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Officials pitch in with spray to save standing paddy crop

The Agriculture Department and Krishi Vigyan Kendra of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (KVK-TNAU) have stepped in to help farmers, who were struggling to save standing paddy crop by buying water.

After ‘The Hindu’ reported the plight of the farmers fighting hard to save the crop at the terminal stage in Erumaipatti, Naranamangalam and Mudhunal in Ramanathapuram block, officials of the department and the KVK have come to the rescue of the farmers.

Farmers in these areas had managed to bring up the crop for the first 60 days, using water from nearby waterbodies, but found it difficult after the water level in the irrigation tanks went low. While a section of them hired diesel engines for Rs.200 an hour to pump water, others left the crop to wither away.
Keeping hopes alive:A farmer spraying Pink Pigmented Facultative Methylotroph (PPFM) on the crop at Mudhunal in Ramanathapuram on Friday.— Photo: L. BALACHANDAR
As the tanks went dry and the crop, cultivated on about 100 acres in Erumaipatti and Naranamangalam areas and about 70 acres in Mudhunal were at the terminal stage, the farmers became desperate and hired water tankers paying Rs.1,200 for 6,000 litres of water.

Reacting to the report, R. Ramasamy Pandian, Assistant Director of the Agriculture Department (Ramanathapuram block), visited the areas and coordinated with the KVK to spray Pink Pigmented Facultative Methylotroph (PPFM) bacteria to mitigate drought and save the crop.

The KVK sprayed the PPFM on about 15 acres at Erumaipatti and Naranamangalam and about 10 acres in Mudhunal, free of cost, demonstrating the efficacy of the spray to mitigate drought even as the farmers substituted it with life-saving irrigation, R. Durai Singh, Programme Coordinator, KVK-TNAU, said here on Friday. The farmers were encouraged to spray the PPFM, by spending about Rs.200 an acre, he said.

As the farmers could not judiciously use the water from tankers, the KVK helped them with mini mobile sprinklers. By letting out the water from the tankers, the farmers could irrigate only about 20 cents in an acre, but by using the mobile sprinklers they could use one tanker of water for the entire one-acre area, Mr.Durai Singh told ‘The Hindu.’

R. Balasundaramurthy, a progressive farmer in Mudhunal, said farmers who had cultivated paddy crop on about 70 acres in the area could save it only on 10 acres.

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TRY(R) 3 variety paddy suited for non-sodic soil

A paddy variety meant for the sodic soil in Manikandam block has recorded better yield in non-sodic soil.

The TRY(R) 3, a paddy variety released by the TNAU – Anbil Dharmalingam Agricultural College and Research Institute to suit the alkaline soil in Manikandam block, has proved its mettle in non-alkaline soil. The TNAU – ADACRI was founded in Manikandam block, about 25 years ago, to evolve and release paddy varieties suited for the alkaline soil. Soil in around 5,000 hectares in the block have turned alkaline affecting the yield.
Farmers and farm experts participating in the crop contest event, in Mannachanallur near Tiruchi.— Photo: A. Muralitharan
N. Periyasamy, farmer from Manachanallur, has raised the variety in his one acre in his fields. The ‘field day’ celebrated on Tuesday when the crop was harvested and on Friday, the farmer along with scientists from the Krishi Vigyan Kendra found that the yield was 13.5 tonnes a hectare. “The grain weighs 27 grams per 1,000 grains indicating the high yield,” says A. Sakunthalai, Project Coordinator KVK. The soil is less sodic nature, she said.The Kendra not only provided seeds but also guided the farmer with crop cultivation techniques. “A sustained follow-up on the cultivation practice, supply of Dhaincha seeds and prevention of leaf folder disease were some of the measures adopted by us to achieve a higher yield,” she said.

R. Pandiyarajan, Dean of TNAU – ADACRI, said that the variety, yielded 5.1 tonnes in sodic soil of Manikandam. The grain weight was 23 grams. He said that the variety could be raised during the thaladi season too.

Gururaj Singh, Joint Director of Agriculture and officials ascertained the quality of paddy.



