ORGANIC FARMING BOOK

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Organic Farming Book

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The food grain production increased dramatically as the policies of green revolution began to take effect. By the year , India will need to produce million tons of food grains on million hectares of agricultural land in order to feed an estimated 1 billion Indians. This achievement, though remarkable, has also coasted us dearly. Along with the increase of food grain production pesticide consumption in India also increased considerably.

In nearly metric tons of chemical pesticides were used, but by it was 25, metric tons, an astounding fold increase over 30 years. It is estimated that this will touch , tons by the year Despite increasing use of pesticides, annual crop losses due to pests still amount to more than Rs.

Consumption of chemical fertilizers has gone up seven times in the last 20 years, but production has only increased a miserable two-fold. While we now have enough food ourselves and are concentrating on broadening our food exports, we have apparently sadly overlooked on equitable food distribution to our hungry millions.

The modern agricultural techniques such as use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are continuing to destroy stable traditional ecosystems and the use of high yielding varieties of crop has resulted in the elimination of thousands of traditional varieties, with the concurrent loss of genetic resources. In the past, our forefathers were consuming chemical-free foods, but now a large quantity of chemical residues getting into the food chain and toxic residues in agricultural commodities is an issue of major concern to every body.

Our major concern is to meet the internal demands of farm production without degrading the productive environment. Sustainability issues have become highly relevant even under the low input use situations. There is hardly any scope of finding new land area suitable for cultivation. Since the ability of the land to produce food is limited and the limits of production are set by soil and climatic conditions, there are critical levels of population that can be supported in perpetuity from any given land area.

Any attempt to produce food in excess for the restrictions set by soil and climatic conditions will, in the long term, result in failure. Degradation of land, hunger and eventual reduction in population are the outcome of such practises. However, the application of technological innovations in the form of new seeds, fertilizers, irrigation and suitable management strategies has bailed such catastrophic predictions in the past.

This underscores the tremendous potential of science and shows the possibility of meeting the demands put on our farm production systems without reducing its sustainability, through scientific research.

The progress in Indian agriculture during the last 40 years can be broadly classified under three areas; First, progress in developing the research and educational infrastructure, essential for generating and testing technologies suitable for different agro-ecological regions; secondly, a reasonably efficient input production and delivery system for the production and distribution of seeds, fertilizers and other inputs.

Thirdly, evolving policies essential for stimulating higher production by small farmers and increased consumption by the rural and urban poor. Thanks to these steps growth of food production has on the whole remained above the rate of population growth. Statistics on agricultural production in India from to show that during the period a the gross cropped area increased marginally; b the area under irrigation nearly doubled; c the high yielding variety programme, initiated at the national level, increased to cover nearly 39 per cent of the cropped area; d the total food production increased from 74 million tonnes to nearly million tonnes; and e both the fertilizer and pesticide consumption increased more than 25 times.

The ratio of pesticide to fertilizer remained nearly constant at Interestingly, the use of pesticides in the public health sector, which has higher than in the agricultural sector, became almost equal in and declined significantly thereafter. The number of pesticides used in agricultural sector has always been more diversified than in public health sector, which used only DDT, HCH and malathion.

The introduction of high-yielding varieties changed the agricultural environment leading to numerous pest problems of economic importance. Increased irrigation, higher usage of fertilizers and wide adoption of high-yielding varieties led to the resurgence of pests.

The high-yielding varieties and the monoculture practices led to material changes in the pest complex. Pests and diseases such as gall midge, brown plant hopper, bacterial blight and tungro virus of rice, which were of minor importance before the green revolution, suddenly assumed major proportions; for instance, spodoptera litura on cotton, maize and tobacco; Pyrilla on wheat, maize and sorghum; apple scab and codling moth on apple and Karnal bunt on wheat increased the crop losses due to pests enormously.

This varies with pest and the crop. For example, in the rice bacterial wilt there was a practically no time-lag in the very first season of the introduction of Taichung Native-1 in Andhra Pradesh in , when the disease broke out.

