What is Organic Farming

Organic farming is an art of producing herbs, vegetables and crops without using of any chemical fertilizers and harmful pesticides. Peoples believed yield drastically deceased in organic farming but real situation is totally different; during conversion period (first three years) yield decrease but gradually yield and produce value increase many folds as compare to conventional farming. Organic farming eliminate complete use of chemical fertilizers and pesticide that cuts a major cost of production, due to high sale return of organic produce give an extra advantage over conventional production.

This video briefly explain basic information regarding organic farming, if you need detail information please contact us info@agrinfobank.com.pk or WhatsApp: +923005381177

Basic Organic Gardening Skills for Beginners

If you love the theory of having your individual natural lawn but haven’t begun to give it a try, or if you’re a gardener just trying to determine what the organic hype is all about, following is a listing of elementary abilities for the new natural gardener to be told and why they are important. The ways related to planting will vary for each crop, and whether or not the crop is sown immediately into the garden or began indoors and transplanted to the garden.

Making Compost

Planting intensity, spacing and all requirements for temperature, soil, sun, water and vitamins are all elementary elements for the survival and good fortune of the crop.

In organic gardening, the process begins and ends with the soil. Instead of relying on synthetic fertilizers to provide nutrient releases for crops, organic gardeners continually paintings to build the fertility of the soil via additions of organic matter. Making compost out of vegetable scraps, crop residue, weeds, manure and other sources ensures the formation of humus, a long-term builder of soil fertility, a lot better than simply tilling these things at once into the soil.

Starting Plants From Seeds

To keep totally away from the use and residues of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, as well as to open up the full selection of crop varietal choices, the ability to begin vegetation from seeds is essential. This ability gives gardeners the option to choose organic qualified seed, to choose or make an natural seed starting mix, and keep watch over all fertilizer and pest regulate inputs related to the crop.

Proper Planting Techniques

The ways related to planting will vary for each crop, and whether or not the crop is sown immediately into the garden or began indoors and transplanted to the garden. Planting intensity, spacing and all requirements for temperature, soil, sun, water and vitamins are all elementary elements for the survival and good fortune of the crop. Most plants can have some margin for error, however too many rigidity factors may end up in crop failure. The easiest strategy to decrease issues here is to start small. Get ok with a couple of vegetation at first, after which make bigger as you be informed more.

Proper Irrigation Techniques

If you can’t water it, don’t trouble planting it. An inch of precipitation (or irrigation) a week is the standard for summer vegetable gardens. Newly seeded spaces might need a bit of water every day, whilst established plants will carry out better with extra water every time but much less ceaselessly. Some vegetation will require extra water as the fruit develops. Drip irrigation, overhead irrigation and watering via hand all offer their distinctive attributes for the gardener to choose. Again, get ok with a few plants’ wishes ahead of increasing too much.

Planning a Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is going hand-in-hand with each soil fertility and pest control. A good crop rotation could have crops with differing nutrient needs and pest threats succeeding one every other on particular lawn rows/beds. For example, beans-corn-potatoes would be a just right succession of plants because those are 3 unrelated crops that take different nutrients from the soil. Crop rotation should be practiced every time a new crop is planted whether in successive years or inside of the same rising season.

Pest Management

    All of the above knowledge will move some distance in combating insect and disease issues. A well-chosen, planted, and maintained plant could have minimal rigidity elements permitting infestation to happen. However, there are occasions when insect populations or fungal spores are more robust than the garden. Knowing the variations between indicators and symptoms of insect harm and illness injury is important in determining an efficient plan of action. Also, understanding the biology of the extra not unusual destructive bugs, and who their predators are, will also be very useful. Over time, you will develop into more familiar with the threats to particular plants and those choices will become second nature.

    Post-Harvest Plan

    As the season comes into complete swing, the general skill to obtain is that of the use of up the harvest. Most new gardeners are pleasantly surprised at the sudden deluge of produce that turns out to look all of sudden. Share with neighbors and pals. Learn to can, freeze or dry your personal veggies for storage. Donate to a meals bank or soup kitchen. You can feel the satisfaction of self-sufficiency while sharing your abundance with others.

    In a nutshell

    These are skills that all organic growers will frequently strengthen upon. Jump in with both toes, get started small and stay your eyes open. You will be informed so much and you’re going to be amazed at your development from year to year. Most of all, have amusing!

    How to use compost

    HOW TO USE COMPOST

    FINISHED COMPOST


    Finished compost should look like darkish, crumbly topsoil and not like the original materials.
    Compost should have a nice, earthy scent to it. Using “unfinished” or immature subject material that
    comprises food scraps can attract pests and will reason harm to young crops, so be sure that your
    compost has fully decomposed earlier than adding it to your garden beds.


    HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COMPOST IS FINISHED


    The simplest option to tell in case your compost is mature and able to make use of is by doing the “bag test.” Put a handful of moist compost right into a zip-lock
    bag and press out the air prior to sealing. Leave it for three days, then open the bag. If you detect an ammonia or bitter smell, the microorganisms
    are nonetheless at work and you wish to have to let your compost end curing. Test some other pattern of compost again in per week.


    USING FINISHED COMPOST


    There are quite a lot of techniques to use your completed compost. You can sprinkle compost on best or mix it into your flower and vegetable beds, gently rake
    compost into tree beds, blend it with potting soil to revitalize indoor vegetation, or unfold it on top of the soil to your garden as a soil amendment.


    COMPOST IN THE HOME GARDEN

    Adding compost in your garden helps toughen the construction and total health of your soil. Compost will assist the soil retain moisture and can
    building up your total earthworm and microbial population, which function organic controls in opposition to undesirable pests. In addition, compost
    will provide a sluggish unlock of macronutrients, which means that that your plantings will get a steady provide of nutrients as wanted.

    Amending Soil

    A soil amendment is any subject material added to a soil to make stronger its bodily houses, reminiscent of water retention, permeability, water infiltration, drainage, aeration and construction. The purpose is to offer a better environment for roots. To do its work, an amendment will have to be completely blended into the soil.

    Growing Vegetables

    Give your vegetable garden a lot of compost in the fall. Spread a number of inches of compost on top of the existing mattress, then until it into the soil in the springtime. Put a handful of compost in each hollow whilst you’re planting. Once plants start to develop briefly, you can upload a half-inch layer of compost across the base of the crops. Provide “heavy feeder” vegetation comparable to tomatoes, corn, and squash with half inch of compost per thirty days—this may occasionally result in great produce!

    Growing Flowers

    In the spring, loosen the top few inches of annual and perennial beds and blend in a 1-inch layer of compost. Or in the fall, observe a 1-inch layer of compost as a mulch to protect plant roots from freezing and preserve moisture.

    Replenishing Soil In Potted Plants & Window Boxes

    Even the most efficient potting soil will get depleted of its vitamins as plants develop. To refill vitamins, add an inch of compost to potted crops and window bins two times a 12 months. Or, make your personal potting soil using two portions screened compost to at least one part sand or perlite.

    Rejuvenating Lawn or Turf

    When organising new turf, incorporate as much as three inches of compost into the existing soil base. If conceivable, until to a intensity of five–8 inches sooner than seeding. Otherwise, seed directly over the compost. On current turf, you can treat bald spots through incorporating an inch of compost into the soil and then reseeding. This will battle compaction and lend a hand suppress soil-borne diseases. You can also topdress existing turf with up to 1\/2 inch finely screened compost. This is perfect with a spreader, however you’ll use a shovel for small areas where you need to add compost. Rake the compost lightly throughout the grass house to enable the compost to readily sift all the way down to the soil. The compost will relax into the soil, improving its construction and offering vitamins. Over time, this may occasionally imply much less compaction, fewer bald spots, and a discounted need for synthetic fertilizers.

