February 2, 2006
RESEARCHERS AT the National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB), Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu have developed a new hybrid plantain variety named Udhayam.The variety is found to be tolerant to low temperatures and can be grown in a wide variety of soils, according to the researchers. The researchers did a comparative study of Udhayam with other local varieties such as Karpuravalli variety of Tamil Nadu, Kanthali variety of Bihar, Boodida Bukkisa variety of Andhra Pradesh and Boodi Bale variety of Karnataka.
Based on the study, it was found that the new variety exhibited several traits, such as more bunch weight (37-45 kgs), more hands per bunch (18), more fingers per hand (17-18) and longer fingers (13-16 cm) than other varieties.The study also proved that this variety is tolerant to Sigatoka leaf spot virus disease and nematode infestations, which are common in banana plantations. The plant is robust by nature and able to withstand strong winds. The fruits can be harvested 13-14 months after planting and the yield is 40 per cent more than the local Karpuravalli variety, which comes to harvest in 14-15 months after planting, according to researchers.
The fruit bunch is cylindrical in shape and has a shelf life of 12-15 days after harvest, which makes it hardy for long distance transportation, according to the reasearchers. Ratoon (new shoot from the ground after cropping) crop duration is only 12-13 months and thus conveniently three crops (one plant crop and two ratoons) can be completed in three years, according to them.Udayam is found susceptible to fusarium wilt infestation. Use of healthy planting material and better drainage facility in the fields may help in the prevention of this infestation, according to researchers. About 2,400-2,500 suckers are required for planting in one hectare. The suckers have to be treated with a dose of one per cent monocrotophos or bavistin solution for 15 minutes. They should then be planted in cubicle pits 2 x 2 mts apart.About 3-5 kg of vermicompost and 15 gm of furadon must be added at the time of planting to prevent nematode infestations.
A fertiliser dose of 550 gms of urea, 300 gms of super phosphate and 550 gms ofpotash must be applied in three equal splits during the third, fifth and seventh months after planting. A second application of 100gms of urea and potash each must be done after the plants start flowering (after 11 months) to aid better fruit setting, according to researchers.
Regular desuckering has to be done from the third month of planting and flowers are allowed to form only after the bunch has attained 30-40 per cent maturity (after 12 months).During summer, the bunch stalk must be covered with a cloth or a plastic sheet to prevent bunch rot and improper bunch formation.For more information readers may contact the Director, National Research Centre for Banana (Indian Council for Agricultural Research), Thogamalai road, Thayanur post, Tiruchi- 620 102, phone: 0431-2618106, email: firstname.lastname@example.org