Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


1. What is a pest?
An insect (or any other living being) whose population increases to such an extent as to cause economic losses to crops or a nuisance and health hazard to man and his livestock will be declared a pest.


2. Are all insects pest?
No. Insects are designated as pests only when they are sufficiently numerous to cause economic losses. Two species of insects may be equally noxious as individuals and yet, because of the density attained by each, one is called a pest and the other is not. In nature some insects acted as predator or parasitoid on insect pests.


3. What are the major insect-pests of NEH region?
The agro-climatic conditions of NEH region are very conducive for the growth and multiplication of insect fauna. Pest problems in the region are innumerable and as many as 600 species of insect have assumed pest status in various crops in NEH region.


4. What are the major natural enemies present in NEH region?
The north-eastern hill region is rich in insect biodiversity and hourbour several species of natural enemies.


5. What are beneficial insects of NEH region?
Honey bees and silk worms


6. Where can I get help regarding an insect-pest problem in my crop field?
Well experienced team of scientists in Entomology section under Division of Crop Improvement eager to solve insect-pests problems in farmer’s crop field.


7. Where can I get information about insect-pests management?
Well experienced team of scientists in Entomology section under Division of Crop Improvement have been conducting experiment on insect-pests management of crop pests of NEH region since the inception of the institute. The outcome of experiments are published in reputed journals and in the form of books, bulletins etc.


8. Where can I get bio-control agents for controlling insect-pests in my crop field?
Culture of entomopathogenic fungi viz. Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium anisopliae, Verticillium lecanii are available in the Division of Crop Improvement.


9. Where can I identify insect specimens?
Entomology section under Division of Crop Improvement is maintaining 41,164 insect species with 915 identified species of north east region in museum. We provide insect identification services to students, researchers of different institutes/organizations.


10. What should I do in case of pesticides poisoning?
In case of suspected poisoning due to pesticides the nearest physician should be called immediately.


11. What is the most important disease of rice in this region and how can we manage?
Blast is the most important disease of rice. The disease can be managed by: Soaking seeds for 12 hrsnin carbendazim solution @ @ 1.0 g/l. Dipping rice seedling in carbendazim solution @ 1.0 g/l before transplanting. Spraying tricyclazole @ 0.6g/l at 12 days interval. A sticker should be used along with fungicide


12. How can we manage soft rot of ginger?
Rhizome treatment for 30 minutes with Trichoderma @ 5 g/ L/ kg of seed before sowing followed by drenching at one month interval with Metalaxyl @ 2.5 g/ L upon germination.


13. Whether citrus scab can be managed?
Yes. Apply Carbendazim @ 2g/ L at 15 days interval from new flush stage.


14. How can we identify virus diseases in crop plants?
It is difficult to identify virus diseases on the basis of symptom only. Because the symptoms are usually confused with nutritional deficiency and insect attack. It is recommended that if some abnormality (leaf rolling, curling, yellowing, mosaic, deformation etc.) appear in crops, contact the concerned experts for proper diagnosis.


15. How can we manage virus diseases of plants?
Virus diseases are difficult to control. First of all proper detection should be done. We can manage virus diseases in crop field by sowing or planting healthy seeds/planting materials. Controlling insect vectors by spraying insecticide uprooting and burning the infected plants from the field


16. How can we differentiate between healthy and poisonous mushroom? There is no authentic method.


17. What is IIFS (Intensive Integrated Farming System)?
This is the system which aims at synergizing different interventions/enterprises in such a way that efficient use of available resources and efficient bio-resource flow would be very effectively realized.


18. What are Kishan Call Centres?
This is a toll-free number available for the farmers assistance in getting the first hand information regarding any problem related to farming.


19. What is conservation agriculture?
This is the method of farming aiming at conserving the available critical resources such as soil nutrients, soil moisture, bio mass etc, which includes zero tillage, cultivation of cereal crop fallow pulses, cover cropping, raised sunken bed cultivation etc apart from the conservation of valuable germplasm and genetic resources.


20. What is the method of vermicomposting?
It can be raised under the tin sheet or thatch with the tanks having the dimension of 10x3x2ft by introducing superior earthworm culture along with cow dung slurry and biomass arranged alternatively.


21. What is PRA?
Participatory Rural Appraisal. This is the methodology for collecting the data regarding the rural society or assessing the village resources along with the participation of rural communities.


