Organic Farming Part 1

Agriculture has completed one cycle and is
turning its phase. Green revolution proved detrimental in 5 decades. Indiscriminate use
of pesticides and chemicals polluted the soil, water and the whole eco system. Off late our
farmers are looking back. Now we find organic movement everywhere. But most of the farmers
are in confusion about both the systems. They question whether total organic is possible
and feasible. This documentary film will discuss the necessity, possibility and opportunity
of organic farming in detail. Agriculture started along with human civilization.
But it was totally dependent on nature. Use of chemical fertilizers started during 1850
itself in western countries. But in India chemical farming became popular with green
revolution started during 1965. High yielding hybrids entered our farms. Chemical fertilizers
became inevitable to get higher yield from these hybrids. This paved the way for indiscriminate
use of chemical fertilizers. The scientific community supported chemical farming neglecting
the possible bad effects of chemicals in long run. Government departments promoted this
on priority. It is true that this green revolution produced enough food for the nation. But in
due course of time pests and diseases started attacking the crops. Poisonous pesticides
entered the scene for crop protection. The hazardous effects of these poisons were quite
evident very soon. Soft top soil started getting hardened due
to chemical residues. Ground water was polluted with nitrates, sulfides and other chemical
impurities. Balance of nature was lost and pest attack ran out of control. Cabbage and
cauliflower need 8 to 10 sprays, cotton needs 13 to 15 sprays and grape consumes 30 to 40
sprays in a season. Then imagine the effect of chemicals. Consumers using this produce
and the farmer spraying these pesticides are affected with asthma, allergy, cancer and
with many more health problems. We lost rich bio-diversity and balanced nature before we
got alerted. Volume of chemicals used has grown many times
from 1965 to 2010. But the increase in production is only 4 times. Even this increase is not
just due to chemicals. Increase in cultivated area and irrigation contributed a lot. Of
course, only the chemicals are not the culprits. Excess tillage, hybrids targeted only towards
high yield, genetically modified crops and varieties, excess irrigation, un-season crop
cultivation, un-acclimatized crops and varieties, tendency of easy crop production etc. are
also the reasons for the pathetic situation of today�s agriculture. Green revolution
has become the war against nature. But now we lost the war. Only option with us is to
surrender to the nature again. Let us study the ill effects of chemicals
now. Crop and varietal diversity is lost due to the popularity of hybrids. Mono-cropping
is common everywhere. Quality of food has come down even though the production is more.
Use of organic manures decreased with the application of high amount of chemical fertilizers.
Hence the humus content of the soil has come down. This affected the soil structure and
hence the aeration. It led to the decrease of useful aerobic microbes in the soil. Water
holding capacity of the soil and percolation of rainwater decreased. Runoff water eroded
fertile top soil. Absorption of nutrient was affected due to imbalanced soil pH. Soil microbial
activity is quite essential to make the nutrients available for plants. Destruction of soil
micro flora badly affected the nutrient uptake by plants. In chemical farming only 20 to
30% of the nutrients get absorbed. Remaining portion dissolves in the water quickly creating
ground water pollution. Chemical residues of the fertilizers accumulated in the soil
making it useless for crop production. Excess irrigation created saline and marshy lands.
Decrease in organic matter and imbalanced chemical nutrition led to micronutrient deficiency.
Due to mass destruction of useful predators and decrease in disease resistance of the
plants, crops became easily susceptible for pest and diseases. This increased the application
of chemical pesticides again. Even then the productivity is coming down year by year.
Chemical residues like nitrates, sulfides and heavy metals have accumulated in soil,
water and crops. Ultimately the produce from chemical farming has lost the food value.