TNAU releases new rice variety

Coimbatore, Jan 11:  The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has released a new rice variety, which has recorded a highest yield of 11,567 kg per hectare.

Rice TPS 5, released at a function today, observed as Farmers Day, has a normal yield of 6,301 kg per hectare, 13 per cent increase over the parent seed ASD 16, with 118 days duration.

This can be adopted throughout Tamil Nadu barring Ramanathapuram and Sivaganga Districts, a TNAU release said.

The highest yield of 11,567 kg was achieved at Mohanoor in Namakkal district.

TNAU also released Blackgram MDU 1, which has a yield of 1,679 kg/ hectare. The newly released variety of fodder sorghum Co31 has a yield of 227 tonnes per year.

The newly released Butter Pear Ooty seed has a yield of 97.13 kg per tree a year, meant for Nilgiris district and Kodaikanal.

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N-science to help develop dwarf rice

Chennai: A project to develop a shorter rice variety by influencing the genes of crop using nuclear science has been undertaken by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) along with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) with the aim of achieving higher yield, an atomic scientist said Wednesday.

“At present, we are developing a shorter rice variety out of White Ponni and ADT 47 varieties. Our project aims to reduce the stem mass so that the crop does not fall when it bears fruit. We are working on both the crops simultaneously,” Suresh G. Bhagwat, a former BARC official and currently involved in the project, said.

While BARC was lending technical support in supplying mutants to these rice varieties, TNAU was testing the effect of these mutants on these crops in its labs in Tamil Nadu.

“With nuclear science, we can develop mutants which can be used to arrive at a desired variety of preferred properties in the plant. In this project, we are going for dwarf crops which can avoid ‘lodging’,” Bhagwat, former head, BARC’s nuclear agriculture and biotechnology division, told reporters here.

The project is being funded by the board of research in nuclear science under the Department of Atomic Energy and the duration of research is expected to be three years.

“The produce would be higher from 20 per cent to 30 per cent,” he said on the sidelines of a BARC function here.

Asked whether water consumption of these crops would go down, he said, “May be. But, our primary target is to achieve shorter height of the crop and less stem mass.”

Picture for representational purpose only.

BARC had so far helped develop 41 varieties of such crops with genetic modification. These include green gram (8 varieties), blackgram (5), pigeon pea (4), groundnut (15), mustard (3), soyabean (2), and one each variety in rice and jute.

To a query on whether using mutants to get desired variety of plant species was equavalent to that of genetically modified crops like Bt cotton and Bt brinjal, he said: “No. Bt cotton are crops genetically modified by bringing a gene from outside the species. In the case of mutation, genes within the species are modified internally.”

BARC was also undertaking a whole range of nuclear agricultural projects across the country to develop different varieties of crops, including the famous basmati rice, aimed at increasing its produce, Bhagwat said.

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TNAU takes up research on fine rice variety in saline soil

The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University – Anbil Dharmalingam Agricultural College and Research Institute at Navalur Kuttapattu near here has taken up a research project on developing fine rice variety suited for salt-affected soil.

This is the first time that the institute, which is to celebrate its silver jubilee next year, has taken up a research project on fine rice variety. The institute was started to evolve rice varieties for saline soil about two decades ago and so far it has released three varieties —TRY-I, TRY-(R) II and TRY-III, all these were bold grain varieties. “We have collected a large number of species from the International Rice Research Institute in Philippines and all these seeds are salt tolerant varieties in different parts of the world. The fine variety will fetch attractive returns to farmers and the research is in progress,” says P. Pandiarajan, dean of the Institute. Several beds of nurseries for various varieties had been raised at the institute. “We have been experimenting on the varieties which can withstand and grow in the soil condition in the Manikandam area,” he says.

Pointing out that the Manikandam block accounted for 50,000 hectares of alkaline soil – maximum for a single block in the State, Mr. Pandiarajan said the institute had introduced reclamation of salt-affected soil using distillery spent wash.

So far, about 5,000 acres of land had been covered under the scheme benefiting 1,282 farmers growing paddy, banana, redgram and maize. The distillery spent wash was applied only once in these fields with a view to ensure environmental protection and the irrigation pattern and harvest benefits were closely monitored. The spent wash eliminates the use of potash in the fields.