22. What is ATIC (Agricultural Technology Information Centre)?
This is the cell attached with the agricultural research institutes to act as the single window delivery system to make available the institute technology products, processed products, and other critical inputs and get feedback from the farmers.


23. What is off-season vegetable production?
To produce year round vegetable production with the minor interventions to overcome the constraints related to seasonality.


24. What is regulated market?
Regulated markets are the registered markets where fair dealing of commodities between buyers and sellers take place. There are two regulated markets operating in Meghalaya one is Mawoing, East Khasi Hills district and second one is Garobadha in West Garo Hills district


25. What is KVK?
KVKs are the technology disseminating organizations generally funded by ICAR to transfer agricultural technologies from research lab of agriculture to farmer’s field and vice versa.


26. What are the high value and low volume crops grown in Meghalaya?
Strawberry, passion fruit, capsicum, etc. are the crops and among the floriculture, some specific orchids like Anthurium.


27. What are the rice varieties developed at the ICAR Research Complex, Barapani ?
Variety Ecology Features Year of Release Yield (t/ha)
Bhalum 1 Upland A medium duration variety, highly resistant to blast, suitable for uplands in mid altitude areas. 2002 3.5 -3.8 t/ha
Bhalum 2 Upland A medium duration, highly blast resistant variety for uplands in mid altitude areas. 2002 3.5 -3.5 t/ha Bhalum 3 Upland Recommended for rainfed uplands during main kharif, also suitable for Jhum cultivation and gives substantial yield. Resistant to blast and is non lodging. 2010 3.5 -3.8 t/ha
Bhalum 4 Upland Recommended for rainfed uplands during main kharif, also suitable for Jhum cultivation and gives substantial yield. Resistant to blast and is non lodging. 2010 3.8 -4.2 t/ha
Shah Sarang Lowland A medium duration variety, tolerant to iron toxicity. Suitable for lowlands in mid altitude areas 2002 4.2-4.5 t/ha
Lumpnah Lowland A medium duration variety, glutinous, tolerant to blast. Suitable for lowlands in mid altitude areas 2002 4.2 -4.5 t/ha
Megha SA 1 Lowland Recommended for mid altitude rain fed areas up to 1000 above MSL. Resistant to blast and is non lodging and also tolerant to cold condition. Unlike traditional Basmati varieties, this variety maintains moderate aroma when grown in hills under high rainfall condition. 2010 2.7-3.2 t/ha
Megha SA 2 Lowland Recommended for mid altitude rainfed areas upto 1000 above MSL. Resistant to blast and is non lodging. Maintains moderate aroma when grown in hills. Its duration is 149-155 days. 2010 3.2 -3.8 t/ha
NEH Megha Rice 1 Cold tolerant A semi tall variety (100 cm), Panicle compact and well exserted (23.5 cm), Grains medium bold, Kernel colour red, non-scented. Recommended for rainfed lowland ecosystem of high altitude areas (above 1500 MSL) of Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland. Duration from seeding to 50% flowering is 135 days, tolerant to low temperature at reproductive phase and tolerant to low solar radiation. 1992 2.5 – 3.0 t/ha
NEH Megha Rice 2 Cold tolerant A semi tall variety (100 cm), Panicle compact and well exserted (23.5 cm), Grains medium bold, Kernel colour red, non-scented. Recommended for rainfed lowland ecosystem of high altitude areas (above 1500 MSL) of Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland. Duration from seeding to 50% flowering is 135 days, tolerant to low temperature at reproductive phase and tolerant to low solar radiation. Suitable for late planting up to 25 June. 1992 2.5 – 3.0 t/ha
NEH Megha Rice 3 Cold tolerant A dwarf variety with cold tolerance at both reproductive and vegetative phase. Can tolerate low solar radiation. Grains are medium bold and the meet quality standards for export quality japonica rice. Suitable for high altitude areas of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland. 2009 3.0 – 3.5 t/ha
RC Maniphou 4 Valley land Semi-dwarf variety, Panicle compact and fully exserted (19-22 cm). Grains medium fine, non-aromatic. Recommended for early kharif (sown in June) in mid-altitude lowland areas of Manipur, Photo-insensitive, and flowering in 2nd week of April in pre-kharif and in September in main kharif, duration from seeding to 50% flowering: 70-75 days in pre-kharif and 85-90 days in main kharif. Moderately resistant to gall midge and stem borer, Escapes blast in early kharif otherwise moderately susceptible. 1992 4.5-5.0 t/ha
RC Maniphou 5 Valley land Semi-dwarf variety, Panicle compact and fully exserted (19-22 cm). Grains medium fine, non-aromatic. Recommended for early kharif (sown in June) in mid-altitude lowland areas of Manipur, Photo-insensitive, and flowering in 2nd week of April in pre-kharif and in September in main kharif, duration from seeding to 50% flowering: 70-75 days in pre-kharif and 85-90 days in main kharif. Moderately resistant to gall midge and stem borer, Escapes blast in early kharif otherwise moderately susceptible. 1992 4.5-5.0 t/ha
RC Maniphou 6 Valley land a tall variety (120-130 cm), panicle long (25 cm) and well exserted, Grains long bold, non-scented. Recommended for irrigated wetland of valley areas of Manipur during early kharif and rainfed uplands of Manipur during kharif, photo-insensitive, duration from seeding to 50% flowering 85-90 days in kharif and 100-105 days in early kharif, moderately resistant to stem borer and gall midge. Moderately resistant to blast and BLB. Tolerant to moisture stress. 2000 4.0-4.5 t/ha
RC Maniphou 7 Valley land Semi-dwarf variety (100 cm), well excreted panicle, Grains long slender. Recommended for irrigated/waterlogged (5-15 cm) lowland with medium to high soil fertility. Early to medium sowing and early to late planting in Manipur during kharif, slightly photo-sensitive, duration from seeding to 50% flowering 100-105 days in kharif, Moderately resistant to stem borer and gall midge. Moderately resistant to blast and BLB. Tolerant to temporary flooding. 2000 5.0-5.5 t/ha
Lungnilaphou Valley land Semi-dwarf, glutinous rice variety suitable for valley areas, moderately resistant to gall midge, stem borer, blast and BLB. 2004 6.0-6.5 t/ha
RC Maniphou 11 Valley land A medium duration variety (135 days), Plant height: 100-105 cm, long slender grain, soft cooked rice, intermediate in amylose, resistant to blast and moderately resistant to Brown plant hopper (BPH). 2010 6.0-6.5 t/ha
TRC Boro Dhan 1 Boro rice a medium duration variety for cultivation in boro season. The variety possesses cold tolerance at vegetative stage. 1993 4.0-4.5 t/ha.


