Natural Resource Mgmt.

      Crop Management

Suitable package of practices including optimum sowing time, fertilizer dose, seed rate, spacing, sowing methods and weed management for the major crops of the region  have been standardized with due emphasis on rainfed agriculture and development of low input technology. More remunerative intercropping and multiple cropping sequences have also been identified. Production technology of Baby Corn as high value vegetable crop has been developed.         

             Farmers' practice of high density nursery (300 – 350 g/m2 nursery) and transplanting 4 –5 seedlings at 10 x 10 cm spacing gives 41 q/ha grain yield. This can be significantly improved by recommended practice of nursery, (seeding 60 g/m2) and transplanting (2 seedlings at 20 x 10 cm spacing) which results in production of 53 q/ha rice. Under  delayed  conditions, seedlings of  VL 62 (a semi tall variety)  could  be transplanted up to 60 days age, which avoids delayed maturity. The ideal transplanting time is 3rd  week of June, using 45 days old seedlings.

 The impact of resource conservation technologies in the rice-wheat cropping system indicated that conventional tillage in rice while zero tillage in wheat proved better in term of grain yield. The crop residues (stubbles) of previous crop retained at height of 15 cm resulted into higher yield as compared to the stubbles of 5 and 10 cm height in both rice as well as wheat. The findings suggested that wheat crop is more suitable for resource conservation technologies in a long run than rice crop.

          Seed drill sowing resulted into 7.9 per cent higher wheat grain yield than normal line sowing (2,374 kg/ha) and 87.0 per cent higher than farmer’s practice. Mulching in wheat through hoeing resulted into 7.6 % higher yield than no mulch. Sowing with seed drill under zero tillage using mulch fetched highest net returns (Rs 32,392/- per ha) with BC ratio of 2.45.

            Under rain-fed conditions, seed soaking with 1000ppm thiourea + FYM packing + dew harvesting gave highest yield and it was closely followed by seed soaking + two sprays at tillering and booting stages with 1000ppm thiourea. The seed soaking + two sprays gave 8.7% higher yield than control. Combined effect of seed soaking and spray also resulted in highest B:C ratio (2.64) than their individual application in wheat.

Application of 40 kg N/ha is the best to realize the potential yield of finger millet varieties (VL 146, VL 149) and  barnyard millet varieties (VL 21, VL 29, VL 172, and VL 181). Transplanting resulted into 21.7% higher finger millet grain yield than direct sowing in lines and 137.3% higher than farmer’s practice. Application of mulch in finger millet proved beneficial and recorded 19.4% higher yield than no mulch.

            Reduction in grain yield due to cutting of fodder in dual purpose wheat, VL 616 (green fodder + grain) could be offset by increasing the seed rate by 20 kg seed/ha, and applying additional 30 kg N/ha.  Kudzu (Pureria thumbergiana), grown on waste lands, has been found to supply maximum biomass and nutrient for manuring. 

            Optimum population of soybean for higher yield is  0.3 million plants/ha, (22 q/ha) which is 2.9 and 26.8 per cent higher than the yield obtained under the population of 0.45 and 0.6 millions plants/ha, respectively. The higher green pod yield of garden pea can be obtained with the application of poultry manure @ 5 t/ha (176 q/ha). Application of 100 kg N along with FYM @ 20 t/ha has been found to be the best to realize the potential yield of okra (VL Bhindi 1). Planting of okra at the spacing 45 x 150 cm spacing is most suitable giving a yield of 244 q/ha.

            Weed control is essential for realizing production potential and imparting profitability in the field crops. In addition, the use of herbicides  helps in reducing the drudgery of the women. Pre-emergence application of isoproturon 0.5 kg a.i./ha mixed with 1% CaSO4 solution is effective in weed control and production of finger millet (17 q/ha). Soybean production (21 q/ha) similar to 2 hand weeding can be obtained by pre-plant soil incorporation of new herbicide-squadron @ 2.0 litre/ha. In hybrid tomato and garden pea, imposition of weed management from 45 – 60 days and 30 – 90 days period is crucial for realizing their potential yield. Pre + one hand weeding and pre- + post-emergence application of herbicides significantly enhanced the system productivity compared to weedy check in soybean-wheat cropping system.

