Rajamani, a young farmer of Pullagoundan pudur village, Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu practiced conventional farming in growing vegetable crops like onion, chilli and turmeric in the red sandy loam soil. But the gained benefits were not as good as expected. He participated in a training on precision farming organized by Directorate of Extension Education , Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and approached Horticulture Department for further advise. Department suggested him to follow the precision farming as a group to get high profit. He planned to cultivate onion, tomato, brinjal, cauliflower, chilies and turmeric. Then, he prepared his land under the supervision of scientists of Horticulture Department, TNAU.
He started the cultivation of turmeric in his own field in an area of 1.5 hectare. He ploughed the lands four times and applied farmyard manure @ 25 t / ha and 300 kg of DAP and 150 kg of potash as a basal dose. Then he formed raised beds of 120 cm with at an interval of 60 cm for sowing and placed the laterals on the centre of each bed at the rate of 1 lateral pipe per 5 feet. The beds are wetted through drip irrigation. Then sowing was done in the month of June @ 2000 kg/ha following the methods as suggested by Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri farmers.
He broadcasted the coriander seeds @ 500g /ha in between the turmeric crop and irrigated the field through drip system. He also planted the small onion bulb @ 1000 kg/ha in two lines as the intercrop with six lines of turmeric at a spacing of 120cm. He sprayed Oxygold weedicide @ 2ml / lit on second day after sowing. After one week of sowing, he transplanted 1000 chilly seedlings in between the lines with a spacing of 80cm and also he sown red gram as a border crop @ 200g / ha. He applied 5kg potassium nitrate and 5 g urea at five days interval by fertigation method throughout the cropping period.
He irrigated the field two days once as per the need of the soil. First hand weeding was done with a maximum of ten female labourers / ha on 30 days after sowing. He placed 200 kg of DAP, 200 kg of Potash and 100 kg of Urea mixture evenly to turmeric and onion crops as top dressing on 60th day after planting and irrigated near the placement of fertilizers through the lateral pipes. The raised beds are earthed up twice on 60th and 120th days after planting. Then he followed hand weeding with ten female labourers at the interval of 80, 140, 200 and 240 days after sowing. He sprayed fungicide like Thiodan and Dithane Z78 @ 2ml /lit of water on 20 days after sowing for the control of leaf spots. He sprayed Malathion @ 2ml /lit of water to turmeric on 40th and 70th day after sowing for controlling shoot borer pests. He sprayed Monocrotophous pesticide @ 2ml /lit to onion crop on 30th day after sowing for controlling thrips. Drenched the soil with Ridomil gold fungicide @ 2ml /lit to control rhizome rot in turmeric on 50th day after sowing.
He harvested the coriander in 30 – 35 days after sowing, onion in 70 days after sowing, chillies on 90th day after planting and red gram on 250th day after planting. Then turmeric fingers were harvested on 275 days after sowing. He got yield of 7 tonnes of turmeric fingers and 13 tonnes of onion, 2 tonnes of green and dry chilies and 50 kg red gram in one hectare of land. He sold turmeric fingers at the rate of Rs. 135 / kg, onion at Rs. 20/ kg, chillies at Rs. 12/ kg, red gram at Rs. 100/ kg, tender coriander leaves Rs.4/kg and coriander seed at Rs. 15/ kg.
He got high yield and quality farm produce by using sufficient water and fertilizers at regular interval. Particularly onion fetched high price in markets because of same size and good quality. Retailers came to field to take the produce directly. He spent Rs. 3,35,400 for cultivation practices and got high profit of Rs. 9,66,000 per hectare from turmeric, onion, chillies, coriander and red gram. He got this huge profit since he shifted from conventional farming to precision farming. Now, Rajamani is one of the happiest farmer in the region. He is enjoying precision farming with his family. He is stimulating other farmers in his village to follow precision farming.
(Source: NAIP Sub-Project on Mass Media Mobilization, DIPA with inputs fromDirectorate of Extension Education,Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore)