New Finger Millet Varieties Resistant To Fungal Attacks

By TheHindu on 23 Jun 2015 | read
EARLY YIELDER: The crop comes to harvest in 100 - 130 days depending upon the variety. 

The crops can be grown both by drilling and transplanting

FINGER MILLET is an important millet crop grown all over India. The major finger millet cultivating states are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkand, Maharashtra and Uttaranchal. Karnataka has the largest area of about one million hectares under finger millet crop cultivation, followed by Orissa, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Uttaranchal. Finger Millet is known as Kelvaragu in Tamil, Maruva in Hindi, Moothari in Malayalam, Ragi in Telugu and Ragi mudde in KannadaResearchers at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore have developed four new finger millet varieties named GPU-28, GPU-26, GPU-45 and L-5.All the four varieties are suitable for growing in Karnataka and have been found to be resistant to fungal infestations, which is common in finger millet crops.

Twin advantage

The crops can be grown both as drilled and as transplanted crops, according to Prof. K.T. Krishne Gowda, Project Coordinator, Small Millets, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore.For transplanting, the seeds must be first grown on nursery beds well mixed with farmyard manure. The nursery must be irrigated every alternate day. After 20-25 days the seedlings can be transplanted from the nursery to the main field. About 5- 6 kg of seeds are required for a hectare. "Before sowing, the seeds must be treated with bio fertilizer such as Aspergillus awamuri and Azospirillum barasilense to increase the yield," said Prof. Gowda. "It is advisable for farmers to follow line sowing using a seed drill. If seed drill is not available then farmers may plough the field into furrows and sow the seeds 25-30 cm apart on them," he said. For transplanting, the seedlings should be planted 7-10 cm apart in the main field.Application of about 40-50 kg of urea in two equal splits, that is 50 per cent at the time of sowing and the remaining after 6-7 weeks must be done to increase grain yield, Prof. Gowda explained. About 2.5 tonnes of vermicompost should also be incorporated into the field and ploughed before sowing. Application of super phosphate and rock phosphate in the proportion 1: 1 must also be done before sowing the seeds, according to him.

Weed control

To control weed menace, spraying about 0.75 kg of 2,4-D 15-20 days after sowing may help, according to Prof. Gowda. "It is advisable for farmers in Karnataka to go for intercropping with crops such as field beans and pigeon pea (4:1 row proportion) along with finger milletas their main crop to increase their income," he said.Ragi and pigeon pea or field bean in 8:2 row proportions are found to give better monetary returns in Karnataka, according to him. "All the four varieties are relatively free from insects and diseases compared with other millet varieties," he said. The crop comes to harvest in about 100 - 130 days depending upon the variety."About 2.5 tonnes of grains per hectare can be obtained for crops grown under rainfed conditions, while the yield will be more for crops grown under irrigated conditions," he saidFor more information readers may contact Prof. K.T. Krishne Gowda, Project Coordinator, small millets, University of Agricultural Sciences, Gandhi Krishi Vignyan Kendra, Bangalore 560 065, Phone: 080-23332387, email: