Saturday, January 26, 2013

Deweeding by Brush cutter

As part of our efforts to mechanize farm operations, brush cutter is another implement which we have added recently to our growing list of machines.
The machine marketed by Oleo mac is a very handy tool to keep the weeds under control in areas of intensive cultivation and is powered by petrol. In our experience so far, it consumes 1 litre in 1.5 to 2 hours (depending on thickness of weeds).

Brush cutter in action

Before pic..

After pic..

Currently, we are using the brush cutter in a couple of plots where fodder is being cultivated as an intercrop with mango. Deweeding by rotavator is impossible due to close spacing, as a result this machine works well. As an effort to reuse agri waste optimally, the weeds that have been cut will be used to mulch the mango plants.

If any of our followers use better, more efficient weed management methods, feel free to share the information.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sheep procurement at Tirumangalam market

Savera Farms made its debut in the animal husbandry department by purchasing 20 female and 1 male sheep from Tirumangalam market (approx 20 km from Madurai) last week.

We reached Tirumangalam market at 8 am and the place was a total chaos. The first impression I got at the entrance gate was that there were thousands of people in there and no animals. Puzzled, I followed the vet who accompanied us and went further in. After a short walk into the compound, we saw the animals we were seeking. There were primarily goats and sheep in all shades of white, black and brown.

First glance...Dude, where are the animals ?

We are family..

Osmanabadis from Andhra.

I need a home..

We went around the market and looked at animals from various farmers/brokers. Apparently, the animals are not sold by weight but rather on face value. After getting an idea on what the prevailing rates are, we went on a small shopping spree to procure our first herd from various sellers. Negotiations, theatrics and some more negotiation followed. Finally, we were able to procure them for an average price of Rs 3000 per female and Rs 5000 per male.

The animals we bought are Ramnad white cross variety and are considered suitable for this part of the state. These animals will primary be our grazer and 'weed-control' herd, so lineage of the animals is not of prime importance at this time.

We also saw the promotional scheme by TN animal husbandry department where the government pays for 4 goats @ Rs 2500 per animal to economically disadvantaged/ widowed women. The beneficiary has the choice to select the animals from the market and anything above Rs 10,000 is borne by the buyer.

 Animal husbandry dept officials handing out the animals to a beneficiary

It took us about 3 hours to complete the procurement process.

Loading in process..

All loaded up, ready to go...

The procurement process was a great learning experience. It can be overwhelming given the chaos etc but a couple of hours into it, one tends to feel a little more comfortable. In everyone's interest, I would highly recommend others to share their experiences as well. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Deweeding via Rotavator

Monsoons in 2012 were highly deficient in Tamil Nadu and a few districts in the state were declared drought hit. In Sivaganga, there were a few showers in August and September. The next 2 months which typically receives more rain, went dry.

The first week of 2013 witnessed continuous drizzling for a couple of days. With the soil moist, we put the mini tractor Rotavator to work to incorporate the weeds into the soil that had accumulated since the last deweeding.

Following are a few photos and recent videos of us deweeding Mango acerages at Savera Farms.

The 'aligners' proved to be helpful to operate close to our Alphonso saplings without casualties. After initial oversight by the farm hands, the operator was able to confidently plough close to the plants and speed up the operation.

The organic (bio-mass) replenishment is among the best ways to revive the land. As an added incentive, we noticed a flock of white-herons have started frequenting our plots for worms, even in days when we don't plough!

Reliable performance and speed of operation are significant advantages for mechanized deweeding in this manner. It is important to setup a regular schedule to deweed plantation crops, especially in the early phases. Training the labour force and maintenance of equipment have not been intensive so the rewards of Rotavating far outweigh the costs.

Friday, January 4, 2013

In the News : Savera Farm

Last year Savera Farms was featured on a popular Indian agriculture related forum. Please find their feature article on us via this link.

It was just now we realized it has been a year since this article was published but we did not get a chance to share it. Since this article was published we have completed Phase 1 work of about 50 acres and today we are on trajectory to wrap up Phase 2 development of approx 40 acres by summer 2013.

Hopefully some of you will find the article interesting and feel free to share your feedback and agri related experiences with this community.. It would be great to hear publicly from our readers who have recently started their own agri-operations.