The Agricultural Engineering College and Research Institute at Kumulur near here has developed a network of eight farm ponds in a cascade model to collect rainwater and irrigation water draining from its paddy demonstration fields.
Previously, the demonstration fields were irrigated through the water pumped from the Pullambadi canal through lift irrigation; one-season crop was raised on the field.
Three pits measuring up to a depth of one metre each have been used to set up system tanks. Now, additionally, five farm ponds each measuring 30m x 30m x 2m have been dug up in a cascade model with a total water storage capacity of 14,400 cubic metres.
“The rainwater collected on a catchment area of 300 acres, including areas outside the college campus, was being diverted to these farm ponds,” said K.Ramaswamy, dean of the college.
All these ponds have filled up once this year and twice last year.
The ponds were also used for fish farming and supplement irrigation of rain-fed crops on 25 acres. The stored water also recharges groundwater in open wells, he said.
Minor millets such as Cumbu (Co.9), Thenai (Co (T)-7), Samai (Co.4), Kudiraivali (Co(kv)-2), and Maize (Co.6) have been grown in the farm.
“Timely-sowing of seeds have been taken up based on the forecast from the automatic weather station set up in the farm,” he said.
About 50 acres of high-yielding rice varieties (ADT-49, BPT-5204, W-Ponni, and CR1009) were also grown in the fields.
Besides, efforts were also made to create a large irrigation tank of 30 acres in area with sluice arrangements to store 0.15 cubic metre of water.
Every effort has been made to channelize the excess rainwater to the collecting area. While seed production and rice productivity has improved, two crops would be raised in an additional area of 20 acres due to good ground water availability in the existing six open wells, the dean said.