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PRECISION FARMING IN HORTICULTURE

Editors

H. P. SINGH GORAKH SINGH JOSE C. SAMUEL R.K. PATHAK

National Committee on Plasticulture Application in Horticulture (NCPAH)


Department of Agriculture and Cooperation Ministry of Agriculture Govt. of India

Precision Farming Development Centre


Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture Lucknow

Precision Farming in Horticulture


Proceedings of the National Seminar-cum-Workshop on Hi-Tech Horticulture and Precision Farming 2002, held at Lucknow on 26-28 July, 2002

Editors
H. P. SINGH GORAKH SINGH JOSE C. SAMUEL R. K. PATHAK
2003 NCPAH, DAC/PFDC, CISH No part of this material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission of the copyright owners. The editors have taken utmost care to avoid errors in this publication, however the editors are in no way responsible for the authenticity of data or information given by the contributors. Bibliographic Citation
Singh, H. P., Singh, Gorakh; Samuel, J. C., Pathak, R.K. (Eds), (2003). Precision Farming in Horticulture, NCPAH, DAC, MOA, PFDC, CISH, PP. 1-354. Published by National Committee on Plasticulture Application in Horticulture (NCPAH), Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC) and Precision Farming Development Centre (PFDC), Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH), Lucknow

Photo Courtesy : Dr Gorakh Singh Published by NCPAH, DAC/PFDC, CISH


Printed at Army Printing Press, 33 Nehru Road, Sadar Cantt, Lucknow. Tel. : 2481164, 2480546

Secretary Government of India

Government of India Ministry of Agriculture Department of Agriculture & Cooperation Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi-110001 Phone : 3382651, 3388444 Fax No. : 3386004

Mohan Kanda

FOREWORD
Horticulture has emerged as the most promising and favoured candidate promoting diversification and combating climate change. The growing demand, in recent years, for horticultural produce for internal consumption as well as for exports has highlighted the need for increasing the production and enhancing the productivity of these crops. Efforts made to harness available technologies through Plan-schemes have yielded good results and India has secured a creditable position in the international scene in the production of many horticultural products such as mango, banana, cashew and cabbage. To tap the existing potential fully, however, it will be necessary to make available, to the farming community, the latest technologies in the cost-effective manner. Precision farming is one such area which can facilitate the most efficient utilization of resources and improve returns per unit area and time. The challenge of producing 265 million tonnes of horticultural produce by 2008 from the current level of 150 million tonnes, calls for the adoption of bold and imaginative strategic approaches, through the development of modern tools. Keeping this in view, the Government of India has contemplated the deployment of hi-tech horticulture and precision farming tools during the X Five-Year Plan. In doing so, as many of the concepts being new, it was essential to take on board the advancements made within the country and abroad in terms of hardware and software. I am glad that all these issues were deliberated upon in detail during the National Seminar-cum-Workshop on Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming held on 26-28 July, 2002 at Lucknow. The exercise generated a wealth of information and it is heartening to note that the proceedings of the Seminar are being brought out in the form of a book entitled Precision Farming in Horticulture containing articles of

great relevance to the effort aimed at giving shape to the programmes under way for delivering to the farmers state-of-the-art technologies. I heartily compliment the Editors for the excellent effort that has gone into the compilation of this book for the benefit of scientists as well as policy-makers. I feel confident that its contents will prove to be of significant value in the years to come.