28. What machinery are available for Paddy cultivation in hills?<
For cultivating paddy in hills slope following light weight equipment’s/ machines are suitable:
1. Power tiller (Regular/light weight):It is used for tillage and puddling, for water lifting, and threshing also it can be used.
2. M.B. plough:For primary tillage
3. Paddy Trans planter:Transplanting of paddy
4. Knapsack sprayer:For spraying of weedicide, pesticide etc.
5. Sickle /Vertical conveyer reaper:For harvesting of paddy.
6. Paddy Thresher:For threshing
7. Cono weeder:For weeding in low land paddy.


29. What kind of equipment is available for upland paddy sowing?
In upload paddy, pre-germinated 4 row paddy seeder (Drum type) can be used. Pre-germinated paddy is kept inside the drum and the equipment is simply dragged over a prepared seed bed where 4 row are sown simultaneously.


30. How a good quality turmeric powder is made?
Follow the steps: Washing (Cold water) –> Peeling – > soaking in boiled water for 5 min – > slicing - > Draying -> Grinding.


31. How Beehive Briquette is made?
Take 2 part charcoal and one part soil and mix thoroughly. Put the mixture in a briquetting
Mould and by beating compact it, take out the wet briquette and then dry it for two weeks.
Certainly one can earn Rs. 20,000 in a month by producing 6000 briquettes.


32. How seed can the sown in line to get a better crop?
Manual and power tiller operated seed drill can be used to sow seeds like maize, groundnut,
Paddy, soybean, mustard, pea etc. Along with seed sowing, fertilizer can also be applied. Using a row marker one can sow seed in line manually.


33. How soil loss can be reduced?
By making inward sloping bench terraces for slopes more them 16% soil loss can be checked. Also one can avoid jhum cultivation by this method.


34. How a Jalkund is made and what is the cost of water harvesting? How this water can be utilized?
A Jalkund is made in following steps:
From a Jalkund, water can be harvested at a cost of 5 paisa per litre. Water can be utilized for crop production by installing a gravity fed drip irrigation system. Other than this, it also can be used for animal feeding, kitchen gardening etc.