    Tree and Shrub Planting and Maintenance

    When planting a brand new tree, it’s best possible to work 1/2– 1 inch of compost into the highest 2 inches of soil from the trunk of the tree out to the dripline—the outermost parameter of the tree’s cover. Compost used in this manner serves as an alternative to the layer of natural subject that naturally exists at the woodland flooring: it provides natural nutrients, reduces moisture loss, and assists in keeping the soil cool. Don’t add compost to a freshly dug hole when planting a new tree, as making use of compost in this method will discourage tree roots from growing past the opening. Apply compost as mulch to bushes and shrubs to stop weeds and to make vegetation more drought resistant. Spread up to 2 inches of compost beneath the tree or shrub out to the drip line (the outermost leaves on a tree) or fringe of the bed. This will help reduce moisture loss and stabilize soil temperature. You too can incorporate compost into the soil once or twice a 12 months to offer organic vitamins. Before adding compost to compacted soils, gently domesticate the soil with a hand instrument; this may occasionally save you injury to shallow feeder roots whilst making vitamins extra readily obtainable to the bushes or shrubs. Do not place compost or mulch at once in opposition to the bark of the tree

    Maintaining Perennial & Annual Beds

    Spread 1–2 inches of compost on best of perennial and annual beds within the early spring or fall to save you weeds from establishing and to make vegetation more drought-resistant.

    7 Easy Steps to Composting

    1. Choose Your Type of Backyard Compost Bin.

    You can use either an open pile or a compost bin. Bins have the advantage of being neat, preserving animals out and keeping warmth. You can purchase compost containers from a variety of lawn and home shops, or you’ll construct your individual compost bin.The measurement and form of bin you purchase or construct depends upon how a lot compostable material you generate.

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    2. Choose Your Composter Location.

    You will have to select a location which is flat, well-drained and sunny. Most importantly you will have to discover a handy location. If it’s at the back of your yard will you be keen to trudge through the snow to get to it in the middle of winter?

    3. Alternate Layers.

    Start with a layer in fact fabrics (like twigs) to permit for drainage and aeration. Cover this deposit with leaves. Then simply exchange between layers of vegetables fabrics (nitrogen-rich material) and browns (carbon-rich material).

    BrownsGreensDon’t Compost
    Evergreen needlesGreen leavesInvasive weeds gone to see
    Dried leavesGarden wasteMeat/fish/bones
    Paper egg cartonsFlowersFat/oil/grease
    Paper towels/napkinsVegetablesDairy products
    Dried grass clippingsFruit peelsCooked foods (attracts animals)
    Shredded newsprintScrapsPet waste
    BarkCoffee groundsPlastics
    Coffee filters Tea leaves/bagsMetals
    StrawEgg shellsGlass
    Sawdust (limited amt.)FlowersToxic material
    Dryer/vacuum lint Charcoal
    Cardboard (cut into small pieces) Chemical logs
    Dead house plants  
    Shredded brown paper bags  

    4. Add Kitchen and Yard Waste as They Accumulate.

    Collect your kitchen compostables in a container on your kitchen. Find a to hand place to retailer this container container – on the counter, beneath the sink or in the freezer. When it’s full, empty its contents into the compost bin.

    Whenever you upload meals scraps or yard waste, remember to most sensible it with a layer of browns. If you don’t upload browns, your compost will probably be rainy and smash down extra slowly. If imaginable, collect and retailer dry leaves in an previous rubbish in the fall so you’ll be able to use them to your compost yr spherical.

    Depending on the kind of compost bin or pile you have chosen there is also particular ways of adding and maintaining compost. Most of the composters you buy include directions; apply those instructions for best effects.

    5. Continue to Add Layers Until Your Bin is Full.

    The bin contents/pile will shrink because it begins to decompose.

    6. Maintain Your Compost Bin.

    To get completed compost extra briefly, take a look at your compost bin and make sure the next stipulations are met:

    When you add contemporary subject matter, you should definitely combine it in with the lower layers.
    Materials must be as rainy as a rung-out sponge. Add dry materials or water – whichever is wanted – to achieve this moisture degree.
    Mix or flip the compost as soon as every week to lend a hand the breakdown procedure and eliminate odour.

    7. Harvest Your Compost.

    Finished compost will probably be darkish, crumbly and smell like earth. You will have to be capable of have completed compost inside of 4 to 6 months of starting your bin.

    The finished compost will end up at the most sensible of the bin or compost pile. Remove all the completed compost from the bin, leaving unfinished materials within the bin to continue decomposing. Be positive the decomposition process is whole earlier than you use your compost; another way, microbes within the compost could take nitrogen from the soil and harm plant growth.

    Use Your Compost!

    Sprinkle your garden a couple of occasions a year.
    Use your compost as best dressing for flower beds and at the base of timber and shrubs.
    Mix compost in with garden and flower mattress soil.
    Use as a soil conditioner when planting or transplanting timber, flowers and shrubs by means of filling the opening with half compost and half soil.
    Make ‘compost tea.’ Fill cheesecloth or an old pillowcase with 1 litre of compost. Tie the top and ‘steep’ the bag in a single day in a rubbish can full of water. This ‘tea’ can be used to water plants and gardens.

    Nitrogen dynamics of organic farming in a crop rotation based on red clover (Trifolium pratense) leys

    In agricultural systems which rely on organic sources of nitrogen (N), of which the primary source is biological N fixation (BNF), it is extremely important to use N as efficiently as possible with minimal losses to the environment. The amount of N through BNF should be maximised and the availability of the residual N after legumes should be synchronised to the subsequent plant needs in the crop rotation. Six field experiments in three locations in Finland were conducted in 1994-2006 to determine the productivity and amount of BNF in red clover-grass leys of different ages. The residual effects of the leys for subsequent cereals as well as the N leaching risk were studied by field measurements and by simulation using the CoupModel. N use efficiency (NUE) and N balances were also calculated.

    The yields of red clover-grass leys were highest in the two-year-old leys (6700 kg/ha) under study, but the differences between 2- and 3-year old leys were not high in most cases. BNF (90 kg/ha in harvested biomass) correlated strongly with red clover dry matter yield, as the proportion of red clover N derived from the atmosphere (>85%) was high in our conditions of organically farmed field with low soil mineral N. A red clover content of over 40 % in dry matter is targeted to avoid negative N-balances and to gain N for the subsequent crop. Surprisingly, the leys had no significant effect on the yields and N uptake of the two subsequent cereals (winter rye or spring wheat, followed by spring oats).

    On the other hand, yield and C:N of leys, as well as BNF-N and total-N incorporated into the soil influenced on subsequent cereal yields. NUE of cereals from incorporated ley crop residues was rather high, varying from 30 % to 80 % (mean 48 %). The mineral N content of soil in the profile of 0-90 cm was low, mainly 15-30 kg/ha. Simulations of N dynamics by CoupModel functioned satisfactorily and is considered a useful tool to estimate N flows in cropping systems relying on organic N sources. Understanding the long-term influence of cultivation history and soil properties on N dynamics remains to be a challenge to further research.

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    Organic Farming is More Profitable than Traditional Agriculture

    Food security has always been the most strategic goal for countries around the world. Food safety is an additional unit resulting from the number of vital and immune system factors in production, handling and storage. The extent of this damage depends on the control systems after harvesting and pest control. Pests of destructive drugs play an important role in harvesting sensitive and semi-transparent agricultural products.

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    Wheat is the main human food, and food security and safety plans include production and protection.

    Wheat products will vary by 20 million tons to satisfy our food, food and seed needs for years. In 2010, the demand for wheat will reach 25.5 million tonnes. Currently, there is some shortage of domestic production added to imports. Scientists say the wheat loss after harvest is between 2.5% and 15.3% because there is no understanding of the control and storage systems of protocols and the uncertainty of the market depending on the handling and storage conditions, as they are high in the private sector.

    Food grains are now protected from pests for insects and ready-made vapors. In 1990, the Punjabi Food Board used aluminum alloy pieces of phosphorus per cubic meter to control wheat pest storage, which is now used for three types of insects. By using our national natural resources, many foreign currencies can be avoided when importing pesticides. In addition, the World Trade Organization Codex Alimentarius Commission recommends that organic pests be produced in accordance with international standards. On the basis of the needs, it was decided to carry out an organic pest control study on stored wheat and selected local plants.

