AGRICULTURE TRIBUNE Monday, January 3, 2000
 
Check late blight in potato
By Satya Pal Goyal
LATE blight is the most serious of all diseases of potato. It attacks and kills the top of the plant and invades the potato tuber. Its spread in the field is so fast that unless prophylactic measures are rightly followed, its devastating effects cannot be checked.

Machine milking of buffaloes
By K.G. Dutt
MACHINE milking of buffaloes has been introduced for the first time by the dairy scientists of the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Karnal, in rural India.

Effective use of septic tank overflow
By Khushwant Ahluwalia
M
EETING Dr Teri O’Brien of Australia during his visit to my farm in Hoshiarpur, was quite revealing. He carried in his brain a starting synopsis for waste water management of the sewage overflow from septic tanks. He had in his laptop a solution for all of us by which we can control sewage overflow and in the process do waste water gardening and produce vegetables, flowers and grow trees without having to apply fertilisers and micro-nutrients to the soil.

Basmati rice is of Indian origin
By Suraj Bhan Dahiya
IN the new world of globalised production and markets, of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT)-supervised “free” trade, dominated by the intellectual property rights (IPR), India is getting perennial shocks. India’s policy makers have clung to such delusions even in the face of painful experience with technology control and IPR-related bullying in their dealings with the West: the patent granted by the USA to Rice Tec for basmati debars others from selling the rice under the brand name of basmati. Dunkel’s GATT, thus, will continue to extend its claws over India’s traditional agriculture.

Farm operations for January


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Check late blight in potato
By Satya Pal Goyal

LATE blight is the most serious of all diseases of potato. It attacks and kills the top of the plant and invades the potato tuber. Its spread in the field is so fast that unless prophylactic measures are rightly followed, its devastating effects cannot be checked. The science of plant pathology is historically associated with this disease. The famous Irish famine of 1845-46 was due to the epidemic of late blight which caused devastation of potato fields. The appearance and spread of late blight in the plains coincided with the large-scale introduction of cold storages where the fungus survives in the tuber. Since 1943, late blight has been making regular appearances almost throughout the plains of northern India. The disease is most prevalent in cooler and moist areas.

Symptoms:

At any time during the growth of the plant, but mostly in January in the plains of northern India, late blight disease appears on the foliage. The disease is first characterised by faded green patches, which soon turn to brownish-black lesions on the leaves. If moist and cold weather prevails, the entire foliage may be killed in one to four days. Brown to purple discolouration of the skin of the tuber may also appear. During wet and humid conditions, the whitish mild growth of the fungus is visible on the surface of the lesion.

Potato tuber is infected while in the field and still attached to the plant or it gets infection during the harvest and sometimes in storage.

The persisting mycelium of the fungus phytophthora infestans in seed tuber stored at low temperatures is the chief source of primary infection.

Excessive humidity (above 90 per cent RH) coupled with suitable temperatures are the principal factors governing occurrence of epidemics. Optimum temperature for the growth of the fungus mycelium is between 16C and 18C. On the basis of environmental relations of the pathogen, forecasting of the disease has been possible, if following weather prevails:

— night temperature below dew point for at least four hours

— minimum temperature of 10C

— clouds on the next day.

— rainfall during the next 24 hours of at least 0.1 mm.

Management:

— Certified and disease-free tuber should be used for planting. Seed tuber should be obtained from uninfected areas.

— Always use comparatively resistant varieties such as Kufri Jyoti, Kufri Jawahar and Kufri Badshah. The varieties Kufri Chandramukhi, Kufri Bahar and the cultivars S-1 and S-2 have been found highly susceptible to this disease.

— It is advisable to start spraying of fungicides well ahead of usual time of disease appearance. In favourable weather conditions, the prophylactic spray of 600-800 gm or Mancozeb dissolved in 200 litres of water per acre has been recommended at an interval of 7-10 days. While spraying, care should be taken that the liquid reaches the under surface of leaves.
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Machine milking of buffaloes
By K.G. Dutt

MACHINE milking of buffaloes has been introduced for the first time by the dairy scientists of the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Karnal, in rural India.

