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Technology and Science

Organic cultivation of Sugarcane

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Varieties

Recommend varieties for organic sugarcane production in Tamil Nadu are Co 8021, Co 86032, Co 86249, CoC 90063, CoG 93076, CoG 94077 and CoSi 95071.

Land preparation

Deep ploughing once or twice with disc plough followed by shallow ploughing three or four times using cultivator.

Spacing

Adopt minimum row spacing of 90 cm. For varieties the spacing can be increased upto150 cm. Furrows must be formed at 20-30 cm deep.

Organic manure

Apply farmyard manure or compost or well-decomposed press mud at 80 t/ha either before last ploughing or in the furrows before planting. However, the quantity of organic manure could be adjusted in such a way to supply 280kgN/ha. Through one or more sources like farmyard manure, compost, press mud etc., depending upon their N content.

Planting material

Collect setts from 6-8months old disease free nursery crop. Two budded setts are better than three-budded setts. It is always advisable to collect the seed Material from organically grown sugarcane crop.

Sett rate and planting

By adopting 90cm spacing, 75,000 two-budded setts are required for planting one hectare.

Green manure intercrop

Sow green manure crops like daincha or sunhemp on one side of the ridges on 3rd or 4th day after planting sugarcane and raise it as an intercrop with sugarcane. Harvest and insitu incorporate the intercrop around 45 days after transplanting.

Weed management

Hand hoeing and weeding at 30, 60 and 90 days after planting. Follow only non-chemical weed management technologies like hand weeding and Mechanical weed control methods.

Biofertilizers

Apply 5 kg each of Azospirillum and Phosphobacteria respectively on 30 and 60 days after planting of sugarcane. Mix the biofertilizers thoroughly with 500 kg/ha of farmyard manure to increase the bulkiness and apply. Give light earthing up and irrigate immediately.

Trashing

Remove the dried and senescent leaves at 5th and 7th month and apply as mulch in alternate furrows.

Irrigation schedule

Germination (up to 35 days)

7

Tillering  ( 36- 100 days)

10

Grand growth (101-270 days)

7

Maturity (271 days to harvest)

15


The above schedule is for medium type of soils. Reduce the intervals for light soils and increase for heavy soils. When there is rain adjust the interval depending on the account of rainfall. Ridges and furrows method is cheap and best . Convey the irrigation water from source to the field head through pipelines to reduce conveyance loss.

Prevention of lodging

At 7th month after trashing, a wet earthing up will help to reduce lodging of  canes. Tying the canes with trash-twists (trash twist propping) will also help to reduce lodging.

Early shoot borer

Trash mulching, frequent irrigations and light earthing up at 35th days will result in lower incidence. Release 125 fertilized female Sturmiopsis parasite/ ha when the crops is at the age of 45 to 60 days.

Inter node stem borer

Cards pasted with 0.2 cc eggs of Trichogramma chilonis parasite are available in the parasite breeding laboratories. Get these cards and tie them in the field @ 25 cards/ha equally distributed in 25 places once in 15 days when the crop is 4-11 months of old. Alternatively, set up pheromone traps in the field @ 25/ha spaced at 20 meters apart when the crop is 5 months old, trap and kill the male moths of internode borer. Replace the pheromone vials in the traps in 7th and 9th months.

Red rot disease

In places prone to red rot disease grows only resistant varieties such as Co 8021, Co 85019, Co 86010, Co 86032, Co 86249, Co 93009 and Co 94008. In case susceptible varieties are grown, adopt the following practices. 
1. Select and use disease free setts
2. Remove and destroy affected clumps
3. Prevent the flow of irrigation/rain water from affected fields to healthy fields
4. Do not raise ratoon crop from the disease affected crop and
5. After the harvest of affected crop, grow rice crop and destroy the soil debris inoculums.

Smut disease

To manage this disease, 
1. Get setts from disease free canes 
2. Remove and destroy affected clumps
3. Do not allow more than one ratoon crop and 
4. Grow resistant varieties.