Chemically adulterated food led to serious health problems of the consumers. Just born
baby gets diabetes; hair turns white by 20 years of age itself. Cancer, the most common
deadly disease of today has direct link with pesticide adulteration of the food. Farmer
has to purchase hybrid seeds, fertilizers and pesticides from outside. Hence the cost
of production has gone up. Profit from farming became illusive. This is the major reason
for sudden increase in suicide cases of farmers. Younger generations of farmers are searching
opportunity in cities. Government is announcing loan packages instead of attending the real
cause for the situation. Even the millionaire has to eat food only. If the situation continues
for long poor people may have to die due to hunger. Sustainable agriculture is the only
solution for this complicated situation. Direction is very clear. But reaching the destination
is not so easy. However, for the survival of 7 billion people on this earth this �U�
turn is inevitable. Now let us study the non-chemical methods
of farming. Again, many new terminologies like organic, natural, zero tillage, sustainable,
bio-dynamic, Vedic agriculture etc. have created confusion in the minds of farmers. We have
to find alternative ways of nourishing and protecting the crops after avoiding the usage
of chemicals. The methods mentioned above follow different ways for this purpose. The
basic principles of all these methods are the same. That is using locally available
natural inputs, keeping away from chemicals and following the nature. We have compiled
all simple ways of non-chemical farming under the title �Organic Farming�.
Organic farming should improve the health of plant and other living creature. It must
enrich and protect bio-diversity. Hence it is a broad-based farm management system. The
main features of organic farming include optimum use and conservation of locally available
natural inputs, increasing soil fertility over a period of time and protecting soil
micro flora etc. organic farming should produce healthy food to feed and to protect the health
of the consumers. Self-dependence for farm inputs will increase the profitability of
crop production. If farming becomes a profitable occupation the migration of population to
cities will come down. Thus, organic farming can give solution for destruction of environment,
pollution and social imbalances also. Many of us still have a doubt whether this
organic farming will feed 125 crore people of the country. To get the answer one has
to go through the production statistics of pre-green revolution Indian agriculture. District
commissioner of Chengalpatti district of Tamil Nadu noted that during 1880-85 the paddy yield
was 40 quintals per acre. But now with all chemical fertilizers and pesticides the same
farmers are not getting even the half of that yield. It is true that the yield drops while
changing from chemical to organic method. But organic farming will increase soil fertility
and hence the productivity in long run. Even the pest and disease incidence will come down.
It is undoubtedly proved that the systematic organic farming gives sustainable higher yield.
Hence the agriculture scientists took �U� turn in recent years and are supporting organic
farming movement. Let us study the characteristics of good soil
now. Soil should be soft enough so that it can be opened like this by hand. It must have
sufficient organic matter so that rainwater percolates easily. In scientific terms let
the soil pH be between 6.5 and 7.5. Plants can absorb the nutrients only with the help
of microbial activity. In very high or low pH soil microbes cannot survive or work efficiently.
This affects the availability of nutrients, absorption, seed germination and crop health
etc. Other characteristics of good soil are more than 0.5 % organic carbon, 100 kilograms
of Nitrogen, 10 kilograms of Phosphorus and 50 kilograms of Potash per acre in available
form. Humus of the soil is the food and shelter
for soil microbes. High humus content improves the soil structure. It enables better soil
aeration. Thus, the plant roots and soil microbes get enough oxygen. Soil temperature remains
under control. Good volume of rainwater percolates and hence the availability of soil moisture
to the plant improves. Water holding capacity of this soil is more. It creates healthy soil
microclimate which supports microbial activity. This condition is called as living soil. Ultimately
the plant growth and yield improve. Produce from this kind of crop will have better nutrient
content and taste. IFOAM is the world federation of organic movement
organizations. This was established in 1972 in France. This has member organizations in
most of the countries. IFOAM sets the guidelines for organic farming at international level.
