|AGRICULTURE TRIBUNE||Monday, July 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India|
to check plant viruses
production and animal products in Punjab
useful trees and plants
Sagwan or teak is a tall and handsome deciduous tree, attaining large dimensions in a right environment with favourable soil and moisture conditions. Its scientific name being tectona grandis, the family is verbenaceae. In regional languages and dialects it has several names like sagon saigon, saj, taku, kayum, etc. It grows well in warm climate and well-drained soil. Very hot and dry or very cold climate of mountains does not suit. It grows naturally in Myanmar and central and southern India and is propagated artificially in the Indo-Gangetic plains, and the foothills from Bengal to Punjab on comparatively lesser scale, especially as an avenue tree. Altitude-wise it grows happily in low height plains to the foothills up to 800 metres above mean sea level.
The sagwan tree has an erect trunk, a cylindrical bole and an umbrella like beautiful crown. It tends to be fluted at the base. Its bark is thin, fibrous and light brown or grey in colour peeling off in long thin strips. Leaves are simple, opposite, large i.e. 30 to 50 cm x 25 cm, roundish, broad, pointed and thick in structure. New leaves appear in May-June.
The teak flowers are branched, 50 to 100 cm long whitish cymes. Individual florets are small roundish with diameter about 3 to 5 mm. These appear in July-August. The fruit appear in August-September and ripen between November and January. The seeds are small and take considerable time to germinate.
The teak tree has annual growth rings. It is fairly quick growing in right environment and puts on nearly one inch of growth in diameter in four to five years. It attains a height of about 35 to 45 metres and a girth of about 4 to 5 metres in nearly 100 years when its wood is considered fully mature and suitable for any use where along with structural strength, good looks of the finished product are the main requirement.
The teak wood is considered to be the best timber not only in Asia but all over the world. It weights nearly 20 kg. to a cubic foot and its grains show beautiful patterns. It planes easily and takes spirit/ varnish (transparent) polish very well. The going market rate as of now is nearly Rs 1,200 per cubic foot.
The most interesting part of the matter is that this giver of the globe’s best timber also has certain other domestic and medicinal utilities. Its wood contains a kind of scented oil which renders any box or wardrobe made therefore repellent to white ants and other insects. The leaves yield a kind of dye which is used locally in colouring clothes, edibles, etc. These are also used as packing material and for making cheap leaf cups and plates and poor peoples’ umbrellas. The wood when hollowed exudes a kind of gum which is used in pan-masala. The juice of teak flowers remedies common cold, whets appetite and relieves headache and acidity.
The natural teak forests in their original habitat like Myanmar and Indian coasts regenerate on their own and abundantly. In comparatively less favourable areas it can be raised from seed in nurseries and transplanted when the seedling are one-year old. The new plants can also be propagated from cuttings in loamy soil rich in humus and having the right content of moisture with good drainage. Grown along roads and lanes, teak tree makes enchanting avenues. Some people grow a few teak trees, singularly or in a small clumps for beautification of their premises and or vacant plots. There too the species stand out boldly, thereby beautifying the overall landscape.
The teak tree and its crop happen to susceptible to damage by a large number of insects and bacteria.
Since teak is a beautiful as well as
so valuable a tree, the forest departments of various regions raise
certain number of its seedlings in their nurseries for planting on the
premises of government buildings like offices, rest houses,
residential colonies, etc. However, with a view to encouraging green
cover on vacant plots of land the state forest department provide
seedlings to interested villagers and other persons keen on raising
to check plant viruses
Our boundaries with our neighbouring countries by and large consist of difficult terrains and passes, right from the deserts of Rajasthan and Kutch to the high mountainous regions of north-west and north-east Himalayas. The supply line, therefore, is quite difficult to maintain and lately the ministry of defence has come to the conclusion of production of fresh vegetables and fruits in the border areas to ease the pressure of supplying these necessities to the soldiers on duty on the front posts. Such efforts shall also be having two-fold indirect effect on our defence. First, it shall be of help in developing friendly relations with the local population by supplying quality material to the farmers around defence installations in their area of operation and, secondly, shall develop greener belts useful from strategic point of view.
