BETTER BETEL: The new variety with moderately pungent leaves is found resistant to linear scale insect, wilt, stem rot, blight and nematodes. — PHOTO: TNAU
SCIENTISTS OF the Sugarcane Research Station (SRS) at Sirugamani in Tiruchi district of Tamil Nadu have developed an improved betel vine variety named SGM.BV.2 with high yield potential and field tolerance to major pests.
The new variety with moderately pungent leaves is found resistant to linear scale insect and moderately resistant to wilt, stem rot, blight and nematodes. The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore, has released it for commercial cultivation.
The crop is a pure line selection from the Dindigul local variety and has recorded a high yield potential when compared to local varieties such as Sakarai Kodi, SGM-1, Karpuri and Vellaikodi.
Its average yield is 40-45 lakh leaves per hectare as compared with 35-38 lakhs for SGM-1, 35-39 lakhs for Karpuri, 38.40 lakhs for Vellaikodi and 37-39 lakhs for Sakarai kodi, according to S. Easwaran, Assistant Professor, Horticulture, SRS.
"Belonging to the Karpuri group, this variety is suited for growing in Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Karur, Madurai, Dindigul and Theni belts. It is found to grow well in well-drained clay or loamy soil," said Prof. Easwaran.
The ideal time for planting the cuttings are April-June and August -October. About one lakh saplings are required for planting in one hectare. "Healthy double nodal cuttings taken from one-year-old vines should be selected," he said.
While planting the cuttings, one node must be buried in the soil and the second must be at the ground level. The soil around the planted cutting must be pressed firmly to encourage quick growth.
Adequate shade is essential for the cuttings to establish well and grow. Coconut or palmyra leaves may be used to provide the shade.
The vines are best trailed over live support of Sesbania grandiflora (Agathiin Tamil) or Erithna indica (Kalyana murungai in Tamil). The vines should be tied to the support using banana fibres at intervals of 20-30 cm.
Giving details on the fertilizer application, Prof Easwran said that about 25 tonnes of farmyard manure along with 150 kg of nitrogen, 100 kg of phosphorus and 100 kg of potash are needed per hectare every year.
He said nitrogen application alone must be done in 4 split doses on the 60th, 95th, 140th and 195th day after planting to quicken growth.
Betel vines require moist soil for growth. This can be ensured through light irrigation. But care must be taken to avoid water logging in the field beds.
The ideal time for irrigation is morning or evening once in every 3-4 days in the initial stages of growth and thereafter once every week.
Lowering of coiling vines should be done once in 10 months. Regular harvest commences 90 days after planting, and continues subsequently at three weeks' interval. The vines can be retained for 24 to 30 months in healthy yielding condition, Prof. Easwaran said.
high yield and chewing quality of the leaves have made this variety popular among the growers and consumers, according to him.
For more information, readers may contact Assistant Prof, Horticulture, Sugarcane Research Station, Sirugamani, Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu - 639 115, phone: 0431-2614217, email: firstname.lastname@example.org