Indian government formulated national standards for organic production or NSOP in the year
2000. It is mandatory to follow NSOP to get organic certificate. NSOP suggests growing
crops and varieties which adopts and comes up well in the locality. These crops must
have pest and disease resistance. Organic farmer must protect and enrich crop and varietal
diversity. Use the seeds from organically grown crop. If it is not available use chemically
untreated seeds from the conventional crop. There is no objection for the cultivation
of hybrids. But genetically modified crops and varieties are not permitted. It is advised
to use the manures of plant, animal, microbial and natural origin. Chemical fertilizers,
herbicides, hormones, dies and pesticides are strictly not allowed. To be specific,
use organic manures such as farm yard manure, poultry manure, cow dung slurry, animal urine,
crop residues, green manures etc. produced on organic farm. But human excreta are not
permitted. Restricted use of inputs produced outside the organic farm such as blood meal,
bone meal, compost, cow dung manure, fish meal, city waste, earthworm compost etc. is
allowed after confirming the absence of chemical impurities. Likewise, limited use of calcium
and magnesium stone, sulfate of potash, kainite, rock phosphate, wood ash, potassium sulfate,
sulfur, boron, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc is allowed. Avoid burning of organic
matter and destruction of forest. Take necessary measures for the conservation of soil and
water. Use machines and implements used in chemical farming only after cleaning.
Let us see the methods of supply of necessary nutrients in organic farming in detail. The
nutrient content of various organic manures is like this � Production of organic manures is a big business
now. The producers of organic inputs must get organic input certificate. Only certified
inputs are allowed in organic farming. These manures should have brown or black colour
and 15 to 25 % moisture. It should not have any bad smell. These manures must have minimum
of 12 % organic carbon, 0.8 % nitrogen, 0.4 % phosphorus and 0.4 % potash. Carbon to nitrogen
ratio should be at least 20:1 and pH must be in between 6.5 and 7.5. The upper limit
of heavy metals in the organic manures is like this � Now let us know the methods of production
and usage of various organic manures. Most of the traditional farmers use substandard
manures. In western ghat regions this kind of manure pits of 8 to 10 feet depth are common.
Since it is the open place it wets in rain and dries up under hot sun loosing most of
the nutrients. Excess heat accumulates in deeper layers due to lack of aeration. Useful
aerobic microbes die and manure becomes a heap of pathogens. Manure decays instead of
decomposition. This manure of poor quality is heaped on the farm well before its incorporation
in to the soil. Manure dries up and loses nutrients here also. This substandard manure
cannot give expected result. Let the manure pit be of 3 feet depth. Protect it from rainwater
and direct sun. It is better if the materials are heaped on the ground itself. Adding sheep
and poultry manures, wood ash and di-cot herbages with the farm wastes will improve the nutrient
content of the manure. Japanese method of composting is popular for
quick and good quality manure production. Here the bricks are used to build the tank
above the ground. Let the height and width be 3 feet each. Length is according to your
convenience. The main point is to keep hole on the walls like this for aeration. Even
we can use wood like this to save cost. Put fibrous materials at the bottom. Then put
a layer of cow dung. Then spread dry leaves and farm waste in a layer. Spread cow dung
again. Repeat these layers till the tank is full. Put di-cot herbage and green materials
in top layer. At the end cover it with fertile top soil layer. Spread straw or dry leaves
on the pit to avoid drying. Manure will decompose fully within 2 to 3 months in this method.
Nutrient content of the compost from this Japanese method is better than the sunken
pit. This is the aerobic method of composting.
Raw materials are heaped on the hard floor. Shade net is spread on the pendal to avoid
direct sun. Let the height and width of the heap be 5 to 6 feet each. Length is according
to your convenience. Spread dry leaves, organic farm waste, di-cot herbage, wood ash etc.
in layers. Wet each layer with cow dung slurry and water. It is better if neem and caster
cakes, rock phosphate, sheep and poultry manures etc. are added. It is desirable to use �organic
matter decomposition microbial mixture� for fast and better decomposition. This contains
nitrogen fixing and phosphorus solubilizing bacteria, mycorriza for potash, Pleurotus
fungus for fiber degradation, Trichoderma for pathogen control. If this OMD microbial
mixture is not available use the compost which was prepared using such mixture. Or at least
put a layer of fertile soil. Keep the heap moist by sprinkling water. Spreading cow dung
slurry and Panchagavya will give better result. Insert bamboo or perforated PVC pipe in the
heap for better aeration. Compost will be ready for use within one and half month itself
in this aerobic method. Even the coconut coir pith becomes good compost if OMD mixture is
used. But it takes 3-month time for decomposition. Most of the commercial organic manure producers
follow this method. Use of 2 tons of this compost gives better result than 10 tons of
conventional manures. We can get still better compost by feeding this to earthworms.
