Sunday, October 25, 2009

Coconut climber

Dear friends,

I've been receiving many calls about the coconut climber developed by the TNAU, Coimbatore, ever since few photos of it were published in this blog. Most of the questions were related to its operational method and efficiency. I hope by watching the two video files (TNAU property) given below, their doubts will be cleared.

Coconut climber - (Climbing up):
video

Coconut climber - (Climbing down):
video

With continuous practice and daily actual usage, anybody can attain the 'speed of climbing' captured in the above videos.

Please approach Agriculture Engineering Department of your area to avail government subsidy and to get the address of the approved dealer in your district supplying this tool.

Total cost of the Tree climber...Rs.2500
Less 50% Govt. Subsidy .....Rs.1250
Amount payable by DD .......Rs.1250
(You may be required to pay transport costs)

Regards,
Vishnu Sankar

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tree Growers Association


(click on the picture for an enlarged view)

Dear Friends,

We all know that there was a long felt need to form a ‘tree growers’ association’ in this part of southern Tamilnadu as a means of facilitating extended forestry services to farmers.

To materialize this dream, the Forest Extension Division of the Department of Forests invited some well known farmers who are already doing Silviculture and agroforestry in Tirunelveli district and they were given the task of creating a private tree growers association.

In accepting the challenge, a core committee presided by me was formed to form an association with the name "Tirunelveli District Tree and Medicinal plants growers Association" and get it registered under Society Registration Act of Tamilnadu.

The task was accomplished and office bearers were elected to pursue the following objectives of the Association:

................................

Invitation for the First General body meeting:


(click on the Logo to enlarge)

Venue: Tamil Valarchi Panpaatu Manram, NGO Colony, Palayamkottai, Tamilnadu, India.

Date: 14 /10 / 2009, Wednesday, Time: 3.00 PM to 6.30PM

Presided by: Mr.Irulandi, IFS., Chief Conservator of Forests,
Forest Extension Division, Chennai.

Programme:

  • Action plan for 2009 -10.
  • Forming a steering committee to popularize the objectives of the Association.
  • Identifying trees that are suitable for cultivation in Tirunelveli District.
  • Speech by two highly successful tree growers of our area.
  • Contract farming.
  • Growing trees to generate electricity from its' biomass.
  • Screening the past US Vice President Mr. Al Gore's film on the effects of 'Global Warming": 'An Inconvenient truth'
  • Ppt presentation about the cultivation of 'Green Vulgaris' Bamboo, and Anthocephalus cadamba.
Members are kindly requested to participate in this General body meeting without fail.

Nonmembers can register for membership at the venue itself and are eligible to participate.

All are welcome.

Regards,
Vishnu Sankar

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Timber Tree selection - A Check List

Dear Friends,

In general, farmers who wish to go for tree crops pay more attention to the cost of plants at the time of planting and the revenue they get at the time of felling the tree.

Tree cultivation should be done with affection, love, care, deep respect, awe and reverence.
Trees are very special living beings in fact our close relatives. What we breathe out they breathe in, and what they breathe out we breathe in. To sum up, tree cultivation is a sacred act nothing short of care you give to your little child.

Please bear in mind that you are into a very long term cultivation plan and any wrong selection of tree will hurt you badly. There are many factors which will greatly influence the growth of your selected tree. So try to gather as much knowledge as you do before starting any new business.

I have given here below a simple check list for your safety:

1. Do "Soil Test" and "Irrigation water analysis" and select trees that suits your soil type and water quality.

2. Select trees according to your land type. Irrigated land or Rainfed land.

3. Determine spacing for 'Bulk cropping' or Bund / border cropping. ( Know about maturity age of the tree, canopy cover and provide enough width to use mechanical weeders.)

4. Raise some Nitrogen fixing / Leguminous trees as well as deciduous trees also, in borders or among the main crop to increase soil fertility.
Casuarina varieties [Savukku in Tamil],
Albizia varieties [Vagai in Tamil],
Acacia auriculiformis [Kathi Karuvel in Tamil],
Acacia leucophloea [Velvael in Tamil],

Gliricidia sepium, [Seemai Kondrai in Tamil]
Leucaena leucocephala [Savundal /Subapul in Tamil]
,
Dalbergia sissoo [Sisu in Tamil],
Sesbania sesban [Sithakathi / Sembai in Tamil],
Sesbania
grandiflora Etc., to name a few.