“The discharge of distillery spent wash into the agricultural fields in the block reduces the alkaline quantum to a great extent. The yield has increased to a considerable extent — at least by 20 per cent over the normal yield registered during the previous seasons,” he says.

The institute has entered into a MoU with four leading distillery industries in the district.

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சம்பா, தாளடிக்கு அதிகளவில் நெல் விதை உற்பத்தி செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது

சம்பா, தாளடிக்கு அதிகளவில் நெல் விதை உற்பத்தி செய்யப்பட்டு ள்ளது என்றார் கோவை தமிழ்நாடு வேளாண் பல்கலைக்கழக துணைவேந்தர் கே. ராமசாமி.
திருவாரூரில் இன்று அவர் அளித்த பேட்டியில் கூறியிருப்பதாவது:-
நிகழாண்டு குறுவை இல்லையென்பதா ல் சம்பா மற்றும் தாளடிக்கு அதிகளவில் நெல் விதை உற்பத்தி செய்துள்ளோம். மேட்டூர் அணை ஆக.2-ம் தேதி திறக்கப்படுவதால் மாவட்டத்துக்குத் தேவையான விதைகள் தயார் நிலையில் உள்ளது.வேளாண் அலுவலகங்களில் சி.ஆர்.1009 விதை உள்ளது. இந்த ரக நெல்லில் அரிசி சிகப்பு நிறத்தில் வரலாம் என்பதால் மாற்றாக ஆடுதுறை, 39, ஆடுதுறை 43, கோ 49, கோ 51 வ கை ரக நெல் விதை ஆடுதுறை நெல் ஆராய்ச்சி நிலையத்திலும், கோவை தமிழ்நாடு வே ளாண் பல்கலைக்கழகத்திலும் இருப்பு வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.
விவசாயிகளுக்கு விதைத் தட்டுப்பாடு இல்லாத வகையில் நெல் விதைகள் வழங்கப்படும். கோவை வேளாண் பல்கலைக்கழகத்தில் 40 டன் நெல் விதை மாநிலம் முழுவதும் அனைத் து விவசாயிகளுக்கும் பகிர்ந்தளிக்கும் வகையி்ல் மாவட்ட வேளாண் அலுவலகங்களுக்கு பிரித்து அனுப்பப்படும்.ஐந்து மாவட்டங்களை உள்ளடக்கிய காவிரிப் படுகையில் மண் வளம் நன்றாக உள்ளதாலும், வடிகால் பகுதியென்பதாலும் நெல் அதிகம் பயிரிடப்பட்டு அதிக மகசூல் எடுக்கப்படுகிறது. களிமணி, வண்டல் மண், செம்மன் என்று மூன்று வகை மண் உள்ளது. மண்ணின் தன்மை க்கேற்ப நல்ல ரக விதைகளை பயிரிட்டு அதிக உற்பத்தி செய்ய திருவாரூரில் வேளாண் துறையை சேர்ந்த அனைத்து அலுவலர்களுக்கான கருத்தரங்கம் நடைபெறுகிறது.
நிகழாண்டு பருவமழை நன்றாக இருக்கும் என்ற சூழல் நிலவுகிறது. மேட்டூரிலிருந்து சம்பா வுக்கு திறந்துவிடப்படும் தண்ணீரை விவசாயிகள் தேவைக்கு ஏற்றால் போல் சிக்கனமாக ப யன்படுத்தக் கேட்டுக்கொள்ளப்படுகிறது. விவசாயிகள் ஒருங்கிணைந்து சிக்கனத்தை கடை  பிடித்தால் கூடுதலாக ஒரு சாகுபடி செய்யலாம். வெள்ள நீரை குளம் குட்டைகளில் தேக்கி வைக்க வேண்டும்.டெல்டாவில் கடந்த ஆண்டு கையாளப்பட்ட நேரடி நெல்விதைப்பு நல்ல பலனைக் கொடுத் துள்ளதால் நிகழாண்டும் அதைப் பின்பற்றலாம். ஆக. முதல்வாரத்தில் நேரடி நெல்விதைப்பு செய்தால் முளைப்பில் பாதிப்பு இருக்காது. மாவட்டத்தில் மாற்றுபயிருக்கான திட்டத்தை அறிமுகப்படுத்தி வரும் மாவட்ட நிர்வாகம், நீர் மேலாண்மையிலும் தனிக்கவனம் செலுத்தி வருவது பாராட்டுக்குரியது.
ஒருங்கிணைந்து விவசாயத்துறையை மேம்படுத்தினால் தமிழகம் உற்பத்தியிலும் முன்னோடி மாநிலமாக வரும் என்பதுடன், தானிய உற்பத்தியிலும் மாநிலம் முதல் மாநிலமாக மாறும் என்றார் ராமசாமி.