Viruses diseases in general are posing a threat in achieving this goal and the development of an eco-friendly bio based control measure against viral diseases shall go a long way in achieving this objective the basis work on development of such bio-friendly verified has produced encouraging results in some ornamental plants and it is envisaged that such virucide shall be of wider applicability covering different host virus combinations.
A project titled "control of plant virus through biovirus inhibitors under in vitro and field conditions" sanctioned by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Ministry of Defence, has been sanctioned for the Dr Y.S. Parmer University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan. Dr S.V. Bhardwaj, virologist, is heading the project costing Rs 2.742 lakh where Dr A.K. Nath and Dr Anil Handa are the co-investigators.
A number of methods of procedures have been devised to check this virus growth stated the principal investigator. They include identification of plants to be tested for the presence of inhibitor. The test plants will be first indexed serologically (ELISA) to test their virus status and the infected plants will be raised under invitro and invivo conditions. Different concentrations of the extracts prepared will be added to the culture medium. Test plants shall be grown on this medium for few generations and then plants will be regenerated, rooted, hardened and transferred to field conditions. These treated plants will again be tested for the presence of the virus and the plant extracts causing the maximum virus climination and minimum loss to crop yield and quality shall be identified. This shall be followed by standardisation of most effective dosages of the extract for virus climination. On the basis of these observations different formulations of bio virus inhibitors will be prepared for field application at commercial level.
According to Dr S.V. Bhardwaj, principal investigator of the project, virus inhibition through plant extracts had attached attention of many groups working all over the country. Dr H.N. Verma and his group has done pioneering work, however, these need further testing and commercial exploitation. Medicinal plants, especially solanaceous ones like solanum khasianum, solanum nigrum and leaves of ferns ampelopteris, have widely tested and proven to passes virus inhibiting properties. During preliminary investigations, Dr Bhardwaj found that fruit and root fractions of asparagus adscendens when added into the multiplication medium inhibited the virus multiplication completely and carnation plants free from latent virus. During the course of these investigations, a few virus-tested plants were produced. However, further work on standardisation of retrieval techniques, development of formulation, besides testing of other inhibitive sources is envisaged as challenging area of research.
Viral diseases in general have been
evading the scientists since they were noticed. Though various
procedures and protocols have been developed to manage these diseases
indirectly, through control of vectors or by altering of cultivation
practices, yet plantation of virus free material has not lost its
importance. In fact, over the years more and more emphasis is being
laid on developing techniques to producevirus free material and
restrict plantation of uncertified one through legislative means. The
systems further got the boost in today’s environmental conscious
society where in the use of pesticides and other chemical is being
pushed to the back seat. The use of anti-viral chemotherapy in plants
though has long been recognised as an important area of investigation
yet the problem of discovering cost effective environmental friendly
therapeutic agent is yet to be formulated. Testing of bio-virucide
under in vitro conditions for retrieval of virus free material is a
novel idea and is worth trying if the extract could be put to such a
high demand usage. The methodology could be developed into an easy,
cheap and novel technique of cleaning plants of virus infections
opines Dr Bhardwaj.
Meat production and animal products in Punjab
Dr Gurbhagwant Singh Kahlon, distinguished scientist, who has dedicated his entire life to improve dairying techniques and marketing of milk in Punjab, has written a well researched and documented book on "Dairying and Farm diversification". Excerpts from one of the chapters of the book are published here for The Tribune readers.
The meat industry in Punjab has great economic potential, but so far it has received very little attention. The quality of meat produced is far below the requirements, and suitable meat breeds of animals have not been developed. The hygienic condition in most of the slaughter houses are appalling, and in animal-by-products substantial value is being wasted. At present 75 per cent of the meat is from sheep and goats, 18 per cent from poultry and 7 per cent from pigs.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, a balanced diet for a meat-eating adult should include30 gm of meat and fish per day. Urgent steps have, therefore, to be taken to enhance considerably by production of wholesome meat for human consumption. There is considerable scope forbuilding up an export market for buffalo meat, especially to the countries in the Middle East. At present very little buffalo meat is being exported. There are 37 lakh breedable buffaloes in Punjab, producing about 9 lakh male calves every year. At least 33 per cent of these die prematurely for want of care. These should be saved to the extent possible, and alongwith others, fattened quickly by giving them cheap foods with supplements of molasses and urea. Meat from such animals will find a good foreign market. Unproductive buffaloes should also be slaughtered and their meat exported.
