We have used traditional method of tilling lands with bullocks
to "no till" cultivation with varying degrees of success and
sometimes failures. We have also experimented with "precision
sowing" to "just throw".
sowing" and "No till" cultivation of ragi and
horse gram was not successful initially. So we started
experimenting with some minor modifications of "No Till"
methods. Most of the improvisations have been necessitated by
lack of labour.
After monsoons in
2007, we decided to grow horsegram mainly as a intercrop between
the tree saplings. This was mainly meant for fodder for the
cattle. But this time we decided not to till the soil or remove
any of the weeds.
We soaked the
horsegram seeds in water for 5-6 hours and the water was drained
off. The seeds were kept in a vessel for germination for 1-2
days. After the sprouts were clearly visible, the seeds were
strewn across the field late. The plant growth was normal and
survival rate was very high if there was a rainfall (within 1-3
days) after seed scattering. However, the seed survival was low
if there was no rain within the first 6-8 days .
When there was no
rainfall after seed scattering, we have used raingun for couple of
hours once or twice within the first week. The plant growth was
removing any weeds or tilling, the seed yield was normal.
Overall for us this was a big success as it minimized labour or
manual efforts and most importantly abuse of the land was
prevented. Not only did we get good fodder for our cattle but
also got close to 120kgs of horsegram.