In the case of the rice tungro virus, it took four to five years before the diseases manifested itself in a virulent form. It took, however, a decade for the brown plant hopper to become a major pest. Since the high-yielding varieties were more prone to pests and diseases, use of pesticides increased and this brought about a widespread occurrence of pesticide residues in nearly every agricultural commodity; b increased pesticide resistance in vectors; c resistance to pesticides in stored grain pests which was first reported in and by six major pests of stored grain became resistant to a number of insecticides and fumigants; and d pesticide resistance in pests of agricultural importance becoming an important constraint in increasing productivity.

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This is true specially for the polyphagous pests such as Spodoptera litura tobacco caterpillar ; Plutella xylostella diamond back moth and Holicoverpa Heliothis armigera American boll worm.

It is suspected that Aphis craccivora black aphid , a serious pest of pulses, and Lipahis erysimi Mustard aphid have also developed resistance to pesticides. The depletion and degradation of the natural resources at an alarming rate have not only caused decline in productivity but also have generated numerous environmental concerns.

The compulsion to produce more has further compounded the problems leading to un-sustainability of the agricultural production system all over the world in general, and the developing countries in particular, necessitating a paradigm shift towards a holistic ecosystem management in an integrated manner for development of eco-friendly technologies.

Intensification of agriculture, an inevitable consequence of the compulsion to produce more, has put an enormous burden on the natural resources. Rapid and uncontrolled industrialization compounded by adoption of developmental programmes without due regard to their long-term adverse impact on the environment has been continuously eroding the basic resources. Development of efficient resource management strategies is therefore crucial for sustained agricultural production. Limitation in land and water resources, increase in population, conversion of agricultural land to other uses, and persistence of hunger and malnutrition in several regions of the globe have heavily underscored the growing concern for issues related to sustainability in the agricultural production systems.

Our past efforts to promote the use of fertilizers particularly of N and P have caused a clear shift in the soil fertility management characterized by over-dependence on chemical fertilizers which in many contexts was wrongly conceived as substitute to organic manure, probably due to the unavailability of the latter.

This has slowly but surely resulted in a decline in soil organic matter, optimum nutrient balance and consequently deterioration of physical, chemical and biological functioning of soils in many intensively cropped areas. It, therefore, calls for reversion of present chemical based soil fertility management strategy to the one based on integrated nutrient management strategy.

The importance of micro-biological research which can create a revolution in the application of micro-biological processes into technologies for supporting sustainable agriculture and ecological harmony needs to be recognized and promoted. The increased use of a variety of agricultural chemicals viz. In the Indian scenario, the arable land availability will be reduced to 0.

The biggest challenge will, therefore, to be produce more food with less land demanding more water and other inputs to feed the millions. The factors, which have been responsible to usher in green revolution, are becoming subject to criticism for their second-generation problems. There is, however, option to integrate the recommended inputs with organic manure and bio-fertilizers.

Besides shrinking resource of arable land availability the water for agriculture shall be most limiting factor in the coming decades. The availability of energy and power will be other limiting factors for increased agricultural production. Thus, the key to meet these challenges lies in the integrated management of the natural resources like land soil , water, energy and also the biodiversity, which is threatened, with extinction of some endangered species. But it should be clearly understood that they are entirely different concepts though some of the attributes are common.

Both are eco-friendly and resource conserving. Organic farming advocates a total ban on the use of synthetic chemicals and does not always assure economic viability and hence sustainability. Standards are prescribed in line with the basic standards evolved by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements IFOAM , aligned to agriculture and climatic conditions prevailing in India.

Recognizing the value of traditional practices prevalent throughout the country, the package of practices will incorporate those of use in the practices to be prescribed by the accrediting agencies.

Inspection and Certification Agencies are identified by the Accreditation Agencies based on certain criteria. To most of them, it implies the use of organic manures and natural methods of plant protection instead of using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. It is regarded by some as farming involving the integrated use of fertilizers and organic manures as well as of chemicals and natural inputs for plant protection.

In either case the concept has been understood only partially. Organic agriculture has been defined differently, but the description offered by Lampkin appears to be the most comprehensive one covering all essential features. As per this description, organic agriculture is a production system, which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic compounded fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives.

To the maximum extent feasible, organic farming system relies on crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures, off-farming organic wastes and aspect of biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and tilth, to supply plant nutrients and to control insects, weeds and other pests. The concept of soil as living system that develops the activities of beneficial organisms is central to this definition. Organic agriculture does not imply the simple replacement of synthetic fertilizers and other chemical inputs with organic inputs and biologically active formulations.

