Sunday, September 22, 2013

Seed Treatment Campaign

Seed treatment campaign was conducted in many places in Karaikal. I conducted at two villages - Subrayaburam and Thennangudy. It was an awareness creation programme. As the agriculture season is picking up, it was a low cost technology which helps the crop to gain resistance to root borne diseases and facilitates Organic farming.

Seed treatment is similar to immunization programme for children. Like we have an injection within 5 days of child birth is this seed treatment. Giving the immunization at the earliest stage of life. If the farmer has missed the seed treatment, he can broadcast the bio-control agent in nursery field. It is like an injection at 45th day. If the farmer plans his transplanting he can go for seedling root dipping. Its like an injection at 65th day. If the farmer has already transplanted he can very well broadcast in the field twice or thrice, its like polio vaccination for children under 5 years old every year. We know the importance of immunization to children and now it is time to treat our agricultural crops also as children and give maximum care that too in organic way. This will help us to have a better future and make the Earth a better place to live through ORGANIC AGRICULTURE.

Seed treatment is a process of application of chemicals or protectants (with fungicidal, insecticidal, bactericidal or nematocidal properties) to seeds that prevent the carriage of insect or pathogens in or on the seeds. In the campaign various benefits and importance of seed treatment with Pseudomonas fluorescens was detailed. It helps in effective control Blast, Bacterial leaf blight, sheath blight of paddy. It paves way for organic rice production.

Pseudomonas fluorescens is a common Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium. It belongs to the Pseudomonas genus; 16S rRNA analysis has placed P. fluorescens in the P. fluorescens group within the genus, to which it lends its name.

The method demonstration conducted was “Seed Treatment of Paddy seeds with Pseudomonas fluorescens using seed treating drum”. Five kilo paddy seed was placed in the seed treating drum. As the rate of Pseudomonas to be used for treatment are 10 gms per kilo of Paddy seeds. 50 gms of Pseudomonas was added to the seeds in the drum. The drum was closed and rotated 5 times in clockwise and anticlockwise directions each. The treated seeds were collected in a vessel. Such treated seeds can be used for soaking the seeds for enhancing germination. When the Pseudomonas treated seeds are soaked, while germination the rupture created when plumule and radicle emerges acts as an entry point for the bacteria to enter the seed and the full system gets the inoculum.

The other methods taught in the seed treatment campaign were
  1. Using rice gruel: Pseudomonas was added (at the rate of 10 gms / kg of paddy seeds) to the cooled rice gruel. It was mixed uniformly and then it was mixed with the seeds. The treated seeds should be shade dried and can be used for soaking to facilitate germination.
  1. Using Water: Pseudomonas was added (at the rate of 10 gms / kg of paddy seeds) in 1 litre of water. It was mixed uniformly and then it was mixed with the seeds. The treated seeds should be shade dried and can be used for soaking to facilitate germination.
  1. In soaking pit / pond / tank: Pseudomonas was added (at the rate of 10 gms / kg of paddy seeds) in the water available in soaking pit / pond / tank. The gunny bags containing seeds should be soaked in Pseudomonas treated water for more than 12 hours. Then remove the seed bags and cover them with dark tarpaulin sheet to facilitate germination. The Pseudomonas would enter the entire system of the plant from the initial stage itself. Then the remaining treated water used for the soaking should be added to the nursery itself. 
For those farmers who have taken up sowing either in nursery of direct sowing, the other ways of using Pseudomonas were detailed.

Seedling root dipping: Apply 2.5kg of Pseudomonas to the water stagnated in an area of 25 sq.m. The seedlings after pulling out from the nursery should be placed in stagnated water containing the bacteria. A minimum period of 30 minutes is necessary for soaking the roots and prolonged soaking will enhance the efficiency.

Soil application: Apply the product @ 2.5kg/ha mixed with 50 Kgs of well decomposed farmyard manure (FYM) or sand at 30 days after transplanting.