    How To Grow a FULLY Organic Vegetable Garden

    Recently, several scientists have shown insecticidal properties in laboratory studies, including the prevention of toxicity, the search, the protection of surfaces and the prevention of pests from spawning to storage of cereals. Therefore, these vegetable oils are used to control organic and integrated sterile, sterile and various packaging materials under natural product conditions. This was done to develop an IPM Code of Conduct for a City Safe Storage System, replacing synthetic pesticides.

    Jute and spray-free cotton bags made of fabric of different density (mesh size) with three different cooking oils and three mixtures, three storage periods (30, 60 and 90 days), three copies. The infected new crop of wheat was packed in bags and treated with different strengths of the test substance to assess their different toxicity and antibacterial properties. The test apparatus is placed in a field of ventilated wheat under favorable conditions so that the insects can propagate the stored products.

    Attempts have been made to show significant concentrations of the mixture as a concentration to assess their effect. At certain times, data on deaths, printing on treated bags and insect numbers were collected. At the end of the experiment, the wheat obtained from the treatment and the untreated rheumatoid arthritis test was produced to satisfy changes in the dough and the foam.

    When analyzing the data, different concentrations, shelf life, and packaging effects on insect pests and insect poisoning effects on their association with vegetable oils. There was a positive correlation between bactericidal and bactericidal effects on photon pulp concentration, but a negative correlation with retention time. The penetration of the bag is inversely related to the frequency of insects corresponding to the density of the package. The three vegetable oils, a vegetable oil, each with a concentration of 10%, must be effectively packaged in a small insect control cotton cloth for two months and gradually reduced in the third month.

    Silty studies have shown that wheat dough has not evolved significantly from wheat stored in botanical bags. In addition, sensory flavors or coffee packs that were not found in packaged bags of wheat flour showed.

    Author Bio:

    Hello, my name is Syed Ghufran and I live in Karachi, Pakistan. I am doing post graduation in Mass Communication from Karachi University. By profession, I am a blog writer and currently, I am connected with Post Free Ads in Pakistan – Clickr. My hobbies are reading, researching and learning small things on daily basis. I always belive in “Live the Life You Love, Love The Life You Live”.

    Soil organic cover

    Keeping the soil coated is a basic principle of CA. Crop residues are left at the soil floor, but quilt crops is also wanted if the space is too lengthy between harvesting one crop and establishing the following. Cover plants reinforce the stability of the CA gadget, not simplest on the growth of soil homes but also for their capability to advertise an larger biodiversity in the agro-ecosystem.

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    While commercial plants have a marketplace value, cover vegetation are mainly grown for their impact on soil fertility or as livestock fodder. In areas the place smaller amounts of biomass are produced, comparable to semi-arid areas or areas of eroded and degraded soils, cover plants are advisable as they:

    Protect the soil right through fallow sessions.

    1. Mobilize and recycle vitamins.
    2. Improve the soil structure and damage compacted layers and hard pans.
    3. Permit a rotation in a monoculture.
    4. Can be used to keep an eye on weeds and pests.

    Cover plants are grown right through fallow sessions, between harvest and planting of commercial vegetation, utilizing the residual soil moisture. Their enlargement is interrupted both prior to the following crop is sown, or after sowing the following crop, however earlier than festival between the two plants starts. Cover vegetation energize crop production, but they also present some demanding situations.

    Cover vegetation are useful for:

    1. Protecting the soil, when it does not have a crop.
    2. Providing an extra source of organic topic to reinforce soil construction.
    3. Recycling nutrients (particularly P and K) and mobilizing them in the soil profile to be able to cause them to extra readily to be had to the next plants.
    4. Provide “organic tillage” of the soil; the roots of a few vegetation, especially cruciferous plants, like oil radish are pivotal and ready to penetrate compacted or very dense layers, increasing water percolation capability of the soil.
    5. Utilizing easily leached nutrients (particularly N).

    Different crops, with diverse rooting programs, discover other soil depths within the profile. They may also be able to take in different amounts of nutrients and bring distinct root exudates (natural acids) leading to benefits each for the soil and for the organisms.

    The presence of a mulch layer (of useless vegetation) in conservation agriculture inhibits the evaporation of soil moisture, yet results in better water infiltration into the soil profile. The share of rainwater that infiltrates the soil depends on the amount of soil quilt provided.

    As other quilt plants produce other quantity of biomass, the density of the residues varies with other vegetation and thus the ability to increase water infiltration.

    Vegetative quilt is essential in CA for the security of the soil towards the affects of raindrops; to stay the soil shaded; and maintain the perfect imaginable moisture content material. We have seen their importance for nutrient recycling; however they even have a physical and, in all probability, an allelopathic effect on weeds, depressing their occurrence and resulting in a reduction in agrochemical use and thus in manufacturing prices.

    Straw residues function as a cushion that reduces the pressure on the soil below wheels and hooves and they play an important role in lowering soil compaction.

    Homemade Organic Pesticide for Vegetables

    Homemade Organic Pesticide for Vegetables

    Growing greens supplies contemporary produce for you and your family whilst providing you with complete control over what’s used within the care and maintenance of the vegetables. Pest regulate is essential in vegetable gardens to stay hungry insects from feasting at the vegetation. However, insecticides steadily comprise harsh toxins that can go away chemical residue on greens. Thankfully, homemade organic insecticides are the more secure selection and can be created from affordable pieces that most people have of their home.

    Oil Spray

    For those aggravating sap-sucking bugs — akin to aphids, thrips, spider mites and whiteflies — create a do-it-yourself oil spray the usage of 1 tablespoon of dish cleaning soap and 1 cup of cooking oil from a newly open bottle of oil. This concentrated liquid must be mixed with water sooner than use with a ratio of 4 teaspoons of oil combination to 1 pint of water. Until you are ready to use it, retailer the concentrated oil mixture in a glass jar in a depressing, dry and cool location. Apply a liberal mist of the do-it-yourself oil spray to the vegetables once each and every seven days to entirely regulate the pests.

    Baby Shampoo Spray

    Baby shampoo is delicate and incorporates few, if any, pointless chemical substances. It can be used in a sprig to help keep watch over common garden pests on each indoor and out of doors crops, including aphids, whiteflies, scale, thrips and spider mites. Make child shampoo pesticide spray through combining 2 tablespoons of baby shampoo with 1 gallon of water. Thoroughly spray the answer at the vegetable plants and allow it to stick on for a number of hours prior to gently rising it off with a water hose. Do now not use this spray in the solar or on vegetation with furry leaves or a wax-like coating, akin to squash.

    Garlic Spray

    The strong smell of garlic assists in keeping certain pests from feeding in your vegetables. For this organic pesticide, mix 10 to 12 garlic cloves with 1 quart of water in a blender. After blending, allow the mixture to set for 24 hours. Then pressure it via cheesecloth overlaying the outlet of a glass jar and upload 1 cup of cooking oil. This concentrated combination may also be saved for several weeks till able to make use of. For an much more powerful do-it-yourself pesticide, upload 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper to the concentrated mixture and let it soak for any other 24 hours ahead of straining the liquid once again. When ready to make use of, dilute half of cup of the liquid with 1 gallon of water.

    Red Pepper Spray

    Known for its ability so as to add spice and flavor to recipes, crimson pepper powder may also be used to create a do-it-yourself pesticide this is safe to use in vegetable gardens. Combine 1 tablespoon of pink pepper powder, 6 drops of dish soap and 1 gallon of water and blend the components totally. Pour the pink pepper aggregate in a lawn sprayer and carefully cover the vegetables with the spray. If wanted, reapply the spray as soon as a week to keep garden pests comparable to leafhoppers, spittlebugs, beetles and loopers off the crops.

    Considerations

    Always check just a little of any organic spray mixture you make on a leaf earlier than spraying all of the plant to verify it doesn’t burn or damage the foliage. Do this step the day ahead of you plant to use the combination on your vegetable vegetation. It’s also best possible to spray your plant early within the morning earlier than the solar is hot or past due in the afternoon. Some produces, particularly those containing oils can burn vegetation if used right through the sunny and scorching portions of the day.

