Monday, January 31, 2011

In search of water..

After much delay due to high moisture in the ground, borewell truck rolled in on 3rd week of January. For now, we have dug 2 borewells but plan on having 4 more points in the coming months. "Hard rock" was found at 150 feet (which translates to 150 ft of casing pipes for support, after which the rock strata itself provides the support). Water potential seems to be good in our area. The actual yield will be determined only after we have EB connections but it is estimated we should get 2.5 to 3 inches of water..

Borewell truck is massive weighing about 70 tons. As a result, they avoid going to places which are high in moisture.

Support truck with Casing pipes. Each pipe is 30 ft long and costs Rs 185/ft. We used 150 feet of casing pipes till we hit the rock strata.

Borewell crew from Chattisgarh. Intrestingly, they work in 2 shifts. One team works during the day and the other at night. They travel across the country with supplies, gas cylinders and everything you can imagine..

Bore point that needs to be drilled.

Bore machine taking position..

Borewell crew loading up a bore. We used 15 and 18 bores for the two points. Each bore is 18.5 ft long. Don't ask me the rationale behind such a specific length :)
Cost of digging which is proportional to number of borewell rods cost us Rs 52/ft

First sight of sand-water discharge.The worker on left is channelizing the discharge. More action in videos tab..

It took about 5 hours to complete the first point. By the time, we started the second point, it was 6 pm.

Second point took longer than expected. There was a big reservoir of water beneath and the bore could not get good support due to sandy structure beneath.
This was taken sometime around 2 am. Manish - our farm manager on right, Ram Singh - our all-rounder employee and myself on left.

 Dried up discharge from one of the borewell points taken several days later..

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Land improvement complete!!

In exactly one month, we were able to improve approx. 50 acres of land. This included shrub cleaning, rock removal and disc ploughing (cross 2 times). The soil is blood red and has been thoroughly solarised.

 The next step is to use rotavator to make the soil even finer, wherever that is needed..

Ploughing the last bit
 50 acres of red earth!
They insisted that their picture is taken on the last day of work - totally southern style...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Case IH STX 500 Quadtrac World Ploughing Record


We are almost done with our initial ploughing. The soil is deep red and full of promise. It is good that this tract of land has not been cultivated for a while so the soil is not 'tired'. A few weeks of aeration will be needed and we should be good to begin the final tilling. I am looking forward to the next phase : Soil preparation, pit digging, drip irrigation design and finally sowing.

While looking online for inspiration to speed up our ploughing, I came across this video. Seems like a fun thing to do, not sure if I would ever want to plough over 200 acres in less than 20 hours!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

...And now we have roads!

Who says you need a Civil Engineer to make roads??
One tape, a couple of yellow rods, three people and 4 wooden sticks is what we needed...its that simple!!
 Our final destination for road marking...
 JCB carving out a road from the markings we made..the drive is a whole lot smoother now

Finally, the main road is "Bolero Friendly". Now we should not get stuck in soft patches as much!

A couple of weeks later, we constructed our 10 feet cross road..We'll call this intersection Savera crossing

View of the winding road splitting the farm into approx. equal parts. Now we have one 20 feet main road, 10 feet cross road and a perimeter road around the farm for easy access.

When the rubber hits the road..

After several months of administrative, environmental and other miscellaneous delays, land improvement at Savera Farms finally started on Dec 27th 2010. The generous monsoon rains of 2010 was welcomed by most but it made any kind of land development impossible.
Land improvement comprised of 3 activities -
First, bushes and rocks are removed by JCB. Second component is to use disc plough to unearth the soil in order to solarize it. Third component is to use 9 fingers implement to capture big stones and weeds that may have been left after bush clearing and rock removal.
Some pics of the farm before land improvement..

One of the water channels that borders our land

View from the entrance

And then the JCBs rolled in to do some serious clean up! 
Good ole' JCB drivers - Ramakrishna and Murugan

JCB - Destroys pretty much everything on its way

..And that's me 'keping'em honest'....

JCB spearheading the attack on thorny and unwieldy bushes

It is lunch time under the big machine to escape the blistering heat!!

Taming some more wild

Mission Accomplished...