Farming Methods & Techniques

Vertical Farming

Vertical Farming

Technology-Vertical Farming: Increase in population and decline in the production of food has led to adopt more advanced techniques for agriculture. Vertical farming is one of such modern technology invented to enhance the traditional way of farming. It is a process of cultivating the crops in vertically stacked layers to increase more production with less utilization of soil and water. Although it is becoming pretty much famous in well developed countries, its importance is slowly growing in India. So lets see about this modern farming technology in detail.

History
  • Although the idea of indoor farming belongs to ancient period, it is modified and represented by a professor called Dickson Despommier of environmental health sciences and microbiology.
How does it work ?
  • Usually vertical farming is carried for small scale crops like lettuce, broccoli, tomato etc.
  • This technique is carried in warehouses, greenhouses or large buildings to get same amount of water, light and nutrients to the entire crop.
  • Instead of sunlight LED bulbs are used to provide equal amount of light energy.
  • All the stacked layers will have its own watering and nutrient monitoring systems.
  • Each plant has sensors to give the information about the required nutrients. At the same time the whole system is provided with special monitors to track down the plant diseases.
Advantages
  • The main purpose of this farming is to increase the food production with minimal usage of soil and water.
  • As it is land free cultivation, so much money and time is saved without any pesticides and fungicides.
  • Because it is carried in indoors, less labor and machinery is needed with no season restrictions.
  • Compared to traditional farming the yield would be greatly high in this technique.
  • Vertical farming gives high quality of yield in less time compared to traditional farming.
  • Outdoor farming has so many weather factors that affect the growth and final yield of the crop. Virtual farming is free from weather disturbances, the only threat it could get is through earthquakes or tornados.
Drawbacks
  • Even though it gives very good profits, it is a huge task for small scale farmers to spend so much money on it.
  • Vertical farming is limited to certain crops. It is very difficult to farm even medium size crops like maize, sugarcane etc.
  • Separate seed stations are needed to germinate the seedlings which increases the cost burden.
  • One more drawback is dependency on expensive LED lights. Crops grown in vertical farming requires high energy which results in expensive electric charges.
  • Traditional farming depends on nature climate where as vertical farming depends on technology. As a result, failure in any of the system affects on the plant growth.
Availability
  • In India the usage of this farming is in initial stage compared to other countries.
  • In vertical farming different techniques like Hydroponics, Aeroponics and Aquaponics are used depending up on the requirements. Each technology has their own price range.
  • At an average, 100 stacked layers cost nearly 13 to 15 lakhs for a small scale warehouse including the cost of seed station, ventilation station, climate control system and LED bulbs.

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Turmeric Farming

Turmeric Farming

Spices Farming-Turmeric Farming: Turmeric is one of the widely carried and most demanding crop in the world, especially in India. The dry rhizomes have been a part of Indian routine life since many years. Its uses are indefinable as a flavoring agent, dye, medicine and cosmetic agent. The extensive usage and high requirement in the world have made India as the leading producer and the top exporter in the world. Out of the main producing states in India, Andhra Pradesh alone takes the lion share with nearly 50%. Then, lets see what are the favorable conditions to take up its cultivation.

