A field trip to Edricia Farm at Siolim was conducted for the students of T.Y.B.Sc. Botany on 13th December 2018. Fourteen students were present at the farm at 11 am accompanied by their teachers Ms Sabina Sales e Dias, Dr Maria Fonseca, Dr Maria A. D’souza and Dr Suraksha Dongrekar. The trip was organised for the students to gain knowledge about organic farming and also dairy farming.
Ms Tanya gave a brief history of the farm. Edricia farm is a dairy farm, it was initially built to shelter 100 cows but now has only 3 cows, 1 bull and 2 young calves. Ms Tanya explained the main reason for such a decline in the number of cows is chiefly due to the decline in the availability of fodder. Earlier the cultivation of fields would result in enough fodder for many cattle but now it can sustain only a few. Also, the cost of food, medicines, checkups, and maintenance is very high.
Dr. Rohidas Naik, a veterinary doctor explained how the cows need a lot of care and even a slight change in their diet and negligence in their maintenance leads to infections and diseases. When a calf is born, it is given milk for three months and then subsequently green grass. Deworming is done before the end of the first month after birth and every month after for six months. After that, there is an increase in the interval of deworming. The fodder given should be 3% of the body weight. The grass commonly used is elephant ’s grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Also, cow pellets are fed to adult cows. These pellets are a mixture of maize, soya bean, etc. The milk produced is sold directly to customers. The cows are artificially inseminated.
The farm contains an old biogas plant which is not in use now due to less waste production.
The farm contains a small area which is used for organic farming. The main source of manure is the cow’s dung. The vegetable crops grown are Phaseolus vulgaris (French beans), Solanum melongena (brinjal), Lycopersicon esculentum (tomatoes), Raphanus sativus (white radish), Amaranthus sp. (Tambdi baji), Momordica charantia (karela), Cucurbita maxima (red pumpkin), Spinacia oleracea (palak), The other plants grown are Pimenta dioca (all spice), Manilkara zapota (chickoo), Syzygium samarangense (love apple), Musa paradisiaca (banana), Mangifera indica (mango), Azadirachta indica (neem), Tamarindus indica (tamarind), Sapindus trifoliatus (soap nut) Anacardium occidentale (cashew) and Cheilocostus speciosus (spiral ginger).
A vermicomposting pit has been initiated. Lastly, Ms Tanya showed us rabbits and Guinea pigs and the trip ended at 12.10pm. It was a very informative and enriching field trip.