One of the major hurdles in the production of wholesome meat is the primitive condition of slaughter houses. Most of these lack even elementary facilities for hygienic production and handling of meat. A scheme for modernisation of slaughter houses was taken up during Third Five-Year Plan with 100 per cent loans central assistance. However, due to the non-availability of technical knowhow, and also due to socio-political hindrances, the Punjab Government could not avail of the financial assistance.
Pig farming as a commercial venture is still to be established in the state. It is neglected because of a general prejudice against this occupation. Punjab has the smallest population of pigs as compared to other states of the country. Feed conversion efficiency in the case of pigs is 1:4. An increase in the sale price of pork and pork products, and pork products, and the price paid to primary producers need careful consideration to change pig production.
Raising rabbits for meat
Best known for being prolific, rabbits are also herbivores, which efficiently convert fodder into food. The whole point of meat production is to convert plant proteins of little or no use to people as food into high value animal protein. In efficient production system, rabbits can turn 20 per cent of the proteins they eat into edible meat. The comparable figure for other species are 20 to 23 per cent for broiler chickens, 16 to 18 pigs, and 8 to 13 per cent for beef.
A similar calculation for the energy cost of these proteins is even more unfavourable to ruminants. When cattle or sheep are raised for meat production, most of the energy consumed by herd is used to maintain breeding females which have a low prolificacy, a maximum of 0.8 to 1.4 young per year against 40 per female rabbit. Rabbit meat production is, therefore, an attractive proposition, especially when the aim is to produce quality animal protein.
Europe is the centre of world rabbit production. the foremost world producers, far surpassing all other countries, are Russia, France, Italy and Spain. In all, Europe accounts for 85 per cent of the total world output. Areas outside Europe are mainly in Central America, a few regions of Africa and Korea and China. Rabbits are seldom reared in Arab countries. Among eastern European countries, Hungary is the biggest producer.
Some of the progressive farmers can take up Turkey and ostrich farming as well.
To sum up, the livestock sector needs to be restructured for providing infrastructure to improve its productivity, quality and marketing. There are 47 milk plants, which are located in the cities, whereas Denmark has more than 1300 small milk processing plants located in the rural areas, owned and manned by the producer farmers themselves. Taking a clue, there is a need to establish a cold chain of such processing units on the Danish pattern and linking some of these with the existing milk plants.
A slaughter house for the production of products like salami, kabab, etc. was established by Sardar Partap Singh Kairon near Kharar for providing a market outlet to pig farms to be developed on modern and scientific lines. This slaughter house is now being used as storage for feed and fodder. This needs to be salvaged and used for the purpose it was established.
A cold chain of processing units in the rural area should undertake collection, grading, processing, storage and marketing of all the perishable commodities like milk, meat, vegetables and flowers etc. in a big way for providing an alternative to wheat and paddy for the sustainability of the agriculture sector. The infrastructure and pattern developed by Denmark is possibly the best in the world, which would also suit Punjab conditions.
Project ‘Pind Punjab Da’— Madhani Complex
The author undertook Project Pind Punjab Da for the development of a "Fokal Point"on the pattern of Denmark in partnership with a relation who owned 10 acres on the Chandigarh-Sirhind road, near Chuni Kalan, about 30 km from Chandigarh. It could not be fully developed for want of finances and problems of partnership. A commercial venture cannot afford expenditure on trial of new ideas and concepts. For instance, in the development of milking parlour a few structures had to be demolished and rebuilt resulting in infructuous expenditure. But from the success achieved, Punjab farmers have benefited a lot and there is hardly a new dairy farm in the state which is not replicating its essential features. It is now being considered as a model milking parlour, for machine milking 30 cows, not only in India but even in advanced dairy farming countries. However, a dairy farm with 30 crossbred cows on loose housing system, a machine milking parlour; and experimental rabbit farm; a mini milk plant with the latest equipment and machinery and a "milk pub" for the sale of milk and milk products has been developed with attractive landscaping, which can serve as a model. It has yielded valuable information, which can be very helpful in the establishment of such units in the rural areas.
