The Warm Heart Experimental Farm
The Experimental Farm has three purposes:
- Provide Warm Heart a location to conduct scientific experiments to test the performance of new fertilizers and agricultural techniques;
- Permit Warm Heart to undertake joint scientific research with universities and other organizations in Thailand and around the world;
- Serve as a demonstration site where local farmers can observe the performance of different fertilizers, treatments and techniques under controlled conditions.
After failing to secure land for experimentation close to the T.Mae Pang Demonstration Farm, in early July 2015, Warm Heart rented a 5 rai field in ABT Long Khot for the term of 4 years.
Working with the owner-farmer, we plowed out the low dikes dividing paddies aligned between the main terraces, and laid our thirty five 10 x 10 m test plots.
All plots are isolated and can be watered and drained separately to avoid cross-contamination. The experimental farm plots will be maintained for at least 4 years; the rental agreement is infinitely extendable.
The area currently prepared as test plots equals 3 rai; the remaining 2 rai, laid out in 2 terraces, will be treated a regular paddies for the time being.
Test crops will vary by season. The initial experimental program focuses on rice and we will plant a rainy season crop for four years.
Because dry season rice is problematic in ABT Long Khot, we will plant two other crops in rotation following the main rice harvest. Whether these crops are part of the same or a different experimental program is open to discussion.
Experimental Farm Practices
To ensure that experimental farm findings apply directly to Phrao conditions, we will follow standard Phrao rice planting practice in all aspects except for the substitution of fertilizers: flooded paddy propagation; multi-seedling, “bunch” transplanting, etc.
Following the practice of the farmer from whom we are renting, we plan to plant a second crop of soy or peanut and a third crop of a vegetable, and to fallow during the hot season.
The initial experimental program is a Warm Heart program conducted under the scientific supervision of Dr. Steven Joseph, University of New South Wales, and in collaboration with the research team of Dr. Wolfram Spreer, Chiang Mai University Faculty of Agriculture, under the data sharing terms of the CMU-Warm Heart MOU. Warm Heart will also collaborate with the Amorphous Group (Australia) in anticipation of an MOU to come.