The Director of the NDRI, Dr B.N. Mathur, claims that technical difficulties in introducing machine milking of buffaloes has been overcome by scientists. In fact, cow milking with machines has so far been very common in the country, but in the case of buffaloes the breakthrough has been achieved by scientists of the NDRI only.

The task has been accomplished by a team of experts of the NDRI, Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) under field conditions. It is being claimed that with the introduction of machine milking of buffaloes, a higher milk production could be achieved and the product is always cleaner.

Two scientists, Mr Rajbir Singh, Head, KVK, and Mr Dalip K. Gosain, successfully introduced machine milking of buffaloes at a buffalo farm located at Gharaunda. The scientists used a portable machine at the farm owned by a footwear company.

Similar success was achieved by Mr Brij Kishore Yadav of the NDRI, who looks after artificial insemination work at the KVK at Jundla Gate here. Mr Yadav has successfully introduced machine milking of buffaloes at a dairy farm owned by Mr Kanwarjeet Singh of Karnal. Mr Yadav has designed the layout of this dairy farm where the machine has been fixed for buffalo milking. This method has been found to be viable under rural conditions.
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Effective use of septic tank overflow
By Khushwant Ahluwalia

MEETING Dr Teri O’Brien of Australia during his visit to my farm in Hoshiarpur, was quite revealing. He carried in his brain a starting synopsis for waste water management of the sewage overflow from septic tanks. He had in his laptop a solution for all of us by which we can control sewage overflow and in the process do waste water gardening and produce vegetables, flowers and grow trees without having to apply fertilisers and micro-nutrients to the soil.

A Ph.D. from Harvard University and presently working as an environment consultant, Teri says the idea of doing something as this came from where he resides. It’s an area of native Bushlands, 40 km north-east of Melbourne. It’s a special section known as a residential conservation zone or the environmental living zone. People live here without dogs and cats and harvest no firewood to minimise impact on wildlife such as kangaroos, koala, ossum (a tree climbing mammal) and 70 species of birds.

About 200 families live in the area and one major impact of human beings on these Bushlands was of household sewage and waste water from septic tanks. To prevent escape of water and nutrients from the sewage pollution a two-way waste water management system was invented, one by planting trees and the other by growing fruits and vegetables.

A 2-ft deep pit is created and the dug out soil is used to create an earthen bank all around the pit so that it becomes a complete hollow cavity surrounded with mud. Through a distribution channel, the sewage water is then confined in the shallow pit which is filled up with broken stones and soil.

A plastic sheet of minimum 2 mm thickness is spread at the bottom of the pit to disallow seepage of sewage. If the pit is being used to grow vegetables or flowers the sheet is brought over to the earthen bank of the cavity and the brought-over plastic sheet at no cost should have soil deposits as the trees growing nearby will ponder for food and the roots will spread into the prepared garden which we don’t want.

At the second stage a thin layer of sand is spread over the plastic sheet and broken stones are laid over the sand. The broken stones have a porus substrate through which the sewage water can move easily and spread evenly, but more importantly they help to cause breakdown of the bacteria from the septic tank because of the large surface area. Midway, when about half of the stones have been spread, slotted (with holes) pipes of 90mm size are laid throughout the pit. And after laying the rest of the stones, the stones are covered with 1 foot of ordinary soil.

“Now what we have is a permanently moist, fertilised garden soil, rich in phosphorous, nitrogen, sulphur and potassium. No nasty smells from the septic effluence and very rigorous growth of vegetation are the end results of this exercise,” says Teri.

“The only thing is that you have to grow something in the pit throughout the year. It could be weeds if nothing else because we are relying on plants to evaporate the water through their leaves and absorb nutrients through the roots,” emphasises Teri.

Alternatively, trees, whose roots chase water are planted around the edge and the roots of these trees sneak in from the side of the burrow in the rocks. They absorb the waste water and nutrients from the most easy site as the pit is being constantly refilled by water from the septic tanks coming from various houses. Poplars, eucalyptus and many other species can be grown using this method.

The objective of both these plans is to process the waste water flow from the septic tank after the primary decomposition is done in them.

“It’s not meant to replace septic tanks but a means of processing of what they produce and it can control a lot of village effluence”, comments Teri.