Grassy shoot disease

Treating the setts in an aerated steam therapy (AST) unit at 50°C for one hour can destroy the disease causing organism in the setts. Use the setts from 3-tier nursery raised using AST treated setts to avoid the disease.

Cane harvest

Harvest the canes when they are fully mature. The sucrose content in juice of a mature crop will be more than 16 % and the purity of the juice will be more than 85%. In general, harvesting at the age of around 12 months is advantageous. Harvest the canes 2 to 3 cm below the ground level using a hand axe. Topping should be done at the point of break.

Cane yield

When all the package of practices are carried out appropriately in time, the cane yield will be around 150 t/ha. In well-drained fertile deep soils, the cane yield can go up to 250 t/ha.

Ratoon cane yield

If the ratoon crop is managed well with all the appropriate package of practice, the cane yield from the ratoon crop will be almost equal or marginally lower (around 5%) compared to that of the previous plant/ ratoon crop.

 


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Organic Cultivation of Cotton

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Cotton, the most important fibre crop of India plays a dominant role in its agrarian and industrial economy. It is the backbone of our textile industry, accounting for 70% of total fibre consumption in textile sector, and 38% of the country's export, fetching over Rs. 42,000 crores. Area under cotton cultivation in India (8.9 million ha) is the highest in the world, i.e., 25% of the world area and employs seven million people for their living.

Merits of Organic Cotton Cultivation

(A) Environmentally Friendly Technology

  • Due to excessive use of fertilisers and insecticides, all the elements of the agro-eco system gets polluted by the conventional method. Organic cotton production relies on non-chemical inputs and will decrease pollution hazards.
  • Pesticides residues in fibre may cause carcinogenic damage to users. The use of bio-rational products and biocontrol agents for pest management in organic farming will cause no such effects.
  • Large scale discharge of untreated and unprocessed effluents by textile industry and dyeing units has not only caused health problems to man, cattle and fish in the rivers and canals, but yields of cotton are reported to be affected due to polluted water that is used for irrigation.
  • Destruction of beneficial soil organisms may cause damage to soil health creating imbalance in the natural population of predators/parasitoids of cotton pests. Organic farming helps to restore or preserve the natural equilibrium between different components of the ecosystem.

(B) Reduction in Cost of Cultivation

Modern production technology has lowered the cost-benefit ratio of cotton production. Farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra etc. are reported to have committed suicide due to escalation of production cost without occurring commensurate profit from cotton cultivation. On the other hand, organic farming creates rural employments and uses of on-farm resources to make it more cost-effective.

(C) Management of Insecticide Resistance

Due to indiscriminate use of hazardous insecticides for controlling cotton pests, the resistance of insects against the insecticide hiked up and in turn compelled the use of more number of sprays, and thus a vicious cycle is created, escalating cost of cultivation. Organic farming will help in reversing this trend. Evidences on poorer choice of multiplication rate of pests on organically grown cotton are encouraging factors to pursue this protocol.

Approaches for Farming of Organic Cotton

Since organic cotton production warrants the cultivation in the absence of agro-chemicals, it involves a careful selection of components of farming system keeping the local resources, agro-climatic features and socio-economic structure for the formation of a suitable package as follows:

1] Selection of site

Fields with high degree of soil erosion and heavily infested with perennial weeds should not be put under organic farming. Organic farming is not a farming by neglect or arm-chair cultivation and so, fertility levels of less fertile soils should be improved through organic means before opting for this type of cultivation.

2] Varietal selection

High yielding varieties, which respond well to chemical inputs, may not always be suitable for organic farming. Instead, varieties which are hardy and capable of giving acceptable farming especially in the early phase of conversion are ideal. Varieties, which are jassid-tolerant, can be preferred over susceptible ones. Early maturing varieties are less exhaustive and will also help the crop to escape heavy bollworm damage.

