Organic seed production-Issues and strategies

L Meghachandra Singh
Contd from previous issue
Quick soil cover for effective soil protection, suppression of weeds, Easy decomposition of organic matter and easy in handling, increase of nitrogen availability, Decrease in pest and disease population, Controllable growth and Propagation in farmers’ fields.
2. Stale Seed bed technique
Increasing the competitive ability of the cheapest and most stable method of weed control. It is done through stale seed bed technique which involves primary cultivation followed by a period in which seeds are induced to germinate and they are destroyed by further cultivation.
3. Bio-gas plant spent slurry (BSS)
It is rich in N (1.5 to 2.2%), P (0.9-1.2%) and several other micronutrients and is known to improve physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil. The slurry can be applied to the field along with irrigation water and the dry slurry can be broadcasted before sowing. The results of the field experiments conducted at 12 different locations under the ICAR sponsored AICRP on Renewable Sources Energy clearly shows that substitution of chemical nitrogenous fertilizers in the range of 50 – 75% of the recommended dose of various cereal, pulse, oilseed and vegetable crops is possible without adversely affecting the crop yield besides improving soil health.
4. Biofertilizer
These are not only cheaper but have the relative advantage of being diversified into small units to meet the demands of the specific problems of location. There are microbes to fix atmospheric nitrogen, to release phosphorus and to mobilize P and other nutrients. Hence the bio fertilizer use contributes much to the N and P nutrition of crops.
5. Plant products (botanicals)
Seed hardening done with Garlic extract, leaf extracts of prosopis, pungam, acacia, calotropis etc., shared the risk under dryland farming as reported by many scientists. It can be done by soaking seeds in 1 % fresh aqueous leaf extracts of Pro sop is and pungam (1g leaf in 100 ml water) for 16 hours using 1:06 WN (Seed solution) ratio. Then the seeds were dried under shade to bring back the original moisture content. Subsequently the hardened seeds were coated with fine leaf powder of Pungam @300 g ha-1 using 5% maida gruel as adhesive.
6. Mulching
It is an important technique for improving soil microclimate, enhancing soil life, structure and fertility, conserving soil moisture and energy, reducing weed growth, preventing damage by impact from solar radiation and rainfall (erosion control), and reducing the need for tillage, Widely used traditional mulches include layers of dry grass, crop residues (straw, leaves etc.) fresh organic material from trees, bushed, grasses and weeds, household refuse and love plants (Cover crops, green manures).
7. Wind breaks
To improve the microclimate or decrease wind erosion, wind damage especially during flowering, anthesis and pollination like flower dropping and fruit fall can be reduced by forming live hedges in narrow bands with closely planted woody species having multi-purpose value, generally planted around fields or farm compounds. To quote a typical example, the “green chain” with Casuarina, Eucalyptus to perform the function as shelter belt and wind breaks.
8. Water harvesting
It is resource-enhancing technique which, due to synergetic effects, reaches its full potential when used in combination with other techniques such as improved seed and application of organic manures etc, water harvesting not only secures and increases crop production in scantly rainfall areas it can also serve to control soil erosion and to recharge aquifers tapped for irrigation. An additional benefit is the improvement in soil fertility. Silt manure and other organic matter are ‘harvested’ together with the water. The soil profile stays moist longer, stimulating soil life and improving humus formation, nutrient availability and the soil's capacity to hold water which enables good seed set and seed yield of crops.
Experience Learnt from Organic Farmers
1. Organic farming practices suggested by farmers (Need scientific verification)
Following are some organic farming practices suggested and practiced by the organic growers of Tamil Nadu pray that before adoption firstly fathoms and cognize the different operational parameters of each process outlined here under and then only test verify in a small tray before embarking on full scale on the farm.
2. Panchamukhi
Five factors of agricultural treatments adopted by the natural farmers as seed treatment, soil treatment, water treatment, environmental treatment and crop treatment are cumulatively known as ‘Panchamukhi’ farming process for boosting agricultural yields. They are as follows
Seed treatment process
· Seed hardening i.e., Pre-soaking of the seeds in cow urine.
· Tiny seeds mixed with coal powder for sowing (1 part of seeds with 4 parts of coal powder).
· Seed mixing with Neem oil @1part of oil for 4 parts of seeds.
· Seed Magnetism against seed borne diseases before sowing using the car magneto.
Soil treatment process
· Farm Border-Bunding for in situ ground water recharging
· Soil Forking of the in situ farm wastes using the digging fork
· Vermi-composting of farm wastes in (2 m x 1 m x 1 m) brick-trough using 2kgs of nucleus Jumbo earth-worms for monthly production of 0.5 tons of vermi-compost, adequate for manuring an acre of the crop land.
