Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Looking for a Farm Manager

Savera Farms is looking for a farm manager, with at least 4-5 years of relevant experience in horticulture. 

The ideal candidate would have the following responsibilities -

  • He will be overall in charge of the farm including day to day operations
  • Implement Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Integrated Farm Management (IFM) concepts.
  • Provide ideas on increasing crop and soil productivity, including effective water management
  • Manage the farm labor tactfully for optimal output
  • Execute farm development schedule/activities.
  • Liaison with agriculture consultants/visiting experts and understand the schedules/guidance and implement it
  • Co-ordinate with the local suppliers of farm inputs and planting material for timely delivery.
  • He will be responsible for the entire project lifecycle – from sowing, routine maintenance to harvest
  • Provide ideas and implement the entire farm design
  • Provide ideas for optimal land development prior to sowing
  • Maintain Vermi compost pit sites for in-house consumption
  • Identify and implementations of water management techniques across the farm.
  • Train farm labour on operation of farm equipment / systems including drip irrigation system.
  • Provide ideas on cultivation and marketability of short term crops

Friday, September 16, 2011

Germinating brinjal ..

Brinjal is one of the short term crops we plan on cultivating this season. The idea for a short term crop was to generate some income to pay part of the expenses. Given that it was our first time, we defined a list of criteria for selecting the right crop. The ones we came up with were the following
  • It should be easily marketable in the local/surrounding markets. 
  • A crop with relatively less price fluctuation. 
  • It should respond well to drip irrigation (According to one of the TNAU studies, yield of brinjal under drip is 2-3 times more than conventional irrigation)
  • Crop that is not too labour intensive with minimal to moderate water requirement.
  • It should respond well to inherent soil and climatic conditions.

Keeping the above criteria in mind, Brinjal came out as a strong contender.

So we started our brinjal nursery in early September and by early October, the seedlings should be ready for transplanting.
Beds of size 2m x 5m were made. Periphery of the bed was dug about 6-8 inches deep and then soil was turned over the bed.

Later, it was found that 2 m was too wide..so we split it into half. So the bed dimensions are 1m x 5m .
20 square meters of bed area should be sufficient for 0.5 acres of seedlings.

An elusive recipe was then concocted...Elusive because more the people I talked to, each came up with his own recipe..Eventually I just took the common denominators and the mixture was spread evenly over the bed

So here it goes -
Urea - 250 gm/bed
Furadon - 50 gm/bed
FYM - 5 Kg/bed
Vermicompost - 5 Kg/bed
Phosphate - 750 gm/bed

A V-shaped cross section stick was used to make grooves across the beds (where seeds were planted)

Brinjal seeds were treated with Trichoderma viride (5 gm) which is a fungicide.

Treated seeds were placed in the grooves.

Paddy waste was spread evenly over the bed. This is used to develop a conducive environment for favourable germination and prevents spilling over of seeds while irrigating.

A sneak peak at 5 days..

At 12 days!

A closer look!!

Day 18..

I am also planning to germinate some seeds in portray. It would be a great experiment to evaluate if seedlings germinated in portray are in fact healthier and yield more. If it is, then my next crop would be in germinated in portrays. More of that in the coming weeks..

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Harvesting Daincha!

Back in June, I had planted Daincha to enrich the soil in Nitrogen and to generate some organic matter for mango pits. Typically, the plants are cut within 45 days when they flower. Since I was not ready for planting mangoes, I let it grow for another 45 days.
There was a wild growth and some stems grew as high as 6 feet. The stems just above the soil were hard and thick and one could easily be hurt if not wearing shoes.
Last week, we finally cut the plants and to my surprise I found new growth emerging from the sides of cut stems (Like Melia Dubia)..This was a pleasant discovery but for now I have had enough of Daincha and would be uprooting all the undergrowth with a 5 finger implement.

Standing 6 feet tall!

All rolled up to be dumped in the mango pits..

Daincha Next-Gen!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Melia Dubia: 1 month update

So it has been a month since we planted the saplings. Melia Dubia has been responding very well to the Sivagangai climate. Of the 5285 saplings that we planted (yes! each one was accounted for), 98 plants had to be replaced. Just 2% mortality rate is great given that temperatures can soar upto 40 celsius over here. Irrigation is given every morning for about 1 hour (dripper outflow is 8 litres per hour). My next update will probably be end of the year, when they have gained some height and thickness as well. Till then, stay tuned for updates in Mango and some short term crops!