3] Seed rate and sowing

Acid delinted seeds cannot be used according to international norms (e.g. IFOAM) for organic cultivation for the purpose of certification of the fibre. However, those farmers who pursue organic farming for reducing the cost of cultivation and to increase the profitability could use acid-delinted seeds in order to avoid seed borne pathogenic infections and achieve optimum plant stand. If fuzzy seeds are used, however, higher seed rate is to be used in order to achieve the same goal. About 25 kg/ha of seeds at 75x15 cm spacing ensures a final plant population of 85-90 thousand plants/ha. One row of fodder cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) should be drilled between two rows of cotton. This crop could be ploughed down and buried in soil just before its flowering.

4] Manuring

To realise economical production, soil fertility has to be maintained and gradually improved. Improvement and maintenance of organic matter of the soil is important in organic cotton production, as this would increase physical parameters of soil, improve soil structure and enhance nutrient supply. Since huge amounts of FYM to meet nutrient requirement of the cotton crop is not generally available, a combination of sources with different biological properties should be preferably used. Organic manures (FYM, compost, Vermicompost), in situ green manuring, cowpea and Biofertilizers along with fertility restoring crop rotations form the components for maintaining soil fertility.

a] Farm yard manuring (FYM)

FYM @ 15 t/ha must be added before preparatory tillage and mixed thoroughly. FYM should be well decomposed and should be preferably treated with composting organisms such as Trichoderma viride. The rate may gradually be brought down 5-10 t/ha, once the farm yield stabilises over a few years.

b] Fodder cowpea

In situ green manuring with fodder cowpea and its burying at 40 days after sowing [DAS] will ensure a steady N supply during the grand-growth phase and flowering period, when the N demand peaks up in the crop. It hastens microbial activity in soil, reduces weed growth and enhances natural enemy build up. This provides around 400-500 kg dry matter per hectare with 2.5% N and contributes 10-12 kg N/ha during squaring. Its additional benefits include smothering of weeds, controlling seasonal soil erosion and nurturing natural enemies of cotton pests.

c] Dhaincha (Sesbania aculeata)

Dense stand of this legume can be raised around cotton field at a width of 2 m; its lopping cut and spread between cotton rows at 65-70 DAS. Its fast decomposing leaves provide N during early boll development period and stalks act as temporary mulch, preventing soil moisture evaporation.

d] Vermicompost

Vermicompost @ 1-2 t/ha should be added supplementing FYM on the furrow lines on which sowing is done. Its nutrient composition varies with substrate that is verrmicomposted, but generally contains several diverse microflora that aid in good plant growth. It offers good scope for recycling of farm waste.

e] Biofertilisers

Seed inoculation of Azatobactor or Azospirillum @ 200 g/seed required for sowing one acre is recommended.

5) Technology for Composting

(i) Vermicompost

Reliance on green biomass and farmyard manure is a sure method of increasing soil organic content. However, under the existing conditions, these requirements are not fully met with. Enormous quantity of farm wastes and organic residues are simply burnt. In order to utilise farm wastes and organic residue for being recycled into compost, the modern thoughts are for utilising earthworms and fungus that are habituated to such conversion. Promising Indian species, Eisenia foetida can convert organic wastes into vermicompost in about one month's time and convert anything except plastic into compost.

Since preparation of vermicompost utilising any of the above species can be a very promising endeavour in rural areas, in addition to meeting the compost requirement of one's own farm, it is desirable to take this up as part of organic farming. The brief details regarding vermicomposting techniques is as follows.

Vermicompost can be made in raised beds of 15-25 cm height. The length and width can vary according to the quantum of wastes available for composing. Beds of 6x2 m are ideal. These beds should be made slightly raised at the centre and sloping towards the sides (to facilitate effective drainage), preferably under shade. As earthworms do not relish light, it is advisable to keep the pits covered. Darkness also reduces the composting time.

A soft bedding material with wheat/soybean straw is added as the first layer. This should be followed by a thin layer of cow dung slurry. Earthworm culture @ 1 kg/10m length of bed (2m wide) is then added. Earthworm cocoons or starter inoculant worms from vermi compost can also be used. Weeds, leaves chopping, farm wastes, household wastes and other degradable materials can be continuously added on the top. Water should be sprinkled periodically to keep the beds slightly moist, but never wet. Under ideal moist and temperature conditions (27-33° C) the composting time would be 40-50 days. Earthworm castings contain approximately 2.0-2.5% N, 2.5-2.9 per cent P2O5 and 1.2- 1.4% K2O, the exact composition varies according to the substrate and composting conditions. The excreta of organisms contain more N content over their level of consumption of N as in vermi castings too.