மேலும் விபரங்களுக்கு,


Rice cultivation machinery displayed at TNAU

The only way to address the problem of depleting resources in terms of labour, land and water, is by mechanising cultivation. The human drudgery involved in field operations necessitates the development of improved machinery to provide quality employment to youth in farming,” Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University K. Ramasamy said here on Friday.

Speaking at a demonstration of rice cultivation machinery of a private company at the university’s wetland farms at Poosaripalayam, the Vice-Chancellor said complete mechanisation had been achieved only in rice and sugarcane because these crops achieved uniform maturity.
Personnel demonstrating the mechanised rice transplanter at the wetland farm of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore on Friday. –Photo: S.SIVA SARAVANAN
The university had invited the company to display and demonstrate its equipment and machinery so that the scientists of TNAU could test them and recommend to the Government for purchase by farmers.

“Our aim is to identify youth and create a hub to purchase farm machinery to be rented out to farmers. Infusion and effective use of machinery in farming is the only way to sustain interest for the profession among the youth. The university is trying to bring all crops to uniform maturity to make mechanisation possible for their cultivation,” Mr. Ramasamy added.

He urged companies that were developing and manufacturing farm machinery to not only to cater to farmers who had large land holdings, but also small and marginal farmers.

Personnel from the company demonstrated machines such as the rotopuddler, wet leveller, automatic tray seeding machine, direct paddy seeder, rice transplanter, power weeder and conoweeder, and ear head combine harvester.

There was an urgent need to develop sophisticated machinery that were farmer-friendly not only in terms of

cultivation effectiveness, but also comfort levels, for example, providing air conditioned cabin for the drivers of tractors, Mr. Ramasamy added.

He said the university was open to similar demonstrations by other companies too. Rajan Agarwal, Crop Solutions, Escorts Limited, said the company was keen to provide farmer-friendly machines to farmers using the latest technology.

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Use of biofertilizer in paddy to withstand drought

The Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) has advocated the use of Methylobacterium biofertilizer, popularly called Pink Pigmented Facultative Methylotrophs (PPFMs), to protect crops from heat and drought conditions.

“Methylobacterium” developed by the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU) and available in liquid and powder forms could be a boon to farmers in this drought-prone district, who mostly cultivate paddy in rain-fed areas, said R. Durai Singam, Professor and Head, KVK, TNAU.

Explaining the benefits of Methylobacterium at the Agricultural grievance day meeting at the Collectorate here on Friday, he said spraying of the biofertilizer once in 15 days from the vegetation stage could help protect the crops from solar radiation and enhance growth and yield by 8 per cent.

PPFMs, naturally occurring beneficial bacteria in plants, soil, dust and various fresh water supplies, live by utilising the methanol evolved from leaves as the source of carbon and energy and in response, secrete essential nutrients such as cytokinin, auxins and nitrogen, vital for plants, Mr Singam said. “This can benefit the crops in many ways as it improves the chlorophyll intensity and increases the leaf area,” he said adding that increase in leaf area improved the yield. It also helps to considerably reduce flower drops, especially in chillies and pulses, he said.

Similarly, the seed germination and root dipping would help in early growth and to improve the vigour of the seedlings, he said.

