Botanical Name: Azadirachta indica
Family: Mahogany family Meliaceae
Constituents of the Neem tree proved to have Anthelmintic, antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It has lots of uses ranging from medicinal to cosmetic but here we are focusing on utilizing neem & its products for Organic Farming
Uses of Neem tree & its Products
Pest and Disease Control
Neem is a key ingredient in non-pesticidal management (NPM), providing a natural alternative to synthetic pesticides. Neem seeds are ground into a powder that is soaked overnight in water and sprayed onto the crop. To be effective, it is necessary to apply repeatedly, at least every ten days. Neem does not directly kill insects on the crop. It acts as an anti-feedant, repellent, and egg-laying deterrent, protecting the crop from damage. The insects starve and die within a few days. Neem also suppresses the hatching of pest insects from their eggs. Neem cake is often sold as a fertilizer
Preparation || Neem Leaf Extract
Neem Leaf Extract-
It is prepared by macerating fresh neem leaves in water for 24 hours and then grinding them. 25 litres of this extract is mixed with 100 litres of water and sprayed on the plant at a rate of 20-35 litre/ha.
Neem Seed Kernel Extract (NSKE)
- Collect 25 kg of shed dried neem seeds
- Crush the neem seeds to coarse pieces
- Immerse the crushed seeds, tied in a muslin cotton cloth, in 50 litres of water in a container overnight
- Squeeze the cloth containing the crushes neem seeds so that the extract is compltelty separated
Preparing Neem Seeds
- Dip the cloth containing the crushed seeds again in another 50 itres of water so that the whitish neem seed kernel extract is competelty separated from the seeds.
- Add 400 litres of pure water to 100 litres of concentrated NSKE solution
- The spray solution of 5 % concentration can be used as a spray to repel the insect pests if any. According to the conditions prevailing, the concentration of the spray solution may be increased up to 8%. To spread the spray solution uniformly over the leaves, emulsifires are used. The locally available and the cheapest emulsifier is the detergent powder, 50-60 gm (15 to 20 teaspoon full) of which is thoroughly mixed with the spray solution
- The spray solution can also be used as prophylactic (preventive) before the onset of pests.
- For enhancing the effectiveness of the spray, the whole plant should be made wet with the spray solution. Even the lower side of the leaves has to be smeared with the spray as the insects lay egg on the ventral side of the leaves.
- The extract should be used within a day or two after its formulation to prevent the degradation of active ingredients.
Precautions to be taken:
- Collect the Neem fruits during bearing season and air-dry them under shade.
- Do not use the seeds over eight months of age. The seeds stored over and above this age lose their activity and hence not fit for NSKE preparation.
- Always use freshly prepared neem seed kernel extract (NSKE).
- Spray the extract after 3.30 pm to get effective results.
For prevention of insect pests, the spray can be used once during the initial to mid-crop stage when the chances of infestation of pests is more. However for the pests, which have already appeared, the extract should be used at least 2-3 times at an interval of 15 days.
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