Sunday, March 25, 2012

Farmer Profile : Mr. G. Ranga Prabhu (G9 Banana)


“A person suffering from some ailment chooses the type of treatment he desires — whether to choose allopathy, siddha, unani or ayurveda treatment. Similarly farmers are at liberty to choose the type of inputs they need for their crops, instead of listening to others,” says farmer Mr. G. Ranga Prabhu, from Theni, Madurai. Mr. Prabhu earned about Rs. 3,00,000 from banana (G-9 variety) from cultivation in three acres in 9-10 months using only natural manures.A lawyer turned organic farmer, he claims that natural inputs work best and can result in a good yield.

Open invite

“I invite people to visit my field in Theni, to see for themselves the healthy growth of my banana crops. I use only waste from my piggery unit and some other natural inputs such as effective micro-organisms for my crop,” he explains.Presently there are two views regarding crop cultivation according to him. One group professes its faith in chemical based agriculture and the other, in using natural methods. “It is best for the farmer to study the pros and cons of both and then decide on his own as to what methods will suit him,” he cautions.

Holistic approach

“Though today organic food is fast becoming a fad among the city dwellers, some 50-60 years ago, our grandfathers' grew crops only through organic methods. A holistic approach to the village ecosystem — farm, animals, birds, insects — was undertaken and everything played a role in different stages of a plant growth,” explains Mr. Prabhu.“But in the name of development and scientific methods of cultivation the learned scientific fraternity ridiculed these effective practices and advocated the need for using artificial inputs. “Now, the very same elite people realize the dangers of these chemicals filtering into the food we eat, and are suddenly preaching the advantages of going “organic” and “eco-sensitive,” adds Mrs Gayatri.

Proven fact

According to Mr. Prabhu, it is a proven fact that cost of cultivation comes down to nearly 70 per cent if natural inputs are used. It is also a myth that the yield in organic cultivation is low. The agro-chemical industry's claims of increased yield usually lasts for only the first few years. After that, farmers report a significant drop and sometimes complete degradation of the soil, whereas organic farmers in the same area are able to sustain good harvests at almost the same levels.


For more details, Mr. G. Ranga Prabu can be contacted via mobile at 9962552993.
Complete article is at : http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/agriculture/article2126855.ece

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Email Notifications for Subscribers

Periodically, Google will send me statistics around the readership of this blog. Recently I noticed that among the 220 or so subscribed readers, a large number do not receive email notifications when a blog is posted since their emails have not been verified after they signed up. Readers who had signed up in the past but not receiving email notifications, need to verify / confirm their emails. The simplest way would be to use the 'subscribe for updates' tool on the right panel. Subsequently, confirm your email using the system generated notification sent to you. Based on site data, I rendered these for fun.


On a closing note, I always look forward to hearing from the community. Readership has been steadily increasing and your feedback, comments keeps me motivated, thank you! Please continue the dialog or provide suggestions to improve this site and your experience with it. Several of you are in touch with me off-line, while a few even visited us at Savera Farms. Life at the farm is demanding but it always feels good to meet other Agri-prenuers or fellow Techie2Aggies! :))

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pruning of Melia Dubia


After pruning Mango UHD, our support staff moven on to Melia Dubia trees. The average tree height across various Melia Dubia plots on the plantation is about 6-7 ft, although some of the early bloomers are as high as 12-13 ft. Overall, this growth can be considered above average, which has been primarily due to soil quality and loose soil depth. Despite that, certain Melia Dubia plots exhibit stunted growth which is indicative of relatively inferior soil and nutrient content. To counter stunted growth, we are planning on fertigating such plants with Humic Acid. Second round of manuring (at 7 months) which included 5 Kg of Pressmud/Coir Pith manure, was applied last week.

Timber trees are expected to exhibit good growth with Urea and other chemical fertilizers but the downside is that timber does not compact itself when treated in this manner. Eventually, this is not considered favorable at time of sale.

I have met and talked to several experts in the timber business and all of them have advised me to refrain from using chemicals for a quick growth. Humic Acid is organic and is said to improve soil quality and plant growth. We will start using this in the next few weeks. Will post an update on this in the near future.

We started pruning branches of trees that are above 7-8 feet leaving a little canopy at the top.


Before pruning. Older branches continue to spread in the lower part of the tree.
















During pruning, a healthy canopy is retained while several lower branches are removed to promote vertical growth.













One needs to be careful while pruning the branches without bruising the stem. Pruning should be done 1-2 inches away from the stem leaving a little stubble on the trunk. It will automatically drop within 3-4 days, keeping the bark smooth.

In Melia Dubia, pruning (of branches) is done to reduce the energy consumption by the excess leaves, which in turn leads to more available energy for vertical growth. In mango, the pruning (of stem) is performed for horizontal growth by cutting the stem and inducing more horizontal branches. If anyone has performed such pruning at their location, I would be interested in exchanging note on their experiences and long term results. Feel free to drop me a line or post a comment online.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pruning of Mango Ultra High Density (UHD)

After having planted 11000+ trees last year, surviving our first full monsoon without much damage, and cultivating a couple of short term crops, needless to say we had a very busy 10-12 months. We decided to take it slow in March and switch to planning and maintenance mode.

Temperatures have started to soar to about 37-38 celsius and there is no indication of any rain anytime soon. Second phase of land development and cleaning has been swifter than anticipated. Several boulders were unearthed by the previous owners and land leveled which made our task easier.  

If you remember, our mango saplings were planted in Oct 2011 just before the onset of monsoons. So far the growth has been encouraging due to timely fertigation, regular irrigation and periodic manuring. Last week, we started pruning the Imampasand plot, some of the saplings stand tall at 3-4 ft.

The basic premise of Ultra High density is frequent pruning which results in more branches which would eventually lead to more fruits (for a relatively small canopy). The first round of pruning is done at 45 cm - 60 cm above the ground. One needs to look for a suitable whorl and cut the stem right below it. Ensure 2-3 leaves are present after the pruning. These will eventually become secondary branches. Second round of pruning will occur at 20-30 cm from the stem.

Below are before and after pics of Imampasand saplings.



The above sapling stood at approx 3.5 ft after 4 months.


After pruning, the sapling growth will now be stunted vertically and will stimulate horizontal branches.