Vermi-compost is very popular among organic farmers. There are 2 types of earth worms.
One type of worm burrows deep in to the soil and the other one lives in top soil. Top soil
earth worms feed 10 % of soil and 90 % of organic matter. It eats equal to its body
weight and puts out every day. Earthworms add 30 to 40 kilograms of nitrogen per acre
per year. Vermi compost is rich in growth regulators and hormones. Hence it is the complete
manure. Vermi compost has egg cases too. If the farm has enough moisture content and organic
matter earthworms develop from the eggs and produce compost there itself. We need not
apply vermi compost again. We may give vermi compost to all crops. Apply
1 ton of vermi compost for field crops at the time of sowing or in the row later. Adding
half ton of vermi compost to seed beds will improve the growth and health of the seedling.
Then give half kilogram of vermi compost to each plant at the time of re-planting and
half kilogram after 45 days. Apply 5 to 10 kilograms of vermi compost per year to bigger
trees. Pour water to the vermi tanks and collect the drained water as vermi wash. This is an
excellent mixture of major and micro nutrients, growth regulators and hormones. Even it is
a good repellent of pests and diseases. We can get excellent crop by spraying vermi wash.
Let us study the method of production of vermi compost now. Bigger earth worms from Africa
are in use for this purpose. Vermi compost production capacity of these worms is much
higher than our indigenous worms. It grows up to 5 to 6 inches and lives up to 2.5 years.
It prefers 25 to 30? centigrade temperature and 40 to 45 % moisture. We may feed these
worms with dry leaves, crop residues, sugar cane waste etc. But avoid flowers and tobacco
plant. Spray water and mix cow dung to the raw material and heap under shade for 3 to
4 weeks. Then this partially decomposed material is fed to the earthworms. If the fresh farm
waste is given directly, heat generated during decomposition may kill the worms.
It is better to provide roof for vermi compost tanks to avoid rain and direct sun. Normally
tanks are built with stone or cement for this purpose. However, many farmers follow heap
method like this under shade. Even portable vermi tanks of this type are also seen. It
is advised to limit the width of the tanks to 3 to 4 feet and height to 2 to 3 feet.
Length is according to your convenience. Provide a hole at the bottom of the tank to drain
excess water. Put a layer of course material like coconut husk at the bottom of the tank.
This is necessary to drain excess water and vermi wash. Then put a layer of organic waste
for half feet height. Spread fresh cow dung or slurry on it. Put another layer of organic
material. Repeat these layers till the tank is full. Then spread earthworms on the top
at the rate of 25 worms per square feet. If worms are not available spread fresh -moist
vermi compost. The eggs in this compost will hatch to produce tiny worms. But it will take
more time to produce compost. Spray water to maintain 40 to 45 % moisture. Compost will
be ready within 2 to 3 months depending on the raw material. The worms go deep in to
the tank if water is not given for 3 to 4 days. Then collect the vermi compost from
the top. Sieve this compost after drying excess moisture. Continue the production of vermi
compost by spreading the raw material again in to the tank.
Birds, ants, rats and mouse are the enemies of the earthworms. It is better to put stone
slab or cement concrete to the floor of the vermi compost shed. Water channel around the
vermi tank or spreading wood ash will avoid ants. But do not use any pesticides for the
purpose. Production of vermi compost is a rural commercial subsidiary activity now.
This can generate an attractive income for small farmers and landless people. Many big
dairies sell vermi compost instead of dung to generate additional income.