Foliar application: Spray the product @ 0.2% concentration (1Kg/ha) commencing from 45 days after transplanting at 10 days interval for 3 times depending on the disease intensity. If there is no disease incidence, a single spray is sufficient.

Living a Dignified Life

It is an another version of This article is written to show the story from his daughter's side.

Hemalatha, aged 31 lives with her only daughter and Father in the back yard of her Brother’s home in Surakudy Village of Karaikal District of Union Territory of Puducherry (earlier it was called as Pondicherry). She is too brilliant to read from the facial expressions and body language. She can neither hear nor speak, but that is not her only trouble, a widow from her early 20’s, Hemalatha is also a single mother at the prime of her youth. To overcome all these challenges Hemalatha decided to invest most of her time with her Father’s cattle. He is also a dependant on his only son. Hemalatha, her daughter and her father live in a hut behind his son’s house. In the backyard, daughter and father grow vegetables and fodder to live a dignified life. 

Hemalatha is very much restricted to her house as she is involved in the household chores only and not exposed to the open world. Fodder in her life is also an interesting story as it created an opportunity. Sinnappa Pillai is an agricultural worker who is also having few cattle in his home with which he is earning his living. Hemalatha’s father is a member of Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) group. As a part of a training program 100 fodder slips were provided to all the fifteen member participants of the group. Hemalatha’s family grew the fodder slip according to the instructions provided and it multiplied into thousands providing fodder slips to many without any cost as they got the initial slips free from a Government scheme.

Fodder is a grass variety whose leaves are fed to cattle which are more advantages than other forms of feed as it is natural and rich in moisture, nutrition and fiber content. It is reproduced through rooted slips (actually the bottom portion of the stem). Once the grass matures, the grass gives a lot of tillers that is becomes very bushy - even if it was planted as a single slip, it would become a bush of around 25 tillers. Fodder multiplied from one hundred to thousands because of the hard work of the daughter and father. She toiled with her father not wasting time and space in the backyard. Each additional tiller from the fodder found a place in some space in the backyard in an aesthetic way. A tiller is a stem produced by the grass plants, and refers to all shoots that grow after the initial parent shoot grows from a seed. Tillers emerge from each node at the base of the fodder. Tillers are usually segmented in the internodes area with one or two buds emerging from it. Such pieces of the fodder slips are used for vegetative propagation.

The parental care to the cattle and stall feeding the fodder helped her cattle to yield more milk than ever before. The quality of their milk was improved and made the neighbors to demand Hemalatha’s milk more than others! Often she sells the excess milk to the milk vendor, helping her family to live a dignified life. A hard worker runs in toes from early morning to late night. She gets up before sunrise, completes the household chores, prepares her daughter to school, takes care of the cattle, milks the cows and delivers to neighboring households to earn a Dignified Life. Though she lives behind her brother’s house she is economically independent and manages all the expenses of her life with meager income. An example of self-confidence and self respect, Hemalatha is an inspiration!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

தினம் ஒரு இயற்கை தரும் அன்பளிப்பு


நேற்று அவசரமாக அலுவலகம் கிளம்பிக்கொண்டிருந்தேன். என் கணவர் கூப்பிட்டார், "இங்கே வந்து பாரேன், யார் வந்திருக்காங்கன்னு..." எங்கள் வீட்டு ஜன்னலுக்கு பக்கத்தில் உள்ள வாழை மரத்தில் ஒன்று, அதற்க்கு பக்கத்தில் மற்றறொரு வாழை மரத்தில் இன்னொன்றுமாக ஒரு ஜோடி பறவைகள். இதற்கு முன்பாக அப்படி ஒரு பறவையை பார்த்ததே கிடையாது. தலையிலிருந்து உடல் மர  நிறம். தோகையோ சந்தன நிறம். அவ்வளவு அழகு. உண்மையான பெயர் தெரியாததாலும், ஜோடியாக வந்ததாலும் அவகளுக்கு ஜோடிக்குயில் னு பெயர் வைத்து பிரம்மித்துக்கொண்டிருந்தோம். படம் பிடிக்கணும்னு தோணவே இல்லை. எங்களிடம் புகைப்படக்கருவியும் இல்லை.  உணவு இடைவேளை சமயம் வேகமாக வீட்டிற்கு வந்து வலையை தேடி தேடி பார்த்தாலும் அந்த பறவையை ஒத்த ஒன்றை பார்க்கவே முடியவில்லை. இன்றாவது அவைகள் வரும் என்ற எதிர்பார்ப்போடு ஒவ்வொரு காலையையும் எதிர்நோக்குகிறோம். 


