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Integrated Farming Systems in Assam

Integrated Farming Systems in Assam

Fish - Duck Integrated Farming System

Integrated fish farming has received attention in recent years in the North East India. Among the different livestock based system, fish duck integration is one of the most popular farming practices among woman fishers.

Advantages of Fish Duck Integration

  • Duck dropping act as feed and fertilizer for cultured fish in the pond.
  • Duck collect 50% of their food naturally from the pond.
  • Ducks keep the water body clean and increase dissolved oxygen by doubling action.
  • Duck house can be constructed at the embankment or over the water surface, hence no need of extra place for it.
  • Left over feed of duck used as supplementary feed for fish.
  • Production of duck eggs, meat, fish and horticulture from the same unit area.


1.   Selection of fish species

  • In this integration, fish species selection is one of the important point, where plankton feeder should be 60% and omnivorous should be 40%.
  • A combination of six species viz, Catla (20%), Silver carp (20%), Rohu (20%), Mrigal (15%), Grass carp (10%) and Common carp (15%) should be stocked at density of 8000 to 8500 fingerlings/ha for the targeted production level of more than 3500 kg/ha. Such integration is suitable only for rearing and stocking ponds where fishes are above 12 gm.

2.   Selection of duck and their maintenance

  • Some important varieties of ducks are Nageswari, Sylhet Meat, Indian Runner, Serachameli and Khaki Campbell. Out of this varieties, Khaki Campbell crossed with local pati variety is the best in Assam condition.
  • It should be collected from the Government Farm and then consult with the veterinary Doctor for treatment and preventive measure of some epidemic disease like Duck Plague, Cholera etc.
  • Ducks are stocked @200-300 ducklings/ha of fish pond. From duck excreta annual manure production is 45-55 kg/duck/yr, which besides fertilizing the fishponds and can be directly utilized as fish food. Apart from this, 10-20% feed/day/duck is wasted which is utilized in ponds. Duck dropping contains 81% moisture and 0.91% N and 0.38% P2O5.

2.1   Duck-house

  • Duck house should be made on the pond dyke or over the pond surface with the help of locally available material such as bamboo cane, thatches etc.
  • In case of duck house over the pond surface, a small bamboo bridge is constructed from the duck house for feeding the ducks as well as for collecting eggs and duck from the house. Another bridge is constructed from the duck house to the pond surface for helping the ducks ascend or descend to pond water.
  • Again duck house should be well ventilated for air circulation and exposed to direct sunlight. Periphery of the pond should be fenced for protection of ducks.
  • Ducks are kept in duck house providing about 0.3-0.5 m2/bird. Again one male duck should be kept in every 5-6 female ducks. Ducklet especially up to 3-4 weeks old are very susceptible to disease, hence, care should be taken within this period.

2.2  Duck Feed

  • Mostly fine rice bran and poultry feed (layers mash etc.) are used as duck feed at the rate of 100 gm feed/day/duck.
  • Duck feed should be stored at cool and dry environment. If possible, manganese sulphate mixed with feed gives the better result at the rate of 10gms/100kg of feed. Apart from that Duck weeds (Lemna, Wolfia, Azolla etc.) are also fed to the ducks.
  • Duck also consume tadpoles, juvenile of frogs and dragon fly larvae. Further protein content in natural food organisms of the ponds consumed by duck is high. Therefore, the duck reared in fishponds save the cost on protein substantially in duck feeds and gives more eggs in comparison to duck which are not allowed in fishponds. The left over feed given to the ducks and duck dropping fulfill more than 59% of food requirements of farm fishes.
  • Sometime algal bloom may increase, then duck dropping should be stopped periodically by using plastic at the bottom of the duck house and removed.

2.3  Lime application

In this integration except basal manure there is no need to apply inorganic and organic manure from the outside during the culture period. Only lime is applied at the rate of 250-300 kg/ha/year at suitable intervals.