 

 

Cropping Systems

Intercropping

Intercropping of finger millet (transplanted) + pigeon pea in the row ratio of 4:1 is  better in terms of  finger millet equivalent yield (66 q/ha), net returns (Rs. 20 thousand/ha) and LER (1.26) under rainfed condition. Intercropping of groundnut in pigeon pea in 1:1 ratio gives the highest pigeon pea equivalent yield (46 q/ha) and LER (1.4) followed by pigeon pea paired row + 1 row groundnut (45 q/ha) and LER (1.35). Sole pigeon pea resulted  30 q/ha yield.

Fallow Management

In traditional spring rice – wheat – finger millet – fallow and barnyard millet – wheat – finger millet – fallow, the fallow period can be replaced by cultivation of toria/lentil under rainfed condition. In traditionally cultivated transplanted rice-fallow-potato cropping system under valley areas, the fallow period can be replaced by toria/radish/cabbage under irrigated condition.

Relay Cropping

Relay intercropping of potato (one row) within paired rows of maize and two rows of potato in between two paired rows of maize (40/80 cm) recorded highest maize equivalent yield (220 q/ha), gross return (Rs.110 thousand/ha), net returns (Rs. 50 thousand/ha), BC ratio (1.83) and LER (1.98). Relay intercropping of hybrid tomato in maize in the row ratio of 1:1 could be another option providing higher production of 525q/ha (maize equivalent) and net returns (Rs. 200 thousands/ ha) with LER of 1.89. 

 

Water Management

Technology for storing surplus water in polythene-lined tanks has been standardized. It is not only cheaper than cement tanks but is also superior for this earthquake-prone zone. Three LDPE films-lined tanks (capacity 2.8 m3) were compared using different lining materials. The storage capacity increases by 13 % in case of tarfelt lining followed by 8% in case of Khas Khas grass as compared to the stone pitching.

            Crop water use and moisture extraction pattern of important kharif and rabi crops under rainfed condition have been determined. Irrigation schedules based on IW/CPE,  for rice, wheat and vegetables have been worked out to achieve high water use efficiency. Information on drip irrigation in tomato has also been generated. In situ and ex-situ mulches  have been tried for moisture conservation. Wheat variety, VL 421 shows better relationship with water expense than VL 719 and VL 738. The significant highest fruit yield (38.12 t/ha) of summer squash was obtained at IW/CPE  0.6 irrigation applied through drip as compared to all other check basin irrigation treatments (IW/CPE equal to 0.4, 0.8 and 1.2). Hydrological behavior in N-W Himalayas indicates that soil erosion is higher in pine sub watershed followed by agriculture and mixed sub-watershed. Sediment load in runoff varies from 1.9 g to 5.2 g/l. Higher soil erosion is related to absence of ground cover.       

 

 

Fodder Production

Suitable grasses and legumes have been identified and their management practices developed for improving the fodder productivity of native grasslands. Production technology of dual purpose crops (wheat, barley and oat) for grain and green fodder as well as different cultivated fodders have been developed. Two winter grasses, viz., tall fescue and perennial rye have been found promising under rainfed condition. On steep sloping lands, planting of fuel-cum-fodder trees ( Quercus leucotriphophora, Grewia optiva, Morus alba) by improved pit technique shows better establishment and faster growth and reduced erosion than the traditional pit planting. Turmeric and ginger can be successfully  grown under fodder trees in silvi-horti system. On field terrace risers, Pennisetum  purepureum (hybrid napier) is the most effective fodder grass. 

 