Climate and Soil
  • Turmeric is a herbal plant and grows well in tropic and sub tropical climates. According to experts it thrives well in humid regions.
  • Also the regions with a temperature range 25 to 35oC and an annual rainfall of 1550 mm to 2200mm, produce high quality rhizomes.
  • Turmeric grows well in different soils, especially clayey and sandy lands where large amount of humus is present.
Land Preparation
  • Turmeric is also carried as irrigated crop, so make sure which type of crop you are going to adopt.
  • Usually the farmers prepare the land with four to five ploughings at the start of monsoon showers.
  • Later upon expert advice beds are to be made according to your convenience by leaving a space of 50 cm for each bed.
  • On your comfort station, turmeric cultivation can be carried through furrows and ridges method also.
Checking the quality of rhizomes
  • Turmeric cultivation is carried by planting rhizomes. So they must be healthy without any diseases.
  • According to expert farmers, the whole or split rhizomes are planted in trays for 40 to 50 days.
  • At an average, nearly 2500 kilograms of fresh rhizomes are needed for carrying one hectare cultivation.
Irrigation
  • Irrigation for turmeric plants completely depend on soil type and weather conditions.
  • According to farming experts, heavy soils require nearly 20 to 25 times of irrigation while the light soils need 10 to 15 times more than heavy soils.
Manure adding and fertilizers
  • Mostly rhizome based crops require natural fertilizers. That is why maximum farmers avoid adding any chemicals and opt for animal dung.
  • From the experts, turmeric crop requires approximately 3 tons of animal dung per acre before the rhizomes are planted.
Plant Protection
  • Rhizome crops usually face severe threat from weeds. So monthly weeding has to be done either by manually or by spraying chemicals.
  • To avoid any fungus and insects, treat the seed rhizomes with necessary fungicides and pesticides at the dosage of 2 grams per one liter water.
  • According to farmers, the only pest that affects the crop is shoot borer. For this, they advice to pick the effected one and destroy outside the crop.
Harvesting
  • Turmeric crop comes to harvesting stage by the end of 8th or 9th month after plantation. Usually this process takes place in the months of January to March.
  • You can start the harvesting process when the leaves turn in to yellow and starts drying.
  • Generally rhizomes are taken out from the ground by hand picking. For future use, mother rhizomes are separated as seed material from finger rhizomes.
After Harvesting
  • Curing is the crucial stage of turmeric cultivation. This is the phase where the farmers boil the rhizomes and dry in the sun.
  • Approximately it takes two to three weeks time to get the rhizomes completely dry.
  • But before doing this, take the expert advice so that the process is carried successfully without losing the color and odor of the rhizomes.
  • Finally improve the quality of appearance by polishing and coloring methods so that your rhizomes get good price in the market.
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Pumpkin Farming

Pumpkin Farming

Fruits Farming-Pumpkin Farming: Pumpkin is an easily carried crop and pretty much famous for culinary, agricultural and decorative purposes. It is estimated that in America alone nearly 1.4 billion pounds of pumpkins are produced per annum. Production wise the highest populated country China holds the top place followed by India. It is termed as farmer friendly crop, as it grows both in summer and rainy season. Its cultivation is very easy, this is the reason why most of the houses use it as one of the garden growing plants. So lets see what are the different stages of farming this crop that give high production and more profits.

Climate and Soil
  • As we said pumpkin can grow both in summer and rainy season. But in warm weather conditions the production will be high.
  • Moreover the areas falling in the temperature range 24 to 26 C are said to be ideal for getting good profits.
  • All variety of soils allow its healthy growth but mainly organic loamy soils are ideal according to farming experts.
  • Also the soils which have pH range of 5 to 6 are also well suitable.
Land Preparation
  • As usual land should be thoroughly ploughed to make the farm even. Any weeds and previous wastes should be removed.
  • Pumpkin is a vine plant, so necessary canopy must be ensured other than leaving it on the ground.
  • For seeding, Pits of 60x45 cm are dug by maintaining a distance of 4x2 m.
  • The pits are then mixed with well decayed manure along with the top soil.
Sowing the seeds
  • According to farming experts approximately 5 kilograms of seeds are required per hectare.
  • Usually this process takes place at the end of January to the starting of March. Some farmers even do it in the months of June to July.
  • It is advised to plant two to three seeds in one pit to ensure at least one grows if the other two fails.
Fertilizers
  • Apart from adding natural manure at the time of soil preparation, experts suggest to include 25 kg of nitrogen with the same amount of phosphorous at the time of sowing the seeds.
  • Again after one month the same mixture is given to the entire crop.
Irrigation
  • Experience farmers say no to irrigation during rainy seasons but for summer, they advice to irrigate the entire crop once in five days.
  • It is better to go for weeding before you start the process as there may be chance of its increase after irrigation.
Plant Protection
  • Fruit flies, cucumber beetles, Aphids, Powdery Mildew Anthracnose etc affect the growth very much.
  • Consult the farming experts and take necessary preventive steps to eradicate them completely.
Harvesting and yield
  • If the stem of the plant shrinks, understand that it is the time for harvesting. But do remember the harvesting stage differs according to the cultivars.
  • At an average the crop yields nearly 25 to 30 tons of pumpkin per hectare.
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Duck Farming

Duck Farming

Livestock & Aquaculture Farming-Duck Farming: Unlike other bird farming like chickens, duck farming is little expensive with more end profits. The eggs and meat cost more in the market than Chicken. Apart from those, its down feather is used in making jackets, pillows and sleeping bags. So it is evident that duck farming can turn in to lucrative if carried in a proper way. Its farming is simple and easy in some parts where water resources are plenty. That is why most of the farmers take it simultaneously with other animal farming to gain more profits. Hence lets check out what are the possible ways to take up the farming while knowing its advantages as well as drawbacks.

