Saturday, February 18, 2012

Farmers in India use raised beds to increase income!!!

The use of raised beds to for income rise!

The article below in Deccan Herald gives the benefits of using raised beds in agriculture. What do raised beds do? First of all they channel the irrigation water especially when drip irrigation is used properly and conserve water. Next they keep the ground moist while preventing water logging. Most crop species especially tubers roots and cereals such as barley wheat and pulses do not like waterlogging. Waterlogging leads to development of root diseases and ultimately leads to yield losses. The article below clearly shows when simple modification and best management practices are used how a farmer can get significant yield improvement but also prevent the spread of diseases such as verticillim etc and prevent such diseases from attacking his/her crops. This method can be used even in home gardens to grow potatoes carrots etc and use garden drip irrigation systems. One way to develop a drip irrigation system is to drill small holes in a garden hose and allow to water. This hose lasts longer than the standard soak-a-hose system.

Raised bedding machine

Raised Bed

Next if he needs to use the same field area he should not use any solanaceae members such as tomatoes and eggplants etc as potato is a member of solanaceae. Instead if he uses pulses etc to biologically fix nitrogen then his next crop will be even better.

In Australia, cereal growers who are using raised beds are getting yields of up to 7 tonnes to the hectare when the normal dryland (rainfed) yield is just 2-3 tonnes to the hectare.

I take my hat off to this farmer Mr. Gopalakrishna who is smart and has adopted best management practice to a large extent and made his farm highly productive. However I am disappointed that the agriculture scientists in Karnataka were not the ones who introduced this technology to him. Now the question is will they do so? It looks like farmers are making much strides without their help.

Innovative farming gives unexpected high yield

K Narasimhamurthy, Kolar, February 17 2012, DHNS:

Farmer from Arahalli grows 50 tons of potato in four acres

The raised bed system, an innovation in farming, has hiked the yield of potato in the field of a farmer from Arahalli in the taluk.
Gopalakrishna, who is also the chairman of Horticultural Produce Cooperative Marketing Society (Hopcoms), has surpassed all calculations by the Horticultural Department on potato yield per acre. Using the raised bed farming system, Gopalakrishna has produced 31.25 tons in one hectare land as against an average of 20 tons estimated by the Department.
In addition, there is an increase in the yield by 30 per cent, much to the astonishment and appreciation of the Department officers.
Gopalakrishna spoke to Deccan Herald on Friday, even as he was packing bags of the potato grown to be sent to Hopcoms.

He explained that he had sown the kisan jyoti variety of potato in his four-acre land towards the end of October 2011. He had used about 1,000 50 kg-bags of the tubers. While he went for drip irrigation, in addition, in order to preserve the moisture in the soil, Gopalakrishna used the raised bed farming system.
He first grew watermelon and papaya in the raised beds. The red soil in the land proved an advantage and the output increased considerably.
Potato is generally grown at ground-level in long rows. But during a trip to Jalandhar organised by Hopcoms, Gopalakrishna noticed that most farmers in the area used the raised bed system.
Inspired by the knowledge, he too decided to use the system in his field. He fit in the machine to set up the beds to his tractor and went ahead with the sowing work.
Gopalakrishna has also set up a manure pit with earthworms. He used the manure from the pit as well as from dung-hills. He also used about two bags of other kinds of fertilisers per acre. The land continued to be irrigated with the drip system.

The outcome stunned him. “I did not expect such high yield. I certainly thought the yield would be a little better,” he said and added, “Now, I am planning to use the raised bed system for all my crops.”
Gopalakrishna informed that Manoj Kumar Meena, the Deputy Commissioner, N Shantappa, former chief executive officer of the Zilla Panchayat, and officers of the Horticulture Department had visited his farm to study the raised bed system and had expressed appreciation of the innovation.

The specially connected machine, attached to the tractor, was used to pluck the crops. “The tubers come out of the earth as the tractor moves ahead. The good ones are then separated manually and piled,” he explained.

Manjunath, assistant director of the Horticulture Department, said, “It is truly amazing that a potato crop has give such high yield. The innovation in agriculture used by Gopalakrishna, through the raised bed system, is worth appreciation, considering the yield is far higher than what is estimated by the Department.”
He said other farmers too would be advised to use the system to improve their yield.

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