EFFECTIVE MICROORGANISMS (EM)
Professor of Horticulture, Prof. Teruo Higa, developed the EM technology (Effective Microorganisms) at the University of Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan, in the early 1980s.
EM is a brown colour liquid concentrate containing a consortium of beneficial microbes and acts as soil conditioner as well as a microbial inoculant. It is produced from cultivation of over 80 strains of beneficial microorganisms, which are collected from the natural environment. Over 90 countries are using this technology successfully today.
EM stock solution (see online shop) mainly consists of lactobacillus, photosynthetic bacteria, yeast and ray fungi. The microorganisms are not imported or genetically engineered. EM includes both aerobic and anaerobic species of microorganisms which co-exist in an environment of around 3.5 pH.
EM is used in agriculture, animal husbandry, aquaculture, waste water & solid waste management to increase the quantity and to improve the quality of products and the treating of certain poluting ellements.
PREPARATIONS BEFORE THE USE OF EM
For using EM technology effectively, it is necessary to prepare a couple of pre-products based on EM. These are:
Extended or “Secondary EM”
EM Fermented Plant Extract (FPE)
EM Rice water.
Mix in the ratio of 16 liters chlorine free Water by 3 liters Molasses by 1 liter of EM properly. Pour the mixture into a clean plastic container or drum and seal the container or plastic can airtight, so that little air is left in the container. Keep the container in the shade and at an ambient temperature of 24 – 26 ° C for 7-10 days.
Afterwards you will find a white layer on the top of the solution accompanied with a sweetish, sour rather pleasant smell. The product is ready when the pH drops below 4.0. Check pH with litmus indicator paper.
Appearance of above properties indicates that Extended EM is ready and should be used within 30 days, unless you fill it in smaller containers (ther should be no aircontact with the EM)
Precaution: Secondary EM solution should never be multiplied again as if further extended, the microbial balance would be altered and thus the EM loses it’s efficiency
Note: 6 kg jaggery , preboild, can be used in place of molasses. No glass container should be used. Prepare the Extended EM only after washing the plastic container properly and sterilizing it under sunlight for one day. Don’t use Extended EM if the pH of the solution is more than 4 or it smells bad. Use extended EM to make compost bokashi, FPE and EM rice water. EM5 should be preferably made with EM stock solution.
First of all mix Extended EM and water in the ratio of 1: 50 by volume (e.g.10 ltrs of water and 200 ml of Extended EM). Spray this solution on the ground where compost is to be made at 2 lit/ m2. Make a heap of organic matter like plant and animal waste about 12 inches or 30 cm in height. Spray the diluted Extended EM solution on the heap to bring the moisture content to 70-80%. (No fluids should leak out at the bottom of the heap) Add another similar layer on top of the first one spray it with Extended EM solution again. One can go on making the layers up to a maximum height of about 1.5 meters. Cover the heap with rice straw, gunny sacks or banana leaves. Do not cover it with plastic sheets. After some time, if moisture level drops in the heap then sprinkle some more water on the heap and cover again. The compost should ready for use with in 30 –45 days. (depending of course the C/N ratio of your inputs)
Application: To be applied at 3-4 tons per acre (4.000 m2) to get good results.
1. Try to use plant and animal waste in the ratio of 2 : 1.
2. Include green leaves and weeds to increase the nitrogen content in the compost.
3. For faster decomposition, add equal quantity of molasses or jaggery syrup in water and Extended EM
4. For dense organic material like press mud or cow dung, please turn the heap at least once for aeration.
5. Always make compost on soil. Do not attempt to compost it on concrete or on any plastic sheet beneath.
6. Be sure to shade the heap!
7. Note: It has been observed that increasing the dosage of EM to make compost also increased the nutrient level.
a) The temperature inside the heap, after having increased to around 70 degrees/C within 2-3 days starts to drop and becomes stable at about 5 degrees/C higher than outside temperature.
b) White mould (Actinomycetes fungi) will appear on the biomass. It would also have a sweet smell.
c) The biomass would crumble easily.
d) It is not necessary for the compost to look brown or black or like tea leaves. This shape can be obtained when the ready compost is sifted.
