Among various farming methods, the best is the integrated farming method, which will assure safe and happy life for farmers. Along with crop cultivation if other farming activities such as rearing of goat, cattle and fish are integrated, then it will compensate any loss that would happen in any one of the activities. Besides, it will help use the waste from one activity to be a feed for another, thereby facilitating the biodiversity. There are many who have invested on the integrated method, getting considerable returns and one among them is Ravikumar from Thiruvarur district.
He has established an integrated farm in ten acres of his land in Varambiyam village, near Thiruthuraipoondi. We visited his farm and introduced ourselves to him. He started explaining us about his farming methods.
“My grandfather was a farmer and both my parents were teachers. After completing my Diploma in Printing Technology, I got into a job. Then I started my own printing press. During that period I got attracted by the teachings of Nammaazhvar and decided to try organic farming. In 2005 I began crop cultivation in my ancestral land of 5 acres. I bought another five acres of land nearby. So I have now ten acres of land. It is a clay soil and I have not used pesticides from the beginning but used chemical fertilizers for sometimes. That too I reduced year after year and from 2012 I have been completely following organic methods”. He continued describing about his farming methods after a preamble.
“There is no bore well irrigation here. We do farming with the help of river and rain. Sometimes we would not get water at all as the farm is at the far end of the cauvery delta region where water will not reach our farm. Sometimes there would be flooding too. With an aim to protect these uncertainties and calamities I dug two ponds, one in one acre with 18 feet depth and another in ½ an acre with 6 feet depth. Whatever rains I get in my farm will be collected in these two ponds. When there is water in the river I will channelize it to those ponds. I have planted many trees like neem and subabul around the pond. They will provide shade to the ponds and also prevent water evaporation. Water is available throughout the year in the ponds. I use the collected water thriftily.
In 5 acres of my land I cultivate traditional paddy for once. For 20 days I irrigate the land with precision, neither in excess nor in lack of it. In half an acre I have planted fodder plants through rain gun. I have planted spinach in half an acre and I am using sprinkler. With sprinkler I have also planted vegetables in another one acre of land. Water is not spent much as I am using water saving technologies.
For all types of crops I use natural sources of enriched manure like Panchakaavya and Amudhakaraisal. I use herbal insect repellent to control pests. There is plenty of fodder in the farm. There is no scarcity for paddy straw as there is paddy in 5 acres. I am able to get fodder adequate for 20 cows”. He took us around the farm while explaining us the details.
Fish farming in ponds
“I grow fish in one and half acres of ponds. I used to introduce 3000 fingerlings of Catla, Roghu and Mrigal in the pond. The ground form of paddy husk, groundnut cake, coconut cake, ragi, maize and sorghum is given to them as feed. They grow considerably within 9 months. And I catch and sell them as required. Within three months of harvesting all fishes will be sold out. Then I will introduce the fingerlings once again.
20 hybrid cows
There are totally 20 hybrid cows like Sindhi, Jersey and Uppalachery. For each animal I provide dense fodder like half a kg of groundnut cake, sesame cake, cotton cake, 100 g minor millet flour and 2 kg of husk. The quantity will be adjusted for calves based on their rate of growth. I provide them green fodder 5 kg for each animal every day, constituting Ko-4, Velimasal, Erumaipul, Glyricidia, subabul, sesbania, grasses and shrubs found in the farm.
40 country goats
There are country varieties like Kanni and Pallai. I always ensure that there are 40 mother goats in the farm. Goats will deliver once in every eight months and every time we get at least two calves. I will grow them for a year and then sell them. For a goat, I provide them 50 g groundnut cake and 50 g minor millet flour as dense fodder. There is adequate fodder in the farm to feed them”. He then took us to vegetable farm.
Vegetables in one acre and spinach in half an acre
“There are vegetables like lady’s finger, brinjal, snake gourd, ridge gourd and flat bean in one acre of land. Monthly once I will provide 200 g enriched manure around each plant. Once in ten days I will spray insect repellent, 300 ml of herbal repellent in 30 liters of water. From all plants I get 30 kg of vegetables every day. I stop vegetable cultivation during summer and winter. So, I get income for eight months in a year from vegetables.
Mulaikeerai (Amaranthus sp), ponnanganni (Alaternanthera), araikeerai (Amaranthus sp), manathakkalikeerai (Solanum sp), sirukeerai (Spinach), pulichakeerai (Hibiscus sp), vendhayakeerai (Fenugreek) and pasalaikeerai (Indian spinach) are grown in half an acre of land.
On day 4 after sowing, 100 g Trichogramma viridi, Pseudomonas and 500 ml curd are mixed together with 25 liters of water and sprayed on the plants. If the plants are dull I will spray Panchakavya. They will grow well with this support.
I am having an organic shop at Thiruthuraipoondi. I sell all my products, fish, vegetables, spinach and rice at my shop directly. I get more profit because of that. From ten acres of land I am getting more than Rs 10 lakhs as profit”. He bid farewell to us happily.
For contact: Ravikumar, Mobile: 99432 89053
Income calculation as shared by Ravikumar
He has enlisted the income from his integrated farm having fish, goat, cows and vegetables. “From 5 acres of land 100 bags of paddy (60kg in a bag) is harvested. Of that 60 bags are ground and therefore I get 2400kg of hand pound rice. I sell them at the rate of Rs 65/kg and totally I get a profit of Rs 1,56,000. The remaining 40 bags of paddy are converted into flattened or beaten rice (Aval)of 1400 kg. I sell them at the rate of Rs 80/kg and totally I get a profit of Rs 1,12,000. In total I get a profit of Rs 2,68,000. Deducting the expenses such as sowing, maintenance, milling of rice and transport I will get a net profit of Rs 1,38,000.
There will be 2 tons of yield from fish. When I sell live fish I could sell them at the rate of Rs 160 per kg and I get a return of Rs 3,20,000 in total. There will be a net profit of Rs 1,20,000 after deducting expenditures related to feed, labor cost for harvesting and transport.
Of the twenty cows, 10 will be ensured to giving milk always. So there will be milk throughout the year. I sell 60 liters of milk at the rate of Rs 40 per liter and get a return of 2400 every day from milk. Taking out the expenses in relation to producing milk I get a net profit of Rs 1000 per day. Therefore I get Rs 3,65,000 per year from milk.
I sell a live goat with a weight of 15 kg for Rs 3500. By selling 60 goats in a year I get Rs 2,10,000 and deducting all expenses I will get a net profit of Rs 1,50,000.
I sell 30 kg of vegetables daily at the price of Rs 40 per kg and therefore I get Rs 1200 per day and for eight months I get a return of Rs 2,88,000. Deducting all expenses I will get a net profit of Rs 1,60,000.
I sell 100 bunches of spinach every day each at the cost of Rs10 and I get an income of Rs 1000 per day. In a year I harvest vegetables for seven months and by that calculation I get Rs 2,10,000 and deducting all expenses I will get a net profit of Rs 1,50,000.
“500 kg of cattle manure, 50 kg of goat manure, 5 kg of phospho bacteria, Azospirillum, 5 liters each of Panchakavya and Amudhakaraisal and all put together and soaked for 5 days will give enriched manure.
After providing it to the plants for a few days we will be able to witness better growth among the plants”. Thus he concluded.
(This article written in Tamil by Ramakrishnan for Pasumai Vikatan has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)