my 25 ACER LAND but it was loss in finance I am very much inspired by natural farming subash palekar ZBNF Where can I get books of subash palekar in karnataka pls share the information
Thank you
bkchalasani@gmail.com


#39

Pay money to bank account they will send books within 2 weeks, see below link for contact and bank info.

palekarzerobudgetspiritualfarmin … Kannad.pdf

Also see below PDF for semi Fukuoka Method.

legumelogic-nandish-shimoga.pdf (388 KB)