Groundnut is one of the most promising commercial crops for a farmer. It helps in extracting oil, making side dish, make eatable products etc., It is cultivated under dry land irrigation and also under well irrigation and will grow anytime of the year. Since this is a much sought-after product, dry land farmers always prefer this crop. P.R.Subramanian is a pioneer farmer in organic groundnut cultivation from Coimbatore.
Subamanian is already known to the readers of Pasumai Vikatan where he had featured in articles like all-time red gram cultivation and panchakavya articles. Subramanian has his farm in Pattakaranpudhur village near Annur. Subramanian shares that he has been under organic farm of cultivation for the past twenty years, growing pigeon pea, whole green gram and groundnut alternatively. If there is a good monsoon, he will be able to reap a good harvest and if monsoon fails, he will resort to sprinkling of ice water in lieu of the same. He had planted groundnut in 4 acres of land. Due to lack of both northeast and southwest monsoon rains in the past 3 years, well irrigation was not possible. Even seasonal cultivation could not be done. But this year, the monsoon has been good bringing cheer in his face.
Subramanian has been cultivating the hereditary variety of groundnut for the past 50 years. After harvest he will reserve a part for seeding and the remaining groundnuts will be fully dried and packed free from moisture of any sort so that the quality will be good and consistent without any fungus problem. This year he decided to start in the month of june itself because of good rain already received.
Subramanian says that he would require 50 kg.seeds for an acre of cultivation. He will be able to get the harvest done upon completion of 120 days. He is confident that he will be able to get 1,200 to 1,500 kgs. raw groundnut and if 1,000 kgs. are dried, it will get him 800 kgs. good quality of groundnut. Additionally, after the harvest, the dried groundnut creepers will be used as dry feed for the cattle.
Due to the fact that it is traditional variety, he can directly sell them as seed groundnut. He will dry them and keep a stock and whatever he needs only will be sold in the market The present day selling rate is Rs.70/- to Rs.80/- per kg. Out of 4 acres of land under groundnut cultivation, he is able to get raw variety of 6,000 kg. and after drying, he will be able to get 4,800 kg. If he is able to sell this @ Rs.70/- per kg., he will be able to get a return of Rs.3,36,000/- as income. After deducting Rs.1,32,000/- towards expenses incurred by him, he will get a net profit of Rs.2,04,000/- Subramanian sounds positive that at any cost, he will get a profit of Rs.50,000/- per acre without fail.
Subramanian further shares that in those days because of unfailing monsoon, the harvest has been regular and uninterrupted. After planting the seeds, they will go to the field only for harvest as cultivation will happen naturally. The cattle residues would be a perfect organic manure for the land. Birds would take care of the insects thereby protecting the plants. That is how natural farming took place those days. However, nowadays, he has to adopt certain other means also to handle damage to the plants. For that also, Subramanian says that there are lot of useful guidelines given by agricultural stalwarts like Nammazhwar and Palekar. He feels that if one follows the sustainable agricultural practices of farming in this manner, the return will be steady and sufficient.
Subramanian has briefed hereunder the cultivation process of groundnut anytime during the year:-
* The selected portion of an acre of land should be ploughed once in the Tamil months of Masi, Panguni and Chithirai(Feb, March, April). This would kill the joint worms and weed plants. This would further facilitate the rain water to get sucked into the earth.
In the month of Vaikasi(May), 5 tonne farmyard manure and 2 tonne coir waste powder should be spread on the earth and ploughed properly. The coir waste content will be a moisturizing element and it will be good manure for the plants.
During the month of Ani(june) based on the indications of rain, ploughing must be done with cattle and then seeding operation must be done.
Between two seeds, there must be a distance of 10 cms. Seed treatment must be done before planting them. Further, 100 gm. pseudomonas and 40 gm. Trichoderma viride should be added for 10 kg. seeds and the seeds must be mixed fully in this substance before planting.
On the 20th day, the plants will sprout with leaves and that is the time for starting the weeding operation. The next day, 300 ml. panchakavya should be mixed in 10 lt. water and sprinkled over the plants. The growth of the plants depends on the monsoon rain. In case of no rain, leaf dermatitis may affect the plants. Similarly, if there is no rain, 5 kg.ice should be mixed in 200 lt. water and this cold water is required to be sprinkled on the plants for flowering to occur.
On the 30th day from the date of seeding, 50 kg. filtered sand and 50 kg.farmyard manure should be sprinkled and this will prevent the root of the plants from being damaged. On the 60th day, 2 tonne cow dung gas waste should be spread over the field. In the absence of cow dung gas residue, one can make use of any other organic manure.
4 lt. neem oil and 1 lt. pungam oil, little bit of khadi soap essence should be mixed and for 10 lt. water 100 ml.of this mixure should be added and spread over the plants in case any insect is noticed.
After 100 days, leaves will start appearing white. This is the time for us to pluck the plant and verify whether the groundnut is mature or not. Based on this, harvest can be resorted to after 110 days.
Groundnut consists of folic acid, phosphorous, calcium, potassium and zinc which are good for our health. For the women, it will prevent tumour in uterus and breast cancer. Moreover, it is capable of preventing and curing gall bladder stone, bone marrow disease and heart disease as well.
Needless to conclude that groundnut cultivation is not only lucrative to the farmers but also highly beneficial to the consumers.
(This article written by G Palanisamy in Tamil for Pasumai Vikatan magazine dated 10/12/17 has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)