Happy New Year to all my farming buddies! I hope 2019 will be that life-changing year of yours. This new year will also bring with it, many new opportunities. Let us together grab all those opportunities and fulfil our dreams. The new year is that phase of time where you look back on the mistakes that you did in the last year and look ahead on all the opportunities that you could grab in the new year. Analyze your mistakes. Learn from it. Try not to repeat them this year so that, you do not lose any opportunities.
This post is basically a review of what you could do in 2019 to take your farm to the next best level.
So, let’s start.
Rainwater harvesting is one of the most important and at the same time easy to implement techniques in agriculture. It is a very old technique, still, it is not used on a wide scale. We always forget that this technique can work wonders for us. We are still dependent on rain to fulfil our needs of water.
This can be a permanent solution for all our water-related worries. There are many stories all around the globe which shows that rainwater harvesting has worked like magic for them and has changed the game for those guys.
Hiware Bazar, a small village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, India is a perfect example of this. Through the rigorous efforts of the villagers and their Sarpanch, Mr Popatrao Pawar, the villages no more has water problems. Even in summer, there is adequate water in the villages to carry on farming.
All this just because of Rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting is nothing but simply storing the rainwater. Creating bunds is a good way to stop the running water in monsoon. After creating bunds, swales can be constructed to channelize the rainwater from the bunds to a common storage reservoir.
In this changing time, the climate is becoming very unpredictable. I highly request you all to start rainwater harvesting and solve all your water-related problem once and for all.
Using less water:
Today, a lot of research has been done in reducing the consumption of water for agricultural purposes. So, let us take a pledge this year to use the water wisely and save a lot of water.
Adopting techniques like Rainwater harvesting, Hydroponics, cross cropping, permaculture will play a key role in saving water in farming. Also, there are many new techniques in modern farming which can save us water as well as other resources.
Also, cultivating crops which consume less water could also help in saving water.
Slowly, but eventually, people nowadays have started shifting toward organic farming.
Organic farming is nothing but making use of natural and organic ways to do farming. Like using organic fertilizers such as manure which is made organically instead of the chemical fertilizers that are manufactured by various chemical reactions.
Many new simple and cheap techniques have now been discovered to do organic farming like using some attracting nets to attract insects and pests.
Organic products have now found a dedicated shelve in almost all the supermarkets. Every supermarket has organic products. As people are taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle, they are now more likely to eat healthy food i.e. Organic food.
Hydroponics can be the game changer for the farmers who have their farms in the drought-prone areas because, in hydroponics, the same water is used again and again. It does not percolate in the soil. Instead, the water is stored in a tank and is used time after time.
The concept of hydroponics is just very amusing to me. It is just mind-boggling to see how the hydroponics system works. I mean using the same water over and over again, it just sounds like a blessing.
‘Only gain and no loss’ is exactly what comes up in my mind whenever I hear the word Biogas. Biogas has so many benefits that we farmers should make it a thumb rule to build a biogas plant in our farms to satisfy our energy needs.
Seeing the benefits of a Biogas plant, Government has now started providing farmers with huge subsidies for building a biogas plant.
If you are ready to take a step further, then implementing the Jean Pain technique along with your Biogas plant can make your life a lot easier because it will solve almost all of your energy needs.
This is the biggest mistake we all make every year before planting our crops. We never check the quality of our soil. We never send samples of our soil for testing to know if our soil is capable of growing the crop that we are planning to grow.
There are many factors that can alter the nutrients contained in the soil. Sometimes, farmers only use the fertilizers which are cheap. They think that if any fertilizer is going in the soil, then it will prevent the crop from pests, weeds and diseases. But, it is not true because a particular fertilizer contains only a particular nutrient.
So, if you use the same fertilizer because it is cheaper, then you are loading your soil with only one nutrient which it already has.
Not only before planting, but we have to check the soil quality as long as the crop is planted because many a time, the crop consumes one nutrient more than the others.
That is why it is very important to check your soil because it will paint a picture in your head of what exactly your crop needs. I would recommend checking your soil quality every month.
You can test your soil in nearby soil testing labs which have been set up by the Government for the benefit of the farmers. Also, it does not cost much.
Inter-cropping is also an intelligent technique to make efficient use of the resources. It is nothing but, growing two or more varieties of plants together in the same field.
For example, if we have cultivated sugarcane then it is a good idea to plant onions with it in the same field. Not all the resources are consumed by sugarcane, so the remaining resources can be consumed by onions. That is why inter-cropping is something that every farmer should think about.
Generally, monocot and dicot plants are grown together. Monocot and dicot plants contribute well towards each other’s growth.
Different irrigation techniques:
I am now, literally, tired of seeing farmers using the traditional irrigation methods to water crops. Pumping the well water directly to the crops is still the most commonly used method by the farmers.
So many techniques have been invented now. Drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation techniques will not only save you water but, will also be cheaper to implement.
Israelis have taken this a step further. All their irrigation techniques are excellent and unique in their own ways. Read and try to learn about their new techniques and see if can implement it in your own farms.
Government schemes and subsidies:
Okay! Okay! I understand that dealing with Government organisations is a great hassle but, to tell you the truth, the Government has worked out some great schemes for us. Please have an eye over all these schemes. However messy the schemes might be. You never know, you might find some good ones.
Nowadays, Government is providing 100% subsidy on building a biogas plant when booked under the name of a woman. The government also has various subsidies to help farmers buy new advanced machinery.
Trying your hand on new techniques:
We all know what happens when w grow crops by using the traditional techniques. This year let’s try some new techniques like using solar panels to supply power to the water pumps. Let’s try doing organic farming in a small portion of your land or let’s try something very different like oyster culturing. Maybe our land might be an excellent place to grow bananas, but if we don’t plant bananas how would we know that.
So, this year, let’s try our hand on new techniques. Let’s try our luck.
Well, That is it from my side. I hope 2019 will be a very productive year for you all.
Try your luck this year. Do some experiments. Roll out some dices and see if you win.
And the most important thing, always have an eye over the weather forecast because, in the end, nature has the ultimate power to control your crops. One rain in the month of December can damage your rice cultivation and no rain in the month of July will not even let the rice grow. Always plan according to the weather.