PAU PARMAL VARIETIES SURPASS PUSA VARIETIES IN PUNJAB
CULTIVATE SHORT DURATION, HIGH YIELDING PARMAL VARIETIES: PAU URGES FARMERS
LUDHIANA, MAY 2:
Decline in underground water table, formation of hard pan in soil, pollution and many other problems are associated with paddy cultivation. Keeping these issues in view, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has developed short duration, high yielding Parmal varieties, which have set records in terms of productivity and contribution to the central rice pool, said Dr G.S. Mangat, Head, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, PAU. These varieties require less water, produce less stubble and give better yield, he said, while disclosing that the area under PAU developed short varieties has jumped from 32 per cent in 2012 to 82 per cent in 2018 in Punjab.
Further Dr Mangat said, “As per Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act, 2009, the date for nursery sowing and transplanting of paddy was fixed as June 10. Later, in 2014, it was shifted to June 15 and in 2018 to June 20.” The short duration paddy varieties PR 121, PR 122, PR 124 and PR 126, developed by PAU, have set records in terms of productivity and contribution to nation’s food grain bowl, he added.
Dr Mangat pointed out that some farmers cultivate Pusa 44 and Peeli Pusa with the perception that owing to their higher yield, these are more profitable. “After taking into account all the additional costs incurred on the cultivation of Pusa 44, its net returns over PR 126 and PR 121 varieties were less by Rs 176 and Rs 278 per acre, respectively. If the cost of free electricity supplied to the farmers for irrigation is also taken into account in the input costs, the net returns from PR 126 and PR 121 varieties will be much higher than Pusa 44,” he revealed. The ‘PR’ varieties require less irrigation and pesticides, he said.
Elaborating, Dr Mangat divulged, “Water table of the state is declining @ 0.51 meter per annum. But the rate of water table fall in the central districts (Barnala, Bathinda, Ludhiana, Mansa, Moga and Sangrur) is more than 1.0 meter per annum, which is a matter of serious concern. In spite of heavy rainfall during monsoon 2018, the recharge of water table in these districts is negative, which calls for attention of experts, he observed. According to the survey data, these districts have a sizeable area of 40 to 60 per cent under long duration varieties Pusa 44 and Peeli Pusa, which are water guzzling varieties, he added.
Dr Mangat said although the area under Pusa 44 and Peeli Pusa has decreased by 30 to 40 per cent, yet it is important to give up the cultivation of both these varieties in view of water crisis and paddy straw burning issue. He called upon the farmers to cultivate PAU developed short duration, high yielding Parmal varieties to reap economic benefits and conserve natural resources.
PAU ORGANIZES LECTURE ON PRECISION AGRICULTURE UNDER NAAS
Ludhiana, May 2… The Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, under the aegis of NAAS (Ludhiana Chapter), today organized a lecture on ‘Remote Sensing for Precision Agriculture and Plant Phenomics’ by Dr Rabi Narayan Sahoo from the Division of Agricultural Physics, ICAR- Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. Reffering to precision agriculture as a smart farming approach to agriculture, Dr Sahoo elaborated on the suite of technologies available for smart farming including GPS guided sensors, precision variable rate technology, Robotics, UAVs, IOTs and data analytics. Their scope informed the highly decorated scientist covers the whole agricultural industrial chain starting right from farm production, processing, marketing, management to service. He further dwelled on the use of remote sensing in phenomics that is the science of physical and biochemical traits of plants such as plant growth, performance and composition. While discussing the technology requirements of precision agriculture, Dr Sahoo explained how GPS (Global Positioning System) is able to identify each field location. He said the ability to capture, interpret and analyze agronomic data at an appropriate scale and frequency can be easily accomplished by remote sensing. He also revealed sensors like multispectral, hyperspectral, thermal etc in plant phenotyping aqnd precision agriculture. “With ISRO launching its own global positioning system, ‘GAGAN and IRNSS, there is a lot of scope in agriculture particularly field surveys’, remarked dr Sahoo, while elaborating that out of the 158 missions in space, 92 had used remote sensing that is going to capture agriculture too in a big way in the coming future.
Vice Chancellor, PAU and Padam Shri Awardee, Dr B.S. Dhillon applauded Dr Sahoo for sharing a wealth of knowledge about remote sensing and its application in precision agriculture, which promises to change the way farming is practiced. Earlier Dr Dhillon extended a warm floral welcome to the guest speaker. Dr P.K. Chhuneja, Professor, Entomology coordinated the programme. University Officers, Deans, Directors, Faculty and students were present in large numbers for the lecture.