35. Is making of terrace and contour bund helpful to check fertile soil loss?
Yes, by making bench terrace, contour bund soil less can be reduced significantly. The information regarding design of soil conservation structures can be collected from ICAR RC Umiam, Division of Agricultural Engineering.


36. How weather forecasting can be got regularly?
Register your name and mobile number through URAN website and also in Division of Agricultural Engineering., ICAR RC and you will be sent regular weather forecasting.


37. What should be minimum soil loss?
Recommended loss soil from agricultural field is 16 t/ year but it is better to reduce below 10 t/year. In this region, in hill slope it is 42t/year.


38. What is organic agriculture?
Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It emphasizes the use of management practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs, taking into account that regional conditions require locally adapted systems. This is accomplished by using, where possible, agronomic, biological, and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials, to fulfill any specific function within the system. (FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission, 1999).


38. Can organic farming produce enough food for everybody?
The performance of organic farming on production depends on the previous agricultural management system. An over-simplification of the impact of conversion to organic agriculture on yields indicates that:
• In industrial countries, organic systems decrease yields; the range depends on the intensity of external input use before conversion;
• In the so-called Green Revolution areas (irrigated lands), conversion to organic agriculture usually leads to almost identical yields;
• In traditional rain-fed agriculture (with low-input external inputs), organic agriculture has the potential to increase yields.


39. What is conservation agriculture?
Conservation agriculture is a concept for resource-saving agricultural crop production that strives to achieve acceptable profits together with high and sustained production levels while concurrently conserving the environment (FAO 2007). Conservation agriculture emphasizes that the soil is a living body, essential to sustain quality of life on the planet. In particular, it recognizes the importance of the upper 0-20 cm of soil as the most active zone, but also the zone most vulnerable to erosion and degradation. It is also the zone where human activities of land management have the most immediate, and potentially the greatest impact.
Basic principles of conservation agriculture
• Reductions in tillage (ultimate goal-zero tillage or controlled till).
• retention of adequate amount of crop residues on the soil surface (ultimate goal – surface retention of sufficient crop residues to protect the soil from water run-off and erosion, improve water infiltration and reduce evaporation to improve water productivity, increase soil organic matter (SOM) and biological activity and enhance long term sustainability).
• crop rotations (ultimate goal – employ economically viable, diversified crop rotations to enhance soil biodiversity, take advantage of biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) and soil enhancing properties of different crops, reduce labor peaks and provide farmers with new risk management opportunities.
• Improved economic benefits and livelihoods from sustainable CA systems (ultimate goal - secure farm level economic viability and stability).


40. What is the importance of critical period for weed control?
The critical period for weed control has been defined in several ways. Zimdahl (1988) defined it as a ‘‘span of time between that period after seeding or emergence when weed competition does not reduce crop yield and the time after which weed competition will no longer reduce crop yield.’’ It is a period in the crop growth cycle during which weeds must be controlled to prevent yield losses. Knowing the critical period for weed control is useful in making decisions on the need for and timing of weed control and in achieving efficient herbicide use from both biological and economic perspectives (Knezevic, 2002).


41. What are the important rice based cropping sysyems?
Rice (Oryza Sativa L.) is the principal food crop of North Eastern Region of India occupying an area of about 3.5 m ha.The cropping intensity in the region is hardly about 120 %. Conventionally, after kharif rice, fields remain fallow in lowland, mainly due to excess moisture owing to seepage from surrounding hillocks in mid altitude. Draining water from rice field completely at physiological maturity (about 10 days before harvest) creates favourable condition for successful cultivation of rabi pulses like pea, lentil and oilseeds like toria. A simple drainage channel of 30 cm width and 30 cm depth at 5 m interval creates the desirable soil moisture situations.
In upland, after rice harvest no crop is cultivated due to severe moisture stress. The conventional tillage for sowing of rabicrop further aggravates the soil moisture problem by completely exposing the soil. With the help of zero tillage, the rabi crop can be grown directly in standing rice stubbles soon after the harvest of the rice crop. As the soil is not tilled, the rate of soil moisture loss is reduced and rabi crop can be grown successfully with conserved soil moisture and life saving irrigation. Soon after the rice crop harvest, sow toria/lentil crop can be grown.