(ii) Composting of cotton stalks through Trichoderma viride

Cotton stalks are burnt as fuel after picking of seed cotton is over. This residue together with farm wastes from other crops and weeds can effectively be utilised for preparing compost, through the use of beneficial fungi likeTrichoderma viride. The technique, as developed at CICR, Nagpur is briefly described.

In a pit of 10 x 2 x 1m in size, dried cotton stalks from 2 hectare area are filled in four layers interspersed with other soft farm waste, such as sorghum stubble, linseed straw and soybean pod-haulms (to fill the gaps in between cotton stalks) and 50 kg of cow dung (to provide a soft substrate for initial multiplication of the fungus). Each layer was sprinkle inoculated with 2.5 kg T.viride wettable powder in 60 litre water mixed with half-kilogram jaggery and 15 g yeast. The pit is finally covered with one foot layer of sunhemp stalks for checking water loss. Periodic watering is made to maintain sufficient moisture in the pit and turning of the top layer at least once during the decomposition process.

In the span of four months, most of the cotton stalks are converted into compost, the rest (20%) being black, brittle, semi-decomposed stalks. This compost is comparable to well-decomposed vermicompost. It could be used for nutrient recycling, antagonistic fungus against certain soil-borne pathogens, viz., Fusarium spp., Rhizoctonia spp. etc.

6) Weed Management

Fields not infested with perennial weeds such as Cyperus sp. (Motha), Cyanodon dactylon (Doob) and Sachharumsp. (Kans) are preferred for organic farming as these are difficult to control. However, if such weeds occur in patches, their underground propagatory structures (stolons, rhizomes etc.) must be exposed by summer cultivation and manually removed. Mechanical/manual weeding as per existing practice may be adopted. Composting can recycle the weeds removed. It must be ensured that the FYM, compost added is completely decomposed, otherwise many seeds of annual weeds, introduced through FYM, will germinate and aggravate the weed problem. Growing a crop of cowpea between 2 rows of cotton will also suppress the early emerging weeds.

7) Selection of rotations

Crop rotations play a very important role in restoring soil fertility and minimizing damage due to insect pests and weeds. High nutrient-exhaustive rotations must be avoided and instead rotations with a legume that is recommended for the locality may be adopted.

8) IPM strategies for crop protection

The crop protection to reduce the damage due to insect pests to organically cultivated cotton revolves around the use of bioagents such as predators such as Chrysoperla sp. or Apertochrysa spp., egg parasitoids such asTrichogramma, larval parasitoids such as Habrobracon spp. or insect pathogens such as Helicoverpa armigeraNuclear Polyhydrosis Virus [NPV] and a bacterium, Bacillus thuringuiensis var. kurstaki (B.t.k.) formulations along with utilisation of bird perches and botanical insecticides like neem products.

Avoidance of pesticide application by introducing biocontrol agents, either by natural augmentation processes or by artificial releases increased the stability of cotton cultivation. The basic concept of conserving natural mortality agents of pests can be achieved in organic cotton cultivation, primarily by reducing insecticide application. These toxicants destroy both, pests and their natural enemies, and so, are not desirable for common use. To sum up, the following pest suppression strategies are recommended for organic cotton cultivation.