By this integration a production of 3500-4000 kg of fish, 18000-18500 eggs and 500-600 kg duck meat from 1 ha of pond area in 1 year without any supplementary feed and fertilizers can be obtained and the cost is turned down to 60% lesser than normal.

Source : A training manual on "Polyculture and integrated fish farming"

College of  Fisheries, Assam Agricultural University,

Raha - 782103,  Nagaon, Assam, India.

Livestock - Fish Integrated Farming System

Evolved on the principles of productive recycling of farm wastes, fish- livestock farming systems are recognized as highly assured technologies for fish cultivation. In these technologies, predetermined quantum of livestock waste obtained by rearing the livestock in the pond area is applied in pond to raise the fish crop without any other additional supply of nutrients.

Here two technologies are dealt with

A. Integrated pig fish farming.

B. Integrated cattle fish farming.

A. Integrated pig fish farming.

Integrated pig- fish farming is a highly profitable fish culture system, where pigs are reared adjacent to the fish ponds, preferably on the pond embankment from where pig urine, excreta and spilled pig feeds are introduced into the pond water. In one harvest cycle of fish (one year), 2 batches of pigs are grown, 6 months each. This is direct integration system, which is a more efficient method than the indirect integration model, wherein pigs are raised elsewhere and the pig waste is manually applied to the pond daily at a pre-determined dose.

1.   Benefits of pig- fish farming (Direct integration)

  • Fish utilizes the feed spilled by pigs and their excreta, which is very rich in nutrients for fish.
  • Pig dung act as a suitable substitute to pond fertilizer and supplementary feed for some of the fishes, therefore the cost of fish production is reduced by about 60%.
  • No additional land is required for piggery operations.
  • Cattle fodders required for pigs and grass carps are grown on the terraced pond embankments.
  • Mortality of pig is greatly reduced, as pond provides much needed water for washing the pig- sties and pigs.
  • The pond mucks which gets accumulated at the pond bottom due to constant application of pig dung, can be used as an excellent fertilizer for growing vegetables, other crops and cattle fodder.
  • Efficient labour utilization.

2. Method

2.1. Pig husbandry practices :

Growth of pigs depends upon many factors including breed and strain, but good management contributes to the achievement of optimum production.

2.1.1. Construction of pig house :

  • The pig house can be constructed by using locally available materials such as bamboo and thatch, but the floor must be roughly cemented (so as to be non slippery).
  • An enclosed run is provided to the pen so that the pigs get enough air, sunlight and space for dunging.
  • The wall should be 1.0 m in height and preferably made of bricks. The upper part of the wall should be provided with wire netting. The height of the pig sty is 1.5 m.
  • The floor of the house is slightly slanted towards a drainage canal. The canal is connected to the pond. The drainage canal is provided with a diversion canal leading to a cemented pit, where the wastes are stored in the days when the pond has algal bloom. A built- in shutter is provided in the drainage canal to regulate the flow of wastes.
  • Space requirement per pig is 1.5 m2. The roof of the house may be made using thatch or asbestos. Feeding and drinking troughs are constructed alternatively inside the pen, attached to one wall. A bath tub may also be constructed attaching to one wall of the open run.

2.1.2. Selection of pigs :

Pigs with 75% or 50% pure Hempshire blood has been found to be the best for such system. Landrace, large- black, etc. can also be used but not the indigenous varieties. 2- 3 months old weaned piglets are brought to the pig sty for six month rearing.

2.1.3. Number of pigs :

40 to 45 piglets/ ha water spread area for 6 months.

2.1.4. Pig feed:

  • Pigs are fed with balanced pig mesh concentrate (PMC) @ 1.5 kg/ pig/ day.
  • To overcome mineral deficiency, ‘Sod’ (30 cm × 30 cm bed of grass with all its roots intact and interlocked soil) is provided once a week. However, as PMC (Table-1) is costly, raising pigs with PMC has not been found economical. Through trial & error, one pig feed has been developed, where Colocasia stem & tuber, hotel wastes, rice bran, jubili (the byproduct of a special type of beverage prepared and consumed by the tribal people of Asom), etc. are used (Table-2).