42. What are the promising fruits that may be grown in Meghalaya?
Khashi Mandrin, Peach, Guava, Plum, Pear, Pineapple, Strawberry, Papaya, Jackfruit, Banana, etc.


43. What are the promising vegetables that may be grown in Meghalaya?
Cauliflower, cabbage, reddish, frenchbean, lettuce, dolicus ,nolkhol, pumpkin, chow-chow, tomato, carrot, broccoli, capsicum, etc.


44. What are the promising spices that may be grown in Meghalaya?
Ginger, turmeric, bay leaf, cinnamon, chilly, king chilly, etc.


45. What are the promising tuber crops that may be grown in Meghalaya?
Colocasia, sweet potato, tapioca, potato, yam, etc.


46. What are the promising plantation crops that may be grown in Meghalaya?
Areca nut, cashew nut, etc


47. What are the planting materials for fruit crops available at ICAR RC for NEH Region, Umiam, Meghalaya?
Orange (Khashi Manderin), Peach, Guava, Assam lemon, Sohiong, Kiwi, etc.


48. What are the vegetable seeds and spices available at ICAR RC for NEH Region, Umiam, Meghalaya?
Tomato, Brinjal, King Chilly, Beans, Reddish, Turmeric, Ginger.


49. What are the varieties of tomato, capsicum and broccoli that are suitable for Meghalaya?
Tomato: 1. Avinash-2, 2. Rocky, 3. Meghatomato-3.
Capsicum: Californiawonder
Broccoli: 1. Aishwariya, 2. Pushpa, 3. Lucky.


50. What are the varieties of peach, plum and guava that are suitable for Meghalaya?
Peach: 1. Partap, 2. Shan-e-Punjab, 3. Flordasun
Plum: 1. Satsuma, 2. Santarasa
Guava: 1. Allahabad Safeda, 2. L-49, 3. RCG-1, 4. RCG-7, 5. RCG-11.


51. What are the varieties of ginger and turmeric that are suitable for Meghalaya?
Ginger: Nadia, Varada.
Turmeric: Meghaturmeric-1, Lakadong.


52. What are the promising fruits that may be grown in Meghalaya?
Khashi Mandrin, Peach, Guava, Plum, Pear, Pineapple, Strawberry, Papaya, Jackfruit, Banana, etc.


53. What are the promising vegetables that may be grown in Meghalaya?
Cauliflower, cabbage, reddish, frenchbean, lettuce, dolicus, nolkhol, pumpkin, chow-chow, tomato, carrot, broccoli, capsicum, etc.


54. What are the promising spices that may be grown in Meghalaya?
Ginger, turmeric, bay leaf, cinnamon, chilly, king chilly, etc.


55. What are the promising tuber crops that may be grown in Meghalaya?
Colocasia, sweet potato, tapioca, potato, yam, etc.


56. What are the promising plantation crops that may be grown in Meghalaya?
Areca nut, cashew nut, etc


57. What are the planting materials for fruit crops available at ICAR RC for NEH Region, Umiam, Meghalaya?
Orange (Khashi Manderin), Peach, Guava, Assam lemon, Sohiong, Kiwi, etc.


58. What are the vegetable seeds and spices available at ICAR RC for NEH Region, Umiam, Meghalaya?
Tomato, Brinjal, King Chilly, Beans, Reddish, Turmeric, Ginger.


59. What are the varieties of tomato, capsicum and broccoli that are suitable for Meghalaya?
Tomato: 1. Avinash-2, 2. Rocky, 3. Meghatomato-3.
Capsicum: Californiawonder
Broccoli: 1. Aishwariya, 2. Pushpa, 3. Lucky.


60. What are the varieties of peach, plum and guava that are suitable for Meghalaya?
Peach: 1. Partap, 2. Shan-e-Punjab, 3. Flordasun
Plum: 1. Satsuma, 2. Santarasa
Guava: 1. Allahabad Safeda, 2. L-49, 3. RCG-1, 4. RCG-7, 5. RCG-11


61. What are the varieties of ginger and turmeric that are suitable for Meghalaya?
Ginger: Nadia, Varada.
Turmeric: Meghaturmeric-1, Lakadong.


