Observations and Experience gained from Demonstration based on Natural Farming (NF) protocols conducted at NEB Crop Research Centre at GBPUAT, Pantnagar
Natural Farming (NF) emphasizes cultivation by farm available resources without chemicals. NF stands on four major pillars i.e. Jiwamrit, a fermented liquid organic fertilizer (use of cow dung and urine as microbial activity enhancer), Bijamrit (seed treatment with cow dung and urine), waaphsa (i.e. water application in channels away from roots) and organic mulching. Agniastra, Neemastra and Brahmastra(home made herbal preparations), are used for plant protection. Other components are intercropping for biological interactions and income and use of desi earth worms for better soil quality. Thus it improves soil health and is eco-friendly.
As per the recommendation of NITI Ayog, the performance of demonstration on NF conducted at Norman E. Borlaug Crop Research Centre of GBPUAT, Pantnagar since July, 2018 is as follows
Two varieties of green gram, improved (Pant moong 5) and ‘local’ were grown during kharif, 2018. Grain yield of local variety (500kg/ha) was significantly higher than improved variety by 78.6 % owing to better adoptability. Soil was biologically activated under SPNF as bacteria and fungi counts were increased after harvest of green gram .Wheat (2 rows) + chickpea (1 row) + fenugreek (2 rows) were intercropped on raised wide beds (75 cm width) in rabi season 2018-19. Local and improved variety of wheat (Bansi and UP 2565) and desi variety of chickpea and fenugreek were tested. There was boundary plantation of marigold which produced 150 kg flower/ha. The production of fenugreek leaves was 300 kg/ha. Four sprays of jiwamrit (3%) and dashparni (3%) were made at 15 days interval during vegetative stage. Agniashtra (3%) and cow urine (20%) were sprayed during reproductive stage. Increase in natural enemy population, deterrence of pests to natural formulations and trap cropping can be attributed to the lower incidence of insect pests. Artificially created sick plot of brown and black rust of plant pathology experiment was exactly in front of SPNF plot which contributed rust in wheat. The disease score was < 10 % in bansi, a desi wheat variety, as against 80-90% in UP2565.Statistically similar seed yield of wheat was recorded in both the varieties Bansi (3.1 t/ha) and UP 2565 (2.8 t/ha). The seed yield of desi chickpea variety was observed 17.3 q/ha and incase of Pant G 115 it was 16.1 q/ha. . In addition to moong, wheat, and gram the yield of methi, marigold, and chilli obtained from the SPNF model are as follows. Methi as inter crop: 300 kg/ha; Marigold planted at border of the model: 150 kg /ha and Chilli as border crop 12kg/ha. During kharif season 2019 the yield of rice variety Pant Dhan 26 varied between 64 to 67q/ha on varying the dose of fermented liquid organic fertilizer vizjeevamrit and herbal kunapjal an important input to supply the nutrient as per NF Protocols.
The observations indicate that NF technology has positive impact; however, it may be confirmed by conducting the trials on project mode at least for 4-5 yrs. to standardize its scientific protocols, its scientific evaluation &validation for enhancing the system productivity.