Table-1 : Composition of Pig Mesh Concentrate (PMC)

Sl. No.


Parts (%)


Rice bran



Rice polish



Wheat bran



Maize broken



Ground nut oilcake



Fish meal



Mineral mixture



Common salt






Vitamin supplementation

@ 20 gm/ 100 kg feed.

Table-2 : Composition pig feed prepared at College of Fisheries, Raha using locally available cheaper ingredients

Sl. No.


Parts (%)


Kitchen wastes



Colocasia leaves, stems and rhizomes



Rice bran






Tea stall wastes



Banana spadix



Fish meal



Vegetable wastes, papaya, halt rotten potato, sweet potato, cabbages, unripe banana and tapioca, etc



Common salt





. Methods of preparation of pig feed using the ingredients of table-2 :

  • Colocasia leaves, stem and rhizomes are cut into small pieces and mixed with the above ingredients (Table-2) except rice bran and jubili and boiled properly. Prior to serving,  jubili and rice bran are mixed.
  • Feeding rate : Pigs are fed at ad-libitum. Pigs are fed twice a day i.e. morning and afternoon. In addition, pigs are to be fed regularly with wilted water hyacinth regularly. Cattle fodder, tapioca leaves, banana plants should be cut into small pieces and serve to the pigs.

2.1.5. Health care :

  • Pig sties need be washed regularly two times a day in the summer months and once in winter season. Pigs should also be given bath twice a day in summer and once in winter.
  • Disinfection of pig sties should be done twice in a week, with quick lime, and potash (KmNO4) respectively. The washed water leads to a fish pond serving double purpose.
  • Piglets must be vaccinated against swine fever. They are to be dewormed at the age of 3- 4 months.

2.1.6 Disposal :

After rearing for about 6 months, pigs attain slaughter maturity size (60- 70 kg live weight). These are to be sold out and the new piglets are to be introduced into the pigsty.

2.2. Fish Pond Management Practices

2.2.1. Size : 0.4 to 1.0 ha size of a pond is sufficient to make profit from this integration.

2.2.2. Prestocking management :

Clearance of unwanted fishes, deweeding and liming as in the case of composite fish culture system is done prior to stocking of pond with fish seed.

2.2.3. Stocking :

  • In direct integration system, stocking is done after 20 days of introduction of piglets in the pigsty. In indirect integration, 1000 kg/ ha pig wastes is applied in single installment. Pond becomes ready for stocking after 20 days.
  • Rate of stocking of fish seed is 9000 nos./ ha preferably with advanced fingerlings

Sl. No.



Number/ ha.














Silver carp




Grass carp




Common carp








  • Stock is replenished after partial harvesting with a same number of fingerlings of harvested species. After one year, complete harvesting is done.
  • Pond is dewatered partially to expose the silt to sunlight. These are to be taken out with the help of bamboo basket. New stock of fish is introduced after proper liming. In second year too, partial dewatering followed by desilting is to be done. At the end of third year, complete dewatering is done to expose the bottom. Complete desilting is done, followed by liming. Thereafter, fish culture is started, after 20 days of introduction of the piglets into pigsties.

Precautions :

  • Monitoring of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the morning is a must particularly in the summer months. DO falling below 3.0 mg/ litre particularly in pre and postmonsoon should be regarded as a warning to control further application of pig dung.
  • 2. In large ponds (=0.5 ha), pig dung should not be allowed to fall on a single spot. The collected dung should be divided into 5- 6 parts and applied in prespecified sites selected zones.
  • If extensive algal bloom appears on water surface, pig dung, instead of introducing into pond it should be kept collected in the cemented pit.

3.0 Income :

Production from direct integration per ha water area :-

Fish : 3000- 3500 kg/ ha.