The Punjab farmer has toiled hard to serve the nation over the past five decades. Now when in quandary, it is the nation’s responsibility to lend him a helping hand to emerge out of the present sticky situation. A simple hard working and self-respecting being, he is looking for a vision and not a pittance as compensation. It would be an acid test for both the Punjab and Central Governments to find solutions that make the peasantry emerge victorious.
FARM OPERATIONS FOR JULY
— Complete transplanting of Pusa Basmati-1 during the first fortnightly of July, and Basmati-370 and Basmati-386 should be transplanted during the second fortnight of July. Apply 27 kg of urea/acre after three weeks of transplanting basmati rice.
— For the control of weeds in paddy, use 1200 ml of any recommended brand formulation of Butachlor 50 EC or Thiobencarb 50 EC or Pendimethalin 30 EC @ 1000-1200 ml or Anilofos 30 EC @ 500 ml/acre by mixing with 60 kg of sand. Broadcast any one of the herbicides uniformly in 4.5 cm deep standing water within 2-3 days of transplanting.
— For the control of broadleaf weeds, spray Ally 20 WP (metsulfuron) @ 30 g/acre in 150 litres of water at 20-25 days after transplanting. Before spray, the standing water from the field should be drained out and irrigation may be applied once day after spray. The spray should be done on a clear adn calm day.
— Apply 37 kg of urea per acre to the paddy transplanted in June. In case, zinc deficiency appears, apply 25 kg of zinc sulphate per acre. On coarse textured soils (sandy soils) iron deficiency can be expected in rice. The upper leaves turn white in colour. To correct it, spray 1 per cent terrouts sulphate solution 2-3 times at weekly intervals.
— The rice fields showing more than 5 per cent dead hearts due to attack of stem borer should be sprayed with either of the insecticide i.e. 250 ml of Phosphanmidon 85 SL or 560 ml Monocrotophos 36SL or one litre of Chloropyriphos 20 EC or 800 ml Ekalux 20 AF in 100 litres of water per acre. Further application of any of these insecticides may be repeated as and when damage reaches economic threshold level.
— Leaf folder infested plants show while streaks on leaves. In case the heavy attack is noticed then spray 250 ml of Fenitrothion 50 EC or 150 ml Fenthion 1000 Ex or 560 ml of Monocrotophos 36 SL or one litre Chlorpyriphos 20 EC in 100 litres of water per acre.
— The crop planted early, may show the kresek phase of bacterial leaf blight. In case of kresek attack, the whole plant wilts and become straw coloured. Avoid excessive use of nitrogen and flooding of fields.
— Cotton crop is highly sensitive to standing water during early growth stages. Hence drain out the excessive rain water from the cotton fields.
— At the time of thinning, apply half dose of nitrogen.
— To control weeds in between the crop rows in place of hoeing/interculture, apply Gramoxone 24 WSC (Paraquat) at 500 ml/acre or Roundup/Glysel 41 per cent SL (Glyphosate) at 1.0 l/acre in 100 litres of water when crop is 6-8 weeks old and about 40-45 cm in height as directed spray. To avoid drift, spray the herbicide on non windy days, using a protecting hood so that herbicide does not fall on corp leaves.
— In case a severe attack of thrips, mites or jassid is noticed i.e. the leaves start curling, spray the crop with 250 ml Rogor 30 EC (Dimethoate 30 EC) or 300 ml Metasystock 25 EC (Oxydameton methyl) or Anthio 25 EC(Formothion) or 75 ml Dimecron/Phoslik/Cildon 85 SL (Phosphamidon) in 100 litres of water per acre. For control of jassid only,spray of 40 ml of Confidor (Iimidaclorid) 200 SL can also be done.
— Uproot and destroy leaf curl infected American cotton plants up to initiation of fruiting phase. Protect the crop against white fly vector by using recommended insecticides. Keep the fields free from kanghi buti and peeli buti which act as collateral host of leaf curl virus.
— To control leaf spots of blight, spracy the crop with Blitox 500 g alongwith Agrimycin 20 g of Streptocycline 3 g/acre at an interval of 15 to 20 days starting just after shower of rain.
— Progressive Farming PAU