BREAKING NEWS

How this AP farmer has become a trendsetter in cattle-based organic farming

Mr. Gadde Satish (47), is a post graduate in commerce and is from Seethampeta village, Denduluru mandal of Eluru in West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. He continues farming even in the present scenario where many farmers believe that farming is not profitable any more — due to pests and diseases, stagnation of crop yields, shortage of labour and high cost of cultivation. He owns 16 acres of coconut plantation, cultivates paddy in 19 acres and corn in 20 acres. He also owns 37 buffaloes including calves, heifers and adults.
 
He learnt about cattle-based organic farming from his father and went ahead with it because he believes this is the best farming system and is environment-friendly as well. He continued with cattle-based organic farming system in the contemporary era in spite of the risk and uncertainty associated with it as he had observed the success of this farming system in his family since the 1990s.
 
According to Satish, dairy animals are part of organic farming systems because of the complementary and supplementary relationship between both enterprises. One of the many advantages of cattle-based organic farming is that there is no dependence on expensive chemical fertilizers, which leads to reduction in the production cost which in turn saves energy and protects the environment in the long run.
 
He follows open grazing in the daytime, and during night time, animals are tied in rows across the farm using a long rope; on alternate days, the rope is shifted a few metres ahead in order to change the resting place/position of animals. This way dung and urine of the animals is allowed for absorption by land (in-situ). The farmyard manure enriches soil fertility and reduces weeds. 
 
Satish says the availability of labour is a major problem, and to minimize this problem, he uses the basin method of irrigation for coconut orchards. Along with open grazing, he feeds paddy straw to the animals during lean periods of fodder. Flood irrigation through field canal allows for deep rooting of coconut trees and plant becomes stress tolerant. 
 
He says that due to natural grazing, animals are not affected by fertility and reproductive problems. Since the whole milk is left for calves, it is helping the calves to grow healthy. As per his experience, proper management practices lead to animals attaining maturity and conceiving at the age of 24 months whereas in other cases it may take a longer period. He grows 19 acres of paddy organically, without using any fertilizer and pesticides. He adds paddy residues in the soil to enhance the organic matter content which helps build up soil microorganisms and increases soil fertility.
 
Paddy grown organically, once harvested is left in the field or in situ drying for a week, then heaped in one place and left for three months for curing. After threshing and winnowing, the paddy is stored for about a year, milled and sold as organic rice at a premium price. 
 
He believes that the organic method of rice cultivation has additional nutritional value and taste compared to the inorganic method. He has good linkages with extension officers in agriculture and animal husbandry departments. He also participated in several seminars and meetings related to farming and was awarded the Best Cattle-Based Organic Farming Practice award by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR), Hyderabad.
 
He has been recognised as a progressive farmer and he is well —known for his rich knowledge of organic farming. He does not hesitate in sharing his experience with farmers and other senior officers in agriculture and allied departments.
 
He believes that cattle-based farming is a way of life because of the credibility of the organic method of cultivation, reduced dependence on external inputs, minimum usage of labour and high market demand for organic products due to the emergence of lifestyle diseases. He has not encountered major pest attacks or diseases across his cropping pattern. 
 
He gets a premium price for organic rice, which starts from Rs. 100 to Rs. 150 per kg. He considers organic farming a culture and a tradition. In future, he wants to increase the number of buffaloes he owns from 37 to 60 for better income and sustainability.
 
Satish plans to work in collaboration with the tourism department to start agro-tourism and dairy tourism to educate and disseminate better farming practices. He has given valuable advice to farmers to not consider farming in terms of economic terms and monetary benefits alone but accept it as a sustainable way for the future generation. 
 
He believes every farmer should follow the integrated way of farming as this results in complementary and supplementary methods that enhance the productivity of crops.

Photo Gallery