kindly recall my last post titled sustainable agriculture ; small steps to bigger tomorrow. I was able to explained what sustainable agriculture is, what to do to achieve it and how it benefits us all.
In this post I will be sharing my personal experience using sustainable farming techniques to achieve sustainable agriculture. the month of June was a time of planting for rice farmers in Birgi Village, Minna, Niger state in Nigeria while harvesting started in the month of October. After drying the rice plant was threshed and the grains were removed leaving only the rice straw. the rice farm of about 20 hectares with so much waste a type of agricultural waste that poses a huge environmental and health burden on rice farmers who burn it as a means of disposal if not probably managed. as an agriculturist i was saddled with the responsibility to profer an economical solution that would channel this waste turned resources for better usage.
In the quest for knowledge, I started making enquires on what rice straw can be used for and its benefit. The straw mass corresponding to 1 ton of sun dried paddy rice is 1.5 tons which contains about 9 kilos of nitrogen, 2 kilos each of phosphorus and sulfur, 25 kilos of potassium, 70 kilos of silicon, 6 kilos of calcium and 2 kilos of magnesium based on a study by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) of 1984.
Rice straw is thus a good source of macro-nutrients. Burning rice straw, a usual practice in most farms destroys most of the nitrogen, sulfur, some of the potassium and makes silicon less available.To return the nutrients of rice straw to the soil, cut rice stalks higher during harvest time. More stubble are then incorporated into the soil during land preparation. Threshed straw can be fed to animals or can be used for feeding livestock during fodder shortage. Some of the rice straw nutrients are subsequently returned to the soil as animal excreta.
I started moving rice staw for the farmland piling them up a ventilated room as temporary storage for size reduction by a forage chopper. Some of the chopped straws were treated with biofertilizer ( molasses) and wrapped in plastic so that it is not exposed to air or water( under anearobic condition), and then stored away from the sun for 21 days before been used as livestock feed. The leftover after chopping were used in making compost. I was able to kill not two birds with one stone but three. I got rid of the so called waste for the farmers, produced fodder for my ruminant animals and also compost for my crops,
all these for no dime.
There is one thing I have come to realise in Agriculture EVERY WASTE COUNTS. Don’t lose sight of your resoures.