A farmer in Krishna district, Panchakarla Vishnuvardhan Rao, is cultivating paddy with cow dung and urine and the increase in yield is encouraging.
A graduate in science from the local National College, Vishnu is a regular reader of the ‘Science and Technology Column’ of ‘The Hindu’ and practices cultivation without using any fertilisers and pesticides.
“Cultivating paddy with ‘Jeevamrutam’ (known as Zero Budget Natural Farming) will increase soil fertility. It also requires less water and can withstand natural calamities.
The produce is also good for health,” he said. Raising MTU-7029 (Swarna variety) paddy in five acres of land in Arisepally village near Machilipatnam, the farmer said natural farming was suitable for the local soil, which has high salinity content.
‘Jeevamrutam’ prevents diseases like ‘sheet blight’ ( poda tegulu in local parlance), ‘rice blast’ ( aggi tegulu ), protects the crop from ‘leaf folder insect’ ( kandam toliche purugu ), and saves the plants from bacteria and fungus, he said.
Explaining the process of natural farming, Vishnu said he prepared ‘Jeevamrutam’ by mixing 10 kgs of cow dung, 10 litres of urine, stored butter milk, 2 kgs of pulse flour, two kgs of jaggery and fermented it for 72 hours. “The farmer should spray the mixture on the crop and pour the remaining liquid on the field, which will preserve water and absorb nitrogen,” he explained.
An insecticide can also be prepared by boiling leaves from custard apple and neem with cow urine and it should be sprayed once every 15 days to prevent crop diseases.
Paddy raised through natural farming is also good for health, he said.
“The duration of cultivation of the crop, by this method, is 145 days and the farmer gets 30 bags of paddy per acre.
Farmers can take up natural farming by using ‘Jeevamrutam’, with lesser investment and increased soil productivity,” said a beaming Vishnu.