  1. Select a reasonably jassid tolerant cultivator.
  2. Release of Chrysoperla spp. @ 500-1000/ha according to the intensity of jassid damage between 20-25 days of crop growth once. For jassid susceptible cultivator, this may be released after 35 days.
  3. Release Trichocards @ 5/ha once at 45-50 days and then after 10-12 days, twice more in order to kill bollworm eggs.
  4. Spray H-NPV @ 250 larval equivalent (LE) [1LE= 200 crore (109 ) Poly Inclusion Bodies [PIBs] or Poly Occlusion Bodies [POBs] when very young larvae of American bollworm are spotted. This could be repeated after every 15 days for retaining good inoculum of the pathogen. This could be alternated with any commercial B.t. formulation @ 1.5 l/ha.
  5. Release of Habrobracon hebator is also useful for controlling growing bollworm larvae and other caterpillars damaging leaves and flowers.
  6. Placement of bird perches @ 5-6/ha would help in increasing the predatory bird visit in cotton fields.
  7. The need-based botanical insecticides, seed kernel extract is used at 5% v/v or 1-% oil are very useful to deter pest activity in the crop.
  8. Monitoring of bollworm using the respective pheromone traps would give a clue regarding their first occurrence in a season in order to initiate adequate and suitable crop protection measures.
  9. One of the important cultural practices that is desirable is to depot the crop that has grown beyond 80 days. This would reduce the egg laying of H.armigera.

 


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ORGANIC FARMING :: Related Websites

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Institute/ Centre

Contact Address

Web Link

National

Tamil Nadu Organic Certification Department

Director
Department of Organic Certification
Coimbatore – 641 13

www.tnocd.org

ISKCON

ISKCON 
Sri Radha Krishna-Chandra Temple,
Hare Krishna Hill, Chord Road,
Bangalore 560010, Karnataka, India.

Telephone: 
91 80 23471956, 23578346
Fax: 91 80 23578625

www.iskconbangalore.org

International Competence Center for Organic Agriculture

ICCOA , 
951 C, 15th Cross, 8th Main, 
Ideal Homes Township, Rajarajeshwarinagar, 
Bangalore - 560 098, India

Tel: +91 - 080 - 28601183 
Fax: +91 - 080 - 28600935 
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www.iccoa.org

Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI)

G-8, St. Britto's Apartments.,
Feira Alta, Mapusa 403 507 
Goa, India

Ph: 91-832-2255913
Fax: 91-832-2263305
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.ofai.org

Integrated Polyculture Farming System (IPFS)

Integrated Polyculture Farming System
Dr.G.Gandhi 
Technical Director, Farminggroup.org 
L2/58B, DDA Flats(LIG), Kalkajee,
New Delhi-110019.

Phone : 011-26033900 
Mobile: 9818186751 
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www.farminggroup.org

Center for Indian Knowledge Systems (CIKS)

CHENNAI OFFICE
30 Gandhi Mandapam Road,
Kotturpuram, 
Chennai - 600085.

Tel : 91-44-24471087 / 24475862
Fax : 91-044-24471114 
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www.ciks.org

Organic certification

B/h Pharmacy College Mess,
Boys Hostel Campus,
Nr. Vijay Char Rasta
Navrangapura, Ahmedabad - 380 009
Gujarat, India

Phone: (91-79) 7912792   
Fax: (91-79) 7913293 
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.sristi.org

National Organic Program (NOP)

Barbara Robinson, 
Acting Director
Deputy Administrator, USDA-AMS-TMP
Room 4008-South Building
1400 Independence Avenue 
SW Washington, DC 20250-0020

Phone: (202) 720-3252
Fax: (202) 205-7808
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.ams.usda.gov

Indian organic Certification Agency (INDOCERT)

INDOCERT [Indian organic Certification Agency] Thottumugham, Alwaye - 5 
Ernakulam Dt. Kerala

Phone: 0484-2630908, 2620943 
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.indocert.org

Organic certification mark 
– Indian Spices

Director, 
Spices Board, Sugandha Bhavan
Cochin – 682 025

Phone: 0484-2333610
Fax:0484-2331429
E mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.indianspices.com

Natural Organic 
Certification Association

Natural Organic 
Certification Association (NOCA)
Chhatrapati House, Near PN Gadgil Showroom,
Paud Road, Kothrud , Pune - 411038
Maharashtra

Phone: +91 - 20 - 65218063
Fax: +91 - 20 - 25457869
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.nocaindia.com

Organic India

Organic India Pvt. Ltd.
Plot No. 266, Faizabad Road,
Kamta, Post Chinhat
Lucknow-227105

Tel: +91-(0)522-2701579 09956296685
Fax: +91-(0)522-2701395
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
SMS: OI to 54545
Toll Free No.: 1800-180-5153

www.organicindia.co.in

Apof Organic Certification Agency (AOCA)

Apof Organic Certification Agency 
# 3, 5th Main, 9th Cross, Jayamahal Extension,
Bangalore - 560 046.

