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Sunday, February 13, 2011

My First Drip Irrigation Experiment

Today, I am very excited to write about my last weekend adventure of setting up my own first drip irrigation system.
First things first, about the material sourcing. I got all my drip parts purchased from Metro Drip Irrigation (P) Ltd, Bangalore. the shop is on SJP road very well known. Hence if you are lost there other traders on the road should be able to guide you.
I took 12mm 300 mtr inland drip pipe, drill (to drill the PVC pipe with proper round slots), PVC joint set (its a straight connector with the rubber wiser), Pearcer to make drip holes, end caps, elbows, straight connectors etc. all in the range of 10 each. also i took micro tube of 100 mtr length which i didnt use.
Second making of it. Our source of water is the 4000 Ltrs overhead water tank. Its mainly to supply water to the animal sheds for feeding. since we had one existing outlet for comman chores we thought of splitting it and making it our source point for main line.
From Drip Irrigation Experiment
then to control the pressure we put a ball valve.
From Drip Irrigation Experiment

Initally we tried a straight zig zag layout to all the rows without a main line, it ended up serving only 2 rows :). Then we shifted to the current design of a main line 1" pvc pipe with ball valve as pressure regulator and then branch lines serving each row with 12mm drip lateral.

once the pipe was lay'd and pressure tested, next we had to punch the drip pipe for the outflow, that was also quite a learning initially we punctured it randomly. Then when we tested, we saw it had become a nice sprinkler system rather than a drip irrigation :) so realizing the mistake we did small holes along the line marked on the drip line and made it face ground wards. this was effective and with the control of pressure valve, were able to control the flow LPH (Liter per Hour).

Final look at the finished work was great, I am sure plants must be happy with this.

In total i spent around 1800 Rs for all, However there is enough material behind to make another small garden.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Soil Testing Ordeal

Today to check my soil condition and to see how my soil is doing after 2 years of operations, went to GKVK agriculture university in Bangalore.
To my disbelief i was told that, to get soil test done just the primary nutrient analysis its 500/- and to get entire analysis that is primary, secondary and micro nutrients it will cost 2000/- Rupees. its almost to 45$!! :)
Over and above, to top it, will take 15-20 days for the analysis report to reach you, I said let me pay through cash then they say, you can only pay through demand draft. Come on where will i find a bank to get a draft there, Happened to discover Canara bank in the campus luckily. it was so full, not been to the bank for a long time now, probably 3 years. still seeing the wooden counters with people lined in queue for transaction was nostalgic. but sticking to the topic. Finally i decided due to the cost and the delay for the tests will not get this done, else will get a self do kit.

with the whole experience of today, there are couple of questions to me.

We all know getting soil test is elementary, and by doing you will know what to supplement to get the optimum yield. So an average Indian farmer with an annual income of not more than 25 - 35K (thousand rupees) can he spend almost 1/10th of the income on the soil test?

When we get for 20-25$ do it yourself kits which can test around 20 samples for the primary nutrients in US, why is this test so costly and non affordable to the Indian farmers? is it just exploitation of there ignorance?

Why cant government provide this facility reachable to every farmer at a reasonable subsidized cost?

Leave the government, fertilizer industry in India is a multi million dollar business. Why cant these companies provide this basic facility to farmer and educate him on the next crop application. to me it makes more sense as i would see it as marketing campaign. why not? is the market taken for granted.

without the basic infrastructure to the farmer, Agri science graduates/ scientists, if you are going to farmer and do your thesis oral recitation to him on the effectiveness of fertilizer's etc...blah blah, have you ever thought does it make sense to him ;)