Under this technology, synthetic mulches are used to cover the soil to protect its moisture content

Is it possible to cultivate the farm with commercial crops without tilling the land? Can farming be made viable with less inputs? Yes, is the answer if one visits a field at this tiny village, about three kilometres from the National Highway No.-9 near Zaheerabad.

Plastic mulching (covering of soil) is an advanced technology being used in the farm sector by entrepreneurial farmers to reduce the input cost. Under this technology, synthetic mulches would be used to cover the soil, which would protect the moisture content in the soil as well as arrest the breeding of weed near the stem of the crop. It would also reduce the unnecessary use of fertilizers by facilitating the use of fertilizer near the stem.

Experimental basis

Plastic mulching was done by Y. Sambashiva Rao of Nova Agritech in about 25 acres of area in this village on experimental basis.

The first crop of chilly was sown in September last year after covering the soil in the farm with plastic cover with fixed intervals.

After harvesting the crop in February this year, cotton was sown in the same farm without tilling the land or making any other preparation as an experiment in one acre area initially. As the result was encouraging it was extended to another 22 acres. In the same mode, maize and vegetables were was sown in five acres. “This type of farming is almost with zero tilling. The farmer need not worry about the tilling cost. Similarly, the labour cost to remove weed also be minimal with no weeding taking place near the stem, which would harm the plant. Plastic mulching added with drip system would reduce the water use by 60 per cent and fertilizer use by 50 per cent,” Mr. Sambashiva Rao told The Hindu on Saturday. However, there was a rider for practicing this system. This technology can not be used in rain-fed farming.

It would cost about Rs.12,000 per acre in cotton farming for plastic munching and Rs.15,000 in vegetables farming, as the gap between plants would be much less. The government has been offering a subsidy of Rs.4,000 per acre, Mr. Sambashiva Rao added. He said that for the first time, second crop in mulching was experimented successfully.

  • In this type of farming, the ryot need not worry about tilling cost

  • Labour cost to remove weeds is also minimal with no weeding near the stem