இன்று பார்த்தால் இயற்கை எங்களுக்கு எதிர்பாராத சந்தோசத்தை கொடுத்தது. வாசலில் உள்ள மூன்று மலர்கள் பூத்திருந்தன முதல்முறையாக. முதலில் நான் பார்த்தது வெள்ளை அரளி பூ, பக்கத்திலே ஒரு சிகப்பு ஒற்றை செம்பருத்திப்பூ அடியிலே ஒரு மஞ்சள் ஜினியா பூ. எனக்கா ஒரே பூரிப்பு.....

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

உயிர் வேலியாய் எங்கள் வீட்டை காக்கும் குருவிகள்

எங்கள் வீட்டில் சுற்றிலும் காய்கறிகள் பயிரிட்டிருப்பதால் தினமும் செடி செடியாய் ரசித்து அனுபவிப்பது பழக்கமாகிவிட்டது. தினமும் தண்ணீர் விட்ட பின்பும் தோட்டத்தை விட மனசே வராது. அலுவலகத்திற்கு கிளம்ப வேண்டும், மகனை பள்ளிக்கு அனுப்ப வேண்டுமே என்ன செய்வது என்று சொல்லி கொண்டு தான் தினமும் வீட்டுக்குள் நுழைவேன். இன்றும் அதேபோல் தான் வர மனசே இல்ல, வீட்டு நிலைக்குள் நுழையும் பொது குருவிகள் கூச்சல் அதிகமாக இருந்தது. பக்கத்தில் போய் பார்க்க ஆசை, போனால் தொந்தரவாக இருக்குமே என்று மாடி படிகளுக்கு சென்று எட்டி பார்த்தேன். நிறைய தவிட்டுக்குருவிகள் போட்டி போட்டுக்கொண்டு கொத்திக்கொத்தி சாப்பிட்டுகொண்டிருந்தன. உற்று பார்த்த பொழுது தான் தெரிந்தது, அவை கம்பளி பூச்சிகளை பொருக்கி பசியாறிக்கொன்டிருந்தன. எனக்கு ஒரே ஆச்சர்யம்... எப்படி எங்கள் குடும்பத்தை குருவிகள் காப்பாற்றுகின்றன!!! 

இயற்கை விவசாயம் சின்ன அளவில் செய்ததற்கே இத்தனை நன்மைகள் என்றால் நம் வாழ்கை முழுவதும் இயற்கையாக மாறினால் எவ்வளவு நன்றாக இருக்கும். மனநிறைவோடு உள்ளே வந்தேன்.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

ATMA gives increased income

It is an update of the earlier blog - Poor farmers getting benefitted through Govt. schemes

That was soon after the programme initiated and this blog is actually an update (after an year)

Sinnappa Pillai, son of Thambusamy Pillai is 65 years old. He is a father of three daughters and a son. Two daughters are married and settled. The third daughter, Hemalatha, is deaf and dumb, a widow. His son is a LIC agent. Sinnappa Pillai and his daughter Hemalatha work together to raise the cattle.