    BIO-FERTILIZERS IN ORGANIC AGRICULTURE

    BIOFERTILIZERS IN ORGANIC AGRICULTURE

    SUMMARY

    Experiencing the adverse effects of synthetic input dependent agriculture the concept of organic agriculture is gaining momentum. Almost 31 million hectares of land are currently managed organically by more than 6, 00, 000 farmers worldwide, constitutes 0.7 per cent of agriculture land. India had brought more than 2.5 m ha land under certification of organics. In these systems production is based in synergism with nature, which makes systems of unending life i.e. sustainable. Deteriorative effects of synthetic chemical inputs are obvious, but, at the same time we need to revive soil health and living which support to sustainable production system. Soil environment needs to be made congenial for living of useful microbial population, responsible for continuous availability of nutrients from natural sources.

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    Bio-fertilizers being essential components of organic farming play vital role in maintaining long term soil fertility and sustainability by fixing atmospheric dinitrogen (N=N), mobilizing fixed macro and micro nutrients or convert insoluble P in the soil into forms available to plants, there by increases their efficiency and availability. Currently there is a gap of ten million tonnes of plant nutrients between removal of crops and supply through chemical fertilizers. In context of both the cost and environmental impact of chemical fertilizers, excessive reliance on the chemical fertilizers is not viable strategy in long run because of the cost, both in domestic resources and foreign exchange, involved in setting up of fertilizer plants and sustaining the production. In this context, organic manures (bio-fertilizers) would be the viable option for farmers to increase productivity per unit area.

    The mycorrhizal associations (VAM) in alleviating Al toxicity, increasing N, P and micronutrient uptake, maintaining soil structure by the production specific protein called “Glomulin” has been repeatedly demonstrated. Liquid bio-fertilizer technology now, shares more advantage over conventional carrier based bio-fertilizers and can be considered as a breakthrough in field of Bio-fertilizer technology and should find greater acceptance by farmers, extension workers and commercial bio-fertilizer manufactures. In this review, the established facts observed and the work carried out by many researchers on bio-fertilizers is discussed.

    Key words: Bio-fertilizers, Crop growth, Sustainability, VA-mycorrhizae


    S. Sheraz Mahdi1*, G. I. Hassan2, S. A. Samoon3, H. A. Rather4, Showkat A. Dar5 and B. Zehra6


    1Division of Agronomy, Sher-e Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Shalimar, Srinagar, J & K-India-1911211
    2Division of Pomology, Sher-e Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Shalimar, Srinagar, J & K-India-191121
    3Division of Floriculture, Sher-e Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Shalimar, Srinagar, J & K-India-191121
    4Faculty of Forestry, Sher-e Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Shalimar, Srinagar, J & K-India-191121
    5Division of Entomology, Sher-e Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir,
    Shalimar, Srinagar, J & K-India-191121
    6Faculty of Horticulture, Sher-e Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Shalimar, Srinagar, J & K-India-191121

    Introduction

    Organic farming has emerged as an important priority area globally in view of the growing demand for safe and healthy food and long term sustainability and concerns on environmental pollution associated with indiscriminate use of agro- chemicals. Though the use of chemical inputs in agriculture is inevitable to meet the growing demand for food in world, there are opportunities in selected crops and niche areas where organic production can be encouraged to tape the domestic export market.
    Bio-fertilizers are being essential component of organic farming are the preparations containing live or latent cells of efficient strains of nitrogen fixing, phosphate solubilizing or cellulolytic micro-organisms used for application to seed, soil or composting areas with the objective of increasing number of such micro-organisms and accelerate those microbial processes which augment the availability of nutrients that can be easily assimilated by plants. Bio- fertilizers play a very significant role in improving soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen, both, in association with plant roots and without it, solubilise insoluble soil phosphates and produces plant growth substances in the soil. They are in fact being promoted to harvest the naturally available, biological system of nutrient mobilization (Venkatashwarlu, 2008a). The role and importance of biofertilizers in sustainable crop production has been reviewed by several authors (Biswas et al. 1985; Wani and Lee, 1995; Katyal et al. 1994). But the progress in the field of BF production technology remained always below satisfaction in Asia because of various constraints.
    It may be noted, only 30 % of India’s total cultivable area is covered with fertilizers where irrigation facilities are available and the remaining 70 % of the arable land, which is mainly rain fed, very negligible amount of fertilizers are being used. Farmers in these areas often use organic manures as a source of nutrients that are readily available either in their own farm or in their locality. The North- Eastern (NE) region of India provides considerable opportunity for organic farming due to least utilization of chemical inputs. It is estimated that 18 million hectare of such land is available in the NE that can be exploited for organic production. With the sizable acreage under naturally organic/default organic cultivation, India has tremendous potential to grow crops organically and emerge as a major supplier of organic products in world’s organic market (Venkatashwarlu. 2008a) The report of Task Force on Organic Farming appointed by the Government of India also observed that in vast areas of the country, where limited amount of chemicals are used and have low productivity could be exploited as potential areas to develop into organic agriculture. Arresting the decline of soil organic matter is the most potent weapon in fighting against unabated soil degradation and imperiled sustainability of agriculture in tropical regions of India, particularly those under the influence of arid, semiarid and sub-humid climate. Application of organic manures particularly bio-fertilizers is the only option to improve the soil organic carbon for sustenance of soil quality and future agricultural productivity (Ramesh,
    2008).

    Why to explore bio-fertilizers:-
    Indiscriminate use of synthetic fertilizers has led to the pollution and contamination of the soil, has polluted water basins, destroyed micro-organisms and friendly insects, making the crop more prone to diseases and reduced soil fertility.
    • Demand is much higher than the availability. It is estimated that by
    2020, to achieve the targeted production of 321 million tonnes of food grain, the requirement of nutrient will be 28.8 million tonnes, while their availability will be only
    21.6 million tones being a deficit of about 7.2 million tones.
    • Depleting feedstock/fossil fuels (energy crisis) and increasing cost of fertilizers. This is becoming unaffordable by small and marginal farmers.
    • Depleting soil fertility due to widening gap between nutrient removal and supplies.
    • Growing concern about environmental hazards.
    • Increasing threat to sustainable agriculture.
    Besides above facts, the long term use of bio-fertilizers is economical, eco-friendly, more efficient, productive and accessible to marginal and small farmers over chemical fertilizers (Venkataraman and Shanmugasundaram, 1992).

    Estimated demand and supply of some important bio-fertilizers in India
    The annual requirement and production of different bio-fertilizers have clearly shown tremendous gap in this area. Thus a strategy for judicious combination of chemical fertilizers and biofertilizers will be economically viable and ecological useful. It should be recommended that biofertilizers are not a substitute, but a supplement to chemical fertilizers for maximizing not only the yield but also agro system stability.

    1. Potential characteristic features of some bio-fertilizers
      Nitrogen fixers
      Rhizobium: belongs to family Rhizobiaceae, symbiotic in nature, fix nitrogen 50-100 kg/ ha. with legumes only. It is useful for pulse legumes like chickpea, red-gram, pea, lentil, black gram, etc., oil-seed legumes like soybean and groundnut and forage legumes like berseem and lucerne. Successful nodulation of leguminous crops by Rhizobium largely depends on the availability of compatible strain for a particular legume. It colonizes the roots of specific legumes to form tumour like growths called root nodules, which acts as factories of ammonia production. Rhizobium has ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in symbiotic association with legumes and certain non- legumes like Parasponia. Rhizobium population in the soil depends on the presence of legume crops in the field. In absence of legumes, the population decreases. Artificial seed inoculation is often needed to restore the population of effective strains of the Rhizobium near the rhizosphere to hasten N-fixation. Each legume requires a specific species of Rhozobium to form effective nodules. Many legumes may be modulated by diverse strains of Rhizobia, but growth is enhanced only when nodules are produced by effective strains of Rhizobia. It is thus extremely important to match microsymbionts prudently for maximum nitrogen fixation. A strain of Rhizobia that nodulates and fixes a large amount of nitrogen in association with one legume species may also do the same in association with certain other legume species. This must be verified by testing. Leguminous plants that demonstrate this tendency to respond similarly to particular strains of Rhizobia are considered “effectiveness” group (Wani and Lee 2002).

