Friday, July 30, 2010

Part 1: Sustainable Farm Productivity through Recycling

Abe V Rotor

How wonderful is creation when we realize in a miniscule
the universality of the simple linked to the complex,
where every living thing is part of life’s interrelating;
like a chain, its strength shared by each link cooperating.” AVR

Everything on earth and in the universe undergoes a cycle, a beginning and an end, and in between a period of growth, stability and senescence Yet no cycle could succeed unless it is part of an interrelationship with and among other cycles in the biological and physical world, each lending a vital role aimed at a holistic and perpetual oneness apparently designed by an unknown hand.

Cycle and recycle is the principle key to homeostasis that maintains the integrity of the biosphere, and the whole Planet Earth . Everything is tuned to a cycle - the passing of seasons, alternation of generations, food web and food chain, “natural” clocks, ecosystem seres, etc. And none of these can work without being part of a complex pattern of inter-relationships.

Recycle Farm Wastes

1. The moist common materials for composting in the farm are rice straw, peanut and mungo hay, banana stalk, corn stover, Azolla, ipil-ipil, wood and coconut shavings, livestock wastes and chicken droppings, pond scum, water lily and weeds.

2. Actually we get so little of the fertilizer value we put into a crop as shown by this typical fertilizer efficiencies.
• 30 to 60 % for N,
• 10 to 35 % for P, and
• 15 to 30% for K.

3. There are more nutrients removed from the soil that go into the straw than the grain. Here is a comparison. (Grain versus straw, kg nutrient/MT)
• Nitrogen: 10.5 - 7.0
• Phosphorus: 4.6 – 2.3
• Potassium: 3.0 – 17.5
• Magnesium: 1.5 – 2.0
• Calcium: 0.5 - 3.5

4. Rice straw contains 85-90 percent of potassium (K) of the biomass. Thus much greater amounts of K must be applied to maintain soil supply where straw is removed.

5. Small Water Impounding Projects (SWIP) are popular in many parts of the world where water is seasonal. Bigger ones can even generate electricity for locality.

6. Recycle crop residues to raise livestock. Our Philippine carabao is perhaps the most efficient feed converter. Of the ruminant animals it has a digestive system that can extract sufficient nutrients from roughage, enabling them to survive long dry spells.

7. Recycling with poultry makes use of farm by-products such as rice and corn bran, and reduces wastage in crops. Upgraded native chicken are more resistant than pure breeds, and are more resistant to pest and unfavorable weather. These chickens thrive on palay and corn; they forage in the filed, and glean on leftovers. They are therefore, more economical to produce, tastier and free of antibiotic residues and artificial growth hormones.

8. Recycling with goats makes use of farm by-products and plants. Practically anything that grows in the field is food for goats, be it weed or crop. Thus they are very destructive to plants that they must be restrained in pens or tethered.

9. Recycle wastes from market and kitchen Vegetable trimmings, and waste from fish and animals require efficient collection, segregation and processing into biogas and organic fertilizer.

10. Recycling leads to the development of many products. Fruits in season that otherwise go to waste are made into table wine of different flavors. Typhoon or drought affected sugarcane make excellent natural vinegar and molasses.

11. Another recycling project is vermiculture, the culture of earthworms for game fishing and protein supplement in feeds. Earthworm casting are excellent soil additives and conditioners for ornamental and garden crops.

12. Hydroponics or soiless culture of crops, and organic farming are becoming popular worldwide. Strict quality control is required, insuring consumers that the products were not treated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and should not contain a trace of toxic metals, radiation and dangerous contaminants.

13. Don’t throw away Nature’s Gifts, but tap them instead. Examples: Lantana camara as natural pesticide; oregano as natural medicine cough and sore throat; chichirica as drug against cancer; pandan as spice and condiment; eucalyptus as liniment and cold drops; bunga de China for toothpaste, lagundi for fever and flu. Many of these plants are taken for granted and many of them are considered weeds.

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