Crop Improvement Division

 

    The Division has made several unique contributions like first dual purpose wheat variety in the country, first baby corn variety, first MAS-derived QPM hybrid in the country besides others, which make it stand as a centre of excellence in research related to genetics and plant breeding. The Division of Crop Improvement has so far developed 136 high yielding disease resistant varieties of 17 important hill crops. Many of them are popular among the farmers of the zone.  Some of them are popular in other parts of the country also. The Division has been continuously upgrading its research programmes, keeping in view the recent developments in crop genetics and breeding.

 

The most important accomplishments are:

 

·            Release of first hybrid maize variety VL Makka 54 in the country.

·            Release of first hybrid onion in the country viz., VL Piaz 67 for Uttarakhand and plains.

·            Combining winter and spring wheat genes to develop and release first early sown dual purpose facultative variety VL Gehun 616 in the country for hills.              Subsequent release of VL Gehun 829 which has become very popular in the country.

·            Release of first awnless wheat variety VL Gehun 738 in the country offering protection against hail storm damage at the time of harvest in hills.

·            Release of first ever extra-early dual purpose (grain and baby corn) double cross maize hybrid variety VL Makka 42 at national level.

·            Release of first extra early sweet corn single cross hybrid VL Sweet Corn 1 in the country. 

·            Release of first extra-early double top cross maize hybrid variety Him 129 at national level.

·            Release of VL Mandua 149, a blast resistant variety of finger millet across the country.

·            Release of spring rice variety VL Dhan 206, which has replaced local cultivars in substantial area in Uttarakhand.

·         First short duration direct seeded rice variety, VL Dhan 221 for double cropping under rainfed upland June-sown conditions in hills of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

·            Higher income generation by crop diversification through release of soybean variety of VL Soya 2 in hills.

·            Release of first black soybean (bhat) variety VL Soya 65.

·            Release of short duration pigeon pea variety VL Arhar 1 which fits well in the existing cropping system.

·            Release of two high value crop varieties VL Rajma 63 in rajmash and VL Bauni Bean 1 in French bean which have gained popularity over a wide range of environments in hills and plains.

·            Short duration garden pea variety, VL Ageti Matar 7 suitable for hills as well as plains as a better alternative by virtue of its being 5-7 days earlier and 10-15% higher yielder than Arkel.

·            Release of VL Tamatar 4 an OP variety as good as hybrid tomato in fruit yield both in polyhouse as well as open field conditions.

·            First open pollinated synthetic onion variety VL Piaz 3 for Uttarakhand.

·            First released variety of buckwheat, VL Ugal 7 for Uttarakhand.  

 

SEED PRODUCTION

·            More than 260 q truthfully-labelled seed has been produced during 2010-11 to 2014-15. In addition, about 1281.75 q breeder and 102 q nucleus seed of various improved varieties were produced during 2010-11 to 2014-15. As a result, high yielding varieties such as VL Gehun 829, VL Gehun 907  and VL Gehun 892 in wheat, Vivek QPM 9, Vivek Makka 31 and  Vivek Maize hybrid 45 in maize, VL Dhan 208 and  VL Dhan 62 in rice,  VL Soya 47 and VL Soya 65 in soybean, VL Ageti Matar 7 in garden pea, VL Tamatar 4 in tomato, VL Mandua 324 and VL Mandua 352 in finger millet, VL Arhar 1 in pigeonpea and VL Masoor 126 in lentil have become popular in several states of the country, particularly in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim , Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

 

 

GENETIC RESOURCES

·             More than 14,648 native and exotic collections of 23 different field crops have been evaluated and many of these have been utilized directly and indirectly in different crop improvement programmes.  As a result, a total 31 varieties in 11 crops have been developed comprising 19 varieties by direct use of local germplasm whereas, other twelve varieties have been developed through recombination breeding.

 

BIOTECHNOLOGY

 

Marker assisted selection for quality protein maize

 

     Maize endosperm consisting of approximately 9-12% protein is, however, deficient in two essential amino acids viz., lysine and tryptophan. The low nutritive value of maize is genetically enhanced and the biofortified form known as Quality Protein Maize (QPM) contains twice the amount of lysine and tryptophan coupled with protein of high biological value. Development of QPM germplasm through conventional plant breeding methods requires enormous time, labor and land/land resources since the opaque-2 gene, which is primarily responsible for the enhanced protein quality, is recessive in nature and its modifiers behave in a multigenic fashion. DNA-based markers hold great promise in accelerating the pace of conventional breeding procedures. At ICAR-VPKAS, we have successfully converted the inbreds of one of our hybrid into QPM inbreds through MAS and the reconstituted hybrid has been released as Vivek QPM 9. This hybrid has 40% higher tryptophan and 30% higher lysine as compared to original hybrid. The hybrid has been commercialized with 6 private seed sector companies for commercial seed production.

