Looking back to agricultural history, farmers used various natural methods to protect their crops. In those days, the methods helped farmers in crop production along with safeguarding the environment. Moreover, those natural approaches helped the cultivators get a nutritional as well as healthier crop.
In the present situation where farmer asks for cost-effective methods, natural remedies may be a good decision, to begin with. Being easily available and less expensive, they may enhance the farming outputs.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the protection measures:
1. Table Salt in paddy fields
The undesirable plants – weeds are among the greatest enemies to plants’ health. The traditional method of applying common salt to the paddy field under acidic conditions, help the farmers to overcome the crop weed competition. The weeds control method results in higher paddy productivity without hampering growth or any other attributes.
2. Cow Urine and Dung
The mixture of cow urine and dung along with the water can act as a natural pesticide. The cow urine can be sprayed over the crop when the wilting symptoms appear. To deal with conditions like onion blight, cow dung may be a possible solution.
For the control of diseases in vegetable crops, cow urine may behave like a fungicide.
® Soak about 4-8 kg of bicchu booti (Urtica diocia) in 8-10l of cow urine for 24 hours.
® Separate the herbs.
Spraying the liquid over vegetables like tomato, capsicum, radish, etc. may help to avoid fungal diseases.
(Precaution: Avoid touching the grass as it causes painful itching for 2-4 hours.)
Some other interesting ways in which farmer utilised the cow dung and manure-
Farmers in older times even used cow dung as a protecting agent to store their vegetable seeds. They collect the fresh cow dung and made plate-like structures – Varati. The Vegetable seeds were embedded in those circular plates and then dried under the sun for 2-3 days. The Varaties were then stored in open / inside the wooden boxes. This helped them to store the vegetable seeds for up to 1 year. The Varaties were believed to be the promoting factor for the seeds' s germination and viability.
3. Neem Leaves
Application of neem cake to the field reduces the population of soil-borne fungi and nematodes and, reclaims alkaline soil (due to the presence of calcium and magnesium).
Also, the old practice of spreading neem leaves over stored groundnut has a scientific basis. It has now been proved that neem leaves inhibit the growth of Aspergillus flavus and thereby prevent aflatoxin production.
4. Milk Spray
The dairy product includes amino acids like glutamate, leucine, and proline. A recent report claimed that milk sprays induce, viral disease's systemically acquired resistance, in chilli against leaf curls. Milk (10% aqueous suspension) has also been effectively used for controlling powdery mildews.