    Azospirillum: belongs to family Spirilaceae, heterotrophic and associative in nature. In addition to their nitrogen fixing ability of about 20-40 kg/ha, they also produce growth regulating substances. Although there are many species under this genus like, A.amazonense, A.halopraeferens, A.brasilense, but, worldwide distribution and benefits of inoculation have been proved mainly with the A.lipoferum and A.brasilense. The Azospirillum form associative symbiosis with many plants particularly with those having the C4-dicarboxyliac path way of photosynthesis (Hatch and Slack pathway), because they grow and fix nitrogen on salts of organic acids such as malic, aspartic acid (Arun, 2007a). Thus it is mainly recommended for maize, sugarcane, sorghum, pearl millet etc. The Azotobacter colonizing the roots not only remains on the root surface but also a sizable proportion of them penetrates into the root tissues and lives in harmony with the plants. They do not, however, produce any visible nodules or out growth on root tissue.

    Azotobacter: belongs to family Azotobacteriaceae, aerobic, free living, and heterotrophic in nature. Azotobacters are present in neutral or alkaline soils and A. chroococcum is the most commonly occurring species in arable soils. A. vinelandii, A. beijerinckii, A. insignis and A. macrocytogenes are other reported species. The number of Azotobacter rarely exceeds of 104 to 105 g-1 of soil due to lack of organic matter and presence of antagonistic microorganisms in soil. The bacterium produces anti-fungal antibiotics which inhibits the growth of several pathogenic fungi in the root region thereby preventing seedling mortality to a certain extent (Subba Rao, 2001a). The isolated culture of Azotobacter fixes about 10 mg nitrogen g-1 of carbon source under in vitro conditions. Azotobacter also to known to synthesize biologically active growth promoting substances such as vitamins of B- group, indole acetic acid (IAA) and gibberellins. Many strains of Azotobacter also exhibited fungi static properties against plant pathogens such as Fusarium, Alternaria and Helminthosporium. The population of Azotobacter is generally low in the rhizosphere of the crop plants and in uncultivated soils. The occurrence of this organism has been reported from the rhizosphere of a number of crop plants such as rice, maize, sugarcane, bajra, vegetables and plantation crops, (Arun, 2007a).

    Blue Green Algae (Cyanobacteria) and Azolla: These belongs to eight different families, phototrophic in nature and produce Auxin, Indole acetic acid and Gibberllic acid, fix 20-30 kg N/ha in submerged rice fields as they are abundant in paddy, so also referred as ‘paddy organisms’. N is the key input required in large quantities for low land rice production. Soil N and BNF by associated organisms are major sources of N for low land rice. The 50-60% N requirement is met through the combination of mineralization of soil organic N and BNF by free living and rice plant associated bacteria (Roger and Ladha, 1992). To achieve food security through sustainable agriculture, the requirement for fixed nitrogen must be increasingly met by BNF rather than by industrial nitrogen fixation. Most N fixing BGA are filamentous, consisting of chain of vegetative cells including specialized cells called heterocyst which function as micro nodule for synthesis and N fixing machinery. BGA forms symbiotic association capable of fixing nitrogen with fungi, liverworts, ferns and flowering plants, but the most common symbiotic association has been found between a free floating aquatic fern, the Azolla and Anabaena azollae (BGA). Azolla contains 4-5% N on dry basis and 0.2-0.4% on wet basis and can be the potential source of organic manure and nitrogen in rice production. The important factor in using Azolla as biofertilizer for rice crop is its quick decomposition in the soil and efficient availability of its nitrogen to rice plants (Kannaiyan, 1990). Besides N-fixation, these biofertilizers or biomanures also contribute significant amounts of P, K, S, Zn, Fe, Mb and other micronutrient. The fern forms a green mat over water with a branched stem, deeply bilobed leaves and roots. The dorsal fleshy lobe of the leaf contains the algal symbiont within the central cavity. Azolla can be applied as green manure by incorporating in the fields prior to rice planting. The most common species occurring in India is A. pinnata and same can be propagated on commercial scale by vegetative means. It may yield on average about 1.5 kg per square meter in a week. India has recently introduced some species of Azolla for their large biomass production, which are A.caroliniana, A. microphylla, A. filiculoides and A. mexicana.

    Phosphate solubilizers
    Several reports have examined the ability of different bacterial species to solubilize insoluble inorganic phosphate compounds, such as tricalcium phosphate, dicalcium phosphate, hydroxyapatite, and rock phosphate. Among the bacterial genera with this capacity are pseudomonas, Bacillus, Rhizobium, Burkholderia, Achromobacter, Agrobacterium, Microccocus, Aereobacter, Flavobacterium and Erwinia. There are considerable populations of phosphate- solubilizing bacteria in soil and in plant rhizospheres. These include both aerobic and anaerobic strains, with a prevalence of aerobic strains in submerged soils. A considerably higher concentration of phosphate solubilizing bacteria is commonly found in the rhizosphere in comparison with non rhizosphere soil (Raghu and Macrae,
    2000). The soil bacteria belonging to the genera Pseudomonas and Bacillus and Fungi are more common. The major microbiological means by which insoluble-P compounds are mobilized is by the production of organic acids, accompanied by acidification of the medium. The organic and inorganic acids convert tricalcium phosphate to di- and- monobasic phosphates with the net result of an enhanced availability of the element to the plant. The type of organic acid produced and their amounts differ with different organisms. Tri- and di-carboxylic acids are more effective as compared to mono basic and aromatic acids. Aliphatic acids are also found to be more effective in P- solubilization compared to phenolic, citric and fumaric acids. The analysis of culture filtrates of PSMs has shown the presence of number of organic acids including citric, fumaric, lactic, 2-ketogluconic, gluconic, glyoxylic and ketobutyric acids.

    Phosphate absorbers
    Mycorrhiza (an ancient symbiosis in organic agriculture)
    The term Mycorrhiza denotes “fungus roots”. It is a symbiotic association between host plants and certain group of fungi at the root system, in which the fungal partner is benefited by obtaining its carbon requirements from the photosynthates of the host and the host in turn is benefited by obtaining the much needed nutrients especially phosphorus, calcium, copper, zinc etc., which are otherwise inaccessible to it, with the help of the fine absorbing hyphae of the fungus. These fungi are associated with majority of agricultural crops, except with those crops/plants belonging to families of Chenopodiaceae, Amaranthaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Polygonaceae, Brassicaceae, Commelinaceae, Juncaceae and Cyperaceae. They are ubiquitous in geographic distribution occurring with plants growing in artic, temperate and tropical regions alike. VAM occur over a broad ecological range from aquatic to desert environments (Mosse et al.
    1981). Of 150 species of fungi that have been
    described in order Glomales of class Zygomycetes, only small proportions are presumed to be mycorrhizal. There are six genera of fungi that contain species, which are known to produce Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) with plants. Two of these genera, Glomus and Sclerocytis, produce chlamydospores only. Four genera form spores that are similar to azygospores: Gigaspora, Scutellospora, Acaulospora and Entrophospora. The oldest and most prevalent of these associations are the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbioses that first evolved 400 million years ago, coinciding with the appearance of the first land plants. Crop domestication, in comparison, is a relatively recent event, beginning 10, 000 years ago (Sawers et al. 2007).