Pig : 4000- 5000 kg (live weight)/ 80 pigs/ ha.

Cattle - Fish Integrated Farming System

Integrated cattle and fish farming is an ideal method for assured fish production in small ponds (<0.1 ha). In this technology, the fish crop is raised using the cattle on the pond embankment or any other suitable site of the farm.

1. Cattle Farming

1.1. Cattle shed :

  • The cow shed should be constructed at a stable and elevated site allowing direct sunlight to the platform, gutters and mangers of the cattle shed.
  • The floor should be concrete and should be slightly inclined leading a drain which is connected to a soak pit. A covered pit may be constructed nearby to store cow dung.
  • For the cattle shed, thatch is the best rooting material but asbestos can also be used.
  • Provisions for floor space should be made for suckling calf, older calf and cow. Floor space requirements are as follows :-


Space requirement

Cross bred cow

Standing space

1.2 × 1.2 m2 per animal.


Length : 0.6 m per animal

Width : 0.6 m per animal

Depth : 30 cm.


Width : 20- 30 cm

Depth :2.5 cm with provision of gradient towards main drain.

Suckling calf

Pen size :

Cover area

Open area :


1 × 1 m2 per calf

2 × 1 m2 per calf

Older calf :

Pen size :

Cover area

Open area


2 × 1 m2 per calf

2 × 2 m2 per calf

1.2. Number :

For 0.1 ha water area, one cow with a calf is sufficient. The cow should be brought about two months earlier to introducing fish into the pond.

1.3. Feeding :

Green fodder

30 – 40 kg/ day/ cow


3 - 4 kg/ day/ cow

Concentrated feed (Wheat bran+ rice bran + GOC+ mineral mixture

+ salt)

2 kg/ day/ cow

1.4.  Health Management :

Maintenance of hygiene in the cow shed is most important. Adopt preventive measures by consulting veterinary expert against coccidiosis, parasitic infection, etc.

Immunization : FMD vaccine, anthrax spore vaccine, haemorrhagic septicemia vaccine and black quarter vaccine should be given in time. Consult veterinary expert for time schedule and vaccination.

2. Fish Farming :

  • The practices to be followed are similar to that of integrated pig- fish farming system.
  • In the pond, no chemical fertilization is required.
  • Cow should be brought to the shed about 2 months prior to stocking of pond with fish seed.
  • Cow urine is led to soak pit and cow dung is allowed to fall in the pond water. However, initially cow dung is cast all over the pond before stocking the pond with fish seed. No feed except green fodder required for Grass carp is applied into the pond.

3. Production :

Fish : 3500 kg/ ha

Milk : 24000 litres.

Calf : 10 nos./ ha

Source : A training manual on "Polyculture and integrated fish farming"

College of  Fisheries, Assam Agricultural University,

Raha - 782103,  Nagaon, Assam, India.

Poultry - Fish Integrated Farming System

In this system, the fish crop is integrated using only poultry droppings or dip litter by rearing the poultry either directly over the pond or on the pond embankment. By adopting this technology, production of 3500 to 4000 kg fish, more than 20000 eggs and about 1250 kg (live weight) chicken meat can be obtained from a hectare of pond area in one year.

1. Poultry Husbandry Practices

1.1. Housing of birds :

In integrated poultry fish farming, the birds are confined to the house entirely, with no access to the land outside. This intensive system is of two types, viz. Battery system (Cage system) and dip litter system.

  • The dip litter system is preferred over the cage system due to higher manurial value of the built up dip litter.
  • In this system, the poultry birds are kept in pens up to 250 birds per pen on floor covered with litter.
  • For starting the dip litter system, the floor of the pen is covered with dry organic material. The chopped straw, dry leaves, hay, saw dust etc. to a depth of about 6 inches. 0.3 to 0.4 m floor space is required per bird.
  • The dropping of the birds which fall on the litter gradually combine with the litter material due to bacterial action.
  • When the depth of litter becomes less, more organic matter is added to maintain sufficient depth.
  • In case the litter becomes damp superphosphate or lime is added to keep it dry.
  • The litter is regularly stirred for aeration. In about 10-12 months, it becomes fully built up litter, having very high manurial value.

