Integrated farming system with organic agriculture

Indira Sarangthem, A Herojit Singh and Nivedita Oinam
At present, the farmers concentrate mainly on crop production which is subjected to a high degree of uncertainty in income and employment to the farmers. In this contest, it is imperative to evolve suitable strategy for augmenting the income of a farm.
Integrated farming system refers to agricultural systems that integrate livestock and crop production. Integrated farming system has revolutionized conventional farming of livestock, aquaculture, horticulture, agro-industry and allied activities. It could be crop-fish integration, livestock-fish integration, crop-fish-livestock integration or combi- nations of crop, livestock, fish and other enterprises. These enterprises not only supplement the income of the farmers but also help in increasing the family labour employment. The salient features of IFS include -innovation in farming for maximising production through optimal use of local resources, effective recycling of farm waste for productive purposes, community-led local systems for water conservation, organic farming, and developing a judicious mix of income -generating activities such as dairy, poultry, fishery, goat-rearing, vermicomposting and others.
Thus, IFS approach has multiple objectives of sustainability, food security, and poverty reduction which can be broadly described as follows:
· Higher food production to equate the demand of the exploding population of our nation
· Increased farm income through proper residue recycling and allied components
· Sustainable soil fertility and productivity through organic waste recycling
· Integration of allied activities will result in the availability of nutritious food enriched with protein, carbohydrate, fat, minerals and vitamins
· Integrated farming will help in environmental protection though effective recycling of waste from animal activities like piggery, poultry and pigeon rearing
· Reduced production cost of components through input recycling from the by-products of allied enterprises
· Regular stable income through the products like egg, milk, mushroom, vegetables, honey and silkworm cocoons from the linked activities in integrated farming
· Inclusion of biogas &agro forestry in integrated farming system will solve the prognosticated energy crisis
· Cultivation of fodder crops as intercropping and as border cropping will result in the availability of adequate nutritious fodder for animal components like milch cow, goat/sheet, pig and rabbit
· Firewood and construction wood requirements could be met from the agro-forestry system without affecting the natural forest
· Avoidance of soil loss through erosion by agro-forestry and proper cultivation of each part of land by integrated farming
· Generation of regular employment for the farm family members of small and marginal farmers.
1. Crops, livestock, birds and trees are the major components of any IFS.
2. Crop may have subsystem like monocrop, mixed/intercrop, multi-tier crops of cereals, legumes (pulses), oilseeds, forage etc.
3. Livestock components may be milch cow, goat, sheep, poultry, bees, pig, duck, rabbit etc.
4. Tree components may include timer, fuel, fodder and fruit trees etc.
The following factors have to be considered while selecting IFS in rainfed areas. Soil types, rainfall and its distribution and length of growing season are the major factors that decide the selection of suitable annual crops, trees and livestock components. The needs and resource base of the farmers also decides the selection of IFS components in any farm.
Black soil
Cereals: Maize
Millets: Sorghum, bajra
Pulses: Green gram, black gram, red gram, chickpea, soybean, horse gram
Oilseeds: Sunflower, safflower
Fibre: Cotton
Other crops: Coriander, chillies.
Red soil
Millets: Sorghum
Minor Millets: Ragi, tenai, samai, panivaragu, varagu
Pulses Lab- lab, green gram, red gram, soybean, horse gram, cowpea
Oilseeds: Groundnut, castor, sesame
Black soil
Fodder sorghum, fodder bajra, fodder cowpea, desmanthus, Rhodes grass, Mayilkondaipul, Elusine sp., Thomson grass
Red soil
Fodder cholam, fodder bajra, Neelakolukattai (blue Buffel Grass), fodder ragi, Sankupushpam (Conch flower creeper), fodder cowpea, MuyalMasal (stylo), siratro, marvel grasses, spear grass, vetiver
Tamarind, Simarouba, Vagai (Ladies tongue), Arappu, Kodaivel, A. tortilis, MaanKathuvel, A. Mellifera, Neem, Hardwickiabinata, Ber, Indian Gooseberry, Casuarina, Silk cotton etc. are suitable for red gravelly/SAND RED LOAM SOILS. Karuvel, A. Tortilis, A. Albida, Neem, Vagai, Holopteliain-tegri-folia, Manjaneythi, Hibiscus tilifolia, Gmelina arborea, Casuarina, suba-buland Adina cordifolia are suitable for black soils.
Pig, goat, sheep, white cattle, black cattle, pigeon, rabbit, quail and poultry.
· Adoption of improved cropping system according to the rainfall and soil moisture availability
· Selection of suitable grain crop species, tree species that supply pods/leaves for a longer period or throughout the year
· The surplus fodder leaves, crop residues etc. during the rainy season should be preserved as silage/hay for lean season (summer) However, effective recycling of farm waste is helpful to organic farming and increasing farm income with vermi compos-ting. Organic farming system is not new in India and has been practicing since ancient times.
Organic farming system is a method of farming system which primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and in good health by use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes (biofertilizers) to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable produc- tion in an eco friendly pollution free environment.
As per the definition of the United States Dept of Agriculture (USDA) study team on organic farming “organic farming is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, feed additives etc.) and to the maximum extent feasible rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection”. (To be contd)