EM or Effective Microorganisms is a consortium culture of different effective microbes commonly occurring in nature. Most important among them are: N2-fixers, P-solubilizers, photosynthetic microorganisms, lactic acid bacteria, yeasts, plant growth promoting Rhizobacteria and various fungi and Actinomycetes. In this consortium, each microorganism has its own beneficial role in nutrient cycling, plant protection and soil health and fertility enrichment.
Benefits of EM use
•Improve seed germination, seedling emergence, growth of plants, flowering, fruiting and ripening of grains and fruits.
•Improves photosynthetic potential.
•Increase tolerance in plants against pest attack.
•Improves physico-chemical and biological properties of soil.
•Help in control of soil borne pathogens.
•Interdependent biological activity of different EM organisms creates a congenial environment for growth and spread of soil's flora and fauna. They also promote the growth and colonization of VAM, which further help in plant growth promotion.
•Help in quick degradation of organic matter. With the use of EM the requirement of compost can be reduced or dispensed with. Just recycling of crop residue with EM can give similar results as with good compost. This saves lot of labour and space required for compost preparation.
•Improves soil biota and makes the soil soft and porous
How to use EM
•Application of EM in agriculture involves four steps as follows:
•Procurement of primary EM- available in market
•Preparation of secondary EM – to be carried out by the farmer
•Appropriate dilution of the secondary EM solution
•Application to plants, soil and organic matter as spray
Preparation of secondary EM solution Depending upon the requirement and its end use, various EM formulations have been developed. Even among one formulation depending upon the place and climatic conditions some variations have been incorporated and recommended by promoting institutes and agencies. Some of the widely used and popular formulations are described below. Water used in all formulations should be either rainwater or fresh tube-well water. Tap water is not to be used.
This formulation is used for seed treatment, soil enrichment and for spray in field after the emergence of seedlings.
•Dissolve 5 kg jaggary (chemical free) in about 100 lit of water
|EM-5 for control of insects and pests|
|Fermented Plant Extract (FPE)|
In this formulation fresh green weeds are fermented with EM to obtain a fermented plant extract.
|EM - Bokashi|
Bokashi is a type of compost prepared by fermentation of waste organic matter with the help of EM. Bokashi is mainly used for improving the fertility status of soil and for enhancing the degradation of crop residue.
How to use Bokashi
Bokashi can be used directly as compost in poor fertility soils. It can also be used along with the crop residues. For 0.1 ha mix 100-150 kg Bokashi with sufficient quantity of finely chopped crop residue. Spread this mixture over 0.1 ha area and mixed with soil a day before sowing. Spraying of 5-10 lit of 1:500 diluted simple EM-solution over this mixture can further boost the degradation process. By using Bokashi+crop residue+ EM-solution the requirement of compost can be dispensed with. This can save lot of labour, time and space required for compost process.
Application of EM formulations at the time of land preparation
Dilute 5-10 lit of simple EM solution in 50-100 lit of water and sprinkle/spray over 0.1 ha of land, when soil is wet a day before sowing.
For seed treatment
Soak seeds for 5-6 hrs in 1 : 100 fold diluted EM solution and sow immediately.
As foliar/ soil spray
After seedling emergence, 1 : 1000 diluted EM solution or FPE should be sprayed at the rate of 500 lit per ha, 4-5 times at an interval of 7-10 days. In fast growing crops such as vegetables, spraying should be done twice a week. In transplanted crops 1 : 500 diluted FPE can be sprayed after 5 days of transplanting @ 750-1000 lit per ha.
For soil enrichment
For every 0.1 ha mix 100-150 kg Bokashi with crop residue and mix with soil just before sowing. Simple EM solution @ 5-10 lit can also be used as spray over this residue-Bokashi mix. Spraying the soil with 5-10 lit of FPE mixed in 500-1000 lit of water per ha also add to the fertility of the soil.