 

Marker aided pyramiding of blast resistance genes in hill rice

 

     Deployment of host resistance is by far the most effective means of controlling rice blast caused by the fungal pathogen, Magnaporthe grisea. Gene pyramiding, which refers to the combining of two or more major genes for resistance in a single plant genotype is one of the novel strategies to increase durability of resistance. A molecular breeding program with blast resistance as its principal objective was undertaken to pyramid major genes viz., Pi-1, Pi-2 & Pi-9 in a popular variety VL Dhan 206. The pyramided lines, though sub-par in yield compared to the protected check VL Dhan 206, are serving as donor stocks for blast resistance genes.

 

Marker aided selection for pyramiding of yellow rust resistance genes in popular wheat variety vl gehun 738

 

 Two yellow rust resistance genes Yr5 and Yr10 were pyramided in a popular wheat variety VL Gehun 738. The pyramided lines were tested in multi-location Initial Plant Pathological Screening Nursery (IPPSN). All the lines were found to be highly resistant to yellow rust. The background recovery was from 88.4 to 97.6 % in these lines. The yield potential varied from 39.57 to 49.64  q/ha as compared to 42.90 q/ha of the protected check VL Gehun 738.

 

Crop Production Division

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.

 

Crop Protection Section

             The main thrust of crop protection section research is to reduce the crop yield losses by management of diseases and insect-pests. Moreover, emphasis is on development of effective and eco-friendly crop management practices. The section aims to promote bio-intensive integrated pest and disease management with specific bioagents, organic amendments, cultural practices and enhanced varietal resistance.

Disease Scenario

·         Zonate leaf spot of maize caused by Gleocercspora sorghi was recorded for the first time in Uttarakhand in 2008.

·         Blast and brown leaf spot in rice, Turcicum leaf blight and Banded leaf and sheath blight in maize, blast in finger millet, yellow and brown rusts in wheat are the important diseases in cereals.

·         Frogeye leaf spot of soybean, tikka disease of groundnut, Alternaria leaf spot of toria are the major diseases of oilseeds.

·         Among pulse crops, wilt and root rot in lentil, wilt in pigeon pea, root rot in rajmash and anthracnose in horse gram appear in moderate intensities.

·         Purple blotch in onion and garlic, early blight, bacterial wilt, buckeye rot in tomato, powdery mildew and wilt in pea, root rot and black rot in cauliflower, angular leaf spot and rust in French bean, bacterial wilt, powdery mildew and anthracnose in capsicum are important diseases of vegetables.

 

Insect-pests Scenario

·        White grub, a polyphagous pest, which devastates a number of rainfed kharif crops, is the most menacing insect of the region and nearly 75 species of this insect have been recorded in Uttarakhand. 

 

·        In addition, stem borer and leaf folder in rice and small millets, hairy caterpillar and sucking bug in soybean, leaf miner in garden pea, pod borer in pea and gram, fruit borer in tomato, blister beetle in beans and pigeon pea, aphids in crucifers are other major pests.  

 

Crop Loss Assessment

Losses caused by major diseases and insects to important crops vary from slight to severe depending on the crop/variety and prevailing climatic conditions. Major pests, like blast and stem borer caused up to 65% and 52% losses, respectively in rice, stripe disease up to 72% in barley, white rot up to 58% in pea, buck eye rot up to 80% in tomato, anthracnose and frog eye leaf spot (combined) up to 30% in soybean and white grub up to 80% in rainfed rice.

 

Epidemiological Studies

Studies revealed that the temperature of 20-280C combined with RH > 80% is best suited for the development of Exserohilum turcicum in maize (Turcicum leaf blight) whereas minimum temperature of 15-200C along with higher number of days with RH  >90% are contributory factors for the development of blast disease in rice. July to September provide the most congenial environment for the development of these diseases.

 

Major Achievements

Resistant sources

The resistant genotypes were identified in various station, national and international nurseries in different crops. Artificial epiphytotics for blast in rice, turcicum blight in maize, rusts, loose smut and hill bunt in wheat are created to screen genotypes and advanced breeding lines thoroughly. Over the years, these evaluations have helped in identification of suitable high yielding genotypes with resistance/tolerance to major diseases and resulted in release of the varieties.

Genetic Stocks Registered

VL 798 (Reg. No. INGR 03007, IC 296431) Wheat - an immune stock to hill bunt disease, VL 639 (Reg. No. INGR 03011, IC 296480) Wheat - a resistant stock to loose smut have been registered with NBPGR. VSR 8 (Reg. No. INGR06002, IC546941) Rice - a source of blast resistance have been registered with NBPGR, New Delhi.