Instead, it envisages a comprehensive management approach to improve the health of underlying productivity of the soil. In a healthy soil, the biotic and abiotic components covering organic matter including soil life, mineral particles, soil air and water exist in a stage of dynamic equilibrium and regulate the ecosystem processes in mutual harmony by complementing and supplementing each other. When the soil is in good health, the population of soil fauna and flora multiplies rapidly which, in turn, will sustain the bio-chemical process of dissolution and synthesis at a high rate.

This state of soil life and the associated organic transformations will enhance the regenerative capacity of the soil and make it resilient to absorb the effects of climatic vicissitudes and occasional failures in agronomic management. The success of organic agriculture depends to a great extent on the efficiency of agronomic management adopted to stimulate and augment the underlying productivity of the soil resource.

In this context, the concept of agro-ecosystem becomes relevant. A farming system unit is treated as an agro-ecosystem when it attains the semblance of a forest ecosystem in species diversity and multiplicity. The adoption of sequence and mixed cropping models in the presence of compatible species of nitrogen fixing trees with or without the association of livestock components makes the agro-ecosystem benefit from the positive interaction and stimulated cycling mechanisms.

As a consequence, the system slowly achieves self-regulation and stability. Agricultural production attained at this stage will be engaging without eroding or deteriorating the natural resource base.

As the Organic Agricultural System OAS derives it strength from the basic productive capacity of the soil and complimentary interaction among the components of the system, the use of chemical inputs either for soil fertility management or for plant protection is excluded. This renders the system free from the pollution problems usually associated with the use of such inputs.

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With an understanding of the principles of organic agriculture, a straight and simple definition to the concept can be suggested. Organic agriculture is a farming system devoid of chemical inputs, in which the biological potential of the soil and underground water resources are conserved and protected from the natural and human induced degradation or depletion by adopting suitable cropping models including agro forestry and methods of organic replenishment; besides natural and biological means are used for pest and disease management by which the soil life and beneficial interaction are stimulated and sustained.

The system achieves self-regulation and stability as well as capacity to produce agricultural outputs at levels, which are profitable and enduring over time, and, at the same time, consistent with the carrying capacity of the managed agro-ecosystem. There are also different opinions on nomenclature of organic farming. Some call it as ecofarming i. Others prefer the term biological farming farming in relation to biological diversity ; yet others prefer the term biodynamic farming biologically dynamic and ecologically sound and sustainable farming or macrobiotic agriculture agriculture in relation to macro-fauna.

Whatever be the name, the basic point is that organic farming is the farming based on natural principles, which alone are sustainable. According to Fantilanan , organic farming is a matter of giving back to nature what we take from it.

It is safe, inexpensive, profitable and sensible. Organic farming is not mere non-chemicalism in agriculture; it is a system of farming based on integral relationship.

So, one should known the relationships among soil, water, plants, and microflora and the overall relationship between plants and animal kingdom, of which, man is the apex animal.

It is the totality of these relationships, which is the backbone of organic farming. Organic farming does not totally exclude the elements of modern agriculture. Varying agro climatic conditions do need input from the current technological advances. It is basically simple, as it abhors excessive ploughing, hoeing, weeding and application of plant protection chemicals and fertilizers.

The principal elements to be considered while practising organic farming are: 1. Limited experience shows that this form of natural farming is the basis for sustainable agriculture and could be highly productive. It should not be misconstrued for reversion to inefficient and less productive farming systems.

But apart from restricting and to the extent possible eliminating chemicals pesticides and fertilizers , it has something else also to convey.

One who understands the whole concept of organic farming will be certainly inspired by it. Maximal but sustainable use of local resources 2.

Minimal use of downloadd inputs, only as complementary to local resources 3. Ensuring the basic biological functions of soil-water-nutrients-humus continuum 4.

Maintaining a diversity of plant and animal species as a basis for ecological balance and economic stability 5. Creating an attractive overall landscape which gives satisfaction to the local people 6.

Methods in organic agriculture are less intensive in terms of synthetic and other external inputs compared to the conventional farming methods, but are much more intensive from a biological point of view. Organic agriculture systems include approaches and methods like organic, biodynamic, regenerative, nature farming and premaculture.

