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New varieties of black gram developed

P. Samuel Jonathan
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Field visit:Officials of the Regional Agricultural Research Station, Lam, inspecting the new disease-resistant variety of Blackgram grown in the farm in Guntur district on Friday.— Photo: T. Vijay Kumar
Field visit:Officials of the Regional Agricultural Research Station, Lam, inspecting the new disease-resistant variety of Blackgram grown in the farm in Guntur district on Friday.— Photo: T. Vijay Kumar

Scientists at the Regional Research Agricultural Station, Lam, have developed a new variety of disease resistant and high yielding variety of Black gram seed.

The new varieties LBG 787, LBG 791 and LBG 792 have been developed at RARS and are at advanced testing stage. Farmers would get to lay their hands on the new varieties next year after genetic multiplication of seeds.

For years, the Yellow Mosaic Virus (YMV) has caused havoc, destroying blackgram sown in hundreds of acres in the rice fallow in Guntur, Prakasam and Krishna districts under the Krishna Western Delta. The YMV renamed as YMD was characterised by blighting of leaves distinctly visible by the mosaic patterns of the leaves and discolouring of the pods.

Ravaged by the successive losses, farmers switched over to cultivation of Maize. Though cultivation of Maize has been considered an attractive proposition, the rising cost of cultivation, fertilizer and possibility of soil infertility now have cast a shadow.

It is at this juncture that the scientists have developed these high yielding and disease resistant black gram varieties rekindling hopes among many farmers.

“We have tested photo sensitive YMV resistant black gram genotypes in local weather conditions. We hope that the farmers would come back to the cultivation of Blackgram, which is most suited for rice fallows in delta region. I also congratulate the team of scientists of Pulses Division for sustained efforts in developing new varieties,” Associate Director of Research, RARS, Lam, R. Veeraraghaiah told The Hindu on Friday. Blackgram has been among the prized pulse crop in the State. It is cultivated in over 4.5 lakh hectares with a production of 2.67 lakh tones (2011-2012). It is cultivated in rice fallows, a unique cultivation practice in areas in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Orissa. The black gram sown 2-3 days before the harvest of the crop and survives on residual moisture and fertility. Over a period of time, black gram cultivation has taken a beating due to persistent attacks by viruses and powdery mildew diseases.

The disease resistant and high yielding variety will be available for farmers next year


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