This technique is presently a huge hit among farmers in Erode

Present day intensive agricultural practices depend largely on external inputs such as fertiliser and pesticides. But the inputs do not come for free.

They are priced high and the rising production costs and negative impact on the soil environment have been leading several farmers to think of alternate practices that are environmentally safe and sustain soil fertility.

Must practice

“For getting a good yield the soil must be fertile. To maintain or restore the soil back to health is a time consuming but must practice for farmers. The soil is home to millions of beneficial microorganisms that aid plant growth.

“There is no use of dumping chemicals in the field killing these beneficial organisms and expecting a bountiful yield,” says Dr. P. Alagesan, Programme Coordinator, Myrada, Gobichettipalayam, Erode District.

The need of the hour therefore is to make a conscious move towards sustainable practices that do not affect the environment and at the same time help growers to get a good yield.

Thulasiammal Farm near Chennimalai in Erode is nearly 20 acres large. Like many other farms one cannot notice anything unusual in this place.

But for several growers in Erode and surrounding areas this place serves as a knowledge hub and training centre for learning the different aspects of organic agriculture.

The manager of the farm Mr. A. Alagesan is an innovative progressive farmer in organic farming practices and is credited to have developed an effective liquid manure manufacturing technology from cow dung and cow urine.

Labelled as a manure factory this technique is presently a huge hit among farmers in the region.

“All one needs for making it is about Rs.800 as investment for purchasing a plastic barrel. The rest of the inputs can be easily sourced from the farm itself. The basic principles behind this technology are fermentation and sedimentation processes,” says Mr. A. Alagesan.

Requirements

A 200 litre plastic barrel and three plastic gate valves are the requirements. Two quarter inch plastic gate valves are fixed one about a quarter inch below the top of the barrel and the second a quarter inch above the bottom. The third one inch valve is fixed behind the barrel at the bottom.

Fresh desi cow dung and urine should be mixed well with 10 parts of water in the barrel and allowed to ferment for a day.

Add one kg of jaggery for the next day along with decomposed fruits, vegetables or practically any vegetative matter available in the farm.

Close the mouth

Close the mouth of the barrel using a thin piece of cloth to prevent mosquitoes or other insects from laying their eggs.

“Only indigenous cow dung and urine must be used because the microbial activity in local cow waste is more than in other cross bred animals,” says Mr. Alagesan.

Leave the solution undisturbed for a week. After a week farmers can use this solution by opening the valve at the top and allowing fermented liquid to flow freely along with irrigating water or through drip irrigation.

Once in 10 days

Once in ten days water must be added to increase the solution level in the barrel and can be used. Every 20-25 days the barrel must be cleaned and the sediments allowed to wash out by opening the valve at the back.

By adopting this technique a farmer can save Rs.4,000-20,000 per hectare. Apart from reduction in cost of cultivation, this technology increases the water holding capacity of the soil and improves the beneficial micro organisms present in the soil.

Previous experience

“Previously we attempted to create a similar model in a cement tank but the cost worked out to nearly Rs. 60,000. Farmers who visited it opined that they could not afford such a high cost technology.

“After some thinking I have designed this model and named it manure production factory which is not only affordable but also effective,” he adds.

For personal visits and more details readers can contact Mr. A .Alagesan, Manager of URC – Thulasiammal Farm, Mylady near Chennimalai, email: alagesan.ponnusamy@urc.in, Mobile: 09842135117.

This article has been corrected for a factual error.

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