But for Teri that is not the end of the road. There is another experiment in process using compostible organic waste in waste water clean up. This may yield recyclable water needed so urgently in India because of scarcity of water in big cities, according to Teri, for the monsoons, which for so many years were enough, don’t seem adequate now.

The fact remains that we are overpopulated and haphazardly industrialised stinking of filth produced by a billion people and it is time we look for ways to control urban and rural pollution through various ways and means. And if the solution is as simple as it sounds we should have no hesitation in experimenting with this method to give ourselves a better and a more healthy living environment.Top

 

Basmati rice is of Indian origin
By Suraj Bhan Dahiya

IN the new world of globalised production and markets, of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT)-supervised “free” trade, dominated by the intellectual property rights (IPR), India is getting perennial shocks. India’s policy makers have clung to such delusions even in the face of painful experience with technology control and IPR-related bullying in their dealings with the West: the patent granted by the USA to Rice Tec for basmati debars others from selling the rice under the brand name of basmati. Dunkel’s GATT, thus, will continue to extend its claws over India’s traditional agriculture.

For over a year, farmers, scientists and non-government organisations have been protesting against the patenting of a variety of basmati rice by a US firm. India claims to have 11 indigenous varieties of basmati. India is negotiating with world agricultural scientists over the definition of basmati through the Union Commerce Ministry. The samples and rice breeding history have to be supplied.

It is strange that foreign scientists argue that basmati has a customary name but no history at all. Therefore, they are reluctant to accept at face value India’s insistence that all 11 varieties as basmati under the Seed Act have the genetic qualities of what is taken as the real grain. In case, the foreign scientists decide to ignore India’s interests because of our government casual approach, domestic agro-industry stands to lose the huge volumes of basmati exported. Let us look into the long breeding history of the basmati crop.

It is a well known fact that paddy was the first crop cultivated on the Dharmkestra (Kuruksetra) soil. Legend is that the forefathers of Kaurva and Pandvas, King Kuru had ploughed the field of Kurukeshtra to start farming. God Vishnu had sown the field with the rice and blessed the king that the region would continue to harvest the finest paddy. The piece of land which had been brought under rice cultivation for the first time by King Kuru was Bir Baraswan, still existing in Pehowa block of present Kurukshetra district. So initially it was the cropfield of King Kuru who called it Kuru “vans vati” which later corrupted to vasvati and then basmati. Thus, the rice cultivated here earned the geographical speciality with the classic name of basmati. The history of basmati finds mention in Indian scriptures too.

In ancient time Kurukshetra, having characteristic soil texture, was irrigated by the mighty Saraswati. Probably climatic conditions were also so conducive that the soil yielded long grained superfine rice. King Kuru felt privileged to serve this rice to saints and sages who had their hermits on the banks of the river. From here, the basmati variety was later taken to the other parts of the Aryan land. Even now true basmati is the Indian subcontinent crop and is mainly grown in Haryana, Punjab and some areas of Pakistan.

Basmati means “bas” and “mati” i.e. flavour of the soil. Comparably, basmati of the Pehowa belt of Kurukshetra district even now is far superior in fragrance than the basmati of other regions of India and all exotic varieties. The Kurukeshtra brand basmati rice has a trade mark the worldover and fetches more price in export business. So it is an indigenous produce. Sadly enough, even with ample historical evidence India slipped away on the basmati patent. At present, the patent facilitating cell appears to be a victim of what most science and research institutions lack in India: low political temperament.

While signing the Dunkel Draft Text the government of India’s stand was that the farmers’ rights would be safeguarded and a major beneficiary will be India’s own agricultural research institutions. But the experience has been just the opposite.

Today basmati is the best genetic material of rice having origin in India and it has been robbed of by the US firm. Quite rightly the exclusive rights on this genetic base should have been with India. The historicity of basmati should, therefore, be documented immediately to fight for its patent battle like the one we fought for the turmeric patent; after all, it is India’s legitimate claim. Above all, India must tone up its patent facilitating agencies and patent research organisations and learn to use patents as a business tool.