First of all, advantages :
  • Ducks can be healthy all the time, they can fall sick very rarely. They have more resistance power than chickens.
  • Their eggs are large and we get more number of eggs per day compared to chicken farming.
  • They grow quicker and gives more amount of meat, which has high market value than chickens.
  • Ducks usually rely on insects, plants and water facilities. There is no need to worry about high quality feeding.
Drawbacks :
  • Even though it has good market value than chicken our Indians dont eat its meat like chicken. This is the biggest drawback of this farming in India.
  • Ducks always need lot of water for reproduction and well growth. Farmers should develop hygienic water pits or ponds, which are little expensive.
  • Farmers have to develop their own marketing system to gain more profits as there are very less areas of interest on its meat and eggs.
Farming Procedure :

According to a survey, duck farming put up 6 percentage of Indias total egg production. It is considered as the second highest after chicken. If you think to take up a bird farming other than chicken, it perfectly suits you.

Check out for well water resources :
  1. Duck farming requires clean water for ducks to reproduce and mate with their partners.
  2. If you have to take up this farming in no water conditions dig appropriate pits and add hygienic water to those pits.
Building appropriate shelter :
  1. Ducks lay eggs usually in the early mornings and nights plus the ducklings grow faster, so building proper shelter is must in this farming.
  2. It should ensure high security from any wild animals with more space, sufficient light and air.
Choose your breed :
  1. There are number of breeds available in India, each for egg and meat production. Mostly Indian runner ducks are used for laying eggs while Maskovi ducks are considered as the best for meat production.
Give quality feed :
  1. Although duck dont rely on high quality feeding, it is advised to give them snails, kitchen waste, fungi, rice, corn etc for better growth and high production of eggs. If possible take them to fields like paddy, which is pretty much useful for good egg production.
Marketing :
  1. For better marketing you have to clean the eggs neatly. Usually duck eggs have thicker shells, so you can clean them even with knifes.
  2. Make sure the eggs are clean by rubbing with soft cloth and place them in closed clean trays before sending to market.
  3. Duck meat is expensive than chicken, all you have to do is to find out appropriate marketing dealers to sell your duck meat. Once you are in to the business, good profits are guaranteed.
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Sapota Farming

Sapota Farming

Fruits Farming-Sapota Farming: Sapota is an evergreen tree widely grown in Mexico, Caribbean and Central America. Indians began to know its prominence in nineteenth century because of its unforgettable sweetness. Even though Sapota is very famous for its taste, it is commercially cultivated for gummy latex in South-East Mexico, Guatemala etc. This latex is the main source for producing chickle which is used in preparing chewing gum. Mostly grown in tropical regions, Sapota has become one of the top producing crops in India. So lets see what are the crucial stages in its cultivation.