1.2. Selection of birds :

The fowls of Rhode island, white leghorn or kuroiler are suitable for the purpose. About 500 to 600 birds (lay eggs) are required for one hectare water spread area. About eight week old chicks, after vaccination against viral diseases and providing other necessary prophylactic measures as a safeguard against epidemics are kept in poultry house near the pond.

1.3. Feeding :

Grower mash is provided to the farmed birds during the age of 9-20 weeks @50-70 gm/bird/ day, whereas a layer mash is provided to the birds above 20 weeks @ 80-120 gm/bird/day. The feed is provided to the birds in feed hoppers to avoid wastage. An ample supply of water is made available to all the birds at all the time.

1.4. Egg laying :

Each pen of laying birds is provided with one nest for 5-6 birds. Egg production commences at the age of 22 weeks and then gradually decline. The birds lay from 240-250 eggs per year. After the age of 18 month birds are disposed.

1.5. Health care :

The poultry house and equipment must be disinfected atleast 30 days prior to bringing in the new flock. The birds are to be vaccinated against diseases like infectious bronchitis infected laryngo trancheitis, mark's diseses, ranikhet diseses, fowl pox, etc. at the appropriate age. Some of the bacterial diseases viz. salmonellosis, coryza, fowl cholera, etc. can be kept under control by maintenance of proper hygienic conditions. Broad spectrum antibiotics may be added to the water in case the infection is mild. In severe cases, veterinary expert should be consulted.

The fully built up dip litter removed from poultry pens is stored in suitable place and supplied to the pond @50 kg/ha/day every morning after sunrise. The application of this is deferred on the days when algal bloom appears in the pond.

Production :

Fresh fish : 3500 to 4000 kg/ha/yr

Egg : 70000 nos./pen

Poultry meat : 1250 kg (live weight) per year.

Source : A training manual on "Polyculture and integrated fish farming"

College of  Fisheries, Assam Agricultural University,

Raha - 782103,  Nagaon, Assam, India.

Rice - Fish Integrated Farming System


Rice fish farming can contribute to household income, contribute to food security and nutrition and contribute to improved sustainability of rice production. Generally two production systems have been recommended for culturing fish in the rice fields. They are, Simultaneous or Concurrent Method and Alternate or Rotational Method.

Selection criteria of rice field

  • The field must hold water continuously for several months. The field should be hold water to a depth of 30 cm.
  • The plot should be comparatively flat
  • The land should be selected keeping in view that it will not be over flooded.
  • The soil of the land should hold much water. Clay soil is better for this purpose and the soil pH should be around 6.5-7.5
  • Those fields where water remains even after harvest of paddy that is, there should be water, which is sufficient to continue fish culture.
  • Fishes can be grown unaffected by chemicals or pesticides used to protect paddy.
  • In land with slopes, a high dyke on the uphill side at the field is usually not needed. The layout of the land will help to confine the fish, if the rice field is basin shaped.  This can save a lot of work because middle of the field is deepest portion and a very little effort is required to raise the dykes.
  • The paddy field should have strong dykes to prevent leakage and to retain water up to desired level /depth.
  • The plot should be at the close vicinity of the farmer’s house so that better care can be taken up.

Selection criteria of fish species

  • The fish should be capable of tolerating very shallow water level.
  • Should withstand higher temperature (up to 40OC) and variable temperature fluctuations
  • Those species, which can withstand fairly high turbidity of water and poor oxygen concentration.
  • The species, which have faster growth rate and should have desirable characteristics to grow to marketable size in short duration at the time of harvesting the rice.
Selection of rice varieties
  • The variety of paddy should be high yielding
  • The variety should be highly disease resistant and susceptible to less attack from pests.
  • Local paddy varieties of medium to long duration with non lodging characteristics are suitable.