62. What is Shifting Cultivation and its extent in the country?
Shifting cultivation (Jhum cultivation) is a practice of burning off natural vegetation, planting cultivated crops until soil fertility is exhausted, abandoning the site, moving (shifting) to new site ard returning to an earlier abandoned area that has re-grown the natural plant cover, and beginning the cycle again.
It is estimated that 22.78 lakh ha. is affected by the problem of shifting cultivation in the country. 19.91 lakh. Ha is located in North Eastern region, which is about 84% of the total problem area.


63. What is the land degradation scenario in the country?
All India Soil and Land Survey has carried out Rapid Reconnaissance Survey (RR) of 132.6 million ha. area in the country, out of which 34.8 million ha. is regarded as the priority area .This Priority Area includes all kinds of degraded lands which require urgent attention for its sustained productivity and production.


64. What does the process of soil testing involve?
Soil testing is divided into four sections - Soil Physics, Soil Chemistry and Fertility, Soil Biology and Environmental Soil Science:
1. Soil Physics tests the geometrical arrangement or pattern of soil components like soil particles, soil aggregates, water, gas and solute in the soil. Equipment such as pressure plate apparatus, sand box, neutron moisture meter, depth density gauge, K-permeameter, rainfall simulator and root scanner are used. Testers come up with recommendations to enhance soil quality like conservation tillage, crop diversification, rainwater harvesting and sequestration. .
2. Soil Chemistry consists of testing the chemical characteristics for mineral composition, organic matter, PKN nutrients and Ph levels. Devices such as UV Visible Spectrophotometers, Deep Freezers, Sonicators, microwave digestion units and flame photometers are used. Such studies help in improving efficiency of nutrient cycling, minimizing nutrient losses from soils and improving soil quality for sustained high productivity. .
3. Soil Biology - is the study of microbial activity and ecology in the soil of organisms such as earthworms, nematodes, protozoa, fungi and bacteria. Laboratory tools such as laminar flow, BOD incubator and a research microscope with camera and CCTV system are used to view inner layers of the soil. Knowledge of soil biology can help in choosing fertilizers, pesticides and composting systems. .
4. Environmental Soil Science - deals with the extent of soil pollution due to city, industrial and agricultural wastes and indiscriminate use of fertilizers for crop production. It develops suitable prescriptions and technologies for safe recycling of these wastes into agriculturally productive soils.


65. Is there a need to practice the organic farming?
With the increase in population our compulsion would be not only to stabilize agricultural production but also to increase it further in sustainable manner. Excessive use over years of agro-chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers may affect the soil health and lead to declining of crop yields and quality of products. Hence, a natural balance needs to be maintained at all cost for existence of life and property. The obvious choice would be judicious use of agro-chemicals and more and more use of naturally occurring material in farming systems.


66. What are the benefits of organic farming?
1. It helps in maintaining environment health by reducing the level of pollution
2. It reduces human and animal health hazards by reducing the level of residues in the product.
3. It helps in keeping agricultural production at a higher level and makes it sustainable.
4. It reduces the cost of agricultural production and also improves the soil health
5. It ensures optimum utilization of natural resources for short-term benefit and helps in conserving them for future generation.
6. It not only saves energy for both animal and machine, but also reduces risk of crop failure.
7. It improves the soil physical properties such as granulation, and good tilth, good aeration, easy root penetration and improves water-holding capacity.
8. It improves the soil’s chemical properties such as supply and retention of soil nutrients, and promotes favorable chemical reactions.


67. What is compost?
Compost is well decomposed organic wastes like plant residues, animal dung, and urine earth from cattle sheds, waste fodder etc.


68. How good compost are prepared?
Compost making is the process of decomposing organic wastes in a pit. Site for compost making is selected should be at a high level and water should not pond during monsoon season. Pit should be of 3’ depth and 6’ to 8’ width. Length may be of any convenient size. The process is as follows:

  • Make slurry of the cattle dung with water.
  • Prepare 6” layer of organic wastes – plant residues, sweepings from the cattle shed, waste fodder, dried plants stalks and leaves etc. and sprinkle water to just moisten it. (Over watering should be avoided).
  • Cover with the layer with urine earth and cattle dung slurry.
  • Add 5 to 10 kg of super phosphate for every 10 tons of organic wastes.
  • Repeat the process of putting such layers till the pit is full.
  • Close the pit with urine earth, waste fodder and then heap the soil till it gets convex shape (about 1 to 1.5’ above the ground) so that the rainwater rolls away.
  • After six months compost is ready to apply to the fields.
The pit can be filled up if sufficient organic wastes are available. Otherwise a temporary partition can be made in the pit with bamboos or stalks and the pit can be filled up over time filling each partitioned area as and when the material is available for composting.