5. Know about 'invasive plants' (Invasive plants are introduced species that can thrive in areas beyond their natural range of dispersal. These plants are characteristically adaptable, aggressive, and have a high reproductive capacity. Their vigor combined with a lack of natural enemies often leads to outbreak populations.)

Leucaena leucocephala [Savundal /Subapul in Tamil] and
Morinda corcia [Nuna/ Manja nethi in Tamil]
{D
on't get confused with Morinda citrifolia which is called as 'Noni'}
are some examples.
They provide good timber, fodder and firewood, yet difficult to control because of their invasive character.

6. Avoid trees that cause a nutrition depletion in the soil and allelopathic in nature. (Eucalyptus tree for example)

7. Some trees acts as Trap crop
( Ex: Gmelina arborea (Tamil : Kumil, Kumul.) So proper care in pest management is essential when you plant them near vegetable or Horticulture crops.
Also avoid planting of trees which are natural host to insect pests, near
vegetable or Horticulture crops. (Neem is an alternative host to 'Tea mosquitoes'. So avoid planting them near cashew and Mango orchards).

8. Acquire basic knowledge about :
Hedge crops,
Trees used as wind breaker,
Trees as fence,
Trees for fodder,
Trees for shade,
Trees for fruits,
Trees for bio fuels,
Trees for timber,
Trees for medicine,
Trees for match industry,
Trees for paper mills,
Trees for plywood industry,
Trees for wood fired biomass power companies,
Trees for gasifier to produce power
Trees for carpentry,
Trees for perfumes, Etc., Etc.,

9. Intercropping and Mixed cropping: (See crop combinations)
Undoubtedly Casuarina is the best tree for intercropping and mixed cropping. It can be successfully grown with short duration trees like
Ailanthus excelsa (Perumaram, Pee maram in Tamil), Gmelina arborea (Tamil : Kumil, Kumul, Melia dubia (Malai Vembu in Tamil) Etc., and with long duration trees like Teak, Mahogany, Rose wood, Red Sanders Etc.,

See Link1 for Melia dubia + Gmelina arborea mixed cropping.

Both Gmelina arborea and Melia Dubia trees have more or less same maturity age of approx. 10 to 12 years. So better select any one variety for bulk mixed planting. Normally, short and long duration tree crops are advised to plant in alternate rows so that the later establishes well after the removal of short duration trees.

Otherwise,
Melia dubia and Gmelina arborea trees can be planted in alternate rows with a spacing of 10' to 12 feet as there is found to be no noticeable root competition among them and can be harvested at the same time.

Farmers are practicing hundreds of such tree combinations as trials and knowledge is plenty among them. You may not get tree combination suggestions from our Universities, Forest colleges Etc., in writing here in India, because they have not yet completed their trials and we should not expect ratification from them for all sorts of combinations. For instance, to get a complete result involving Dalbergia latifolia (the East Indian Rose Wood -Thothakathi in Tamil) you have to wait for a min of 70 years.

10.Pruning method: When to prune and How to prune?
(Excess pruning will lead to bending of tree in the case of Sissoo and death of young plant itself in the case of
Gmelina arborea (Tamil : Kumil, Kumul.)

11. Trees that tend to dominate in mixed cropping but grow well in mono cropping like
Dalbergia sissoo (Sisu in Tamil)

12. Trees that grow better in borders and in mixed cropping but show a rather slow growth in mono cropping like
Gmelina arborea (Tamil : Kumil, Kumul.)

13. Maturity age of a tree. (Learn, when the heart wood formation starts and when it is ideal to fell a tree) For example, in the case of Pterocarpus santalinus (Red Sanders) the heart wood hardening starts from 18th year and completes by 25 – 30 years.

14. Hardness of heart wood depends upon the soil structure and quality.

15. Preharvest preparations, harvesting techniques, Reducing waste during harvest , Post Harvest technology, some need shade drying, storage period Etc..

16. Get prior permission from the Department of Forests to cut any trees even if it is in your own land and prior permission is also necessary for transporting them to the desired destination.


17. Carbon credit


Regards,

Vishnu Sankar

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