A research by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University — Anbil Dharmalingam Agricultural College and Research Institute at Navalur Kuttapattu near here has proved that the ‘BPT 5204' variety, normally raised in fertile regions of delta districts, is ideally suited for the alkaline or sodic soil too.
The college, located in the Manikandam block with the single block accounting for largest area of sodic soil in the State, has conducted a research by sowing the variety in about 20 acres in its research fields.
The college was established on the sodic soil with a view to evolving paddy varieties tolerant to sodic or alkaline soil.
It has since evolved and recommended three varieties - TRY 1, TRY 2, and TNAU Rice TRY 3 - all suited for salt or alkaline soil.
“We have experimented on the BPT 5204 variety, popularly known as ‘delux ponni', and raised this medium duration 135-day crop in August last.
On Saturday, when the crop was harvested, the agricultural scientists of the college were taken by surprise to note that the average per hectare yield was about 7,500 kg.
“There has been a scramble among the farmers to go in for this variety which has an assured market. Obviously, there has been a growing demand for quality seeds. One major problem with the variety is that it is prone to pest attack and diseases.
The yield could be registered on the research campus because of the perfect crop protection techniques and disease management strategy,” says V.Jayabal, Dean of the college.
The college has brought about 39 acres under different varieties of paddy.
The largest area of 20 acres has been brought under ‘BPT 5204'; followed by eight acres under ‘TRY 1'; two acres under ‘TNAU Rice TRY 3'; 2.5 acres each under ‘white ponni' and 'ADT 49'; and 0.5 acre each under ‘TRY 2' and ‘ADT 46'; according to K.Annnadurai, professor and head of agronomy.
He said mechanical harvester was pressed into service for expeditious harvest of the produce.
S.K.Ganesh, professor and head, plant breeding and genetics, says that the harvest of other varieties would be taken up till mid-February.M.Balaganessin