    Zinc solubilizers
    The nitrogen fixers like Rhizobium, Azospirillum, Azotobacter, BGA and Phosphate solubilizing bacteria like B. magaterium, Pseudomonas striata, and phosphate mobilizing Mycorrhiza have been widely accepted as bio-fertilizers (Subba Roa, 2001a). However these supply only major nutrients but a host of microorganism that can transform micronutrients are there in soil that can be used as bio-fertilizers to supply micronutrients like zinc, iron, copper etc., zinc being utmost important is found in the earth’s crust to the tune of 0.008 per cent but more than 50 per cent of Indian soils exhibit deficiency of zinc with content must below the critical level of 1.5 ppm of available zinc (Katyal and Rattan, 1993). The plant constraints in absorbing zinc from the soil are overcome by external application of soluble zinc sulphate (ZnSO4). But the fate of applied zinc in the submerged soil conditions is pathetic and only 1-4% of total available zinc is utilized by the crop and 75% of applied zinc is transformed into different mineral fractions (Zn-fixation) which are not available for plant absorption (crystalline iron oxide bound and residual zinc). There appears to be two main mechanisms of zinc- fixation, one operates in acidic soils and is closely related with cat ion exchange and other operates in alkaline conditions where fixation takes by means of chemisorptions, ( chemisorptions of zinc on calcium carbonate formed a solid-solution of ZnCaCO3), and by complexation by organic ligands (Alloway,
    2008).
    The zinc can be solubilized by microorganisms viz., B. subtilis, Thiobacillus thioxidans and Saccharomyces sp. These microorganisms can be used as bio-fertilizers for solubilization of fixed micronutrients like zinc (Raj, 2007). The results have shown that a Bacillus sp. (Zn solubilizing bacteria) can be used as bio-fertilizer for zinc or in soils where native zinc is higher or in conjunction with insoluble cheaper zinc compounds like zinc oxide (ZnO), zinc carbonate (ZnCO3) and zinc sulphide (ZnS) instead of costly zinc sulphate (Mahdi et al. 2010).

    1. Potential role of bio-fertilizers in agriculture
      Nitrogen-fixers (NF) and Phosphate solubilizers (PSBs)
      The incorporation of bio-fertilizers (N- fixers) plays major role in improving soil fertility, yield attributing characters and thereby final yield has been reported by many workers (Subashini et al. 2007a; Kachroo and Razdan, 2006; Son et al. 2007). In addition, their application in soil improves soil biota and minimizes the sole use of chemical fertilizers (Subashini et al. 2007a).
      Under temperate conditions, inoculation
      of Rhizobium improved number of pods plant-1, number of seed pod-1 and 1000-seed weight (g) and thereby yield over the control. The number of pods plant-1, number of seed pod-1 and 1000-seed weight (g) recorded were 25.5, 17.1 and 4.7 per cent more over the control, respectively which was statistically significant Bhat et al. (2009). In rice under low land conditions, the application of BGA+ Azospirillum proved significantly beneficial in improving LAI and all yield attributing aspects. Grain yield and harvest index also exhibit a discernable increase with use of bio- fertilizers (Dar and Bali, 2007). Afzal, (2006) found that seed and straw yield of green gram increased significantly up to single inoculation with Rhizobium under 20 kg N +
      45 kg P2O5 ha-1 fertility level. Field trials carried out in different locations have
      demonstrated that under certain environmental and soil conditions inoculation with azotobacteria has beneficial effects on plant yields. The effect of Azotobacter chroococcum on vegetative growth and yields of maize has been studied by numerous authors (Hussain et al., 1987; Martinez Toledo et al., 1988; Nieto and Frankenberger, 1991; Mishra et al., 1995; Pandey et al., 1998; Radwan, 1998), as well as the effect of inoculation with this bacterium on wheat (Emam et al., 1986; Rai and Gaur,
      1988; Tippanavar and Reddy, 1993,
      Elshanshoury, 1995; Pati et al., 1995; Fares,
      1997a).
      Alkaline phosphatase activity in the peach roots was highest with Azotobacter chroococcum + P fertilizer (Godara et al., 1995). Results of a greenhouse pot experiments with onion showed that application of G. fasciculatum + A. chrooccocum + 50% of the recommended P rate resulted in the greatest root length, plant height, bulb girth, bulb fresh weight, root colonization and P uptake (Mandhare et al. 1998). Inoculation with Azotobacter + Rhizobium + VAM gave the highest increase in straw and grain yield of wheat plants with rock phosphate as a P- fertilizer (Fares, 1997a). Elgala et al. (1995) concluded that with microbial inoculation rock phosphate could be used as cheap source of P in alkaline soils and that combined inoculation could reduce the rate of fertilizer required to maintain high productivity.
      It is an established fact that the efficiency
      of phosphatic fertilizers is very low (15-20%) due to its fixation in acidic and alkaline soils and unfortunately both soil types are predominating in India accounting more than 34% acidity affected and more than seven million hectares of productive land salinity/alkaline affected (Yawalkar et al.,
      2000). Therefore, the inoculations with PSB
      and other useful microbial inoculants in these soils become mandatory to restore and maintain the effective microbial populations for solubilization of chemically fixed phosphorus and availability of other macro and micronutrients to harvest good sustainable yield of various crops. Commercial exploitation of phosphatic microbial inoculants can play an important role particularly in making the direct use of abundantly available low grade phosphate possible. Among the bacterial genera with this capacity are pseudomonas, Bacillus, Rhizobium, Burkholderia, Achromobacter, Agrobacterium, Microccocus, Aereobacter, Flavobacterium and Erwinia.
      Beside N-fixation and P-solubilization,
      the incorporation of nitrogen fixing bacteria (Azotobacter spp.) under the commercial name ‘cerealien’ and phosphate dissolving bacteria (Bacillus megaterium) ‘phosphorien’ has shown the highest degree in inducing the degree of the physiological tolerance to salinity which enables the stressed plants of the Seets cultivar of wheat to be adapted and keep better performance against all applied levels of salinity (3000, 6000 and 9000 ppm). This performance was reflected by the increase in growth, dry matter accumulation, yield as well as chemical constituents. All chemicals constituents including N, P, K+, sugars, proline and were increased as compared to their control treatments in the cultivar Seets. Mohmoud and Mohamad,
      2008.
      Mycorrhizae
      The fungi that are probably most abundant in agricultural soils are arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. They account for 5–
      50% of the biomass of soil microbes (Olsson et al., 1999). Biomass of hyphae of AM fungi may amount to 54–900 kg ha-1 (Zhu and Miller, 2003), and some products formed by them may account for another 3000 kg (Lovelock et al., 2004). Pools of organic carbon such as glomalin produced by AM fungi may even exceed soil microbial biomass by a factor of 10–20 (Rillig et al.,
      2001). The external mycelium attains as much as 3% of root weight (Jakobsen and Rosendahl, 1990). Approximately 10–100 m mycorrhizal mycelium can be found per cm root (McGonigle and Miller, 1999).
      The mineral acquisition from soil is considered to be the primary role of mycorrhizae, but they play various other roles as well which are of utmost important:

    Improved nutrient uptake (Macro and micronutrients)
    The improvement of P nutrition of plants has been the most recognized beneficial effect of mycorrhizas. The mechanism that is generally accepted for this mycorrhizal role consists of a wider physical exploration of the soil by mycorrhizal fungi (hyphae) than by roots. A speculative mechanism to explain P uptake by mycorrhizal fungi involves the production of glomalin. Glomalin contains very substantial amounts of iron (up to 5% of the glomalin pool, Lovelock et al., 2004). Assuming 0.5 mg glomalin g-1 soil with 1% iron, and assuming that this iron was derived initially from unavailable Fe–P forms in the NaOH-Pi fraction, the destabilization of this bond could have released 1.75 mg P per pot, comparable to the
    2.01 mg NaOH-Pi that was taken up. Bolan et al. (1987) had already proposed that mycorrhizal fungi may break the bond between Fe and P, but they did not suggest a mechanism. Further research into the physiological and ecological roles of glomalin is needed to address this question. AM plants have been reported to improve nutrition of the other macronutrients N and K. In acid soils, AM fungi may be important for the uptake of ammonium (NH4 ), which is less mobile than nitrate (NO3 ) and where diffusion may limit its uptake rate. Although nitrate is much more mobile than ammonium (uptake is regulated through mass flow). Because of their small size, AM fungal hyphae are better able than plant roots to penetrate decomposing organic material and are therefore better competitors for recently mineralized N (Hodge, 2003). By capturing simple organic nitrogen compounds, AM fungi can short-circuit the N-cycle.
    It is also reported that the AM- fungi also increases the uptake of K, and concentration of K has been found more in mycorrhizal than non-mycorrhizal plants (Bressan et al.,
    2001). Apart from this, the AM-fungi also
    increases the uptake and efficiency of micronutrients like Zn, Cu, Fe etc. by secreting the enzymes, organic acids which makes fixed macro and micronutrients mobile and as such are available for the plant.

