On my return yesterday from India, Julian Burman who had been working in Australia at another scholars farm bought back an article in the farming press of my time with the Canadian group looking at controlled traffic farming in Australia. I'll put the article on the PX website under the news section if anyone wants to read it.
I've had a message from Kevin that they are going great guns in India and are planning to go to the Taj Mahal, lucky devils.
On another note we have had some theft with 4 batteries being stolen which run our electric netting, im sure a caravan somewhere has power again. I won't report to the police as its not a speeding fine so they wont be interested and id rather poke myself in the eye than waste my time on hold.
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
Kevin and I shared a tent with a bolt on bathroom for two nights. It's been a long time since I've been camping. We all had a wonderful experience on this trip and learnt a great deal travelling around India and discovering what it must have been like for Englishmen 150 years ago as I believe little has changed in some areas. I would like to thank michael, Rona, Kevin and Tony for being great company and a special thank you to Tony for organising the trip.
On arriving at Delhi the others went off for more adventures and I went to the imperial hotel for high tea and luxury. Nuffield changes your life.
I didn't realise you could make paper out of pooh. Camel manure is milled and added to cotton fibres, pressed and left to dry. We where well looked after for two days and learnt about camels and had a local evening meal. Five of us went 7 km in a tuc tuc which was a slow and bumpy journey but worth the experience. We where returned in a Indian new build Suzuki 4wd. Tony I suspect will be the new importer to the Uk.
On arriving at the field where camels where grazing we where given turbans to wear. This was an honour to be presented and fitted by a warrior.
The camels where in a large group. The arrangement for the travelling camel farmers was they where allowed to graze the fields before cultivation so that manure was spread over the land. The camel farmers made us camel tea which I tried to avoid. I managed to down the tea, but little did I know Tony was enquiring about the camels milk so before I had time to wonder off to inspect a neighbouring wheat field my cup was filled with milk. I must report, it wasn't bad. There was another pot on the boil with lumpy milk and if that was next to be served they wouldn't have caught me on a camel.
Location:Somewhere with camels
Indian sheep farming at it's best. Villagers work together to shear the sheep. Average farmer would have 52 sheep, this village had 120 each. Shearing with old fashioned shears would need to be paid on piece work as one sheep wasn't completed after 1.5 hours. I can't see the world shearing contest happening here. The sheep are taken up the hills at sun rise and the shepherd stays with them and they return at night fall. When you look around its amazing to see that they find something to eat, these sheep seem to enjoy sticks. The connection with livestock was fantastic. All the animals where well handled and where relaxed around humans, A perfect harmony. The Hindi people are vegetarians so the sheep are sold to a dealer who sells to the Muslim population which is about 10% of the 1.2 billion population. Another matter which interested me is that people all seemed to have mobile phones tucked away.
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Tony booked us in for two nights in a farm stay in deep roots a 30 acre wheat, rice and mangoes. He accidentally found the stay by researching mutton and it was on the menu.
Kanwal kindly looked after us well and organised us trips to two dairy farms, one being a dairy and processor on one site, which will be farming by 2012 20,000 milking cows plus replacements and a 2 mw bio digester. The chicken farm opposite the retreat was a three storey building which was unusual.
Labour is king over mechanisation, labour cost is £ 3 a day. Land values £60,000 an acre. Four Maize crops can be grown per year. 6 months wheat, 6 months rice in the same year is standard in this area. A scary fact is water in 1947 was 10 ft down, in 1962 was 40 ft and 2010 was 500 ft down. 44% of india's rice is grown in the Punjab region on 2% of india's agricultural land.
Kanwal father looked at our hands,my left hand showed I was going to have a happy and long marriage which is handy as I marry in June. I wonder what I would have done if it was in reverse. My right hand he called a golden hand which he hadn't seen before. Deep line from the bottom to the top which shows success and wealth and a happy destiny. Hail the golden boy.
Friday, 4 February 2011
I've arrived in india, after arriving in Delhi I meet up with michael, Tony, Kevin and rona. We took another plane to Chandigarh which was one hours ride. Kingfisher airlines managed to lose my bag, but thank goodness it turned up 4 hours later. The hotel Tony booked into has blood on the bathroom Walls and Kevin had a wet bed. I slept with one eye open. We have been for a stroll around the town. India is as I imagined. So far an exciting place with new smells and sounds. It looks like I'm going to lose weight as I'm too scared to eat anything and get the Delhi belly.