This leguminous crop, scientifically known as Vigna mungo, thrives in warm climates, presenting an optimal opportunity for cultivation during the summer months. With its versatility and nutritional value, black gram holds significant agricultural importance. In this blog, we delve into the intricacies of cultivating black gram during the summer, offering insights and guidelines for a successful harvest.
How to Grow Black Gram in Summer
Introduction to Summer Black Gram Cultivation
Black gram (Vigna mungo L.), also known as urad dal, is one of the most important pulse crops in India. It is rich in protein, carbohydrates, fat, and phosphorus and has many health benefits. It is consumed as dal and is also used to make various dishes like papad, idli, dosa, and vada. Black gram is also a valuable green manure crop that improves soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen.
Black gram can be grown in both the kharif and summer seasons, but the summer crop has some advantages over the kharif crop. The summer crop is less affected by pests and diseases and has higher yield potential and better-quality seeds.
Climate and Soil Requirements for Summer Black Gram Cultivation
Black gram grows best in hot and humid conditions with an ideal temperature range between 25°C to 35°C. It can tolerate high temp up to 40°C during flowering and pod formation stages. However, it is sensitive to frost and low temperatures below 10°C. It requires 60 to 75 cm of annual rainfall, but heavy rain can damage the flowers and pods.
‘It can be grown at a sea level of about 1800 meters.’It can be grown at a sea level of about 1800 meters. Black gram can be grown on a variety of soils, but loam or clay loam soils are best suited for its cultivation. The soil should have a neutral pH (6.5 to 7.5) and good drainage. Black gram can also grow on saline or alkaline soils with proper management.
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Varieties of Black Gram Suitable for Summer
BDU-1: This is a high-yielding variety developed by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. It matures in 75 to 80 days and has a seed yield potential of 800 to 900 kg/ha. It is resistant to yellow mosaic virus and tolerant to drought.
TAU-1: This is another high-yielding variety developed by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. It matures in 70 to 75 days and has a seed yield potential of 900 to 1000 kg/ha. It is resistant for yellow mosaic virus and tolerant to drought.
TPU-4: This is a high-yielding variety developed by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. It matures in 65 to 70 days and has a seed yield potential of 1000 to 1100 kg/ha. It is resistant to yellow mosaic virus and tolerant to drought.
Pant U-35 is a high-yielding variety that the G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology developed. It matures in 75 to 80 days and has a seed yield potential of 900 to 1000 kg/ha. It is resistant to yellow mosaic virus and tolerant to drought.
Azad-1: This is a high-yielding variety developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute. It matures in 70 to 75 days and has a seed yield potential of 900 to 1000 kg/ha. It is resistant to yellow mosaic virus and tolerant to drought.
Pusa-1: This is a high-yielding variety developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute. It matures in 65 to 70 days and has a seed yield potential of 1000 to 1100 kg/ha. It is resistant to yellow mosaic virus and tolerant to drought.
Land Preparation and Sowing Techniques
The land selected for summer black gram cultivation should not have been sown with a black gram in the previous year to avoid volunteer plants that cause admixture and disease infection. The land should be plowed thoroughly and leveled to make a fine tilth. The field should be free from weeds and stubbles. The optimum time of sowing for summer black gram is April, the second fortnight after the harvest of the rabi crop.
The seeds used for sowing should be from an authorized source and should be genetically pure, vigorous, and healthy. The seeds treated with fungicides, biofertilizers before sowing to protect them from soil-borne diseases and to enhance their germination and growth. The recommended seed rate for summer black gram is 15 to 20 kg/ha.
The seeds can be sown by broadcasting or by drilling in rows. The broadcasting method is easy and quick, but it results in uneven plant distribution and poor weed control. The drilling method is preferred as it ensures uniform plant distribution and better weed control. The seeds sown at a depth of 3 to 4 cm and covered with soil. The recommended row spacing for summer black gram is 30 to 45 cm, and the plant spacing is 10 to 15 cm.
Summer black gram requires adequate moisture for germination, vegetative growth, flowering, and pod formation. The frequency and amount of irrigation depend on the soil type, weather conditions, and crop stage. Generally, summer black gram requires 4 to 5 irrigations during its growth period. The first irrigation should be immediately after sowing to ensure good germination.
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The second irrigation should be given at the time of flowering, the third at the time of pod formation, the fourth at the time of pod filling, and the fifth at the time of maturity. Excess irrigation should be avoided as it can cause waterlogging, leaching of nutrients, and disease outbreaks.
Pest and Disease Management
Yellow mosaic virus: This is a viral disease that is transmitted by whiteflies. It causes yellowing, curling, and distortion of leaves, stunting of plants, and reduction in seed yield. The disease can be controlled by producing resistant varieties, removing infected plants, spraying insecticides to control whiteflies, and avoiding crop rotation with susceptible crops.
