Monday, December 31, 2012

Cows in the farm

It has been 4 years since I started my natural farming now and so far I haven't made any compost or applied any cow dung in the farm.Once I made 200 litres of Jeewamrithm and applied to banana and coconut. But it was just once, can not say it was effective or not.

Every time I fail in natural farming I go back to 'One straw revolution' or 'Natural Farming' book since there is a model in which Fukuoka san demonstrated success with natural farming and some times I watch the videos. We can see that Fukuoka san applied around 650-900 pounds of chicken manure before the rice cultivation starting and some time he adds another 200 pounds. Getting chicken manure is difficult now a days and also lot of chemicals are injected to them and given along with the foods and hence it is not safe to use chicken manure from outside.

My rice yields were not attractive in the last season, I just got around 15Kgs of paddy from close to 0.5 acre. There are many reasons why the yield was less - germination was poor and hence plant density was less, weeds were more and some places they took control and paddy was out grown, in some area cows ate some portions of my crop..But effectively I thought some kind of manuring also will boost the production like Fukuoka san did with chicken manure.

Bought two calves from a nearby market where farmers from different areas bring cows, buffaloes etc and sell it. I went there in the early morning at 7AM and should have reached there by 6AM to get the proper ones. Looked for some indigenous varieties of calves, but could get only one and the other one was a hybrid variety. I had to spend 7000/- Indian rupees for the two calves, including the transportation to the farm.

I am pretty much sure that if the number of cows in a farm increases, the fertility will definitely go down. I am hoping that with 2 cows and 9.25 acres, I should be able to achieve some balance. I will try it out for some time and if it does not work out, will have to sell the cows.

My family is all thrilled to take care of the calves...

May 27,2013

Both cows are enjoying the natural farming grass from the farm and they have become more healthy and beautiful. There is visible difference in their skin, one becoming more whitish and red one's skin is more glossy.

Aug 14,2013

In the rainy season, they have enough to eat and looks better. Just grass/water is fed, no other artificial food so far.

my son with local withstands summer well and eats dry leaves, and whatever it can and remains healthy

She gets affected by drought badly..


Artificial insemination was given to her by local veterinary doctor as of Aug 17-2015.



The red cow has given birth to male calf. My kids were excited to see him and initially the calf was uncomfortable with us, later he became good friend.


White cow also has given birth to a male calf....She is quite concerned about his son...when moved to another place for grazing, she just looks for him and does not eat any thing..if you touch the calf, she makes some sound....


Our cow (Ammini) was finally sold to Radhakrishnan an organic farmer in Palakkad. She was not getting pregnant and finally as per expert advise, she may need a bull nearby and artificial insemination is not working. I wanted to sell her to an organic farmer who can take care of her, so sold at a price of 12000/ rupees which is much less than the market price. She gave her some good memories to cherish, especially for my kids.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Small hand held weeder - for natural farming

Recently bought the weeder (Nejiri Scraper) from This was introduced by Jason Stewart of Fukuoka farming group and on seeing found it useful and bought online by making payment through Paypal. The cost of one weeder was 10.9$ and international priority mail charge was 40.9$, I bought two such weeders and totally it costed me 62.7$. Hidatool sent the tracking information and hence could track it till it reached Indian airport, it entered customs clearance and after clearance complete there was no tracking and after a silent period, the parcel reached me. It took around 23 days to reach the parcel from US.

This tool is useful for me for weeding in the paddy field, when there is grass in between paddy plants. Since it is small in length can be used to weed between the plants, it is very sharp and cut the weeds very effectively. Only issue is that since the handle is small, we have to bend and do the work.  I haven't used it extensively, so more report on this later.

Here are some pictures....

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kuttadan - A traditional variety of paddy

Recently visited a paddy field in Choolissery, Trichur where farmers cultivate a traditional variety called 'Kuttadan'. The speciality of this variety is that, farmers just sow it after ploughing the field, and then come for harvest. In between some times,when the paddy grows tall, they cut and feed the cows and paddy again grows back. I thought this variety is suitable for Fukuoka style of natural farming, since it grows tall, compete with grass well, no manuring required.

The paddy field in this area, has water from June to November. This variety is broadcasted in April-May and matures in December-January begining, typically in 8 months. Farmers plough the field and broadcast the seeds and never transplant this variety. Later farmer comes for harvesting, no manure is given, no weeding is done. So labor requirement is very less. My friends Santhosh and Paul told me that the field which I had seen was ploughed and then seeds were not broadcasted, but the seeds which was left from the last harvest came up and it was enough. Kuttadan is a tall variety and grows to 5 feet and there is no attack from pest. The rice is slightly different from normal rice and gets cooked fast.

This variety has good potential areas where farmers leave the field uncultivated because of high labor/input costs.

Here are some photos...

Recently heard about another farmer named Indira, who cultivates rice in 50 acres organically. She is from Kodakara, Trichur, Kerala. Her daughter Adhina who is in 6th standard helps her. In 30 acres she cultivates 'Mattathriveni' and Jyothi. In 20 acres, Basumathi, Kuttadan and Navara is cultivated. Here is the description about kuttadan in an article which came about her in a monthly 'Vanitha'.

"Kuttadan is cultivated in areas where water stagnation is there. Kuttadan grows as water in the field increases, it will stand above the water. As water recedes, it will fall and will touch the ground, new plant will come from this point where it touches the ground. Yield is less for this variety, but taste is very good. Once cultivated, there is no need for sowing seeds for another 5 years."


Heard a folk song with Kuttadan sung by Chandran Mash at Jaivakarshaka Sammelanam in Chittur.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cutting tall grass with string trimmer

Some time back I bought a honda brush cutter (string trimmer) to cut the grass. During the monsoon period, the grass grows very thickly every where in the farm, cutting it using sickle was taking long time and for any sowing, it should be cut very low, hence bought the honda cutter.

While I was cutting tall grass with string trimmer, I realized it takes long time to cover. I used to cut from one side and make it powder and then cut the other area. While seeing the video of Scythe in youtube, found that they cut the tall grass in a particular style and that also from one side. I tried the same method with string trimmer, ie. cutting with a swing and moving the tall grass to one side with that cutting force and then cutting in a particlar line and keeping the grass aside. I don't try to powder the grass since it takes lot of energy and time. Hence kept the heaps of cut grass and then later spread it in the field. I am able to cover close to 0.25 acres per day. See some photos.