Bokashi is rich a fermented compost, which can be made as ‘aerobic’ (allowing air contact) or ‘anaerobic’ (without air contact), depending on the process used. Bokashi is a strong organic manure with beneficial effects towards the soil. Aerobic Bokashi can be made on a large scale. As the temperature will rise (up to 40 – 50 °C) during the process of composting it has to be controlled (e.a. by aeriation) to maintain energy.
Anaerobic Bokashi: The process is a bit more demanding but it is superior to aerobic Bokashi as it has more nutrients. It is important to note the quantitys beeing applied of this Bokashi are much lower.
Organic Material: Rice, corn or wheat bran, maize flour, rice or bean husk, rice, wheat or corn straw, any oil seed cake, cotton seed cake, press mud, chopped crop residue or weeds, saw dust, dried sea weed, coconut fiber and husk, post harvest residue etc. Animal Residues: Fish or bone meal, animal dung, crab shell, waste from meat-industry.
It is best to have a balance between plant and animal material in the ratio of 2:1 and to have a mix of many different types of organic ingredient. A typical Bokashi contains the following: Rice Bran: Oil cake: Fish/ Bone Meal: Water: Molasses: EM in the ratio of 2.5kg: 2.5kg: 2.5kg: 150 ml: 150 ml: 150ml by volume. The quantity of water can be altered depending on the moisture content of the ingredients used. The material should be moist without drainage. It is recommended that at least 10-15% rice bran should be present in all Bokashi recipes.
Mix rice-bran, oil cake and fish/bone meal thoroughly. Dissolve molasses in water (1:100) and add EM to the solution. Pour this mixture on the dry ingredients and mix well. Please ensure that no lumps are left after mixing. Place this mixture in a polythene bag or airtight container and make it airtight. Release all air from the bag, place the packed bag in another polythene bag and again make it airtight. Store in a dark place. Bokashi is ready in 4 - 5 days in summer and 7 - 8 days in winter under tropical conditions (in other regions store at 24 – 26 °C). It will smell sweet and fermented when ready. A foul odor indicates that the process of fermentation is interrupted and the Bokashi is not fit for use. It can however be made as normal compost. See paragraph “compost”. Anaerobic Bokashi should be used soon after preparation. For storage, spread it on soil and dry it in the shadow. When dry, it can be stored in polythene bags. Keep the Bokashi save from rodents and other pests.
For animal feed use only rice bran: water: molasses: EM in the ratio of 10kg: 1 kg: 100 ml: 100ml by volume and proceed to make Bokashi as above. Use up to 5% of total feed and mix in the feed while giving to animals.
The ingredients and method of mixing is similar to anaerobic Bokashi. Spread the mix on soil and cover it with gunny (jute) bags, straw, mat or similar matter to keep it from rain. The temperature rises rapidly but is controlled at 25°-35° C by turning the mix upside down. This may have to be done 3 or 4 times. Bokashi is ready in 4 - 5 days. Store like anaerobic Bokashi. Application of any kind of Bokashi: Broadcast Bokashi on the soil at 600 kg per acre or 250 gms/ m2 till or plough the soil so that the Bokashi is covered with 5-8 cms of soil. Use mulch to cover the soil thereafter Caution: No seed or sapling to be sown or planted for 5-10 days after application of Bokashi. (The more you give - the longer you wait)
EM 5 is a non-toxic chemical free insect repellant used to repel pests and diseases in crops.
Mix Water: Molasses: Natural Vinegar: Distilled Spirit/ Ethyl alcohol/ Whisky: EM in the ratio of 6:1:1:1:1. Seal the container. Release gas at regular intervals and re-seal until the formation of gas has subsided. Store in a cool and dark place.