    Better water relation and drought tolerance
    AM fungi play an important role in the water economy of plants. Their association improves the hydraulic conductivity of the root at lower soil water potentials and this improvement is one of the factors contributing towards better uptake of water by plants. Also, leaf wilting after soil drying, did not occur in mycorrhizal plants until soil water potential was considerably lowered (approx. 1.0 M. Pa). Leaflets of Leucaena plants inoculated with VA mycorrhizae did not wilt at a xylem pressure potential as low as -2.0 MPa. Mycorrhiza induced drought tolerance can be related to factors associated with AM colonization such as improved leaf water and turgor potentials and maintenance of stomatal functioning and transpiration, greater hydraulic conductivities and increased root length and development.

    Soil structure (A physical quality)
    Whereas the role of mycorrhizal associations in enhancing nutrient uptake will mainly be relevant in lower input agro- ecosystems, the mycorrhizal role in maintaining soil structure is important in all ecosystems (Ryan and Graham, 2002). Formation and maintenance of soil structure will be influenced by soil properties, root architecture and management practices.
    The use of machines and fertilizers are considered to be responsible for soil degradation. The specific adsorption of P by functional groups can affect the charge balance and cause dispersion of particles (Lima et al., 2000). Soil aggregation is one component of soil structure. Mycorrhizal fungi contribute to soil structure by (1) growth of external hyphae into the soil to create a skeletal structure that holds soil particles together; (2) creation by external hyphae of conditions that are conducive for the formation of micro-aggregates; (3) enmeshment of micro aggregates by external hyphae and roots to form macro aggregates; and (4) directly tapping carbon resources of the plant to the soils (Miller and Jastrow,
    1990, 2000). This direct access will influence the formation of soil aggregates, because soil carbon is crucial to form organic materials necessary to cement soil particles. Hyphae of AM fungi may be more important in this regard than hyphae of saprotrophic fungi due to their longer residence time in soil, because fungivorous soil fauna prefers hyphae of the latter over those of AM fungi
    (Klironomos and Kendrick, 1996; Gange,
    2000). In addition, AM fungi produce glomalin (12-45 mg/cm3), a specific soil- protein, whose biochemical nature is still unknown. Glomalin is quantified by measuring several glomalin related soil- protein (GRSP) pools (Rillig, 2004). Glomalin has a longer residence time in soil than hyphae, allowing for a long persistent contribution to soil aggregate stabilization. The residence time for hyphae is considered to vary from days to months (Staddon et al.,
    2003) and for glomalin from 6 to 42 years (Rillig et al., 2001). Steinberg and Rillig (2003) demonstrated that even under relatively favorable conditions for decomposition, 40% of AM fungal hyphae and 75% of total glomalin could be extracted from the soil 150 days after being separated from their host. Glomalin is considered to stably glue hyphae to soil. The mechanism is the formation of a
    ‘sticky’ string-bag of hyphae which leads to the stability of aggregates.

    Enhanced phytohormone activity
    The activity of phytohormones like cytokinin and indole acetic acid is significantly higher in plants inoculated with AM. Higher hormone production results in better growth and development of the plant.

    Crop protection (Interaction with soil pathogens)
    AM fungi have the potential to reduce
    damage caused by soil-borne pathogenic fungi, nematodes, and bacteria. Meta- analysis showed that AM fungi generally decreased the effects of fungal pathogens. A variety of mechanisms have been proposed to explain the protective role of mycorrhizal fungi. A major mechanism is nutritional, because plants with a good phosphorus status are less sensitive to pathogen damage. Non-nutritional mechanisms are also important, because mycorrhizal and non- mycorrhizal plants with the same internal phosphorus concentration may still be differentially affected by pathogens. Such non-nutritional mechanisms include activation of plant defense systems, changes in exudation patterns and concomitant changes in mycorrhizosphere populations, increased lignification of cell walls, and competition for space for colonization and infection sites (Kaisamdar, et al. 2001). It is also reported that increased production and activity of phenolic and phytoalexien compounds with due to AM-inoculation considerably increases the defense mechanism there by imparts the resistance to plants.

    1. Constraints in bio-fertilizer use
      Production Constraints
      Despite significant improvement/refinement in BF technology over the years, the progress in the field of BF production technology is below satisfaction due to the followings:-

    Unavailability of appropriate and efficient strains
    Lack of region specific strains is one of the major constraints as bio-fertilizers are not only crop specific but soil specific too. Moreover, the selected strains should have competitive ability over other strains, N- fixing ability over a range of environmental conditions, ability to survive in broth and in inoculants carrier.

    Unavailability of suitable carrier
    Unavailability of suitable carrier (media in which bacteria are allowed to multiply) due to which shelf life of bio-fertilizers is short is a major constraint. Peat of a good quality (more than 75% carbon) is a rare commodity in India. Nilgiri peat is of poor quality (below 50% carbon). According to the availability and cost at production site, choice is only with lignite and charcoal in India. As per the suitability the order is peat >lignite > charcoal > FYM > soil >rice husk. Good quality carrier must have good moisture holding capacity, free from toxic substances, sterilisable and readily adjustable PH to 6.5-7.0. Under Indian conditions where extremes of soil and weather conditions prevail, there is yet no suitable carrier material identified capable of supporting the growth of bio-fertilizers. Better growth of bacteria is obtained in sterile carrier and the best method is Gamma irradiation of sterilization (while using autoclave, lime mixed lignite is filled up to two third capacity of steel trays for 1-2 hours for three days and sterilized at 121 0C ) for carrier material.

    Mutation during fermentation
    Bio-fertilizers tend to mutate during fermentation and thereby raising production and quality control cost. Extensive research work on this aspect is urgently needed to eliminate such undesirable changes.

    Market level constraints
    Lack of awareness of farmers
    Inspite of considerable efforts in recent years, majority of farmers in India are not aware of bio-fertilizers, their usefulness in increasing crop yields sustainably.

    Inadequate and Inexperienced staff
    Because of inadequate staff and that too not technically qualified who can attend to technical problems. Farmers are not given proper instructions about the application aspects.

    Lack of quality assurance
    The sale of poor quality bio-fertilizers through corrupt marketing practices results in loss of faith among farmers, to regain the faith once is very difficult and challenging.

    Seasonal and unassured demand
    The bio-fertilizer use is seasonal and both production and distribution is done only in few months of year, as such production units particularly private sectors are not sure of their demand.

    Resource constraint
    Limited resource generation for BF
    production
    The investment in bio-fertilizer production unit is very low. But keeping in view of the risk involved largely because of short shelf life and no guarantee of off take of bio-fertilizers, the resource generation is very limited.

    Field level constraints
    Soil and climatic factors
    Among soil and climatic conditions, high soil fertility status, unfavorable PH, high nitrate level, high temperature, drought, deficiency of P, Cu, Co, Mo or presence of toxic elements affect the microbial growth and crop response.
    Native microbial population
    Antagonistic microorganism already present in soil competes with microbial inoculants and many times do not allow their effective establishment by out- competing the inoculated population.
    Faulty inoculation techniques
    Majority of the marketing sales personals do not know proper inoculation techniques. Bio-fertilizers being living organisms required proper handling, transport and storage facilities.

    Liquid Bio-fertilizers (Break through in BF- Technology)
    Liquid bio-fertilizers are special liquid formulation containing not only the desired microorganisms and their nutrients but also special cell protectants or chemicals that promote formation of resting spores or cysts for longer shelf life and tolerance to adverse conditions. (Hegde, 2008).
    Bhattacharyya and Kumar (2000), states
    that, bio-fertilizers manufactured in India are mostly carrier based and in the carrier-based (solid) bio-fertilizers, the microorganisms have a shelf life of only six months. They are not tolerant to UV rays and temperatures more than 30 0C. The population density of these microbes is only 108 (10 crores) c.f.u/ml at the time of production. This count reduces day by day. In the fourth month it reduces to
    106 (10 lakhs) c.f.u/ml and at the end of 6 months the count is almost nil. That’s why the carrier-based bio-fertilizers were not effective and did not become popular among the farmers. These defects are rectified and fulfilled in the case of Liquid bio-fertilizers. The shelf life of the microbes in these liquid bio-fertilizers is two years. They are tolerant to high temperatures (55 0C) and ultra violet radiations. The count is as high as
    109 c.f.u/ml, which is maintained constant
    up to two years. So, the application of 1 ml of liquid bio-fertilizers is equivalent to the application of 1 Kg of 5 months old carrier based bio-fertilizers (1000 times). Since these are liquid formulations the application in the field is also very simple and easy. They are applied using hand sprayers, power sprayers, fertigation tanks and as basal manure mixed along with FYM etc.

