Farming Methods & Techniques

Fish Farming

Fish Farming

Fish is the predominantly eaten meat across the world for its enormous protein values. As a result the demand for fish farming has increased and it became more beneficial to many people. Especially in India, where more than 50% of the people use fish as their primary food item. Fish farming is one of the forms of aquaculture where seas are the main source for its farming. But in recent times the tradition has decreased drastically and the practice of raising fish in ponds and lakes has increased. Production wise, China holds top place with more than 60% in the worlds table.

Be ready
  • Fish farming is considered as very sensitive and an expensive method of raising fish.
  • If proper care is not taken you have to face lot of troubles even to get your investment back keeping the profits aside.
  • But if you could able to do that, you cannot imagine the profits it gives to you.
Decide
  • At first you have to select the area, mostly coastal regions and river banks would be appropriate as there will be more natural resources.
  • It is better to avoid the regions with floods, heavy pollution and crop fields as they leads to drastic loss.
  • After that, you have to decide where you will raise the fish i.e., lake, tank or cage. Usually small scale farmers use cage and tank systems.
  • To raise the fish in large numbers and to get more profits, one should adopt lakes or ponds.
  • Finally the area should be nearer to your city or town to make the transportation very easy and profitable.
Select the variety
  • There are number of species available in the market, the end profits will depend on the variety of fish you choose.
  • The price and demand varies according to peoples interest in that particular area. Hence you should know your market conditions to select the variety that gives more profits.
Feeding
  • To get healthy and more profitable fish a farmer should concentrate more on feeding the fish.
  • Get the nutritious food that is rich in vitamins, minerals and salt. You can prepare the food by yourself if you go in touch with experts, or else you can purchase it from the market.
  • The quantity of the food and the repetition times depends on the variety of the breed you chose.
Management
  • In addition to providing nutritious food, it is advised to change the water of the pond regularly or you can add the chemicals on the basis of expert advice.
  • Apart from monitoring the health of the fish, always check the quality of the water and soil frequently.
  • Finally take necessary precautions to avoid the passage of any predators through the pond.
Harvesting
  • The harvesting time depends on the type of variety you have adopted.
  • You can use a net to catch up the fish or else you can remove the water completely from the pond or tank.
  • Finally market the fish as soon as possible after you harvest them.
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Amla Cultivation

Amla Cultivation

Amla or Indian gooseberry is the most famous traditional fruit of India. Rich in vitamin C, these fruits are widely used in medicinal field. From the traditional period, its pickle is very popular in India. Apart from that, it is used in several hair products and toothpastes as well. Hence its cultivation holds prominent place in India where large benefits are guaranteed. In India Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are said to have maximum production. Available in different varieties, amla is widely grown in tropical regions. So, lets see what are the favorable and unfavorable conditions for its cultivation.

Climate and Soil
  • Amla is a sensitive plant mostly grown in tropical regions. It doesnt tolerate too much hotness and frost.
  • According to farming experts an annual rainfall of 650 to 850 mm is ideal for its growth. For sowing, it requires a temperature range between 24 to 34oC.
  • It grows in different soils, especially acidic and salt soils are well suited.
  • Also soils with pH range of 6.5 to 9.5 are appropriate for its cultivation. But heavy soils and pure sandy soils are unsuitable.
Land Preparation
  • As usual land is ploughed to fine tilth and made sure that it is free from previous weeds and other wastes.
  • A sufficient amount of Farm Yard Mixture is added at the last round of land digging.
  • With 2.5cm deep and 15x15cm dimensions nursery beds are made. Later Pits of one square meter are dug and exposed to sun for two to three weeks to increase the fertility of the soil.
Sowing
  • Generally amla is propagated through budding process. For this, one year old variety with best quality fruit is selected.
  • Usually carried in the months of July, these seedlings are transplanted in to the land at a distance of 4.5x 4.5m.
  • For protecting the crop from diseases in near future, consult the farming experts and add necessary chemicals to the seedlings.
Irrigation
  • Irrigation is must for well growth of this crop, especially at the age of 2 to 3 years.
  • While in summer, irrigation should be carried at an interval of 5 days.
  • In the period of October to December each plant requires nearly 30 liters of water per day.
  • According to experts, drip irrigation would be the most apt one to save water and fertilizers.
Maintenance
  • Apart from weed control, Pruning holds a prominent role in amla cultivation to gain a healthy crop. In this process, except top branches all the down branches are removed to ensure better growth.
  • During land preparation add 10 kilograms of Farm Yard Manure with top soil followed by a mixture of 100 grams of nitrogen, 50 grams of phosphorous and 100 grams of potassium to every one year old plant.
  • Coming to pest and disease control, Bark eating caterpillar is the main threat for disturbing its growth.
  • While Rust disease has the potentiality to decrease the yield if proper care is not taken. Consult the experts to find the necessary solution for eradicating these issues.
Harvesting and Yield
  • Amla cultivation, if maintained properly last for 60 to 70 years.
  • Turning of fruits from light green to yellowish color is the indication of harvesting phase.
  • Usually amla plant gets its harvesting age in between 4 to 5 years. But it acquires full maturity after 10 years.
  • At an average 60 to 75 kilograms of amla fruits are yielded per tree.
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Fenugreek cultivation