These were developed during the last 50 years.

Although there are some differences among these approaches, the common understanding is that practising organic agriculture is managing the agro-ecosystem as an autonomous system, based on the primary production capacity of the soil under the given agro-climatic conditions. Agro-ecosystem management implies treating the system, on any scale, as a living organism supporting its own vital potential for biomass and animal production, along with biological mechanisms for mineral balancing, soil improvement and pest control.

The common understanding of agricultural production in all types of organic agriculture is managing the production capacity of an agro-ecosystem. The process of extreme specialization propagated by the green revolution led to the destruction of mixed and diversified farming and ecological buffer systems.

The function of this autonomous ecosystem management is to meet the need for food and fibres on the local ecological carrying capacity. Mixed Farming In organic agriculture systems, one strives for appropriate diversification, which ideally means mixed farming, or the integration of crop and livestock production on the farm. In this way, cyclic processes and interactions in the agro-ecosystem can be optimized, like using crop residues in animal husbandry and manure for crop production.

Diversification of species biotypes and land use as a means to optimize the stability of the agro-ecosystem is another way to indicate the mixed farming concept. The synergistic concept among plants, animals, soil and biosphere support this idea. Crop Rotation Within the mixed farm setting, crop rotation takes place as the second principle of organic agriculture. Besides the classical rotation involving one crop per field per season, intercropping, mixed cropping and under sowing are other options to optimize interactions.

In addition to plant functions, other important advantages such as weed suppression, reduction in soil-borne insect pests and diseases; complimentary nutrient supply, nutrient catching and soil covering can be mentioned.

Organic Cycle Optimization Each field, farm, or region contains a given quantity of nutrients. Management should be used in such a way that optimal use is made of this finite amount.

This means that nutrients should be recycled and used a number of times in different forms. Third, the quantity of nutrients available to plants and animals can be increased within the system by activating the edaphon, resulting in increased weathering of parent material. Organic manures which are bulky in nature but supply the plant nutrients in small quantities are termed bulky organic manures, e.

In Western countries, it is the product of decomposition of the liquid and solid excreta of the livestock, stored in the farm along with varying amounts of straws or other litter used as bedding.

Indian litter is rarely used as bedding because the straw is utilized as fodder. A portion of cattle-dung is used as fuel in rural homes.

Cattle-urine is absorbed in the soil spread over the floor of the shed but no extra soil is used for effective absorption of this fraction.

On an average, well-rotted farmyard manure FYM contains 0. Based on this analysis an average dressing of 25 tonnes per hectare of farmyard manure supplies kg of N, 56 kg of P2O5 and kg of K2O. These quantities are not fully available to the crops in the year of application.

Nitrogen is very slowacting and less than 30 per cent of it is generally available to the first crop. About 60 to 70 per cent of the phosphate and about 75 per cent of the potash become available to the immediate crop. The rest of the plant nutrients become available to the subsequent crops. This phenomenon of availability of plant nutrients to the subsequent crop is known as residual effect. Under the tropical climatic conditions of this country, the organic matter is quickly lost and fresh applications are necessary to obtain increased yields and maintain soil fertility.

High doses of farmyard manure can be applied under intensive irrigated cropping conditions, e. In dry-farming areas rainfall below 50 cm , application of 2. The method of application of farmyard manure generally adopted in our country is defective. Most of the cultivators unload farmyard manure in small piles in the fields and leave it as such for a month or so before it is spread and subsequently ploughed in or disced in the field.

Plant nutrients are lost considerably during the exposure of the manure to sun and rains. In summer, it results in rapid drying and considerable loss of nitrogen, whereas in the rainy season the available nitrogen and a good portion of soil humus are washed away.

To derive maximum benefit, the farmyard manure immediately on being carted to fields should be spread and mixed into the soil. The manure can also be applied in furrows.

Compost Compost manures are the decayed refuse like leaves, twigs, roots, stubble, bhusa, crop residue and hedge clippings, street refuse collected in towns and villages, water hyacinth, saw-dust and bagasse.

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The process of decomposition is hastened by adding nitrogenous material like cow dung, night soil, urine or fertilizers. A large number of soil microorganisms feed on these wastes and convert it into well-rotted manure. The final product is known as compost. Farmyard manure and compost possess the same characteristics. The method of application of compost is the same as that of farmyard manure.