FPE is also an organic bio pesticide Mix freshly chopped weeds or leaves: water: molasses: EM in the ratio of 1lit: 1lit: 50ml: 50ml in a container. Place some weight on the plant material so that it remains covered in solution. Avoid any space between liquid and cover. Store the container in a warm dark place for 5-10 days.
FPE is ready when pH drops below 3.5. Filter the leaves and store the liquid in bottles. Leaves with strong flavors like neem, mint, mugwort stinging nettles and grasses having medicinal values are found to be more effective. One could also use garlic, ginger, green pepper etc to make good quality FPE. EM-FPE has a shelf life of 90 days.
In remote areas, where molasses or sugar is not available freely, water used for washing rice could be used for extended EM. In this method of preparation of extended EM, collect the water remaining after washing rice.
Mix 10% EM with washing water of 24 - 26°C an pour the solution into a plastic container and close it tightly. After 10-12 days of fermentation, a sweet fermented smell develops indicating that the fermented solution can be used as Extended EM.
This liquid can be used for making Bokashi by diluting at a ratio of 1:1000, or by adding to the drinking water for livestock at a dilution of 1:1000 ltrs. The process of fermentation could be hastened by adding 100 g of crude sugar, diluted in the water used.
Find more illustrated in depth infos here: http://www.apnan.org/APNAN%20Manual.pdf
ANSWERS GIVEN BY Dr. E.M.
1. At what temperature microbes of EM work best?
Microbes in EM work best during mesophillic temperatures i.e. 25 to 450C.2. What is the effect of EM on pH of a field?
Over a period of time it controls the pH of the soil to some extent only.3. Do we need to make some cracks in the soil to make EM seep into the ground?
You do not need ‘cracks’ in the soil for EM application. EM can easily be introduced through normal irrigation system which you may be employing like flood or drip or sprinkler irrigation.4. What are the indicators that secondary EM is ready to be used? Does gas production indicate its maturity?
Gas production indicates that the process is not completed yet. The two other indicators of extended EM being ready are taste (vinegar like), a well fermented smell and pH which should be below 4, ideally 3,5.5. What is the quantity of chemical fertilizers that can be reduced gradually as EM is being used regularly in various forms?
You should view EM just as a tool and nothing else. The amount of displacement of chemicals with the use of EM depends upon the amount of compost and Bokashi used in the soil. We recommend minimum 4 tons and 600 Kgs respectively per acre generally. You should think of reducing 20-25% chemicals with every cropping cycle along with recommended doses of compost and Bokashi.6. Gases which come out while preparing Extended EM. Are they harmful in anyway?
The gas which mainly comes out is CO2.7. Can the cap or lid of the drum be kept loose or open for making extended EM?
Be sure that the lid or cap must be tightly shut after release of gas each time.8. Are there any ways and means of reducing the quantity of gas coming out?
You can reduce the amount of molasses to say to 0.6 or 0.7 ltrs instead of 1 ltr. It would reduce the quantity of gas coming out but the shelf life of extended EM will be reduced. But I feel that release of gas every day would be the best solution to the problem.9. What is the precipitation we see at the bottom of the can filled with extended EM? Does it indicate anything related to its quality?
It is all right to have this white residue. It indicates the formation of lactobacillus microbes. It is absolutely harmless and good for the plants.10. Should we stop spraying EM5 or FPE during flowering so as to increase cross pollination just before fruiting period?
EM5 and FPE being proactive sprays should control the incidence of pests. Reports suggest that during the flowering period they do not damage the flowers. But we recommend that as flowering starts we should stop spraying em5 or FPE as they might repel beneficial insects required for pollination.11. Whether can we leave any airspace in bottles which are used for making EM products?
As a rule one should not allow a lot of air above EM or its derrivates.12. Can I use glass containers for making EM products?
As preparations of EM leads to formation of gases, this may result in bursting of glass containers, whereas plastic containers can expand to some extent to bear gas pressure. Thus I recommend the use of glass containers only. Of course there are fermenter heads for glas bottles available.