The bajra composite gives higher grain and fodder yields than the ruling varieties.
A DUAL-PURPOSE bajra (Pennisetum glaucum), `Cumbu' in Tamil, has been developed by the scientists at the division of Genetics, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, and it has been released for commercial cultivation under the name `Pusa Composite 383'.
The new high yielding bajra is composite developed by mixing a large number of open pollinated bulks from Indian collections. This high yielding and disease-resistant composite for grain and fodder is ideally suited for growing in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Delhi, according to the scientists who developed this promising bajra composite.
Growing to a height of about 180-200 cm, this early-maturing composite produced medium bold, rod-shaped ear heads. It takes 47-49 days from the date of sowing to flower, and it is ready for harvest in 75-78 days.
It is suited for cultivation as both rainfed and irrigated crop in soils of high and low fertility. It has been found to be resistant to downy mildew both under field as well as artificially created conditions.
`Pusa Composite 383' is resistant to lodging and shattering, and is suitable for early, normal and late sown conditions. It has been found to be tolerant to moisture stress. It has recorded an average grain yield of 2168 kg per hectare. It has been found to do well in all the major bajra growing regions of the country, and it was identified by the varietal identification committee meeting held in May 2001 at IARI.
This composite has recorded high grain and fodder yields in all the field trials as compared to other check varieties. Its superior performance in breeding and agronomic trials with reaction to downy mildew was in acceptable range, according to the scientists.
The bajra composite is raised like any other high yielding bajra varieties and hybrids. The same seed rate and cultural practices are recommended for its cultivation.
This improved variety does well in richly endowed soils. Even in poor and marginal soils, it has performed well.
It will respond well to application of liberal quantities of organic manure, and ecologically sound pest and disease management strategies.
In poor soils, application of good amounts of ripe farmyard manure, vermi culture, powdered neem cake and powdered rock phosphate along with a host of biofertilisers such as Azosprillum, Azotobacter and phosphobacterium will prove to be rewarding. The application of organic nutrients will make the crop stronger to withstand protracted drought conditions better.
Spraying with vermi-wash, cow's urine and a mixture of botanical insecticides at critical stages of crop development will stave off the pests and help in improving the grain size and quality as well.