Panning is, therefore, a common practice of ensuring the use of sheep and goat droppings in the fields. Poultry manure ferments very quickly.

If left exposed, it may lose up to 50 per cent of its nitrogen within 30 days. Poultry manure can be applied to the soil directly as soon as possible. After application, it should be worked into the surface of the soil. If the droppings come from the cages or dropping pits, super phosphate may be added to these at the rate of 1kg per day, per hundred birds. This improves the fertilizing quality and helps the control of flies and odour.

After oil extraction, the oil cakes are rich in nitrogen and also contain phosphorus and potash. Cultivators apply both edible and non-edible oil cakes to the soil as manure. Edible oil cakes are more profitable as cattle feeds.

As such, non-edible cakes should be used as manures. The percentage of nitrogen ranges from 2. The P2O5 contents in oil-cakes vary from 0. Oil-cakes though insoluble in water are quick-acting organic manures, their nitrogen becoming quickly available to the plants in about a week or ten days after application. Mahua oil-cake, however, takes about two months to nitrify. The solvent-extracted oil-cakes are somewhat more quick-acting than the ghani-hydraulic or expeller-pressed oil-cakes.

The quantity of organic matter that gets added in normal application of oil-cakes is too small to cause improvement in physical properties of soil. Oil-cakes need to be well-powdered before application so that they can be spread evenly and are easily decomposed by micro-organisms. They can be applied a few days before sowing or as top-dressing.

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Mahua-cakes should, however, be applied quite in advance of sowing time. Oil-cakes are more effective in moist soil and in wet weather than in dry soil and in dry weather. In fresh condition, oil-cakes should not be put in contact with germinating seeds or young plants as they become permeated with fungi and molds in the soil.

The use of oil-cakes on food grain crops like wheat and rice is not recommended now on economic grounds.

Cakes, specially ground-nut and coconut, are extensively applied for top-dressing of sugar-cane crop. Farmers growing betel leaves also use oil-cakes. In this group come blood-meal generally used in grape cultivation , meat-meal, fishmeal, horn-and hoof-meal and bone meal.

Meat-meal and blood meal are applied like oil-cakes whereas fish-meal should preferably be powdered. Horns and hooves of slaughtered or dead animals are converted into horn and hoof-meal by cooking in the bone-digester, and then drying and powdering them. Sterilized bone-meal is an important mineral supplement in livestock feed; yet it is used chiefly as phosphatic fertilizer.

Small quantities of nitrogen are also applied to the soil through bone-meal. The availability of phosphorus from bone-meal depends on the particle size; the finer the particles, the greater the phosphorus availability. It is available to farmers in two forms: a raw bone-meal; and b steamed bone-meal.

Raw bone-meal consists of crushed bones. The percentage of phosphoric acid and nitrogen varies with the quality of bones and the age of the animals from which these are obtained. House of Commons: Geographic region. Added to basket. View basket Checkout. The Running Hare. Beekeeping - A Seasonal Guide. Natural Wine. The One-Straw Revolution. Add to Basket. The Market Gardener.

Miraculous Abundance. The Urban Farmer. Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation.

A Biodynamic Manual. The Winter Harvest Handbook. Sepp Holzer's Permaculture. The Lean Farm. The Biodynamic Farm. Growing Biodynamic Crops. Organic Crop Breeding. Principles of Biodynamic Spray and Compost Preparations. Organic Farming Handbook.

Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture. Organic No-Till Farming Revolution. Scenes From A Smallholding. Not registered?On Farming and Food by Wendell Berry Poet, novelist, environmental activist, farmer, and long-time organic farming advocate — Wendell Berry is many things to many people.

Learn about new offers and get more deals by joining our newsletter. So those are my top I guess six I have in here and if you want to check all 50 go to SmilingGardener. He did a lot of this without ever hearing the term permaculture, as he just figured a lot of it out on his own. The One-Straw Revolution. In addition to learning about the plants themselves, you will also learn recipes for naturally fighting off insects, animals, and diseases.

This is the permaculture bible. It took, however, a decade for the brown plant hopper to become a major pest. One of my favorites.

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