Powdery mildew: This is a disease that causes white powdery mass on leaves, stems, and pods, reducing photosynthesis and seed quality. The disease is controlled by using resistant varieties, avoiding dense planting, removing infected plant debris, spraying fungicides, and applying sulfur dust.
Root rot or wilt: This is a soil-borne fungal disease that causes yellowing, wilting, and death of plants. The disease can be controlled by treating seeds with fungicides, avoiding continuous cropping of black gram, improving soil drainage, and applying organic manures.
Aphids: These are sucking insects that feed on sap from leaves, stems, and pods, causing curling, distortion, and yellowing of leaves, stunting of plants, and transmission of viral diseases. Spraying insecticides, using resistant varieties, removing weeds, and using neem oil or soap solutions can all help control the pest.
Pod borer: This is a caterpillar that feeds on pods and seeds, causing damage to seed quality and yield. The pest can be controlled by insecticides, using pheromone traps or light traps, hand picking and destroying infested pods, and applying neem oil or soap solution.
Summer black gram requires moderate amounts of nutrients for its growth and development. The recommended dose of fertilizers for summer black gram is 20 kg/ha of nitrogen (N), 40 kg/ha of phosphorus (P), and 20 kg/ha of potassium (K). Half of the nitrogen and a full dose of phosphorus and potassium should be applied as a basal dose at sowing. The remaining half of the nitrogen was applied as top dressing at the time of flowering.
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Organic manures like farmyard manure or compost can also be applied at the rate of 10 tonnes/ha before sowing to improve soil fertility. Black gram can also fix atmospheric nitrogen in association with rhizobium bacteria in its root nodules. Therefore, inoculating the seeds with rhizobium culture can enhance nitrogen fixation and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.
Weed Control Strategies
Summer black gram, a brief-cycle pulse crop prevalent in India, emerges as a nutritional powerhouse abundant in protein, minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber. Its cultivation, however, confronts a significant hurdle—weed infestation, capable of slashing yields by 49-80%. Weeds pose a multifaceted threat, competing with the crop for vital resources, fostering pests and diseases, and escalating cultivation costs. Effective weed management becomes pivotal to elevating productivity and profitability.
Diverse weed control methods, encompassing cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical approaches, exist. Cultural tactics involve strategic practices like crop rotation and intercropping. Mechanical methods include manual weeding and plowing. Biological control deploys insects or microorganisms to curb weed growth. Chemical weed control, the most prevalent, is convenient yet plagued by environmental and health concerns, herbicide resistance, and residual impacts. A judicious blend of methods ensures sustainable weed management.
Noteworthy herbicides for summer black gram encompass Pendimethalin (pre-emergence), Imazethapyr + Imazamox, Quizalofop-ethyl, and Fenoxaprop-p-ethyl (post-emergence). Adherence to application guidelines, optimal water volume, and integration with cultural or mechanical practices are imperative for efficacy and safety. Rotation and mixing of herbicides thwart resistance development.
Harvesting and Post-harvest Management
Summer black gram matures 60-70 days after sowing and should be harvested when 80-90% of the pods turn black and dry. Delayed harvesting can cause damage and deterioration in quality. The crop can be harvested manually and mechanically using a reaper or combine harvester. After harvesting, the seeds should be threshed to separate them from the pods. The seeds should be cleaned to remove impurities and dried to reduce moisture content to 10-12% for safe storage. The dried seeds should be graded based on size, shape, and color.
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The graded seeds should be stored in clean, dry, and well-ventilated containers, labeled with the crop’s name, variety, date of harvest, and weight. The containers should be kept away from moisture, heat, rodents, and insects. The seeds should be checked periodically for signs of deterioration or damage and treated with appropriate fungicides or insecticides if needed. The seeds should be used for consumption or sowing within one year of storage.
Economic Viability and Market Potential
Summer black gram is a profitable crop with low cultivation costs, high yield potential, and high market demand. It can be grown as an intercrop with other crops to increase land income and productivity. The average cost of cultivation is 10,000–25,000/ha, with a yield of 800-1,500 kg/ha. The market price is 80–120/kg, resulting in a gross income of 48,000–75,000/ha and a net income of 38,000–56,000/ha. The crop’s market potential is high due to its multiple uses, including food, fodder, green manure, and medicinal purposes.
It is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, antioxidants, aiding digestion, blood circulation, immunity, and skin health. The demand for summer black gram is increasing in domestic and international markets, with major consumers being India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Myanmar. Major exporters are Myanmar, Australia, and Tanzania, while major importers are India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The export potential is high due to its quality and competitiveness, with the Indian summer black gram being preferred due to its distinct flavor, aroma, and color.
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Summer black gram is a successful pulse crop in India, offering short duration, high yield, low cost, high demand, and multiple uses. However, it faces challenges like weed infestation, post-harvest losses, and market fluctuations. By adopting improved varieties, effective weed management practices, proper harvesting and post-harvest techniques, and efficient marketing strategies, farmers can enhance productivity and profitability, contributing to food security and economic development.
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