 

Eco-friendly management of diseases

·         Indigenous Trichoderma harzianum isolates either singly or in combinations, delivered as seed treatment, soil drenching and with fortified FYM, resulted in significant reduction in root rots of French bean and lentil, damping-off of cauliflower and white rot in pea.

·         Three isolates of Trichoderma harzianum have been identified as effective sclerotial parasites. These isolates significantly reduced seedling rot and white rot of pea.

·         Soil solarization along with incorporation of organic manures (FYM or poultry manure) prior to mulching, and seed treatment with Trichoderma isolates reduced damping-off in tomato.

·         Bio-fumigation with brassicaceous plants such as broccoli and toria were found effective in reducing root rot of cauliflower.

·         Soil and foliage application of composts and compost extracts prepared from poultry manure and Urtica sp. provided high suppression of Rhizoctonia root rot and angular leaf spot diseases of French bean.

·         Organic amendments with Ageratum, Parthenium and Urtica parviflora were found effective and resulted in significant reduction in the root rot incidence of cauliflower.

·         Effective management of diseases using plant part extracts such as Oxalis latifolia and Cannabis sativa extracts for hill bunt of wheat and walnut extract for stripe disease of barley was observed.

 

Management of Insects

·        Melia azedarach (Batain) seed kernel extract 10% was found to be effective against sucking bugs of French bean and soybean. Batain powder is used for the management of cutworms in chilies. Chemical insecticide, flubendiamide is found effective against pink borer, Sesamia inferens in rice. Deltamethrin is effective against blister beetles in pigeon pea and indoxacarb against Spodoptera litura in chili and tomato.

·        Diaretiella rapae is found to parasitize cabbage aphids, Brevicoryne brassicae to an extent of 8.4 to 12.6% in the field. Campoletis chlorideae is the major parasitoid of borer, Helicoverpa armigera in field conditions.

·        VL White grub Beetle Trap-1, an efficient and eco-friendly light based insect trap is found very effective in attracting and trapping Scarabaeid beetles. Beetles were trapped from second fortnight of May to September with a peak period of July. Anomala dimidiata is the predominant species followed by Holotrichia longipennis and H. seticollis.

·        A bacterium, Bacillus cereus strain WGPSB2 and Brevibacterium frigoritolerans HSB 15 are found effective against white grubs and thus mass multiplied, formulated in talc and used in white grub management. It is recommended to mix the talc based bacterial formulation in farmyard manure and subsequently in the fields.

·        Female pheromone of whitegrub, Holotrichia seticollis is isolated, identified and being used for the effective management of the pest.

Pollinator management

·         Apiary with Apis cerana and A. mellifera hives are established and used for planned honey bee pollination especially in cross pollinated crops.

·         About 20 species of non-Apis bee pollinators are identified and documented from the region.

·      Conservation of pollinators by managing their habitat is being practiced

 

Social Science Section

            Through several extension programs the institute has been doing technology dissemination work

Development of need based computer program:

            Genetic stock module database developed for rice, maize, wheat, oilseeds, pulses and finger millet crops. The system comprises of three main modules, viz., data entry, query and report generation. The user can retrieve the information on parameters such as sample location, collection year, accession number, tray number and passport information, if available.

     e-book created on ‘DUS Characterization of VPKAS maize varieties and inbreds’

Status of adoption of modern agricultural technologies

            Out of 16 agricultural technologies selected for the study, the five most adopted technologies were found to be as improved variety of vegetables (71.6%), improved variety of cereals (65%), improved fodder cultivation (51.67%), water harvesting tanks (46.7%) and polyhouse (43.3%). Factors limiting the adoption of improved agricultural technologies were identified as weather vagaries (83.3%), lack of irrigation facility (73.3%), wildlife damage (68.3%) disease and insect attack (66.7%) and fragmented landholdings.

 

Trend Analysis of Crop Production:

            Moving average time series analysis of crop production showed that

Studies on Drudgery Prone Activities and Nutritional Status of Hill Farm Women

The analysis of the information on food consumption pattern of the farm women in hills suggests that average per capita intake of cereals by farm women in low, mid and high hills was 12.5, 8.6 and 7.7 per cent less than Recommended Dietary Intake (ICMR), respectively. Average per capita intake of pulses was 56.1, 60.1 and 53.7 per cent less than RDA in low, mid and high hills, respectively. Roots and tuber consumption in low, mid and high hills was 114, 117, and 116 grams, which was 51.8, 55.8 and 54.2 per cent higher than RDI. Except for roots and tubers, the intake of all the other food groups was lower than recommended level in all the three regions of hills. Majority of the farm women of all the three regions were consuming protein and energy less than Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). A far as calcium intake is concerned, 11.5, 17.5 and 24 per cent respondents from low, mid and high hills were consuming calcium more than RDA.

