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Thursday, April 12, 2001

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High yielding hybrid

By Our Agriculture Correspondent

SCIENTISTS AT the department of millets, Centre for Plant Breeding and Genetics, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore, have developed a high yielding pearl millet (cumbuin Tamil and bajra in Hindi) hybrid with built-in resistance to downy mildew disease. The university has recently released it for commercial cultivation by the farmers.

Christened, Cumbu hybrid- CO (Cu) H 8, the new hybrid has 5 to 8 productive tillers and produced compact ear head with medium sized grains. A cross between 732A and PT 4450, this hybrid has a duration of 80 to 85 days. It is ideally for kharif, rabi and summer seasons. It has recorded an average yield of 2841 kg per hectare as a rainfed crop, and 3682 kg per hectare under irrigated conditions, according to scientists.

It has been extensively tested in Tamil Nadu and other states under station trials, multilocation trials, adaptive research trials and All India trials. It performed well in both rainfed and irrigated conditions (summer). It had consistently out yielded the hybrid X 7 and the composite CO 7 in all the trials in both rainfed and irrigated situations.

The hybrid millet grows to a height of 140 to 170 cm, and yields spindle type ear heads of 20 cm to 30 cm long. The amber coloured grains weigh 8.5 g to 9.5 per thousand. The protein content is about 13. 8 per cent, and the grains are of acceptable cooking quality. The early-maturing hybrid has field tolerance to downy mildew disease, and is free of major pests, according to scientists.

The hybrid is recommended for cultivation as a rainfed crop in Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Madurai, Salem, Pudukkottai, Namakkal, Dharmapuri, Tuticorin and Dindigul. As an irrigated crop it has been found to do well in Coimbatore, Vellore, Sivaganga, Cudddalore, Madurai, Salem, Namakkal, Erode, Trichy, Dindigul and Virudhunagar.

About 5 kg seeds will be required to cover a hectare. Proper seed treatment should be done before sowing. About three packets (600 g) of azospirillum should be mixed with the seeds prior to sowing. A spacing of 45 cm between rows and 15 cm between plants within a row should be maintained for vigorous growth of the plants. For the irrigated crop, a basal dressing of 12. 5 tonnes of farmyard along with 40 kg each of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash is recommended per hectare. About 4 packets of azospirillum are to be applied in the main field. The remaining 40 kg nitrogen should be applied as top dressing on the 30 th day after sowing.

For the rainfed crop, the basal dressing of 12. 5 tonnes of farmyard manure should be applied along with 40 kg nitrogen and 20 kg each of phosphorus and potash per hectare.

The biofertiliser, azospirillum should be applied as basal dressing. The crop should be thinned on the 20 th day after sowing.

The field should be free of weeds and irrigation should be given based on soil moisture regimen. For transplanted crop the beds should be treated with appropriate botanical insecticide to ward off shoot fly. For the direct sown crop suitable plant protection measures should be taken up to avoid the pest incidence, according to the scientists.

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