69. What is cow pat pit and how is it prepared?
Cow pat pit is an organic preparation, which is prepared by mixing cow dung, egg shell powder, basalt rock and biodynamic preparations in a desired proportion in brick-lined pits.


70. Are there any leguminous plants, which could be used as green manures?
Number of crops such as peas, glyricidia and dhaincha can be used for green manuring. These plants have to be ploughed in the field when they are tender and before they start flowering.


71. How to manufacture turmeric formulation for spraying on my vegetable plants?
About 1 kg of turmeric tubers is soaked in about 10 litres of cow’s urine overnight. Next day the turmeric tubers are ground and mixed with 30 litres of water and sprayed.


72. What is green manuring?
Green manuring is the practice of growing a short duration, succulent and leafy legume crop and ploughing the plants in the same field before they form seeds.


73. What is green leaf manuring?
Green leaf manuring refers to adding the loppings from legume plants or trees to a field and then incorporating them into the soil by ploughing.


74. What is Vermicompost?
Vermicompost refers to organic manure produced by earthworms. It is a mixture of worm castings (faecal excretions), organic material including humus, live earthworms, their cocoons and other organisms. Vermicomposting is an appropriate cost effective and efficient recycling technique for the disposal of non-toxic solid and liquid organic wastes


75. What is Vermi-culture?
Vermiculture can be defined as culture of earthworms. Earthworms are divided into two groups: humus formers and humus feeders. The first group dwell on the surface and feed on nearly 90% organic materials. They are generally darker in colour, and are also called epigeic or detritivorous earthworms. It is these worms that are generally harnessed for vermicomposting. The second group, the humus feeders, are burrowing worms some of which are useful in both compost preparation as well as making the soil porous. Generally the burrowers help in mixing and distributing humus through the soil.
It has been proved that earthworms can degrade organic wastes speedily and efficiently. However, to increase the efficiency of vermicomposting, care should be taken to see that worms thrive well on organic matter, breed faster adapting to moisture and climatic fluctuations. The most beneficial feature of vermicomposting is that it eliminates foul smell of decaying organic wastes, as it is a fully aerobic system. The concept of vermiculture became well known in the 50s of this century when facilities were set up in industrialised countries of Western Europe for the mass breeding of earthworms. Subsequently, USA, England and France conducted several experiments related to vermiculture technology for efficient disposal of organic wastes.


76. How does Vermiculture work?
Earthworms feed on organic waste, consuming two to five times their body weight. They use a relatively small amount of their intake for their growth and excrete the mucus coated undigested matter as vermicasts. Vermicasts consist of organic matter that has undergone physical and chemical breakdown through the activity of the muscular gizzard that grinds the material. The nutrients present in the vermicasts are readily soluble in water for uptake by plants. Vermicast is a rich source of macro and micronutrients, vitamins, enzymes, antibiotics, growth hormones and microflora.


77. Can compost be made without earthworms?
Yes! But vermicompost is considered superior to other types of compost because of its quality. Moreover earthworms ingest litter, dung and other organic matter and grind it into fine particles, thereby increasing the surface area and promoting faster decomposition. The material passes through the body of the earthworm to produce vermicast. Soils with vermicasts have roughly 100 times more bacteria than soil without worms. Moreover plant growth promoting substances have been reported to be present in vermicasts.


78. The earthworms in my vermicompost unit die frequently. What is the reason for the mortality of the worms?
Excess moisture and lack of proper aeration can cause mortality of the worms. Provide proper drainage holes to drain the excess water. The water thus drained can be used as a vermin wash for plants.


79. What environmental conditions do the worms like?
Paradise for a compost worm would be an environment which was pH neutral, 25ºC air temperature, above 70% air humidity, and between 70 & 90% soil moisture. The soil would contain coarse materials to ensure the soil is aerated, as well as fine food particles of pre-composted organic material.