Phone: +91-80-65369888 
Fax: +91-80-23430155 
Mobile: +91-9886 019021 
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.aoca.in

Bio-Dynamic Association of India (BDAI)

BDAI Secretariat, 
Ichor Estate, Pethuparai, 
Perumalmalai PO, 
Kodaikanal 624104

Tel: (0)9360390873
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.biodynamics.in

OneCert Asia

OneCert Asia Pvt. Ltd.
Plot No. 8, Pratap Nagar Colony (Near glass factory) 
Tonk Road
Jaipur - 302017 (Rajasthan)

phone/fax: 0141-2701882
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.onecertasia.in

Mother Nature Organic

Mother Nature Organics
Chemmanam
Iringole P.O.,
Perumbavoor – 683 548

Mobile: 09447025185
Fax: 0484-2779277
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.mothernatureorganics.in

ECOCERT

Dr. Selvam Daniel
Country Representative and 
Director Certification Operations – India, Sector - 3, S-6/3 &4, Gut No. 102,
Hindustan Awas, Walmi – Waluj Road
Nakshatrawadi – 431 002
Aurangabad

Telefax: +91-240-2377120, 2376949.
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.ecocert.in

Lacon Quality Certification (India) Pvt. Ltd.,

Head Office
Lacon Quality Certifications India Ltd.,
Chenathra, 
Theepany, Thiruvalla, 
Pathanamthitta (District), 
Kerala- 689 101

Tele/fax: +91 469 2606447
E_mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Liaison Office- Tamil Nadu & Pondichery
45 A, Lakshmi Illam,
SB Colony, 6th Street, Melagram 
Tenkashi- 627 818

Telephone: 04633 227903
Contact person: Mr. A. SenthilKumar
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www.laconindia.com

National Centre of Organic Farming

Regional Biofertilizer Development Centre, 
34, 5th Main Road, Hebbal
Bangalore - 560 024

Tel/Fax : 91-080-3330616              
Grams  : BIOFERTILIZER 
Email : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

http://dacnet.nic.in

International

International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR)

ISOFAR Secretariat
International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR)
Institute of Organic Agriculture (IOL), University of Bonn 
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Köpke (President), Katzenburgweg 3
D-53115 Bonn, Germany

Tel. +49 228 735616
Fax +49 228 735617
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.isofar.org

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)

IFOAM Head Office
Charles-de-Gaulle-Str. 5
53113 Bonn - Germany
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel: +49 (0) 228 926 50-10
Fax: +49 (0) 228 926 50-99

www.ifoam.org

OCIA International
Organic Crop Improvement Association

OCIA International Certification Programs
1340 North Cotner Transaction Certificates
Lincoln, Nebraska 68505 USA

Telephone: (402) 477-2323              
Fax: (402) 477-4325                        
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.ocia.org

Organic Research Group

Susanne Padel 
Organic Research Group, University of Wales 
Llanbadarn Campus, Aberystwyth SY23 3AL

Tel. +44 1970 622953, 
Fax +44 1970 622238 
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.irs.aber.ac.uk

Consumers Association (OCA)

Organic Consumers Association - 6771 South Silver Hill Drive, Finland MN 55603

www.organicconsumers.org

Innovation Centre Organic Agriculture (IBL)

Herman van Keulen 
Innovation Centre Organic Agriculture (IBL) of Wageningen University & Research Centre 
P.O. Box 65, 
NL-8200, AB Lelystad

Tel. +31 320 293-344 
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.ibl.wur.nl

Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming (DARCOF)