MICROBIAL RESOURCES

Plant Growth Promoting Bacterial (PGPB) culture collection

A total of ~1200 bacterial cultures were isolated from soil/ rhizosphere/ endorhizosphere of crop plants collected from different geographical locations of Uttarakhand Himalayas have been maintained in glycerol stocks at –80OC. Thirty elite plant growth promoting bacterial isolates were identified based on their 16S rRNA sequences and deposited at IMTECH, Chandigarh, NBAIM, Mau and GenBank accession number obtained for all the deposited isolates viz., Pseudomonas lurida NPRs3 (MTCC 9767);  Pseudomonas lurida NPRp15 ( MTCC 9246);  Pseudomonas sp. NARs1; Pseudomonas sp. NARs9 ( MTCC 9002); Pseudomonas sp. PPERs23 (MTCC 8999); Pseudomonas jessenii  PGRs1 (MTCC 9864); Pseudomonas putida PGRs4; Pseudomonas sp. PGERs17( MTCC 9000); Pseudomonas sp. PCRs4( MTCC 9001); Pseudomonas putida PBRs5( MTCC 9247); Pseudomonas koreensis PBRs7 (MTCC 9865); Pseudomonas fluorescens-PPRs4 (MTCC 9768); Pantoea dispersa  1A (MTCC 8706) ; Pseudomonas fragi CS11RH1 (MTCC 8984); Pseudomonas sp PCRP7(2) (MTCC 8985); Pseudomonas sp RT6RP (MTCC 8986); Pseudomonas poae RT5RP2 (MTCC 9243); Pseudomonas lurida M2RH3 (MTCC 9245); Pseudomonas poae (MTCC 9244); Pseudomonas sp PCRP7(2); Pseudomonas lurida NPRs3 (MTCC 9767); Pseudomonas fluorescens-PPRs4 (MTCC 9768); Pseudomonas fragi-CS11RH4 (MTCC 10212); Enterobecter ludwigii-HSBN1; Bacillus thuringiensis KR1; Serratia marcescens KR4; Enterobacter asburiae KR3; Stenotrophomonas maltophila  A-BYM; Exiguobacterium acetylicum  1P (MTCC 8707); Serratia marcescens  SRM (MTCC 8708)

Nitrogen fixing

Three symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria isolated from nodules of pea, rajmash and soybean were identified based on their 16S rRNA sequences viz., Rhizobium leguminosarum-PR1 (MTCC 9248), Rhizobium leguminosarum-FB1 (MTCC 9766) and Bradyrhizobium sp. SB1 respectively.

 

Talc based formulation of entomopathogenic bacteria

 

Bacillus cereus WGPSB-2

A total of 38 bacterial isolates that were pathogenic to white grubs were obtained from diseased larvae obtained from three different geographical region of Uttrakhand state. One promising isolate WGPSB-2 was isolated from moribund larva of Anomala dimidiata and has been identified as Bacillus cereus (MTCC 7182) by IMTECH, ChandigarhCauses mortality of II instar larvae of Anomala dimidiata and Holotrichia setticollis due to the production of lipase toxin-phospholipase C. A talc based formulation of the bacterium has been developed and nearly 150 kg of talc based formulations of Bacillus cereus WGPSB-2 were prepare and checked for spore load, for use in AICRP trials for the white grub control. 

Protected Cultivation

Low cost polyhouse technology  has been developed for protected cultivation. Crops and seedlings can successfully be grown during winter in the poly houses, which are, otherwise, not possible outside due to prevailing low temperature. Package and practices for growing vegetables under low cost polyhouse have been developed and standardized.

            Quonset type G.I.-based polyhouse (dimension - 10 x 4.0 x 2.25 m) have been evaluated for off-season vegetable cultivation. Fan and pad cooled polyhouses (with controlled climatic parameters like temperature and humidity) is better than naturally ventilated polyhouse. Tomato (Manisha) and vegetable pea (VL Ageti matar 7) can be successfully grown in these polyhouses. Bamboo-based polyhouse (even span dimension - 7.5 x 4.0 x 2.6 m) has been constructed at farmers' field. The cost of bamboo-based polyhouse and G.I.-based polyhouse is Rs.3,150.00 and Rs.12,500.00 for floor area of 30 and 45 sq.m. respectively. MS angle-based polyhouses constructed in participatory mode have been well accepted by the farmers. Some of the polyhouse are being used for geranium cultivation whereas others are utilized for growing high value crops.

 

Post HARVEST Technology

Fruits and vegetables are some of the most important commercial crops in hill farming, however, they normally face 10 to  > 20 % losses which adversely affects the income. Finger and barnyard millets are important cereal crops of the hills. Threshing of these crops is a lengthy and tedious process and it causes severe drudgery to the farm women. A highly efficient finger millet and barnyard millet thresher with > 98% threshing efficiency and with > 90% pearling efficiency has successfully been designed and developed. This thresher has been well-received by the cultivators as well as the development agencies. Prototype of this thresher is being provided to all the blocks of Almora districts in collaboration with Government of Uttarakhand.

Barnyard millet cake was prepared and standardized using ingredients including 600 g of wheat flour, 400 g of barnyard millet flour, 1tsp baking powder, 2 eggs, 125 ml (1 cup) oil, 2 tsp vanilla essence and 1 cup (powdered) sugar. First of all sift flour and baking powder (dry ingredients). Beat oil, egg & sugar till it acquires milky appearance and add to above. Mix, vanilla essence and mix flour mix to above liquid mixture little at a time. If mix appears thick, add 1-2 tsp of milk. Grease the cake ties with oil and flour. Pour cake mix over it & place it in microwave oven at preheat at 180 °C for 30-35 minutes or till a knife inserted comes out plain. A pillow of size L x W x H: 500 x 250 x 110 mm was made using barnyard millet husk and 100 micron ultraviolet stabilized polyfilm. The weight of the pillow was 2 kg.

