Introduction:

Gram is believed to have originated somewhere in south west Asia, probably in Afghanistan and/or Persia. According to De Candolle the gram is mentioned in Sanskrit which indicates that it is cultivated in India from a longer period than in any other country in the world.

In India, it is mainly grown in states of Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, etc. It is used in may forms as Dal, Chhole sweets and many attractive dishes and snacks are prepared from its flour. Its leaves consist of mallic and citric acid which are very useful for stomach ailments and it is best blood purifier. Nutritionally it is very rich as it contains about 17-21 per cent protein, 62 per cent carbohydrate, good amount of fat; besides it is a rich source of Ca, Fe, and vitamin C (in green stage) and vitamin B1. Its feed and straw are highly rich in nutrients and are mostly used as productive ration.

 

Climate and Soil:

Being a leguminous crop gram needs less rainfall and having a deep rooted system it does very well under dry tracts which receive an annual rainfall of 60-100 cm. It prefers fairly cold weather but frost is deadly harmful, especially at flowering and grain formation stages. Hail storm at maturity causes great damage to the crop.

Gram is grown practically on a variety of soil types ranging from very light to heavy ones. Maharashtra gram is grown on black cotton soils. The best type of soil is clay loam with an efficient drainage and free from soluble salts preferably having neutral pH.

 

Land preparation:

Gram needs clodded and rough seed bed for good aeration in root zone; thus a required seedbed may be obtained by one deep ploughing followed by two harrowings. In diara lands one ploughing by desi plough brings about cloddy condition and the crop can be sown.

 

Varieties:

Chaffa, BDN 9-3,T 3, H 355 N 31,N 59, Vikas,D 8, Pusa 209, Pusa 244, Pusa 212, Pusa 417, Pusa 256, ICCC 4, L 550.

 

Characteristic features of important gram varieties:

 

Pusa 212: Released in 1982 having semi-spreading and erect type of plants. The grains are medium bold and light brown in colour. It may produce 18-20 q/ha.

Vikas : Early maturing resistant to wilt and yields about 10 to 12 q/ha under rainfed conditions.

Vishwas : Development for eastern U.P., has bold seeds and may yield 20-25 q/ha rainfed culture but is tolerant to wilt and of borers.

Chaffa: It has bushy, dwarf and early maturing (in 105 days) having medium bold, golden yellow and wrinkled seeds which may yield about 30-35 q/ha.

 

Sowing:

a) Sowing time :

Second fortnight of October is found to be the best sowing time but it may be delayed by first week of November for higher yields

b) Seed rate:

The seed rate is decided by seed size and weight but a seed rate of 75 to 100 kg/ha depending on these factors is used

c) Spacing:

A row spacing of 30 cm in desi types (Cicer areitinum) and 40-45 cm in Kabuli types (Cicer kabulium) should be used.

d) Seed treatment:

For sowing the crop, seeds are treated with 0.25% thiriam

 

Application of Manures and Fertilisers:

 

Being a leguminous crop gram does not respond to nitrogen fertilization whereas the response of potash is very inconsistent but the phosphate plays a very vital role in root development, nodulation and growth & yield of the crop. However, Kabuli types need about 15-20 kg nitrogen/ha for a good initial boosting of the growth. Therefore, it is recommended to apply about 15 kg.N/ha, 50-60 kg phosphorus and the nutrient carriers must be basal placed at a depth of about 10-15 cm in the soil.

 

Interculture :

a. Nipping: It is a special cultivation practice of plucking the apical buds of the crop at about 30-40 days after sowing. Nipping stops the apical growth and promotes the lateral branching, thus the plants become more vigorous and produce more flowers and pods and yield per plant is increased.

b. Weeding : Gram responds well to hand weeding and hoeing as it improves aeration. The best time for weeding and hoeing is between 25-30 days after sowing and if the weeds are still present in the field, the second weeding should be done about 60 days after sowing. Weeds may be controlled by herbicides also for which Basalin at the rate of 1 kg a.i. per hectare should be used as preplant well incorporated in the soil or Tribunil at the rate of 2.5 kg/ha may be sprayed as pre-emergence. Fluchloralin @ 1 kg/ha or Oxidiazen @ 0.75 kg/ha may be sprayed as pre-emergence.

 

Irrigation:

The crop is grown mostly under rainfed conditions where irrigations are not possible but researchers have indicated that for higher yields light irrigations are possible. There should be sufficient moisture in the soil while sowing the crop. One light irrigation at flowering and one light irrigation at grain development stage are required for good crop.

 

Plant protection measures:

 

 

a. Control of insects/pests: Cutworm and pod borers are the major pests of gram crop. The cutworms cut the tender stems, branches or damage the leaves by cutting the top, edge or midribs, etc. Cutworms may be controlled by soil treatment with 5% BHC dust or 3% Heptachlor at the rate of 25 kg and 35 kg/ha respectively. Aldrin dust should be good substitute for these chemicals, if they are not available.

The pod borers use to bore the pods and eat the grains inside. They may be controlled by spraying of 35 EC Endosulfan in the concentration of 2 ml/litre at 15 days interval and about two or three applications are required. Endosulfan also controls aphids and cutworms if present in the field.

b. Control of diseases: The crop is prone to wilt, blight and rust diseases which have practically no cure except using resistant varieties like BG-212, Pusa 109 and C-235 for wilt prone areas and G-543 and C-235 for blight. Apart from using resistant varieties seed treatment with Benlate and Thiram (1:1) at 2 g/kg seed; for seed wilt, soil treatment with Brassicol and Captan at 10 kg/ha rate: and adoption of proper crop rotation should be followed: Avrodhi, JG 315, ICCC 32, BG 244, GNG 146, CG 588 and BG 266 have resistance to both wilt and blight diseases.

 

Harvesting and Yield:

 

a) Harvesting and threshing:

The crop matures within 130-140 days. After maturity the plants are pulled out or when cut with a sickle leaves become reddish brown , dry up and start shedding. The harvested plants are carted to the threshing-floor, dried for about a week and threshed by trampling them under the feet of bullocks or by beating them with sticks.

b)Yield:

A good pure crop of gram gives about 15-20 quintals yield/ha in case of desi varieties but the Kabuli varieties give about 25-30 quintals/ha yield. The yield in case of mixed or intercrop depends upon the plant population of gram.

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