Jens Grønbech Hansen 
Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming (DARCOF) / Dänisches Forschungszentrum für ökologischen Landbau 
P.O. Box 50, Foulum 
DK-8830 Tjele

Tel: +45 8999 1806, 
Fax: +45 8999 1673 
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

http://www.darcof.dk

WWOOF

Harish Chander Tewari 
Postal Address: 
C/O SEWAK ngo
A 46 judge farms
Haldwani, Nainital, 
Uttrakhand, India

www.wwoofinternational.org

www.wwoofindia.org

Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G)

Organic Farmers & Growers
The Old Estate Yard, Albrighton
Shrewsbury, Shropshire
SY4 3AG

Tel: 0845 330 5122 (local rate call) or 01939 291800 
Fax: 0845 330 5123 (local rate call) or 01939 291250 
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.organicfarmers.org.uk

The Society for Organic Urban Land Care

Society for Organic Urban Land Care
P.O. Box 8548
Victoria, B.C.
V8W 1L4, Canada

e-mail : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

http://www.organiclandcare.org/

EM Research Organization

EM Research Organization, Inc.
Overseas Department
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Mailing address: 468 Kawasaki, Uruma-shi, Okinawa-ken, 
904-2203 Japan

Tel: +81-98-972-3443, 972-5442
Fax: +81-98-972-2202

http://emrojapan.com

Efficient Microbes

Efficient Microbes
PO BOX 1307
Westville 3630
KZN

Tel:031 266 2935
Fax:086 684 1548
Technical:083 601 8563
Sales: 083 642 5688
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.efficientmicrobes.co.za

Indian Society for Certification of Organic Products (ISCOP),

Indian Society for Certification of Organic Products
“Rasi building” 162/163,
Ponnaiyarajapuram,
Coimbatore - 641 001. 
Tamil Nadu, India.

Tel : + 91 422 6586060, 
+ 91 422 5586060 
+ 91 422 2544199
+ 91 422 2423874 
+ 91 422 2430749 
Mobile No. +91 94432 43119 
94437 59069
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http://iscoporganiccertification.org/

Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)

301 5th St SE 
Medina, ND, USA 

Telephone: 701-486-3578 
Fax: 701-486-3580

http://www.ics-intl.com/

FARRMS

FARRMS
301 5th Ave SE
Medina, ND 58467

Phone: 701-486-3569
Fax: 701-486-3580
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http://www.farrms.org/

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

USDA-CSREES
Stop 2223 
1400 Independence Ave. SW 
Washington, D.C. 20250-2223

Fax (202) 720-6071

http://www.sare.org/

Organic (Ltd)

ORGANIC (Ltd)
Box 816
Strawberry Hills
Sydney, NSW, 2012
Australia

Phone: + 61 (415) 700 700
Fax: + 61 (415) 700 700
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http://organic.com.au

Demeter

Edith Daniel
Demeter e.V.
Brandschneise 1
D-64295 Darmstadt
Germany

Phone: ++49-6155-8469-40
Fax: ++49-6155-8469-11
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www.demeter.de

National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
P.O. Box 3657
Fayetteville, 
AR 72702

http://attra.ncat.org/

 


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LIVESTOCK RANCHING

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The extensive temperate grass­lands, once roamed bv nomadic herdsmen or by hunters, have now become sit~s of permanent ranches where large number of cattle, sheep, goats, and horses are kept. Reindeer are also kept on ranches in the sub-Arctic lands of Siberia.

In this type of agriculture, vegetative cover is continuous, there is no migration, ranches are scientifically managed, animals are raised for commercial purposes, and towns and communications are developed., In these aspects it differs from nomadic herding. USA, New Zealand and Argentina are known for well-developed commercial ranch­ing.’ The tropical savannas, e.g., on the Campos and llanos of South America, Mexico, central and southern Africa and tropical Australia also practise it to an extent.


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What precision farming is and is not

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‘Precision Farming’ is a term that appears to be misunderstood by agriculture scientists in India. This name is indiscriminately used by agricultural institutions to seek funding for their project activities. There is a need to create awareness and present information on precision farming as it is understood in developed countries.