 

Farm Mechanization

  • Use of weed wiper resulted into 297, 53, 76 and 33% higher yield than control in finger millet, wheat, horsegram and lentil, respectively. On an average there was 90% increase in grain yield due to weed wiper over control. Although manual weeding recorded 24% higher yield than weed wiper but it incurred very high cost of cultivation. The cost of weeding in these crops with wiper was found 89.9% less as compared to manual weeding. Thus, weed wiper proved very economical in terms of weed control and gave highest B:C ratio (1.61, 1.99, 3.12 and 1.22 in fingermillet, wheat, horsegram and lentil, respectively). Relatively simple, low-cost, light weight hand-held weed wiper appears to be new tool for drudgery reduction saving labor and time. It was also found to be effective in terms of yield with favorable economics for weed control. The prospect warrants accelerated investigation and follows up.
  • Under poor residual soil moisture conditions, sowing of wheat with multi-crop planter resulted into highest emergence (37.7%) as compared to only 1.8 and 6.8% in broadcasting and line sowing, respectively (Fig. 1). Among the two fertility levels, control (no fertilizer) performed much better (25.9%) than recommended dose (60:30:20 kg of N:P2O5:K2O per ha) of fertilizers (4.9%) because there was fertilizer injury under low soil moisture.
  • Under poor residual soil moisture conditions, highest wheat grain yield was recorded under sowing with multi-crop planter and it was 18.8 and 8.8 higher than broadcasting and manual line sowing, respectively. The recommended dose of fertilizer resulted in 21.8 per cent higher grain yield than no fertilizer application. The results indicate that sowing of wheat with recommended dose of fertilizer through manual/animal drawn multi-crop planter, which provides simultaneous placement of seed and fertilizer, can be very useful under extremely low/residual soil moisture conditions which are more prevalent at the sowing time of rabi crops in the region.

 

Plasticulutre ENgineering and Technologies

  • When compared, open and protected cultivation independent of irrigation, it was found that protected cultivation gave 46.2 per cent higher average vegetable yield than open conditions (13050 kg/ha). The study further showed that the average water use efficiency was also higher (59.5 kg/ha-mm) in MIS than the manual system of irrigation where it was only 30.9 kg/ha-mm. The highest B:C ratio (3.01) was found in protected cultivation with micro-irrigation system (MIS) with net returns Rs. 187479/- per ha followed by protected manually irrigated condition with B:C ratio of 2.76 and net returns of Rs. 170351/- per ha. The study also revealed that the manual irrigation was time consuming activity and involved more family labor than MIS.
  • Among different polytank structures, polytank with bottom sand (4 inch) resulted into better growth of all the 3 exotic carps. Among the 3 species, grass carp performed best and its feeding was found easy for the farmers. The seasonal trend of water temperature (°C) in different types of ponds showed that temperature in polytank was comparatively higher than earthen and cemented ponds. The highest average yield of fish was obtained in case of grass carp followed by silver and common carps.
  • Low cost polyhouse technology  has been developed for protected cultivation. Crops and seedlings can successfully be grown during winter in the poly houses, which are, otherwise, not possible outside due to prevailing low temperature. Package and practices for growing vegetables under low cost polyhouse have been developed and standardized.
  • Quonset type G.I.-based polyhouse (dimension - 10 x 4.0 x 2.25 m) have been evaluated for off-season vegetable cultivation. Fan and pad cooled polyhouses (with controlled climatic parameters like temperature and humidity) is better than naturally ventilated polyhouse. Tomato (Manisha) and vegetable pea (VL Ageti matar 7) can be successfully grown in these polyhouses. Bamboo-based polyhouse (even span dimension - 7.5 x 4.0 x 2.6 m) has been constructed at farmers' field. The cost of bamboo-based polyhouse and G.I.-based polyhouse is Rs.3,150.00 and Rs.12,500.00 for floor area of 30 and 45 sq.m., respectively. MS angle-based polyhouses constructed in participatory mode have been well accepted by the farmers. Some of the polyhouse are being used for geranium cultivation whereas others are utilized for growing high value crops.