Integrated Farming System (IFS) is a judicious mix of agricultural with enterprises like dairy, poultry, piggery, fishery, sericulture which is suited to the given agro-climatic conditions and socio-economic status of the farmers. It brings prosperity in the life of the farming as the web of life is sustained. As an advantage, the farm wastes are better recycled for productive purposes. It introduces a change in the farming techniques for maximum production in the cropping pattern and takes care of optimal utilization of resources. It turns out to be economical as the family labor is one of the major contributions. It facilitates a personal bondage to each life involved in the IFS.
Mr. Sasidharan of Ilayankudy, Karaikal has a field and cultivates paddy and vegetables which feed him and his family. When he added cows to his farming system, he gets milk and dairy products from the cow. They produce around 70 liters per day and selling to near by factories and Milk Cooperative Society, Karaikal. The field gets a regular supply of cow dung and cow urine which are rich in minerals – used as manure as they have constructed the cow shed in such a way the wash outs of the cattle shed goes to the farm pond near by. The fish in the farm pond feeds on the microflora and microfauna. Hence fish is fed organically. Also the water quality of the farm pond is also improved (organically fertilized). It supplies sufficient nutrition which are needed for the crop cultivated, be it paddy or vegetable. Cow urine has a lot of minerals and acts as growth promoter, pest repellent and elixir of life. The straw feeds the cows and also sustains the microbial load of the soil which is enriched with cow dung and cow urine. This micro-climate encourages the friends of farmers – earthworms, spiders and beneficial insects to act as bio-guard of the paddy field. He rediscovered an ancient rice-growing practice involving the use of ducks. Dozens of these birds, raised on the farm, patrol the paddy fields. They feed on insects and weeds, without touching the plants. Their wading oxygenates the water and stirs up the soil. Their droppings are natural fertilizer.
His field is located in the tail end area of Cauvery River; water scarcity prevails in most of the months in a year but receives more rain in two or three months. So he dug a farm pond in his field to harvest rain water. The water in the farm pond not only provides water for the agricultural fields, it also recharges the water table. Water table recharge provides good quality drinking water to the family and good quality water supply for agriculture throughout the year. He also decides to rear fish in the available water. The cow dung and agricultural wastes are the feed for fish and the fish provides extra income for every three months. The fish residues are used to prepare fish emulsion. Fish emulsion supply more nutrients and also supplies much more beneficial bacteria from the brewing process. Fish emulsions are good organic nitrogen sources, but they also supply phosphorus, potassium, amino acids, proteins and trace elements or micronutrients that are really needed to provide deep nutrition to your soil community and plants. One of the benefits of fish emulsion is that they provide a slower release of nutrients into the soil without over-feeding all at once. He built a wooden structure over the farm pond and rears stall-fed goats. Cultivation of fodder crops as intercropping and as border cropping results in the availability of adequate nutritious fodder for animals like cows and goat.
His farm house is surrounded with good number of trees which provides an aesthetic environment to live in and the temperature in his niche is 3 – 5o C than that of the village. Soil erosion is avoided and fertility is maintained due to the flora and its humus decomposition and its microclimate. The microbial load of the soil makes the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil. This in turn increases the fertility of soil and enables life like earthworm and some beneficial insects. The availability of such organisms facilitates decomposition of plant residues and converts them into organic manures at rapid phase. Hence proper residue recycling and leads in sustainable soil fertility. Trees also meet the construction wood requirements.
Integration of allied activities results in the availability of nutritious food enriched with protein, carbohydrate, fat, minerals and vitamins for all the lives involved in this “web of life” including humans. Integrated farming helps in environmental protection through effective recycling of waste from animal activities. Reduced production cost of components through input recycling from the byproducts of allied enterprises makes him get regular stable income through the products throughout the year though one or two enterprise fail due to vagaries of monsoon. Integrated Farming system ensures financial security and biodiversity. When biodiversity ensured at farm, it is a beginning to conserve biodiversity in a longer perspective for a GREENER EARTH.
Mr. Sasidharan of Ilayankudy, Karaikal can be in touch with through mobile -9345766233