Fenugreek cultivation

Fenugreek belongs to the bean family Leguminosae and is widely grown as an annual plant in the world. It is a daily ingredient in almost every cuisine and its uses as a herb or as a spice is enormous. Its cultivation is simple and gives unimaginable benefits if carried in a proper manner. Apart from the seeds, the young pods are also well used as a vegetable or as a garnishing agent in different type of recipes. It is a semiarid crop and mostly supports dry weather conditions. So, lets see what are the favorable conditions for its cultivation.

Climate and soil
  • As it is a semiarid crop, mostly dry conditions are suitable for its farming.
  • This crop is also comfortable with frost free areas and cool weather conditions.
  • Areas with heavy or continuous rainfalls are completely avoidable.
  • Coming to soils, loamy lands with well water drainage system give high production of fenugreek.
  • Also soils which are rich in organic matter and has a pH value rang of 6 to 7 are ideal for its growth.
Land preparation
  • According to farming experts the best season for fenugreek would be October to November. At first, plough the land to a fine tilth so that previous weeds and wastes are removed.
  • Add 20 to 30 tons of natural manure before the last round and make appropriate beds and channel, usually these are of 3.5 to 1.5m size.
Sowing
  • Generally, 10 to 12 kilograms of seeds are required per hectare and these should be treated with a mixture of 1.5 kg Azospirillum and 50g Trichoderma viride per hectare to protect from diseases in the future.
  • Seeds are sown by maintaining a distance of 20x15cm followed by spraying of necessary herbicides to avoid the problem of weeds. This should be done on expert advice.
Fertilizers
  • According to experts, cover the top soil with 20 kilograms of Nitrogen after one month of sowing.
  • Give 20 to 30 tons of manure per hectare as a basal dose with the mixture of 30kg nitrogen, 25kg phosphorous and 40kg potassium.
  • Remember that the value of Nitrogen changes depending on the type of soil. It is advised to carry the soil test before going to this step.
Irrigation
  • This process starts immediately after sowing is done.
  • Second irrigation should be followed after two days of sowing the seeds.
  • From later on, it should be followed weekly once and care should be taken that there is no water logging in the field.
Harvesting
  • Generally methi leaves get harvested at the month end after sowing the seeds, where as the seeds get in to handy after 3 months.
  • At an average, you may have 3000 to 4500 kilograms of leaves and 450 to 750 kilograms of seeds per hectare.
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Onion Cultivation

Onion Cultivation

Onion is one of the daily required vegetable in the world. Although a perennial plant, Onion crop is generally cultivated as an annual plant. India is the second largest country to produce onions where Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat etc, contribute to the major production. This crop requires different climatic conditions and can be harvested within 3 to 5 months. Usually called as common onions or bulb onions, these can be available in red, white and yellow color. So lets see what are the different stages of its cultivation.