80. What is the importance of vermiculture products?
The products of vermiculture act as environmentally friendly long-term soil conditioners containing nutrients readily available to plants, which greatly improve soil performance and crop yields. Scientific research conducted into the effects of vermicast has found 30-50% increases in nitrogen uptake, 100% increases in potassium and phosphate uptake, increases in root length, root numbers, and shoot length, and 40-60% increases in cucumber and tomato yields. There are also reported increases in flavour and shelf-life, though these findings are not as easily quantified.


81. I want to begin farming organically. How will this be different from the more conventional farming practices that I already use?
Organic production of crops is very similar to regular production for planting, harvesting. Varieties are usually the same. Fertility, weeds and other pests need to be managed in a more intensive way. Crop rotation and timing of mechanical cultivation are critical to success. The integration of livestock, to help supply manure/compost nutrients will also be a benefit.


82. How are weeds managed on organic farms?
Weed management on organic farms consists of cultural and mechanical techniques such as the rotation of crops that suppress weeds, mulching, tillage, cultivation, water management, and manual weeding. Weeds often help to conserve soil, improve organic matter, and provide beneficial habitat for natural enemies on organic farms. Plastic mulches are permitted provide they are removed at the end of the season. Insects and diseases can help to keep certain weed populations in check. There are a few natural substances that are also used to manage weeds, but the efficacy of these substances is still subject to question.


83. Is there a difference between "natural" and "organic" foods?
Yes. The term "natural" is very broad, and can include organic foods, but not all natural foods are organic. Natural foods are generally minimally processed and free of artificial ingredients, but not necessarily organically grown.


84. What do I get from organic farming?
First off food is nutritional and safe. Research shows that organic products have more minerals, less water and less artificial chemicals. So the taste is generally more natural. Organic vegetables usually contain higher level of Vitamin C, protein and other minerals.


85. How are organic manures beneficial in the cultivation of crops?
Organic manures increase the organic matter in the soil. Organic matter in turn releases the plant food in available from for the use of crops. However, organic manures should not be seen only as carriers of plant food. These manures also enable a soil to hold more water and also help to improve the drainage in clay soils. They provide organic acids that help to dissolve soil nutrients and make them available for the plants.


86. Is there any variety recommended for late sowing of toria?
TS – 67 variety is released by AAU, Jorhat for late sown Toria-paddy cropping sequence.


87. Is there any intercultural operation required in lentil?
Weeding should be done after 20-25 days of sowing and irrigate the field if required and also earthing up is required.


88. What is a good size and shape for a carp pond?
After selection of the site for the pond with a good water supply, you can start digging. The size and shape of the pond should range between 0.1 hectare to 1 hectares in rectangular shape will be a good size pond.


89. What are the fodders that can be cultivated for winter season?
Oat can be cultivated to meet the requirements of green fodder during winter. It can be sown during the month of October to November. Two to three cuts can be harvested withihin an interval of 45 to 50 days.


90. What is the deworming schedule of goat?
Goat kids are prone to internal parasites like tapeworm and round worm. Kids should be dewormed by 2 months of age, and again every 2 months interval until a year of age.


91. How to treat potato tubers and why?
Potato tubers should be treated by dipping in an solution of mencozeb or carbendazim @2.5 g/ lit of water for 30 – 45 minutes. This treatment will protect the tubers from many fungal diseases in the early stages.


92. How to control fruit and shoot borer in brinjal crop?
Installation of pheromone trap @ 100/ ha followed by need based spraying of pesticides will help in control of brinjal fruit and shoot borer.


93. What kind of preservative should be used for preserving coloured fruit juice?
Potassium Meta Bisulphate (KMS) must be used for preserving coloured fruit juice.


94. From which fruit, the best jelly can be prepared?
The best jelly can be prepared from guava.


95. What is the sowing time of okra?
February – March and June – July.


96. What is the seed rate of ridge gourd?
For crop grown on the ground the seed rate is 3-3.5 kg/ha and for a trellis-grown crop the seed rate is 6-7 kg/ha.


97. What is the spacing of ridge gourd?
For crop grown on the ground-3.0m x 0.45m and for a trellis-grown crop -1.5m x 0.45m.


98. What are green manures? Give example.
The plants which are dug into the soil in green stage are called green manures. Example-Dhaincha (Sesbania aculeata).


99. Which plant species preferred most as green manures?
Leguminous plant species.


100. I have 1 bigha land of cucumber cultivation and fruits are being infested by fruit fly, how can I control them?
Adult fruit flies can be trapped by hanging bait (vinegar + sugar solution) in the main field.