Soil-dressing of Animal manures annually as
(I)  Cattle manure (FYM) : 5 t/acre
(II)  Poultry manure : 1 t/acre
(III) Sheep penning (one day) : 500 sheeps / acre
(IV) Fish manure : 100kg/acre
(V)  Earthworms : 50 kg/acre
· Soil- dressing of microbial manure annually as
(i) Fermented cow dung decoction (25% raw dung + 1 % yeast in 4% salt solution of 100 liters fermented for a week) at 100 kg dung per acre, through irrigation water.
(ii) Fodder yeast at 5 kg per acre.
(iii) Fermented curd in copper vessel at 10 kg per acre (Subsequently diluted into 100 liters)
· Soil- dressing of tree leaves of Neem / Pungarn/Glyricidia (25 bags per acre of the crop land).
· Soil-dressing of pulverized Unit manure as Neem /Amla/Acid lime/ [email protected] 50 kg/acre
· Soil-dressing of 10 kg of bajra pulverized powder per acre as soil fungicide.
· Soil-dressing of fermented seed decoction of Gingelly + Mustard + Green gram in 5 % salt/sugar solution for a week (10kg per acre in 100 liters of water)
· Soil –dressing of mucilage manure
(i) Cardia sebestina – mucilaginous fruits (20 kg/acre)
(ii) Aloe vera / Bryophyllum sp. Whole plant extract
· Soil-dressing of non-edible oil cake. (Neem/Mahua/Pungam/Castor cake @ 100 kg/acre).
· Soil-dressing of press-mud (1 lorry load/acre) especially to reclaim problem soils.
· Soil-mineral pesticides spray (Need-based) as borax/sulphur powder/copper.
Sulphate/potassium permanganate/burnt lime stone @ 5-10 kg/acre.
· Soil-dressing of dead sea weeds (Sargassum grass)
3. Water treatment process
· Keeping 1 % of the farm area always under farm pond
· Field-irrigation through copper spirals kept at the channel outlet.
· Field water through latex creeper bundles (Sarocostemmafravigeta/Cryptostegia grandiflora)
4. Environmental treatment process
· Daily Agnihothra fumigation of the farm environment (with the burning of weeds/Trimmings/prunings at the tree basins of the farm)
· Maintaining cattles at least a minimum of 2-3ha farm size.
· Farm Border-planting of pest /disease repellent pillar trees as Neem Seethapal, Nux vomica etc.
· Keeping honey bee hives @ 5/acre.
· Trap cropping for pest management (Mustard/castor/garlic sown amidst main crops)
5. Plant treatment process
· Seedlings vigour exploitation by culling out of the week seedlings through thick rowing/planting (Similar to roguing in seed production)
· Botanical fungicides usage as fermented garlic decoction (10 kg per acre) Neem oil (5 liters per acre)
· Botanical insecticides usage as tobacco leaves/Asafoetida/Acorus calamus/Taramira (Eruca sativa) oil.
· Microbial growth boosters (GA & Vitamin B12 through tender coconuts spray Mineral FW1gicides as
· Bordeaux mixture as 5% solution
· Burgandy mixture as 5% solution
· Agricultural antibiotics like Aureo fungi, Terramycin, Ledermycin for pest/disease control.
6. Bio-Intensive Gardening
Raising of different crop/plant species in a field/garden provides ingredients to rebuild and maintain soil productivity. At the heart of the approach is the effort to improve the soil's capability to nurture soil and plant life.
7. Tank-Silt Application
Application of 5-8 truckloads (approximately 20-30 tonnes) of tank silt per hectare, in areas where there is an access to do so with minimum transport cost, is sufficient for 3 years crop cultivation to get crop yields on par with yield obtained using fertilizers.
8. ‘Panchagavya’
It is a foliar nutrition prepared by organic growers using the following ingredients.
Biogas slurry/Cow dung 5 kg, cow urine 3 litres, Cow milk 2 litres, Curd 2 litres, Clarified butter/ghee 1 litre, Sugarcane juice 3 litres, Palm sugar 1 kg, Tender coconut water 3 litres, Banana 12 No.
The ingredients are mixed in a mud pot after stirring them well. Then it is kept in a shady place for one week for fermentation. Then 3 litres of ‘panchagavya’ is diluted in 100 litres of water. This mixture is sufficient for spraying four acres @ 2 rounds per crop. The diluted mixture has to be thoroughly stirred for 20 minutes before spraying. It can be stored for one month. It induces growth and enhances quick flowering and also gives resistance against pests and diseases.
Thus, sustainable lifestyle is a value in our heart in tune with the beat of nature. Are you going to leave a barren, polluted land which can’t feed its children? If you say ‘no’ then you are receptive to it. “Organic farming concept” i.e., to use the land without abusing it. Man’s activities have destroyed the earth beyond repair. This statement can be disproved through our march to “Organic farming” to get safe and quality food through quality seed production. To be contd