Climate
  • In India onion is both kharif and rabi crop. These onions require friendly climatic conditions, that is not too much of cold, heat and rainfall.
  • Mostly it can be grown in tropical and subtropical climate with a temperature range of 13 to 25oC and annual rainfall range of 600 to 800mm. According to experts, it requires 70% of relative humidity for better growth.
Soil
  • Well drained fertile soils are most convenient for onion cultivation. Apart from that soils with low sulfur and high nutrition are also ideal for its growth.
  • Basically soils which has pH range of 6.5 to 8 with good moisture and sufficient organic manure are also apt for onion crop.
Land preparation
  • As usual land is ploughed to fine tilth without any weeds and wastes. At the final tillage add 8 tons of vermicompost or 15 tons of farm yard manure per hectare.
  • After that flat beds of 2m width and 5m length are formed or broad bed furrows of 20cm height 115cm width are made depending up on the soil type.
  • Usually Broad bed furrows are preferred during rainy seasons as the excess water storage leads to certain diseases.
Propagation
  • Onions can be grown either from seeds or bulblets. For this, separate nursery should be maintained with appropriate manure adding and water facilities.
  • According to experts approximately 7kg seeds are required to raise the seedlings per hectare.
  • Within one to two months seedlings are ready to transplant on to the main field.
  • Apart from the seeds, previous high quality onion bulbs that are stored in well conditions can also used for transplanting.
  • Later the seedlings are to be planted by maintaining a distance of 15cm between the rows and 10cm between each plant.
Irrigation
  • Irrigate the entire field before transplanting the seedlings. After two days of transplanting, again one more time watering should be done.
  • From now on, carry the irrigation process at weekly intervals, but make sure that too much water logging is not happening.
  • Finally, remember to stop the irrigation before 10 days of harvesting process.
Plant protection
  • Weeds are the primary concern in onion cultivation. As the weeds are mingled with onion leaves, it is a very difficult process to carry.
  • But for getting a good yield, controlling weeds is must. You can do it manually or by spraying chemicals.
  • Also onion fly, cut worm and thrips cause great damage to this crop. According to experts spraying insecticides can solve this threat.
  • Apart from these, Leaf spot and Basal rot are the main diseases that affect the crop drastically. Consult the farming experts and adopt the appropriate method to eradicate these diseases.
  • For improving the fertility of the soil, maintaining crop rotation is necessary in onion cultivation. Particularly soybeans are considered as the suitable one for crop rotation.
Harvesting
  • When the onions stop producing new leaves think that they are ready to harvest.
  • Irrigation should be stopped before 10 days of harvesting.
  • But the harvesting phase depends on various factors like season, type of the variety used etc.
  • After removing from the land, these onions are exposed to sunlight for two to three days to remove excess water.
  • Usually a kharif crop gives approximately 20 tons of yield per hectare while a rabi crop gives nearly 30 tons per hectare.
  • Finally the onions are stored in gunny bags to ensure appropriate air and light.
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Grape Cultivation

Grape Cultivation

Grape is an evergreen most profitable commercial crop in the world. This berry fruit grows in different climatic conditions and belongs to one of the species of flowering plant genus Vitis. Its cultivation began 8000 years ago in western parts of Asia where most of the grapes are used for producing wine. Later its sweet taste and inebriety has led it to become one of the famous fruit in the world. In India it is mostly grown as a table fresh fruit where Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu holds the major share of production. So, lets see under what conditions does this profitable crop is cultivated.

Climatic conditions
  • According to experts, grape cultivation is well suited for Mediterranean climatic conditions. Usually vines grow healthy in hot and dry conditions.
  • The most appropriate temperature would be 10 to 40oC, where the yield would be high with great quality.
  • Wet climates are not at all suitable as they lead to many fungal diseases affecting the yield.
Soil type
  • Grape cultivation can be carried in different type of soils but mostly soils with good fertility of pH value 6 to 8 are considered as ideal.
  • Well drained and loamy soils with sufficient organic matter are also said to be the best soils for its cultivation.
Varieties and propagation
  • There are wide varieties for table fresh fruit crop, raisin purpose crop and wine production crop. Consult the experts and choose your variety based on your type of crop.
  • Mostly rooted plants and un rooted cuttings are selected for propagating grapevines apart from grafting and budding.
Best Season
  • In India, February to March period is ideal if grapevine is propagated through rootstocks. But mostly the cultivation is carried during the period of September to October.
  • It is better to avoid the plantation during June-July as the most of the crop is affected by different diseases.
Land Preparation
  • After fine tilting the land, plot beds are made with approximately 110m x 160m, maintaining 2 to 3m road between the rows.
  • The plots are leveled according to drip irrigation such that each plant should have equal distribution of water.
  • Designing a frame work with light wooden supports and metal bars is necessary for grapevines as this ensures better production with minimal chances of spreading diseases.
  • Approximately one foot deep and one foot wide holes are dug to plant each vine. But make sure to fill certain amount of top soil in to the holes as this increases the fertility.
Irrigation
  • Grapevines require continuous watering, so irrigation should be done weekly once during summer season, once in three weeks during rainy season and once in 10 days during winter season.
  • If the process is carried through dripping method then approximately 50 liters of water is required per vine during summer, 30 liters in rainy season and 40 liters during winter.
Plant protection
  • Pruning is important during the initial stage to strengthen the plant, according to farming experts the more you prune the more yield you would get in this crop.
  • Also the experts suggest to add organic, inorganic and bio fertilizers twice in a year to ensure healthy production.
  • Many fungi, bacterial and viral diseases affect the growth of the crop. There are wide range of control measures in the market in the form of fungicides and pesticides. Just consult the experts and take necessary preventive steps to avoid them.
  • Apart from these, the grape clusters are always protected from all weather conditions like hot sun and heavy rains etc.
Harvesting
  • Grape is a long validity crop up to 30 years, usually the harvesting process starts in the month of February and goes on till April month.
  • At an average seedless varieties give 25 to 35 tons of grapes per hectare in one yield, where as the seeded varieties give nearly 55 tons per hectare.
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Vertical Farming

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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