Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Non-cash farming technology: Foundation of farmstead and natural agriculture

“It is technology farmers do not have to pay cash for a non- cash input.” This definition actually refers to good basic farm practices which small farmers can carry out themselves - first, to save on production cost; second, to improve production efficiency; and third to institutionalize farming into farmstead, and as a way of life. 
Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog [avrotor.blogspot.com]
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid
with Ms Melly C Tenorio
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Multi-storey cropping; integrated contour farming

Non- cash technology, however, should not be regarded as alternative to cash input per se, but can be a substitute to some costly items. What is significant in the concept is that good farm practices can maximize the value of cash input.

The best examples are found right in all fundamental steps of good farming. Good seeds generally produce more yields under any condition. These means farmers must practice seed selection, and plant only certified seeds. Grains produced from poor seeds are not only few; they produce low milling recovery due to admixtures of different grain shape, size and maturity.

The labor-intensive characteristic of typical farms in Asia ideally provides for greater attention to enhance proper farm management. After all, the progressive farmer is one who prepares is land more thoroughly, manages his nursery better, water his field more cleanly and has better water control, mainly through his effort and those of his large family.

Non-cash technology extends further from mere saving on direct expenses. It is also based on innovative approaches. A rice-garlic combination has these components; the garlic crop “rides” on the remaining soil moisture and on the tillage of early rice crop; and rice straw is used to mulch garlic in order to reduce water loss and weed population.

Other popular examples of non-cash inputs are:

  • Use early maturing varieties to allow a second or third cropping.
  • Make use of solar energy in drying palay, corn and other farm products.
  • Follow precise timing of land preparation to turn up weeds to dry up. Plow them under to be decomposed to save on herbicide and laborious weeding
  • Prepare rows parallel to East-West direction to allow more solar exposure to enhance growth and yield.
  • Practice green manuring in place of or supplement to, commercial fertilizers.
  • Recycle farm residues like corn stovers, rice straw and peanut hay for livestock, and farm wastes for organic fertilizer.
  • Practice intercropping to reduce the spread and occurrence of pests and diseases, and to maximize the utilization of an input like fertilizer.
    Rice hay for mulching seedbeds and plots.  Don't burn farm wastes, compost them instead into valuable organic fertilizer. 
The revival of non-cash technology is generally recognized as a Third World innovation. It may lack the glamour and sophistication of modern agriculture, but it holds the key in solving many problems of small farms.~ 

Integrated home garden; integrated homestead models

Acknowledgement: Internet illustrations 

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