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Two new aromatic rice for North-western plains

By Our Agriculture Correspondent

SCIENTISTS AT the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, have developed two new aromatic rice varieties, which are ideally suited for cultivating in the Basmati growing regions of the North-western plains.

The two high yielding varieties were released for commercial cultivation by the farmers under the names `Pusa Sugandh-2' and `Pusa Sugandh-3'.

Both the varieties were derived from the cross between `Pusa 1238-1' and `Pusa 1238-81-6'. They were developed with an objective of developing a Basmati quality restorer line for use in breeding hybrid rice, but since their field performances were quite impressive and their cooking traits also proved to be excellent, they were entered in national Basmati trials, and emerged as superior rice varieties worthy of release as pure-line variety, according to the scientists.

`Pusa Sugandh-2' is a medium-early variety with duration of 120-130 days. Growing to a height of 90-110 cm, it is moderately resistant to blast and neck blast. Being early in maturity, it also escapes bacterial leaf blight. It is also moderately resistant to leaf folder and resistant to gall midge (biotype-5).

It has strong culm, profuse tillering, tolerance to lodging and better nitrogen use efficiency. This variety is suitable for irrigated-transplanted conditions under rice-wheat cropping system and has tolerance to shattering. It produces extra long grains with strong aroma, and the grains have high milling recovery.

It has recorded an average yield of 3747 kg paddy per hectare under normal conditions, and it has registered a maximum grain yield of 6413 kg per hectare in the national trials. In quality characteristics, it has been found to be superior to many of the varieties tested along with it. It is likely to replace the traditional and commercially grown Basmati varieties like Basmati 370, Taraori Basmati, Pusa Basmati-1, Kasturi and Haryana Basmati. It is particularly suited for growing in the North-western plains including Uttaranchal, Western Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana.

The other variety, `Pusa Sugandh-3' grows up to a height of 100-115 cm, and it comes to harvest in 120-130 days.

It is resistant to brown spot and moderately resistant to blast. It is also resistant to gall midge (Biotype-5) and moderately resistant to leaf folder. It has strong culm, profuse tillers, and it is tolerant to lodging and shattering.

It is fit for growing under irrigated-transplanted rice-wheat cropping system on account of its earliness. It produces long grains with good aroma and excellent cooking qualities. It has recorded a high yield of 6363 kg grains per hectare in national trials, and has an average yield of 3903 kg per hectare under normal conditions.

It is also recommended for cultivation in the Basmati belts of the North-western India, according to the scientists.

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