Date : 13th February, 2003

(Mohan Kanda)

PREFACE
India being endowed with varying climatic conditions provides ample opportunity for the development of horticulture. Recognizing the potential and opportunities, which horticulture provides enhanced focus and plan investment has been rewarding. With a production of 153 million MT, India has emerged a major global player in horticulture. Horticulture is expected to have accelerated growth rate above 7 per cent for achieving overall growth of agriculture to the tune of 4 per cent. In the task of achieving the higher growth rate, hi-tech interventions like precision farming in horticulture is essentially required, as horticultural crops, whether it be a fruit, vegetable, flower, spice, medicinal and aromatic plant or plantation crops, respond to technologies like micropropagation, microirrigation, fertigation etc. In order to optimize the use of resources and improve the returns to the farmers, these technologies have to be adopted. The establishment of Plasticulture Development Centre (PDC) at 17 locations, has enabled to develop regionally differentiated technologies, besides capacity building of farmers and official in promoting the hi-tech tools, and past experiences are suggestive of rewarding outcome in terms of increased production and productivity. Precision Farming, has attracted the attention of developed countries for increasing productivity by temporal and spatial management of resources using various tools. The concept of precision farming is new to the country and needs appropriate attention for efficient utilization of resources to achieve higher input-use efficiency in given time. Plastic Development Centres working on various components of precision farming have been redesignated to Precision Farming Development Centres. To conceptualize the programme and develop appropriate action plan and to promote the concepts it was thought appropriate to discuss issues involved in the development of hi-tech horticulture and precision farming in larger group before launching new scheme. Accordingly a National Seminar-cum-Workshop on Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming was organized by the National Committee on Plasticulture Applications in Horticulture (NCPAH), Ministry of Agriculture at Precision Farming Development Centre, CISH, Lucknow, in July 2002. The conference had participation of all the stake holders, who deliberated systematically the need and modalities for the promotion of hi-tech horticulture and precision farming. Recognising the richness of knowledge, which was gathered in this workshop, this book entitled, Precision Farming in Horticulture, is an excellent documentation of information. This book contains chapters from experts in the field covering hi-tech horticulture, precision farming, and crop specific technology.

The book, a compilation of information on precision farming, will be of much value for those engaged in hi-tech horticulture. The Editors would like to place on record their gratefulness to Shri J.N.L. Srivastava, the then Secretary (A&C) for his encouragement and guidance in conceptualizing of the programmes on hi-tech horticulture and precision farming. The Editors are highly grateful to Shri Mohan Kanda, Secretary (A&C) for his help and support in promoting the development of horticulture through hi-tech interventions. Thanks are also due to Shri Hemendra Kumar, the then Special Secretary (A&C) for his active participation and guidance in the promotion of horticultural development programme as well as in organizing the Seminar. The Editors are highly thankful to Dr. G. Kalloo, Deputy Director-General (Hort.), ICAR, New Delhi, for his close involvement in promoting hi-tech horticultural research in the country in general and for his active participation in the Seminar. The Editors are deeply indebted to all the Resource Speakers for their valuable contribution without which it would not have been possible to bring out this publication. Finally, the Editors would like to thank one and all who have contributed directly or indirectly in bringing out this publication.

EDITORS

CONTENTS Foreword Preface


PRECISION FARMING 1. Hi-tech horticulture and precision farming: issues and approaches H. P. Singh 2. Perspective of hi-tech horticulture and precision farming Jose C. Samuel and H.P. Singh 3. Remote sensing and GIS as a tool for precision farming in horticulture sector in India J.S. Parihar, S. Panigrahy and Ashvir Singh 4 Site-specific nutrient management for high yield and quality of fruit crops K.N. Tiwari 5. Land and nutrient management in precision farming H.S. Chauhan 6. Cultivation in hi-tech greenhouses for enhanced productivity of natural Farming resources to achieve the objective of precision farming Pitam Chandra and M.J. Gupta 7. Strategic approaches of precision technology for improvement of fruit production V. K. Singh and Gorakh Singh 8. Approaches and strategies for precision farming in guava Gorakh Singh, Shailendra Rajan and A.K. Singh 9. Precision farming of banana in Maharastra V.R. Balasubrahmanyam, A.V. Dhake, K.B. Patil, Prosenjit Moitra and S. Daryapurkar 10. Approaches and strategies for precision farming in mango Shailendra Rajan and Gorakh Singh 11. Integrated approaches in management of mango diseases Om Prakash 12. Approaches and strategies for precision farming in papaya A.K. Singh and Gorakh Singh 13. Approaches and strategies for precision farming in aonla R.K. Pathak, D. Pandey, Gorakh Singh and Dushyant Mishra 14. Precision farming in onion U.B. Pandey 1 21 35 45 55 64

