Watermelon farming can sweeten the life of farmers. This is happening in Thiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu. Precision farming, drip irrigation system and improved varieties help farmers to attain economic gain in this district. They are getting almost seven times of what they invested in cultivation practices.
One such farmer is Muruga Perumal of village Veppurchekkadi, Thandarampathu(T.K.), Thiruvannamalai District, Tamil Nadu. He cultivated watermelon in 2.2 hectares of his land through precision farming drip irrigation system. He used Pukeeza variety in one hectare of land and Apoorva variety in the remaining 1.2 hectare of land.
He ploughed the field four times and before last ploughing, he applied well decomposed farm yard manure at the rate of 25 tonnes /ha. Then, he applied 300 kg of D.A.P. and 150 kg of Potash as a basal dose. After leveling the land, he formed raised beds of 1.5 m width at an interval of 60 cm for sowing. He placed the laterals on the centre of each bed at the rate of 1 lateral pipe per 5 feet. Before sowing, he irrigated the beds for few minutes. He used 3.5 kg of seeds for one hectare and treated with Carbendazim 2g/kg of seeds. He sown the seeds (November) at every place of dripper and irrigated the field one hour per day through drip system.
He got loan amount of Rs. 49,000 from Veppurchekkadi Cooperative society for one hectare and the remaining capital spent by him to install drip system in the field. Government gave 50% fertilizer subsidy to the farmers who are practicing the precision technique as the ever first time. As he practiced the precision farming first time he got 258 Kg of Potassium Nitrate fertilizer subsidy from the department of Horticulture. He applied 5 Kg potassium Nitrate and 5 Kg Urea at 3 days interval by fertigation method throughout the cropping period.
First hand weeding was done at 15 days after planting by engaging 40 female labourers for three days. After that, he made a pit near every plant and placed 200 kg of DAP, 200 kg of Potash and 100 kg of Urea mixture evenly in every pit and closed. He adjusted the lateral pipes properly to irrigate over the pit. After 35 days of planting, he applied 150 Kg Calcium Ammonium Nitrate and irrigated the field evenly by the drippers.
First harvest was done on 70 days after planting by engaging 20 female labourers. He got yield of 55 tonnes from Numhems pukeeza variety and 61 tonnes from Seminis Apoorva variety. Second harvest was done after a week of first harvest by engaging 20 female labourers. He got 6 tonnes of yield from Pukeeza variety and 4 tonnes from Apoorva variety.
He sold first harvest fruits at Rs. 3100/ tonne and second harvest fruits at Rs. 1000/ tonne. He spent Rs. 45,575 for cultivation practices. But he got the income of Rs.1, 70,500 from Pukeeza variety in one hectare of land and Rs.1, 89,100 from Apoorva Variety in 1.2 hectare of land. Finally he got the profit of Rs.3, 24,025 from the two varieties, through precision farming drip irrigation system.
(Source: NAIP Sub Project on Mass Media Mobilization, DKMA from inputs from TNAU)