Several steps in scientific farming have been used for more than half a century in western agriculture. They include laser planning of land; chiselling; minimum tillage; complete analysis of soil samples for 12 or more essential plant nutrients; fertilizer placement in the root zone; mechanical and chemical control of weeds; integrated pest management; siphon irrigation; drip and micro-sprinkler irrigation; and ploughing back crop residues in the soil. Indian farmers with their limited knowledge and scanty practical experience on scientific methods of farming are still to adopt most of these steps in their farming operations.

However, the concept of precision farming is outside the domain of these techniques. It is strictly based on the Global Positioning System (GPS), which was initially developed by U.S. defence scientists for the exclusive use of the U.S. Defence Department. The unique character of GPS is precision in time and space. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan released it to various civilian uses such as navigation, earthquake monitoring, and synchronisation of telecom networks.

The initiation of GPS into farm operations is less than a decade old. Its use is fast spreading to all aspects of farm operations and beyond. Some of the areas in agriculture where precision farming is taking hold with implications for the economics of farming are listed below. Since the subject is vast and fast growing, it is difficult to compile a complete list of applications in this limited presentation.

1. Soil Fertility

Management

a) This involves dividing a field into several small and equal divisions using the sub-inch accuracy of GPS. To do this, the tractor is fitted with a dish antenna to receive signals from satellites, which are recorded on a tractor-mounted computer. Soil samples are mechanically taken from each sub-division and this process is technically known as “Grid Sampling.”

b) Samples are tested in a modern soil testing laboratory for about 17 parameters including physical and chemical characteristics of the soil and recorded.

c) Using the test results of this grid samples, composite colour–grams are created through computer simulation on each of the17 parameters for the entire field (see Figure 1).

d) The colour-grams are stored as stencils in the computer for various functions. One of the chief among the functions is balancing soil fertility of the field with respect to all major, secondary, and micro- nutrients. This is achieved through tractor-mounted computer guided spreader equipment capable of reading the variability of fertility from colour-grams. Fertilizers are then automatically applied at variable rates only to where they are needed as indicated by the colour-grams.

In practical experience, the savings in fertilizer cost from this variable rate application alone will more than offset the cost involved in the programme. Besides, use of this method brings about greater uniformity of soil fertility in the field, leading to maximum economic yields of crops, which could not be achieved through other methods.

2. Other applications of the GPS-generated grid method

The grid generated by GPS is stored in the computer and used for site-specific evaluation and monitoring of numerous functions involved in crop production to achieve peak efficiency in farm management. Some of these areas are listed below:

a) Planting variable rates of seed to maximise crop yields from the specific fertility of each grid section.

b) The GPS-guided grid system helps to apply variable rates of herbicides and pesticides to achieve maximum control of weeds and pests. This not only reduces the cost of chemicals used, but also improves efficiency of pest control and protects environment.

c) This enables the farmer to side dress application of fertilizers at variable rates to meet the specific requirement of each grid section, thus improving fertilizer use efficiency.

d) Irrigation rates are tailored to the requirement of each grid area improving water use efficiency.

f) Scouting for pest information and pest control are achieved on a site-specific basis.

g) At harvest, crop yield information is recorded on a grid section basis. Solutions for differences of yield between grid sections are sought through computer analysis of all variables controlling yield of crops that are stored in the computer. Based on this, the farmer fine-tunes his or her variable rates of application of fertilizers and other impacting parameters for use in future cropping programmes.

h) One other great advantage of the GPS system of farming involves the ability of the farmer to achieve greater efficiency in time control of his farm operations. This is because the GPS system enables him to operate his equipment round the clock irrespective of factors restricting visibility such as fog, darkness, or even showers. The sub-inch accuracy of GPS-based operations provides the farmer maximum efficiency with equipment operations.

India is reported to spend hundreds of crores of rupees in projects called ‘Precision Farming.’ A small fraction of the current expenditure on so-called precision farming can purchase the real thing, including all hardware and software involved. The question is: when will it ever happen in India?


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