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92 114 124 145 164 176| 192

HI-TECH HORTICULTURE 15 Scope of fertigation in hi-tech horticulture Ashwani Kumar and H.P. Singh 16. Automation in hi-tech horticulture for efficient resource management T.B.S. Rajput and Neelam Patel 17. Hi-tech nursery with special reference to fruit crops Gorakh Singh and Anju Bajpai 18. Genetic engineering: A strategic approach for hi-tech horticulture Jasdeep Chatrath Padaria and Ramesh Chandra 19. Micropropagation for production of disease-free planting material Ramesh Chandra and Maneesh Mishra 20. Acclimatization of horticultural crops: concept and approaches Anju Bajpai, Gorakh Singh and Ramesh Chandra 21. Approaches for green food production in horticulture R.K. Pathak and R.A. Ram 22. Diversified agriculture support project : approaches in promoting hi-tech horticulture Mahendra Singh and Ajit Kumar PROCEEDING 23. Proceedings of National Seminar-cum-workshop on Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming, Lucknow, 26 - 28 July 2002 Appendix 1 Appendix 2 Appendix 3 Addresses of Authors Author Index About the Editors 304 324 330 338 348 351 352 198 214 226 239 253 261 275 295

Precision Farming in Horticulture


Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

1
H.P. Singh

HI-TECH HORTICULTURE AND PRECISION FARMING : ISSUES AND APPROACHES

The current scenario of horticulture exhibits growth rate of 6.9 per cent during the decade, and horticulture sector is expected to play a pivotal role in diversification of agriculture aimed at employment led growth. The past interventions have proved beyond doubt that horticulture is one of the best options for improving productivity of land, generating employment, improving economic condition of farmers and above all providing nutritional security. Working Group constituted by the Planning Commission for the development of horticulture during X Plan has estimated that more than Rs 35,000 crore private investment and 180 crore mandays of employment would be possible through systematic development of horticulture. In our persuit to achieve the growth rate of 4 per cent in agriculture, the horticulture sector has to grow at the rate of about 7 per cent annually. Thus, the potential which exists in the country, has to be harnessed in a systematic manner. Horticulture sector includes fruits, vegetables, flowers, spices, medicinal plants and plantation crops and contributes 24.5 per cent to GDP from an area of 8.5 per cent, and has significant contribution to export. Attention to the development of horticulture was put adequately in VIII Plan, by increasing the plan investment to Rs 1,000 crore from Rs 25 crore in VII Plan. In IX Plan, allocation was to the tune of Rs 1,453 crore. These investments have been rewarding in terms of increased production and productivity. Now, horticulture sector in the country, despite its numerous challenges and shortcomings is in crucial phase of development. The trend of growth and achievements have been referred as Golden Revolution. Keeping in view, the growth potential of horticulture and to sustain the development, Government of India has given a focussed attention to horticultural
Keynote address delivered by Dr. H.P. Singh, Horticulture Commissioner, Government of India and MemberSecretary, National Committee on Plastics Application in Horticulture, in National Seminar-cum-Workshop on Hi-Tech Horticulture and Precision Farming, 26-28 July 2002, Lucknow

