Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Visit to Chandran master's farm

News about Chandran master and about his farm came in a local daily and was impressive to read it. Later father-in-law mentioned that he had met him around 10 years back and he was having his number, while daily didn't give that. Called him and visited his farm in the next morning. It is west vemballur, near Asmabi college, Kodungallur, Kerala. He asked us to come morning at 9AM so that all the cows will be there in one place, afterwards they will be moved to different parts of the farm for grazing.

He is 72 years old and a very simple man and says his wife and himself lives on 30/- per day.He was a teacher earlier and worked in Kerala and Oman. He had visited Malasia, Singapoore, Thailand - seeking a solution for the coconut virus called 'Mandari'  He has also been to Illinois, USA.

It is impressive to see the cows there - all Indian breeds. There is Vechur,Gir (from Gujarat),Kasargod dwarf,  Kankayam (from Tamil nadu), one from tribal people of chimmani estate, one from Andhra which is supposed to be Krishna's cow (This looked like the cow seen in pictures of Krishna) etc..Kasargod dwarf is about 80cms tall and gives 2.5 litres of milk. These local varieties are small cows slightly higher than goats and does not required much food and easy to manage. The Gir looks really big, but they are quite loving type.

He does not give the cows any artificial foods, pellets etc..He allows them to graze in the farm and gives water from rice cooking etc.. He also has a canadian pigmy goat, local tamilnadu variety dog, different varies of hen etc..

He says, he spends around 15,000/- per month on animals..but it looks like return is less. Urine of these cows are said to be very costly, but obviously there are no marketing channels and gets wasted.

He has some kind of flower throughout the farm and that looks to be the most income generating stuff. These flowers are sent to five star hotels, marriages season.

He has around 12 ponds in the farm and has fishes in all of them. He does not eat non-vegetarian and when some guests come some are used. He showed one bunch of banana and it was not very big, but it reflected the same size of one seen in my farm.

Coconut trees in this farm is affected by some virus disease and hence not yielding fruits. There is enough mulch at the base of each coconut tree, but still the disease exists. To me it looked like the number of cows exceeds the acreage and hence fertility of the soil is lost. One thing is that he does not mention about productivity, profit etc..he is a natural farmer in true sense. He mentioned that he follows Fukuoka method after the coconut trees were affected, but problem is not solved even after 20 years. Even though there is sufficient mulch at the base of the trees, in other places grass and mulch is missing. P.Sainath was supposed to visit him for some documentary and it looks like he is known every where because of his cows.

During conversation he also mentioned that Jeewamritha should be applied only when the land is wet, otherwise it won't have much effect. Showed him some photos of Fukuoka farm and he wanted that in a CD along with videos, promised to give him in the next visit.

A nice blog and video about Chandran Master, thanks to Jason Taylor

1st -December-2014

Met Chandran mash today when he came to meet me to collect Fukuoka videos. He came by catching bus and then walking tomy wife house. Apparently he had visited this house, when my father-in-law was keeping some Jamunapari goats.

Right now he has sold all other varieties of cows and just keeps 22 vechur cows. He also cultivates 6 acres of paddy (pokkali) with fish and he says it is extremely profitable and not much labour and no fertilizers are required.

He is in good spirit and found it very interesting to listen to his talks.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

No-till transplanted rice

I have been trying to grow rice using Fukuoka San's no-till method, but hasn't been successful completely. Since field is not completed ready with mulch, competition from weeds is more, so direct broadcasting is avoided. In transplanted system, weed pressure will be less since rice seedlings are already established.

But first time I had cleaned the field and removed all the mulch and then transplanted into the field and grass grew quickly and took over the control. Also the distance between seedlings were more than 1 feet and hence crowding out weeds didn't happen.

This year after seeing Raju Titus sir's method of no-till tranplanting of rice, thought of trying it out. Please see the link\

In my opinion,we may not be succssful like Raju sir since his field has thick mulching from many years and weeds will be much less and that also will be less strong weeds.

Some similar methods on planting millets into mulched beds can be seen in the following link

I cut the grass using Honda Brush cutter and transplanted the seedlings using the dibbling stick. Since there is mulch in the field grass is controlled to some extend, but now the grass is taking controll in some places. May be next time with more mulch, grass problem may be less or may have to weed once. I had tried broadcasting horse grams after transplanting but it didn't establish well. Probably may have to sow it in lines between the transplanted paddy.

Overall it looks fine so far..  here are some photos

Since the weeds were becoming more and more strong, did some weeding. One person was used half day, but the lady was complaining about the touch me not. Here are some photos after weeding done.