Use of Panchakavya in Farming

If you ever thought that ancient Indian wisdom had its limits in today’s ‘advanced’ civilisation, think again.   And again.  Perhaps, again. 

The one product that is revolutionising parts of rural Tamil Nadu today is Panchakavya  -  an organic product blended from five offerings that evolve from the cow, used in Indian medicine since time immemorial and now being used, with astonishing results, to safeguard plants and soil micro-organisms and to increase fruit and vegetable production.

As usual this rediscovery is the work of some enlightened folks, but principally one - an allopathic medical practitioner who believes in ecological farming and sustainable agriculture.  Dr. Natarajan combined his traditional knowledge and wisdom on the value of cow's products and medicinal herbs to revisit Panchakavya. He has done extensive research with an adaptation of Panchakavya on various crops, animals and even earthworms. His findings have been validated by leading research institutes in the country, and he was awarded the prestigious "Srishti Sanman" by a leading developmental organization in Ahmedabad.

The present form of Panchakavya is a single organic input, which can act as a growth-promoter and immunity booster. It is essentially a product containing 4 kg gobar gas slurry, 1 kg fresh cow dung, 3 litres of cow urine, 2 litres of cow's milk, 2 litres of cow's curd, 1 kg cow's ghee, 3 litres of sugarcane juice, 12 ripe bananas, 3 litres of tender coconut water, and 2 litres of toddy (if available, otherwise substituted with a bit of yeast to assist fermentation). This will make about 20 litres of Panchakavya.

The concoction is stored in a wide-mouthed earthen pot or concrete tank in open. Sufficient shade is required and the contents should be stirred twice a day, in the morning and the evening, to encourage aerobic microbial activity.

In seven days, the modified Panchakavya will be ready.

The cost of production of a litre of Panchakavya is around Rs. 35, and it can be brought down substantially if the farmers use their own cows' products. The Panchakavya is diluted to three per cent and sprayed on crops to get the best results. Three litres of Panchakavya is diluted with 100 litres of water and sprayed over crops to get rid of pests and diseases and also get higher yields, when manure is applied alongwith it.

  • Seeds can be soaked and seedlings can be dipped in 3 per cent solution of Panchakavya for about 30 minutes before sowing to get good results from the crops.
  • Various crops such as rice, a variety of vegetables, fruit crops such as mango, banana, guava, acid lime and cash crops such as sugarcane, turmeric, jasmine and moringa and plantation crops have responded extremely well to application of Panchakavya.
  • Earthworms grew faster and produced more vermi-compost when treated with this solution.
  • When sprayed with Panchakavya, the plants produce larger leaves, and develop a denser canopy. The stem produces lateral shoots and sturdy branches to bear heavy yields. The rooting is profuse and penetrates deeper, helping the plant withstand drought conditions (needing a third of the normal irrigated quantity in normal conditions!). Roots helps in better intake of nutrients and water.
  • Panchakavya has several beneficial effects on animals and fish as well. When fed to cows at 200 ml per day, they turned healthier and produced milk with high fat content. Their rate of conception increased, and the various common ailments were completely cured.

The Panchakavya has been field-tested by a network of organic farmers in the country and verified by leading agricultural universities.

In ‘scientific’ terms, what does Panchakavya contain?

Presence of growth regulatory substances such as IAA, GA and cytokinin, essential plant nutrients, naturally occurring, beneficial, effective micro organisms, predominately lactic acid bacteria, yeast, actinomycetes, photosynthetic bacteria and certain fungi besides beneficial and proven biofertilizers such as Acetobacter, Asospirillum and Phosphobacterium and plant protection substances can be detected in Panchakavya.

So what’s the moral of this story?

Did the Beatles once say – “Get back, get back, get back to where you once belong”. 

Don’t we owe it to our planet to discover our heritage?