Plastic Mulching Technology: Unique way to reduce costs in Fruit and Vegetable Farming
If you want more income in fruits and vegetables then adopt plastic mulching technique.
Plastic Mulching | ‘Reducing the cost of the crop’ can be the most effective way for farmers to increase their income in agriculture. In this context, apart from improved and high-yielding breeds, new agricultural techniques, including mechanization, are of great importance. Plastic mulching is one such technique that proves helpful to farmers in many ways. In this technique, where most of the soil’s nutrients are available only to the planted crop, the consumption of fertilizers and water also reduces drastically.
Not only this, the cost of insecticides and weed killers, and weeding are also almost saved. That’s why plastic mulching technology is fast gaining popularity among progressives. Madhya Pradesh government is even giving subsidies to encourage it.
What is Plastic Mulching Technology?
Under the plastic mulching technique, beds are made after completing all the preparations for sowing in the field. After this, the protruding parts of the beds are covered with a plastic sheet i.e., foil of 25 to 30 microns thickness. Then by making small holes of three to four inches round shape in this foil at a suitable distance required for transplanting the plants, the crop plants are planted in the soil there.
Plastic is used in this mulching technique, i.e., shade or cover. It is called the plastic mulching method or the plastic mulching technique of farming. This technique has proved to be very useful for vegetables and fruit plants. Through this, the cost of vegetables like onion, tomato, coriander, potato, and cabbage reduces considerably and earns handsomely.
Due to the plastic mulching technique, after irrigation once, the moisture remains in the fields for a long time. Weeds do not grow because the area around the stems of young plants planted or sprouted in this technique is covered with plastic. Therefore, to remove or destroy them, neither the labor cost of weeding nor weed-killer chemical medicines are required. On the other hand, in conventional farming, the fertile power of the soil taken over by the weeds remains in the soil due to the plastic mulching technique. It is used only for the plants of that crop, whose cultivation has been chosen by the farmer.
The effect of this is that the farmer does not have to spend extra on chemical fertilizers to increase production. Because of these qualities, plastic mulching technology is prevalent among progressive farmers who have adopted organic farming.
How to adopt Plastic Mulching?
The soil of the field in which plastic mulching technique is to be adopted should be first tested. So that it can be known that what kind of fertilizer and its quantity is required by the farm? After this the field should be plowed properly. Suitable quantity of cow dung or earthworm manure should be used in the field at the time of ploughing. At the end of ploughing, raised beds should be made in the field.
After this, the pipeline of drip irrigation should be laid. Then cover the protruding part of the beds with a plastic sheet and bury its ends in the soil. Now holes are made on the plastic mulching according to the distance from the plant to the plant. The seeds of the crop or the plants prepared from the nursery are planted in these holes.
By adopting mulching technique, farmers save maximum water. Even in summer, soil moisture is maintained for a longer period of time and the cost of irrigation is reduced significantly.
Cost and Incentives of Plastic Mulching
The per hectare cost of the plastic sheet or foil that farmers have to buy for adopting plastic mulching technique comes to an average of 20-22 thousand rupees. A subsidy of Rs 16,000 per hectare is also given to the farmers adopting plastic mulching by the Horticulture Department of Madhya Pradesh Government. It is possible that such incentives are available in other states as well. Farmers should inquire about this from their nearest agriculture officers.
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