Climate and Soil types
  • Sapota crop is very much suitable for tropical regions. According to farming experts, dry and humid conditions give good production for longer periods.
  • Areas with annual rainfall range 120 to 220 cm and temperature range of 11oC to 35oC are apt for this crop.
  • If proper drainage is provided, Sapota grows well on all kinds of soils.
  • Especially black soils with pH range of 6.5 to 8.5 are ideal for its cultivation.
Land preparation
  • As usual the land is thoroughly ploughed two to three times and leveled without any weeds and previous wastes.
  • Following the instructions of experts, Pits of 10m x 10m size are dug and exposed to sun for two weeks.
  • Finally make sure to plant wind break trees like guava, mango, tamarind etc to protect the crop from heavy winds.
Propagation
  • The seedlings can be obtained by seeds or layering or grafting. Mostly small scale farmers use the method of layering as it is cheaper.
  • But for better growth and good profits, experts suggest to go for the most commercially carried softwood grafting on rayan seedlings.
Planting
  • Generally planting takes place in monsoon season. The readied pits are filled with top soil and sub soil to increase the fertility.
  • Later the pits are also filled with a well decomposed manure, with good mixture of single super phosphate, neem cake and micronutrients.
  • Following the spacing distance of 10m x 10m, the plants are to be placed in to the pits.
  • According to experts, hundred plus plants can be cultivated per hectare.
  • As this crop is carried for years, make sure to go for inter cultural crops of suitable fruits and vegetables.
Irrigation
  • As we said earlier, Sapota plant can bear dry conditions also. But for better profits regular irrigation is necessary.
  • According to experts an interval of 8 to 10 days is followed in summer, where as in winters the process may be carried once in three weeks.
Fertilizers
  • At the initial stage, 10 kilograms of Farm Yard Manure is given per tree followed by an increase of same amount annually. After five years the quantity is increased to 50 kilograms per tree.
  • For one year plant, a mixture of 200 grams of Nitrogen, 200 grams of Potassium and 300 grams of Phosphorous is given per plant. The same amount is increased per annum till the plant reaches to 5 years. From then on, the ratio changes to 1:1:1.5 kilogram per tree.
Protection
  • Weed control is quite essential in this crop. For better growth, weeds should be removed regularly either by manually or by spraying chemicals.
  • For getting maximum flowers and fruits, prune the over grown branches to get brighter sunlight and better air.
  • Coming to pests and diseases, leaf webber, hairy caterpillars, bud worm, scooty mould etc affect the profits drastically. Consult the farming experts and take necessary preventive steps to eradicate the issues.
Harvesting and yield
  • According to farming experts, the crop gets in to full potential of harvesting after 5 years.
  • Usually the harvesting of fruits takes place in the months of January-February or May-June.
  • At an average, the yield ranges from 25 to 30 tons per tree per year depending on the variety.
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Sprayers

Sprayers

Technology-Sprayers: Pest and disease control is one of the essential stages of farming to get high production and more profits. In the very past, controlling the crop loss with pesticides and fungicides was done manually by applying with hands, where the loss cannot be controlled because of inappropriate spraying. Most of the threat to the field is caused during this stage and there are so many instances where farmers have lost their life for not being able to face the situation. But at present the technology in farming has brought many changes and the responsibility has been taken care of by the machine operated sprayers.

Sprayer Types

Agricultural Sprayers are mainly classified in to Two types.
  • Hand driven Sprayers
  • Machine driven Sprayers
Hand driven Sprayers
  • Hand driven sprayers are nothing but manually operated sprayers usually suitable for small scale farmers. These are low in cost, size and mostly apt for gardens and small fields.
Machine driven Sprayers
  • These machine operated sprayers are mounted to a tractor or truck with small to large sized tanks, pumps, booms and nozzles.

These sprayers are further classified in to :

  1. Low Pressure Hydraulic Sprayers :
  2. These are operated hydraulically with an air chamber and pressure regulators. Usually low in cost, these are well used by smaller fields.

  3. High Pressure Hydraulic Sprayers :
  4. These are also hydraulically carried sprayers like low pressure sprayers, but the difference lies in its size and working capability. These are more costly than the above ones and effective to all type of fields, but mostly suitable for taller trees.

  5. Air blast Sprayers :
  6. These are also called as mist blowers, where the pesticides or fungicides are sprayed at a speed of 130 to 230 km per hour. Orchard sprayer is a perfect example for these type where concentrated pesticides are used.

  7. Foggers :
  8. Drones are the best to describe about these sprayers. These are electrically powered and we find the use of it in nurseries and mosquito prone areas.

Advantages of Sprayers
  • Earlier in traditional farming Pest and disease control was very hard and took days to complete, but now it has become very easy.
  • Also the time taken for this process can be utilized for other farm related work.
  • As there is very less chance of touching physically with the chemicals, farmers can be safe from any pesticide harm.
  • Compared to traditional methods, the use of these sprayers can save lot of water. It is very much essential for the fields where there is no proper irrigation facilities.
  • These sprayers are easy to maintain.
Drawbacks of Sprayers
  • Compared to traditional methods these sprayers are cost effective. The exact cost depends on the size and the specifications you are required.
  • If not maintained properly and not used for long time, they may lead to dysfunction quickly.
  • They require large amount of pesticides than the traditional methods which increases the expenses of the farmer.
Availability :
  • These Sprayers are available throughout the world at varied costs. You may find the appropriate Sprayer in the below links, go through them.
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