He and Komatha ATMA group:
He is a member of Komatha ATMA group, Surakudy pertaining to Uzhavar Udhaviyagam, Surakudy since June 2010. The group was formed by bringing like-minded farmers who are having milch animals and interested in doing cattle-based income generating activities. All members of this group are economically poor farmers; depend on milk production to meet their needs.

ATMA group asked to pay a premium of Rs. 25 per month but the members decided to pay Rs. 100. The members of this group meet regularly in cattle grazing place daily since all take their cattle to graze in a common place. Meeting happens naturally and informally. Monthly payment and discussions are done at the grazing ground itself. Issues are discussed then and there and come out with collective decision.

Failed first group venture:
After six months of group formation the members felt their major expense is to buy concentrate feed for their cattle. They discussed the issue with Agricultural Officer cum ATMA Block Technical Team (BTT) convener and Veterinary doctor, Thirunallar, BTT member. A trail was made to purchase concentrate feed as a group at bulk and distribute among members. It was profitable. The success was short lived. Due to price hike and increased loading and unloading charges the business was not economically viable. Hence the group discontinued feed business.

Training on fodder grass feeding to increase milk production:
The group members discussed about the failed venture with Agricultural Officer. As an alternative option, Agricultural Officer arranged a training programme on “Fodder feeding for increased milk production” on 27.12.2011 at PAJANCOA&RI. The resource persons were Dr. George Paradis and Dr. Prasanna. The lecture by Dr. George was an eye opening one. Dr. George took the farmers to the college cattle farm and showed how the cattle are maintained and fed. He gave a detailed note on various green manures and its uses and how to feed the cattle and showed the fodder field. As a part of the training programme, hundred rooted slips and needed fertilizers for fodder cultivation were distributed as inputs at free of cost to each group member.

Experience of Sinnappa Pillai:

Though hundred rooted slips and needed fertilizers were distributed free of cost to fifteen farmers, after one year, Sinnappa Pillai have maintained the slips well and increased the area of fodder cultivation. Sinnappa Pillai says, “I planted the rooted slip on the next day of the training itself in my backyard. I adopted a spacing of 45 cm between ridges and 45 cm between plants. In fifteen days there was green flush to a height of 6 feet. The maiden harvest was done after a month from planting. Being the first harvest, the leaves and tender shoots were just enough to feed my five cows for a day. The animals had initial reluctance and then they started relishing it and finishes in few minutes.”

He continues to narrate his excitement, “From the next day I could realize gradual increase in milk yield and the consistency improved. In a week time, there was an increase of one litre in the morning and one litre in the evening and the milk is thicker than before. The animals are healthier. So I decided to reduce the amount of concentrate feed and replace it with fresh fodder grass. This considerably reduces the expense on cattle rearing. During second harvest, I could see many tillers. From then onwards, I fed the cattle with leaves and tender shoots. I used the sturdier shoots as rooting material. As the tillers per plant ranged from five to seven during initial months and now there are a minimum of ten tillers per plant. I extended the fodder cropped area gradually. As per the guidance of Agricultural Officer I harvest 10 - 15 plants per day then harvest adjacent rows accordingly every day. It takes 15 days to complete harvesting all plants in routine. On 16th day I could harvest from the plants I harvested on the first day. These days, I am giving rooted slips whoever asks from me and I am sharing my experience. I gave two of my cows to my married daughters as I could not manage four cows and a calf along with fodder cultivation and field works.”

Benefits realized from fodder grass:
  1. The cattle are healthier than before. Inter-calving period is reduced.
  2. Fodder had replaced concentrate feed so expense is reduced.
  3. Milk is increased to an extent of 2 litres per day so there is an increased income.
  4. Consistency of milk has improved.
  5. Saves time to get good quality grass as he is getting in the backyard itself which paves way for him to spend more time to work in private fields to get additional income for his family.
  6. The time spent for harvesting grass from outside area and head loading the same to his house is completely avoided as grass is available in the backyard itself.
  7. His daughter takes care the feeding as she could not work outside.