            Paddy threshing and finger millet threshing activity with traditional methods and with mechanized thresher were analysed on the basis of suitable ergonomic parameters. Percent increase in heart rate by manual beating of paddy was 11.88 which was reduced upto 7.86 with paddy thresher. The total Cardiac Cost of Work (TCCW) and Physiological Cost of Work (PCW) were also reduced from 1880.1 to 1724 and 125.34-114.9 respectively from paddy threshers. In case of finger millet threshing, heart rate by manual beating of finger was 8.78 which were reduced upto 3.64 with Vivek millet thresher cum pearler. The TCCW and PCW were also reduced from 2017.5 to 1517.1 and 134.5 to 101.14 respectively from millet thresher.

Farm Advisory Service:

Farm advisory service were provided regularly by the institute experts through toll-free Krishak Helpline Telephone Seva (1800-180-2311), Call records are being maintained and data is being analysed time to time.

Institute is addressing farmers’ agriculture related queries through Krishak (Farmers’) Help Line Service along with Need Based SMS Service and mKisan. Weekly SMS alerts are being issued to farmers on agriculture related issues like insect-pest management, agronomic practices, irrigation, fertilizer application, etc. SMS on various issues enables farmers to react immediately for any clarification with the scientist through toll free telephone service. Similarly, queries registered through toll free number are addressed by sending personalized SMS to the farmers. A study was conducted to find out the ease of use, usefulness and attitude of farmers towards receiving SMS. It was found that 73 per cent farmers agreed that SMS received is fast, easy to understand and follow. Moreover it can be accessed at any time and from anywhere. Majority of the respondents informed that they require regular information on seed sowing (73 %), weeding (73 %) and plant protection (73 %) followed by fertilizer application (58 %) in different hill crops. Call records of Farm Advisory Service were analyzed and it was found that majority (27.2%) of the queries were related to plant protection measures followed by seed availability (15.9%).

Group Mobilization

        In order to enhance transfer of technologies through active participation of farmers, farmers were organized into groups like SHGs and Farmers’ Clubs.

Three farmers’ clubs formed by the institute were acknowledged by NABARD.

Vivekananda Kisan Club, Bhagartola

Received state level best farmers’ club award in 2010 by NABARD.

Vivekananda Kisan Club, Deengrigooth

Received state level best farmers’ club award in 2012 by NABARD.

Todhra Dudholi Kisan Club

Received District Level Best Farmers’ Club Awards in 2013.

            Formation of farmers’ group has reduced the risk- individual farmer’s face during seasonal shocks. It has provided space for members to discuss among themselves about credit worthiness, loan repayment, crop rotations to be followed, time of sowing, input availability and marketing of agriculture produce to the local markets. With the formation of farmers’ clubs, all members are undertaking collective purchase of seeds, fertilizers, insecticides and marketing. Moreover, transportation charges are also reduced as vegetables are collectively transported to the local market.

            In order to carry out marketing of farmers produce in organized way, farmers Producer Organisation (FPO) has been formed and registered under Self Reliant Cooperative Act.     

Front Line Demonstrations:

            Front Line Demonstrations of various crops (wheat, rice, pulses and millets) are being conducted in association with crop improvement division of the institute.

Study on migration of rural people to urban areas and related socio-economic indicators

            The study revealed that majority (77%) of the migrants was males while only 23 percent of the migrants were females. Migration of the males in such great number clearly indicates that the females are left behind in the rural areas. Majority of the migrants were in the age group of 15 to 50 years which is supposed to be the main workforce of the community. The study also depicts that lack of employment opportunities in the area is one of the major factor of migration (96.00%).

Dr. H.S. Gupta, Director receiving
the 'Sardar Patel Outstanding ICAR Institution Award 2000' from Hon'ble Union Minister for Agriculture and Railways Mr. Nitish Kumar on July 16, 2001.

 

Dr. H.S. Gupta receiving the coveted 'Sardar Patel Outstanding ICAR Institution Award 2000' from Hon'ble Union Minister for Agriculture and Railways, Mr. Nitish Kumar, on July 16, 2001

 

Dr. H.S. Gupta receiving the coveted 'Sardar Patel Outstanding ICAR Institution Award 2007' from Hon'ble Minister of  State for Agriculture on July 16, 2008

     

 

 Societal Innovation Award of NRDC

 

ICAR Team Award for enhancing productivity in rice-wheat system

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