Panchagavya for agriculture use is also becoming popular now. This is a Vedic concept. We are
giving a representative composition of Panchagavya out of many combinations in use. Take a plastic
barrel or cement tank and put 3 liters of cow urine, 2 liters of cooled boiled cow milk,
2 liters of curd, 10 banana, 3 liters of tender coconut water and 1 kilogram of brown jaggary
dissolved in 3 liters of water. In another barrel mix 5 kilograms of fresh cow dung and
1 liter of cow ghee. Mix the content of these barrels after keeping them separately for
3 days. Then keep it for 7 days. Keep on stirring the mixture once in a day with a wooden stick.
Filter this mixture through a net and keep the barrel covered with a cloth to the open
top. This Panchagavya may be used up to 15 to 20 days. This is a rich mixture of micronutrients,
hormones, plant growth regulators and useful microorganisms. This is a good repellent of
pests and diseases also. Panchagavya may be sprayed to the crops or drenched to the base
of the plant. It may be spread at the time of compost production. Excellent result is
recorded everywhere with the use of Panchagavya. Let us know one more method of supplying nutrients.
Mix 10 kilograms of fresh cow dung, 10 liters of cow urine, 1 kilogram of jaggary and 100
liters of water in a tank or barrel. Use this mixture on next day with irrigation water
at the rate of 500 liters per acre. For spraying, mix 10 kilograms of cow dung, 10 liters of
cow urine, 1 kilogram of jaggary and 10 liters of water in a tank. Filter this mixture on
next day and spray to the crop at the rate of 100 ml per liter of water. Spraying this
extract 2 to 3 times for any crop will give good result.
We find bio-digesters in many farms in recent years. Locally available herbages are digested
in a tank like this. Di-cot plants and plants well known for pest and disease control are
selected on priority. Some farmers put neem cake, sheep and poultry manure, vermi compost
etc. in bags and immerse it in the same tank. Extract collected in the tank or the digester
is filtered and given to the crop with irrigation water. Many farmers spray this extract directly
to the crop. According to the farmers experience this extract from the bio digester improves
crop health and growth. We find farm houses and cattle shed at a height
just next to the garden in western Ghat region. Many farmers stopped producing farm yard manure
due to labor shortage. Transporting the manure needs lot of manpower and leads to nutrient
loss also. Hence these farmers flow bio gas slurry directly to the garden through pipe
line. Slurry is put to the base of each tree with the help of hose pipe. Slurry is collected
in a tank and diluted with additional water. Leaves, straws etc. are cleaned to avoid clogging
of pipe line. This mixture flows to the garden by gravity. Farmers without this benefit of
slope use slurry pump. Slurry is transported in a tanker to the garden if the distance
is more. Organic waste available on the farm is put around the tree base and slurry is
poured on it twice a year. This may be called as in situ manure production. Here the wastage
of nutrients is very minimal. Earthworms become active and produce vermi compost. This method
gives very good result if the moisture is maintained throughout the year in the garden.
This method is termed as slurrygation. Green manuring is one more effective method
of supplying nutrients. Leguminous plants are grown on the farm or outside and the herbage
is mixed in the soil. This enriches the humus and nutrient content of the soil. It improves
the soil structure also. Sun hemp, Diancha, Sesbenia etc. are the common green manuring
species grown on the farm. These plants are cut and ploughed in to the soil just before
flowering. Adding green manures 2 to 3 weeks before planting of the main crop will give
good result. Sun hemp is grown between rows of sugarcane, banana, mulberry etc. It is
incorporated in to the soil after 4 weeks. Black gram, green gram and cow pea are also
in use as green manure crops. Sun hemp, horse gram etc. are grown in open spaces of mango
and other plantations. This helps even for weed control. Root knots of these leguminous
plants store nitrogen. Subabul, Gliricidia, Sesbenia etc. are grown outside the farm or
along the fence. Herbage is cut and used as green manure. Green manuring once in 2 years
also brings excellent crop improvement. Non-edible oil cakes are the rich source of
plant nutrients. Neem cake is not only useful for nutrient supply but also for pest and
disease control. Caster and Pongamia cakes are the other cakes in use. Water fern Azolla
is becoming popular in recent years as a green manure and cattle feed. Blue-green algae called
Anabaena present in the folds of leaves fixes atmospheric nitrogen. Azolla provides 25 kilograms
of nitrogen per acre in a season. It can grow and cover the whole water surface of paddy
field in 15 days. It is puddled in to the soil as green manure one week before transplanting
the paddy seedlings. Tank silt is lifted after the water dries up in summer and spread in
the field. This is a popular practice in plains. Adding tank silt can give good crop for 2-3
years. Wood ash is also a good source of plant nutrients.