    1. Conclusion and future strategies
      • Identification/ selection of efficient
      location/ crop/soil specific strains for N-fixing, P, Zn- solubilizing and absorbing (mycorrhizal) to suit different agro climatic conditions.
      • Strain improvement through biotechnological methods.
      • Exchanging the cultures between countries of similar climatic conditions and evaluating their performance for better strain for particular crop. Checking the activity of cultures during storage to avoid natural mutants.
      • Use of sterile carriers and installing centralized unit of gamma chamber facilities at different locations to use by private and government manufacturers in the case of use of carrier based inoculants till the development of alternate formulation. Identifying two or three common carrier materials in different countries based on availability and recommends them to the producers.
      • Developing suitable alternate formulations viz., liquid inoculants / granular formulations for all bioinoculants, to carrier based inoculants. Standardizing the media, method of inoculation etc., for the new formulations.
      • Employing microbiologists in production units to monitor the production. Developing cold storage facilities in production centers.
      • Technical training on the production and quality control to the producers and rendering technical advice and projects to manufacturers. Organizational training to the extension workers and farmers to popularize the technology. Dissemination of information. through mass media, publications and bulletins.

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    8 Things You Need to Know when Starting an Organic Farm

    A Lot Of questions strike up in our minds once we recall to mind starting one thing new. Similar is the case when one tries to start out an natural farm. Farming is considered as one of the crucial oldest human professions. Regrettably, this noble process of manufacturing food has come what may went out of fashion. In most countries, farming and agriculture generally is noticed as a one-way price tag to poverty and drudgery. Young individuals are leaving behind the nation-state to seek higher opportunities in urban spaces.

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    In contemporary years, however, we meet increasingly young people who are taking farming as a profession and as a practical source of benefit. This is most commonly on account of the alternate within the viewpoint of the way younger people see farming.

    This positive view of agriculture has larger with the growth of worldwide population. A Bigger the inhabitants means more people to feed, and due to this fact more meals to supply. Organic food could also be gaining popularity due to its prime nutritional benefit.

    Along these traces, the wish to produce food in the neighborhood could also be observed as a sustainable option to the ever expanding meals requirement.

    Different peoples have other views on what they suspect they will have to know while planning to start an organic farm. From a management and marketing standpoint, this author is enumerating what he thinks should be the eight components that we will have to imagine whilst putting in place and maintaining an organic farm.

    1. Learn the fundamentals of organic farming

    Learning the fundamentals of natural and organic farming is the first step in beginning an natural farm. This undoubtedly offers hints of what one might expect and where one should be starting from. It is useful to spend money on a pre-hand analysis.

    It is also necessary to be engaged in conversations with people who are already within the industry. Participate in organic farm training programs and farmer-meet-up symposiums. The enjoy of any other farmer who went thru a an identical phase could be very useful in making the exploratory process so much smoother.

    The internet additionally plays an enormous role as there is a huge playlist tutorials, videos, and online forums about natural farming. Books relating to natural farming is also a massive resource worthy of attention.

    2. The web page is essential

    The website plays a vital position for any undertaking to achieve success. An organic farm’s location usually determines how the venture will turn out.

    The organic farm website online should be near a blank water source: water is a non-negotiable resource for crop growth and well being. If the water source is a long way, it is a lot more tough to control the irrigation process. For a newcomer, this is a tedious consideration to make however is also a very powerful for the good fortune of the challenge.

    The proximity of the farm to the marketplace also plays a large role in the sustainability of the farm. The farm’s closeness to the marketplace lets in for the straightforward transport of produce for promoting. Also, this is helping save costs when transporting fabrics to the farm.

    However, website selection must also be aligned with the purpose of the organic farm. If the farm is not for a industrial function, the role of the above-mentioned components will doubtlessly decrease. The goal of the farm additionally determines its measurement.

    3. Match the land with what it is best for

    While selecting what can also be grown within the land, it is extremely vital to evaluate the website’s soil situation in addition to the sources available. A plant that is indigenous to the landscape, temperature, elevation, and available sources is way more uncomplicated to regulate than rising a plant this is international to the area.

    However, there also are sensible ways in growing crops and animals that don’t seem to be local to that particular house. Take notice, regardless that, that this could be just a little difficult for first-time natural farmers.

    There are also cases when the available land space is relatively insufficient for the big variety of crops that the farmer is planning to develop. In those instances, there are many tried-and-tested workarounds for restricted farming area equivalent to vertical gardening, container farming, and intercropping, among many others.

    4. Know your marketplace

    It is essential to know the type of market that a farmer is catering for. Some agricultural products will not be sellable in a undeniable form of market. This consideration could be very useful in making the undertaking sustainable.

    Find out what agricultural merchandise the market needs, what is the marketplace’s purchasing capacity, and the way regularly does the market purchase such produce. It may be essential to figure out how the farmer will sell products to the marketplace. Keep a backup advertising and marketing plan, too.

    5. Prepare the soil and make excellent compost

    All good organic farm produce get started with excellent soil. The soil’s situation at once complements the vegetation growing in it. Inorganic soil therapies probably harm the environment, the vegetation that grow in the soil, in addition to the patrons who in the end devour the meals.

    Good soil approach soil with vitamins necessary for the expansion of plants. Good soil is a mix of compost, leaf and grass clippings, and manure, amongst other vital compositions.

    Farmers typically benefit when they make their own compost onsite. It is simple to make and saves some huge cash. Compost is helping conserve water, reduce down on weeds, and stay wastes out. This step is crucial when one begins farming.

    6. Take care of what you plant

    The means of growing a crop is a lengthy one. Organic farming takes time and it required more attention compared to standard farming. There are certain ways that want to be thought to be relying on the plant and farm situation. Also, one natural farming technique may not essentially paintings for all vegetation within the farm.

    Water is a must for plant’s expansion and well being. Regular watering is important for the vegetation to develop. Generally, vegetation are watered 2-three Times a day relying on their type as well as the location where they’re being grown. Watering the plant in the morning is very useful as mornings are cool. Due to this, the water does no longer evaporate speedy.

    Weeding is another essential repairs job. Weeds grow in excellent soil and those unwanted vegetation get vitamins that are meant to be for vegetation.

    7. Seek a mentor and network with other people

    This might look adore it is not directly associated with the issues we’re discussing, however seasoned organic farmers believe that this is an important. There are many instances when farmers get lost in their pursuit of organic farming, and they have no idea what to do next. Books and on-line tutorials would possibly assist in surprising situations, but not anything beats expert recommendation from a dwelling breathing natural farmer.

    It may be essential to network with individuals who can help in promoting farm merchandise. These people additionally connects natural farmers to the proper markets.

    8. Patience performs a key function

    Some individuals who plan to start an organic farm wish they get organic fruits and vegetables in a single day. Sorry to damage the bubble, however this is not even just about what occurs if truth be told. Growing organic crops is a gradual and tedious procedure. numerous times, natural farming does no longer move as deliberate. An organic farmer should be physically and mentally ready of unexpected situations that will rise up. The farmer’s set objectives must be cheap.

    Working within the farm is an on a regular basis affair, and organic farming gradual step-by-step procedure. The farmer needs to be continual and affected person.

    While the results of an natural farm may seem sexy, the method of putting in place and maintaining the farm is a tricky one. It takes hard paintings, persistence, endurance, and huge a lot of optimism. The willpower concerned about an organic farm is a difficult one, but in time, the culmination (and greens) of a farmer’s exertions shall be able for the selecting.

    Happy farming!