Optimal Utilization of Land: Integrated Poultry Cum Fish Farming?Find Out!

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ABOUT THE PROJECT:

The aim of the project is to make the best utilization of agricultural land with multiple uses. Practices like animal husbandry, poultry farming and agriculture can be practiced collectively side by side in the same piece of land. This not only saves space but also sets as an advantage since the remnants of one practice can be utilized for another purpose. The excretion produced from poultry farming is directly emitted into the fish ponds for the fishes to consume as food. The water is also reusable. The waste produced in all the three practices is converted into biogas which can be used for street lights in individual or community settings.

MORE ABOUT INTEGRATED FARMING:

Farmers in India have teamed up with scientists to find new ways to produce more food, improve the quality of their farmland and earn more money. With the help of nuclear techniques, they now have a method for producing high quality livestock and more crops while protecting the health of their soil for a future of more fertile farming.

?Given the importance of agriculture and the limited resources available, we need to find ways to make better use of what we have and become more efficient,? said V. Ramesh Saravana Kumar, Principal Investigator of this project facilitated by the IAEA in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). ?With the methods demonstrated in this project, we have shown that sustainable, integrated crop-livestock farming is the answer.? Approximately 70% of people in India rely on agriculture as a source of income. Many conventional farming methods involve inorganic fertilizers and using only one crop type each season, which puts a strain on farmers? soil and water resources. This often leads to less productive crop yields, which in turn means less food and lowered incomes. As the already strained situation gets worse due to climate change, farmers are now in need of more efficient modes of production.

Scientists at the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University have used nuclear and isotopic techniques to study soil and water use and select and grow crops that thrive on local farms (see The Science box). They integrated their findings with effective livestock production methods involving cattle and goats to develop an easy-to-follow, crop and livestock-based organic farming system. The project has so far resulted in an increase in organic carbon content in the soil, which gives it structure and makes it healthier and better for growing crops. Livestock reproductive performance has also gone up, including a 15% increase in the cattle?s milk production as well as significant increases in the size of the goats.

?After seeing the positive results, the farmers understand that integrated crop-livestock techniques, which also lead to more organic farming, are the only way to a healthier life. They are now more willing to take part in similar research and advice,? said Kumar. The government at all levels is also now encouraging the use of this method, he added.

A Cycle Of Growing Crops And Feeding Livestock:

The new integrated method is based on a more organic, self-sustaining approach: after farmers grow and harvest crops, they feed livestock the leftover plant parts and grass from the fields, which results in nutrient-rich dung and urine that serves as an organic fertilizer for growing new crops. They then repeat the process. Over time, this revitalizes the soil?s structure and replenishes important nutrients for plants to grow, as well as provides a steady source of healthy feed for livestock.

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