Preparation of fields and other considerations

1. Dyke construction :

Embankments should have a height of 40-50 cm. Since water level for rice does not exceed 20cm, such embankments will already have a free board of 20-30cm. This is sufficient to prevent fish from jumping over.

2. Provision of weirs and screens :

Three types of screens can be provided to prevent escape of fish and to prevent entry of predatory fishes to the plot: e.g. bamboo slats, a basket, and a piece of fish net materials even a well perforated piece of sheet metal.

3. Provisions of proper drains :

The common practice is to temporarily breach a portion of embankment for water to get in or out and once the purpose is finished the breach portion be repaired. Bamboo tubes, hollowed out logs, metal pipes or bamboo chutes are also used.

Depending upon the slope of the land three types of layout for construction of rice fish culture plot has been proposed :

  • Perimeter trench model,
  • Central pond model,
  • Lateral trench model.

i. Perimeter trench model :

In this trenches are dug out in the periphery of the paddy field and the paddy cultivation area remains in the middle of the plot in zone of moderate elevation. In a plot of 1 ha, the area in the central part of the field for paddy cultivation is about 0.67 ha. The perimeter trenches may occupy about 0.2 ha and perimeter dykes may occupy another 0.12 ha. Design and construction is that the trench is about 6 meter at the top, 3.5 m at the base and depth is 1.2m. The perimeter may be 1 m in wide at the crest and 3 m at the base.

ii. Central pond model :

In this case fish culture area remains at the center or at the middle of the plot and the paddy growing areas lies surrounding the pond. In a plot of 1 ha area, part of the field for paddy cultivation is about 0.65 ha and the area for the fishpond is 0.35ha with peripheral dyke space of 0.002 ha. The dimensions of perimeter dyke may be 20cm in width, base is of 50 cm width and height is of 30 cm.

iii. Lateral trench model :

Trapezoidal trenches are dug at the sides of paddy plot of dimensions top width 18 m, base 15m and depth is of 1.5 m. There is also to be a peripheral dyke like other two previous cases. In a plot of 1 ha area; part of the field for paddy cultivation is about 0.61 ha and the area for the fishpond is 0.27ha with peripheral dyke space of 0.12 ha.

Water management

Continuous flooding up to the maximum tolerated by rice without affecting its rice production is recommended and it is generally 15-20 cm. At that depth, the effective water depth of 65-70 cm is available to the fish in refuge. This is sufficient to provide the fishes a cooler place when the shallow water over the rice warms up to as high as 40OC. The increased depth means a greater volume of water for rice –fish culture.


Application of fertilizers increases the nutrient concentration in water, which flourish the growth of phytoplankton, which are directly consumed by the fish or support good growth of zooplankton. Compost fertilizer for deep-water variety @30 tons per ha can be applied. In organic fertilizers for deep water variety Paddy as Nitrogen @120kg/ha, P205 @ 60 kg/ha and K20 @ 60 kg/ha can be applied.

Stocking patters

Rice fish culture may involve the stocking of young fry for the production of fingerlings (nursery operation) or the growing of fingerlings to marketable size (growing operation). Rice fish farming may either be the culture of only one species (monoculture) or a combination of two or more species of fish and crustaceans (polyculture). Generally, stocking density of fish depends on its size, species and the fertility of the land. It is best to wait until the rice is well established before releasing fish seed. Fish can be stocked once two or three tillers have appeared for which the usual waiting is 1- 3 weeks after transplanting or 4-6 weeks after seeding.


To boost the growth of fish, rice bran and mustard oil cake in the ratio of 70:30 @2-3% of the body weight of fishes can be provided.

Source : Training manual on "Polyculture and integrated fish farming" publihed by : College of Fisheries, Assam Agricultural University, Raha - 782103, Nagaon, Assam

Last Modified : 3/1/2020

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