The collapse of the World Trade Organisation talks at Seattle does not bring everything to a standstill. Negotiations on agriculture and services, mandated under the Uruguay Round and mandated reviews, on trade-related investment measures and IPR will commence as scheduled on January 1, 2000. India dominates the world basmati market today and the world bodies are asking for original samples of indigenous varieties of basmati for the creation of a globally accepted database of their genetic characteristics. But it seems we have yet to prepare ourselves for such a request.Top

 

Farm operations for January

Wheat:

— Apply second irrigation to wheat sown during November and first irrigation to wheat sown during December. To late-sown wheat, apply the remaining dose of N along with first irrigation.

— In the light-textured soils, where wheat follows paddy, sulphur and manganese deficiency can be expected. Manganese deficiency causes interveinal chlorosis of the middle leaves. Such deficiency symptoms can be corrected with spray of 0.5 per cent solution of manganese sulphate. Two sprays of 500 g manganese sulphate each at weekly interval may be done. The symptoms of sulphur deficiency are upper leaves become light green and then yellow while the lower leaves are still green. If such symptoms are noticed, one quintal gypsum per acre may be broadcast in the field and shallow irrigation may be given or if the soil is in proper moisture conditions, this may be mixed by hoeing.

— Zinc deficiency can be expected where zinc has not been applied to the preceding kharif crops. In case, zinc deficiency is noticed, 25 kg zinc sulphate mixed with equal quantity of soil may be applied by broadcast in one acre of wheat.

— For the control of phalaris minor and broadleaf weeds, use recommended formulation of Isoproturon herbicide 75 WP @ 500 g/acre or Metoxuron 80 WP @ 750 g/acre (commercial). Spray the herbicide 30-40 days after sowing i.e. immediately after first irrigation when the field permits walking. For controlling mixed infestation of phalaris minor and certain hardy broadleaf weeds, mix 2, 4-D @ 250 g/acre along with recommended herbicide of Isoproturon group.

— Phalaris minor (gulli danda) and wild oats can also be controlled by spraying grasp 10EC (Tralkoxydim) @ 1.41/acre or Illoxan 28EC (Diclofop methy1) @ 1.251/acre 30-40 days after sowing or Isoproturon herbicide two to four days before first irrigation. On the heavy-textured soil, use isoproturon 75 WP @ 500 g/acre. In the case of the medium-textured soils, Isoproturon 75 WP can be used @ 400 g/acre. In the case of the light-textured soils, the dose can be reduced to 300 g/acre of Isoproturon 75 WP.

— Use Topic 15 WP (Clodinafop) @ 160 g or Puma Super 10 EC (Fenoxapropethyl) @ 400 ml or Leader 75 WC (Sulfosulfuron) @ 13 g/acre at 30-45 DAS in the fields where phalaris (gulli danda) is not controlled with the continuous use of Isoproturon. For the spray of Illoxan/Topik/Puma Super/Leader/Grasp, use 100-120 litres of water/acre.

— For control of broadleaf weeds, use 2, 4-D @ 250 g/acre after 35-45 days in normal sown wheat and 45-55 days in late sown wheat.

— Isoproturon 75 WP @ 500 g/acre can also be used at 40-45 days after sowing for control of phalaris minor in durum wheat.

— Aphid may damage the crop resulting in discoloration of leaves. Spray 150 ml of Rogor 30 EC/Anthio 25 EC/Metasystox 25 EC or Nuvacron 36 SL in 80-100 litres of water per acre.

Rapeseed and mustard:

— To save the crop from frost damage, apply irrigation to raya and gobhi sarson.

— Spray the crop with 250 g Blitox or Indofil M 45 in 100 litres of water per acre for the control of alternaria blight/downy mildew/white rust. Start sprays when the crop is 75 days old. Repeat spray at 15 days interval.

— For avoiding attack of aphid and leaf minor in raya, spray 250-400 ml of Metaxystox 25 EC or Rogor 30 EC or Thiodan 35 EC/Ekalux 25 EC/Anthio 25 EC/Malathion 50EC or 375-600 ml Dursban/Coroban 20 EC or 100 ml of Dimecron 85 SL in 125 litres of water per acre. The crop meant for saag purpose should be sprayed with 350 ml of Malathion 50 EC and observed a waiting period of one week after this spray to pick saag.

— Progressive Farming, PAU
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