Bio fertilizer is another important source of nutrients. This is a mixture of microorganisms
supplying plant nutrients by fixation or solubilization. Rhizobium is the most popular bio-fertilizer.
This bacterium lives in the root knots of leguminous plant and fixes atmospheric nitrogen.
Rhizobium plays an important role in di-cot grams like red gram, black gram, green gram,
Bengal gram etc. and in oil seeds like ground nut and soya bean. Rhizobium fixes 20 to 40
kilograms of nitrogen per acre per season. Thus, it meets 80 to 90 % of nitrogen requirement
of the crop naturally. Rhizobium treatment in these leguminous crops will bring 15 to
30 % improvement in yield. Apart from that sizable amount of nitrogen remains in the
soil and is utilized by next crop. However, the effectiveness of bio-fertilizer largely
depends on soil type, climatic condition, pest and disease management method, fertilizer
use, sub-species of the microorganism used and method of application etc.
Cost of bio-fertilizer is very less. For seed treatment it will be rupees 10 per acre. Rhizobium
is grown in the laboratory, mixed with charcoal powder and supplied to the farmers. Prepare
jaggary solution. Smear this sticky solution on the seed. Spread the bio-fertilizer on
it and mix thoroughly. It sticks well on the seeds due to jaggary solution. Dry the seeds
under shade and use it for sowing as early as possible. Seed treatment of the bio-fertilizer
is the easiest and effective method. There are few more bio-fertilizers in use.
Azotobacter is the free-living nitrogen fixing bacteria around the plant roots. It is beneficial
for vegetables and all other crop plants. Use of this broad-spectrum bio-fertilizer
can bring up to 20 % yield improvement in paddy, wheat, sorghum, maize, sugar cane,
cotton, potato, sunflower and other crops. Azotobacter can fix 10 kilograms of atmospheric
nitrogen per acre in a season. Apart from this it helps for better seed germination,
more root proliferation, early flowering and maturity also. Azotobacter is used by seed
treatment, dipping plant roots, spreading to the soil or by mixing while preparing compost.
Azotobacter synthesis some plant growth substances like vitamin B, IAA, gibberellins, cytokinin
etc. and stores in the soil, which improve the crop growth. Azotobacter produces some
antibiotic substances which hinder the development of pathogenic fungi, bacteria and viruses.
It improves the availability of phosphorus also.
Azospirillum is another bacterium in use as bio-fertilizer. This is also a free-living
nitrogen fixing microorganism. Application is similar to Azotobacter. Azospirillum gives
good result in sorghum, minor millets, maize, sugarcane and wheat. Apart from this nitrogen
fixing bacteria VA mycorrhiza is used to improve the availability of phosphorus, zinc, copper
and sulfur. This is a hair like primitive plant which lives in association with plant
roots. It gets food from the plant and helps the plant to absorb water and nutrients. The
main constraint of VAM is that it cannot be cultured separately. It needs to be maintained
with host plant itself. Roots of these host plant is applied to add mycorrhiza to the
field. Phosphorus gets fixed and becomes unavailable
to the plant at very high or low pH levels. To make it available phosphorus solubilizing
bacteria or PSB is in use. This can release 12 kilograms of phosphorus per acre in a season.
PSB is effective for paddy, minor millet, oil seeds, di-cot grams and vegetables. This
bacterium may be used for seed treatment, dipping roots or spreading to the soil directly.
