Farmers to get new varieties of bengal gram suitable for machine harvesting

Agronomist S.B. Patil showing a new variety of bengal gram at Regional Agriculture Research Station in Vijayapura.

Agronomist S.B. Patil showing a new variety of bengal gram at Regional Agriculture Research Station in Vijayapura.   | Photo Credit: Rajendra Singh Hajeri

Bengal gram, which is cultivated in about 70% of the land in North Karnataka for the rabi season, gives good returns with limited expenditure.

But owing to the unavailability of labourers, the farmers here are facing a problem in harvesting this crop. It is also not suitable for machine harvesting.

But now in a year, the farmers will cultivate new varieties of the crop which will be suitable for machine harvesting and will also give a solution to increasing labour problem.

Researchers of agriculture universities of the State have not only developed special varieties of the bengal gram but have also successfully conducted its trials.

The varieties are called DBGV-204, GBM-2 and NBeG-47.

S.B. Patil, Agronomist of Regional Agriculture Research Station here, told The Hindu on how the new varieties are fit for machine harvesting.

“The traditional varieties, such as JG-11, are unfit for machine harvesting because the pods develop in the plant from less than 30 cm from the ground. This is a major drawback because the present harvesting machines needs pods to be at least 30 cm above the ground. If the pods develop below this height, then the machine will also pick up sand and stones while harvesting. If the height of the machine is raised, then only half of the pods get harvested, which is a loss to the farmer,” he said.

To overcome this problem, the researchers, instead of designing new machines, decided to develop the new varieties that develop pods from over 30 cm.

“Experts have not only developed the varieties but have also successfully conducted field trials. We have found multiple benefits of the new varieties,” Mr. Patil said.

He claimed that these new varieties also help in saving more space which enables the farmers to cultivate more crops.

“Unlike the traditional crop, where the plant develops more horizontally, the new ones develops more vertically, leaving additional space between two plants. While an acre requires some 20 kgs of the traditional seeds, for the varieties, the farmer could sow about 25 kg of seeds in an acre. This means more yield. At the same time, the farmer will save time and money as it is suitable for machine harvesting,” he said.

Mr. Patil said that from next Rabi reason, the farmers will be given these seeds on a pilot basis to sow and check its benefits.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 10:27:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/farmers-to-get-new-varieties-of-bengal-gram-suitable-for-machine-harvesting/article30652636.ece

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