The spraying of the biofertilizer had been successfully tried for the first time in the Cauvery delta region last year, when paddy crops on vast areas, faced the danger of withering for want of water. The TNAU sprayed the symbiotic organisms and saved the crop on hundreds of acres in the region, he said.

Farmers could buy the liquid at Rs. 300 per litre and use 200 ml mixed with water per acre, Mr Singam said.

Farmers could contact KVK for farm trial and demonstrations.

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TNAU commercialises stack probe trap without attractants which perform well in detecting pests in rice

Department of Agricultural Entomology of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has developed a trap that does not need any attractants. The natural locomotor activity of the insect in search of food sources, partners for mating or to avoid enemies or adverse environmental conditions have been exploited.

Stack probe trap is a device that detect insects in bag storage without any damage to bags.

It is made of stainless steel comprising a main hollow tube having a diameter in the range of 1.8 to 2.0 cm with equal spaced perforation in the range of 1.8 to 2.0 mm on its upper portion.

It has a bend at one end that ends in a transparent collection unit to collect the insects falling down from the bend, with the other end of the main tube remaining closed.

The trap, developed by S. Mohan, Professor of the Department of Agricultural Entomology, has a patent application.The effectiveness of the commercial model of the trap was monitored under various conditions.

The catches were collected in plastic containers containing 10 ml of 10 per cent formic acid as the killing and preserving agent. The number of insects caught were counted and identified.

The trap was found to perform well in detecting pests in commodities such as rice, paddy, wheat flour etc

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TNAU expects government boost for farm mechanisation

The Tamil Nadu Agriculture University is expecting massive support for mechanisation of agriculture in the State both from the Central and the State governments, its Vice-Chancellor K. Ramasamy told The Hindu on Thursday

He was responding to a question on the acute scarcity of agricultural labour in the State, especially because of the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme that ensures 150 days of employment in Tamil Nadu at present.

He admitted that the State was facing labour shortage for farming operations and hence it was imperative to go in for substantial mechanisation. “We have adequate machinery for two major crops — paddy and sugarcane.”

In order to popularise mechanisation, the university had suggested that uneducated youth and engineers should be given loan from the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development with subsidy. Thus they would be able to purchase tractors, transplanters, weeders, and so on, and they could be permitted to get nominal hiring charges. “Even the State government might be able to help the small farmers by footing these hiring charges”.

The Vice-Chancellor said Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was keen on improving farm mechanisation. However, for mechanising farming operations, it was a must to have uniform maturity of crops. “Hence, we are developing varieties for uniform maturity and we have achieved success both with regard to black gram and green gram”.

The Vice-Chancellor was happy to point out that pulse production in the State was looking up. “As against the previous yield of 850 kg per hectare, now farmers are able to get even as much as 1,600 kg to 2,000 kg per hectare.”

Even in the rice bowl of the State, the delta region, apart from one paddy crop, farmers have chosen to go in for two crops of pulses as they can raise varieties of 65-75 days duration. As pulses and millets provide protein and nutrient, this would be one of the major activities that would require considerable attention. Another important suggestion of the university is to set up Special Purpose Vehicles which would ensure timely supply of nutrients to farmers. Last year, the agri-inputs were supplied to farmers at the “village mahotsavs.” This year, it is likely to be done in the panchayats themselves by procuring these inputs well in advance.

The university wants the government to focus on farm ponds and water saving techniques like micro irrigation and already the State Government had announced a major scheme to set up farm ponds.

The Vice-Chancellor expressed the hope that the State government would give further stimulus to micro-irrigation. He also said that the university had suggested that the government should accord better attention to supplying certified quality planting material as horticulture suffered from this flaw.

Dr. Ramasamy said there was also a suggestion to revive the village shandies so that marketing link could be provided to farmers. “We can even think of networked electronic system and marketing assistance for them”.

To a question on the recent samba crop, which faced serious trouble because of the failure of the North East Monsoon and the recalcitrance of Karnataka to release water to Mettur Dam, Dr. Ramasamy said Tamil Nadu had not totally lost the crop as alleged in some quarters. “Those who have gone in for early sowing, as advised by the university, had good yield. It is only those who have opted for late sowing who are in trouble”, he explained.

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