200 grams of PSB is necessary for seed treatment for medium sized seeds like ground nut or
wheat. For small seeds 100 grams of PSB is enough. For root dipping method mix 1 kilogram
of PSB bio-fertilizer in 10 to 15 liters of water. Dip the roots of the seedlings in the
mixture for 5 minutes and plant as early as possible. This dipping method is useful for
transplanted crops like vegetables and paddy. For spreading directly to the field mix 3
to 5 kilograms of PSB with 50 kilograms of farm yard manure and apply.
Keep any bio-fertilizer in cool place without direct sunlight. Avoid contact with fertilizer
or any chemical. Do not use any bio-fertilizer after expiry date. In Rhizobium there are
separate strains for different crops. Using only the specified strain will give good result.
Cover crops and mulching are becoming popular again. You find creepers covering the whole
area in this garden. Here green herbages are being spread. In this banana plantation the
wastage of the same crop is spread. Growing cover crops in rubber plantation is a popular
practice. It is useful for weed control, soil and moisture conservation. Mulching increases
soil microbial activity and hence the soil becomes living soil. Decomposition of mulch
adds organic matter to the soil. Percolation of rainwater improves. Selecting leguminous
species for the purpose of cover crop is still better.
Agro forestry is the important component of organic farming. Growing useful plants and
trees as live fence and in available free spaces provide organic matter for manuring,
wood for agriculture use and firewood. Green manure and fodder species are the better choice
for agro forestry. It provides food and shelter for honey bees and birds. Hence it enriches
the bio-diversity of the farm. Live fence is useful as wind breaker in banana plantation.
Thus, agro forestry is the integral part of organic farming.
Inter cropping and mixed cropping are also one of the important features of organic farming.
Generally leguminous crops are intercropped with mono-cot crops. Sorghum-red gram-cow
pea, sugarcane � soya bean, maize � red gram, banana � cowpea etc. is the popular
combinations. Planning these combinations depends on crop duration, growth nature, height,
spreading of roots etc. Di-cot crops improve the soil fertility apart from crop yield.
This improves the growth and yield of mono-cot crops. Mono-cropping leads to deficiency of
micro nutrients. Multiple cropping systems are helpful even for weed, pest and disease
management. Likewise crop rotation is useful in organic farming. Paddy crop in Kharif season
and ground nut, black gram, green gram, cowpea etc. in Rabbi season is a popular practice
in traditional paddy area. Leguminous crop in the crop cycle improves the soil fertility
and the next mono-cot crop gets the benefit. Crop rotation helps to break pest and disease
build up also. Deep rooted crops in the crop cycle bring nutrients from deeper layer to
the top soil. Deep and excess ploughing is not advisable
in organic farming. Unnecessary ploughing disturbs the soil structure and leads to soil
erosion. Tilling is inevitable in annual crops. But in plantations avoid inter cultivation
and cut off the weed and use it for mulching. This helps for weed control and conservation
of moisture. It creates micro climate and adds humus to the soil. Excess irrigation
is not good. It leads to the depletion of nutrients apart from the wastage of water.
Salts in the deeper layer of alkaline soil come to upper layer due to over irrigation
and makes the soil saline. Micro or sprinkler irrigation is better in organic farming to
maintain humid micro climate and for better decomposition of organic matter.
Weed is not the enemy of crops. Some weeds bring nutrients from deeper layer of soil
to the upper layer. Cutting the weed before flowering is the better practice. We may use
small rotary tiller for inter-cultivation. Some weeds like touch me not and cassia tora
belong to legume group which have nitrogen storage in root knots to enrich soil fertility.
Dear viewers, till now we have studied the necessity of organic farming, principles,
national policy, alternative methods of nutrient supply etc. in detail. The second part of
this film will cover pest and disease management in organic farming, organic certification,
animal husbandry and bee keeping in organic method etc. Let us meet again in the next
part of this film. 12

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