SCI-TECH & AGRI

Groundnut variety that requires less irrigation

Better yield: The farmer, Dhirajlal Thummar, in Gujarat with his crop ready for harvest.

Better yield: The farmer, Dhirajlal Thummar, in Gujarat with his crop ready for harvest.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: Special Arrangement

M.J. PRABU

Oil content is 42-45 per cent and yields, 3,200-3,500 kgs from a hectare

A MAJORITY of farmers, when their crops fail successively due to some pest attack, invariably go in either for a change in their cropping pattern, or in some cases, even stop farming. But it is only a few determined farmer who try to find the root cause of the problem and overcome it.

Mr. Dhirajlal Virjibhai Thummar, a groundnut farmer in Gujarat, is credited with developing a new groundnut variety named "Dhiraj 101," which is resistant to stem rot.

The crop matures in 95-105 days and bears 35-40 pods per plant. About 90-100 kg of seeds are required for an hectare.

“Groundnut cultivation is a major source of income for many farmers like me in this region. With five wells and a borewell, our fields are well irrigated. Apart from groundnut

“I also grow cotton (BT and Shankar varieties), sorghum, wheat and vegetables. Sorghum is grown primarily for the cattle and vegetables for our own consumption,” says the farmer.

Complete failure

In the year 2004 he sowed GG-20 groundnut variety and the whole crop got infested with the stem rot disease resulting in wilting and almost complete failure of the crop.

“However, I identified a few plants, which are not affected by this disease. Believing that these may contain some inherent property that makes them stem rot-resistant, I harvested and kept the seeds of these plants separately.”

The farmer sowed the seeds separately in the next season and continued the screening and selection for three consecutive years. Finally he obtained plants, which were free from stem rot and wilt.

Higher oil content

At 3,200-3,500 kg per hectare, the yield is higher than locally cultivated varieties (GG 20 & GG 2). The oil content is also higher at around 42-45 per cent according to him. This variety performs well in average monsoon as well as in less irrigation conditions.

To promote good crop growth, Mr. Thummar used only herbal pesticide such as neem, kidamari (Dutchman’s Pipe), tulsi (Holy Basil) and akda (swallow-wort) for controlling insect pests and diseases. He also distributed seeds to some farmers in Amreli, Rajkot and Bhavnagar districts of Saurashtra regions. Encouraging feedback was received mentioning that the variety is free from wilt and rust diseases, also giving higher production than the GG20 variety.

They added that it had relatively stronger pods, which remain at a lesser depth than the GG20 variety in the soil.

“Soil conservation and crops that requires less water are urgent needs for farmers to keep agriculture sustainable in changing climatic conditions,” says Mr. Thummar.

Urgent need

Professor Anil Gupta, vice-chairperson, National Innovation Foundation says, “Many technical innovations have been centred on groundnut crop in our country. There is an urgent need to invent and popularise crop varieties, which require less water and have more productivity and at the same time are affordable to farmers.”

NIF facilitated the field trial of ‘Dhiraj101’ at the Oil Seed Research Station, Junagarh.

More yield

The report mentions that it is resistant to stem rot also and its production is 1.5 times more than the variety ‘GG-20’. Also, it performs well even in average monsoon conditions and requires less irrigation.

This variety matures eight to ten days earlier than the GG-20, and also has more average oil content.

For more information readers can contact Prof Anil Gupta through email at >anilgb@gmail.com and Mr. Dhirajlal Virjibhai Thummar, Via Mota Akadiya, PO Pipal lag, Taluka Pipal lag, Amreli 365455, Gujarat, mobile: 02792-286093, 9825513469.



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