Precision Farming in Horticulture

development in X Plan also with an allocation of about Rs 4,500 crore, including macro management. The initiatives, which were taken during the IX Plan are Technology Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture in North-Eastern Region, Human Resource Development and an area- based approach for the Integrated development of horticulture in hills and tribal region. Programmes of National Horticulture Board have created an impact in infrastructural development for post-harvest management. A technology mission on coconut, besides the programme of Coconut Development Board was also initiated to address emerging issues. In the process of development many issues have emerged needing attention. These issues are addressed through programmes with focussed attention on productivity enhancement and quality assurance. Besides, the programme initiated during IX Plan and continued in X Plan two new initiatives, Hi-tech horticulture through precision farming and technological interventions for sustainable development of horticulture shall be taken up during X Plan. All these efforts are expected to provide enhanced employment and increased private sector investment, having an environment for the development of horticulture. In the era of open economy, it has become increasingly necessary that our produce is competitive, both in the domestic market and exports. This demands infusion of technology for an efficient utilization of resources for deriving higher output per unit of inputs with excellent quality of produce. This would be possible only through deployment of modern hi-tech applications and precision farming methods. The National Agriculture Policy has stipulated the application of these interventions for the holistic development of horticulture. The Planning Commission has also attached great importance to this aspect and had asked the Working Group on Horticulture for Tenth Plan to have detailed deliberations on the issue for drawing out implementable programmes. Hi-tech horticulture is the deployment of modern technology which is capital intensive, less environment dependent, having capacity to improve the productivity and quality of produce. On the other hand, Precision farming involves the application of technologies and principles to manage spatial and temporal variability associated with all aspects of horticultural production for improving crop performance and environment quality. Precision farming calls for an efficient management of resources through location-specific hi-tech interventions. Hi-tech horticulture encompasses a variety of interventions such as microirrigation, fertigation, protected/greenhouse cultivation, soil and leaf nutrient-based fertilizer management, mulching for in-situ moisture conservation, micropropagation, 2

biology for germplasm, genetically-modified crops, use of biofertilizers, vermiculture, high-density planting, hi-tech mechanisation, green food, soil-less culture, biological control etc. Utilisation of these interventions orchestrated together having the aim of achieving higher output in given time period leads to precision farming, which is largely a knowledge driven.

HI-TECH HORTICULTURE
Initiatives for hi-tech horticulture, through promotion of microirrigation, micropropagation, highdensity planting (Fig. 1), Fig. 1. High-density planting in guava hybrid seeds etc. were taken through plan schemes of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry Table 1. Theoretical potential for drip irrigation (Area in million ha)
Crop Cereals and millets Pulses Sugarcane Condiments and spices Fruits Vegetables Coconut Oilseeds Cotton Others Total Area 100.4 22.50 4.10 2.19 3.40 5.30 1.90 26.20 9.00 1.40 176.39 Area suitable for microirrigation 00.00 00.00 4.10 1.40 3.40 5.30 1.90 1.90 9.00 00.00 27.00

Precision Farming in Horticulture

of Agriculture, which have paved the way for achieving higher productivity through the efficient utilisation of resources. Microirrigation, an efficient method of providing irrigation water directly into soil at the root zone of plants, permits the water to consumptive use of plants and facilitate utilisation of water-soluble fertilizer and chemicals. To tap the potential, which exists (Table 1) motivation of farmers, ensuring availability of material, technical support and credit availability mechanism are essential. Since, the system of irrigation saves water, increases the yield and quality of produce and helps in achieving vertical growth, Government of India has given due attention. A centrally sponsored scheme on Use of Plastics in Agriculture with an outlay of Rs 250 crore was launched in VIII Plan. Water being a critical input for agriculture and keeping in view the increasing demand on the same from various sectors, an amount of Rs 200 crore was earmarked for promoting efficient method of irrigation through drip/microirrigation in the country. Initially higher rate of assistance was provided which was reduced in IX Plan (Table 2) to have more participation of beneficiaries. For demonstration of this technology assistance is provided. Due to the focussed attention and support, Table 2. Pattern of assistance for microirrigation during IX Plan
State category Maximum ceiling for small, marginal, SC, Maximum ceiling for other category ST and women farmers (Rs/ha) (50% of farmers (Rs/ha) (35% of cost) for a crop cost) for a crop spacing of 1.5 m x 1.5 m spacing of 1.5 m x 1.5 m. 22,500 26,000 28,500 16,000 18.200 20,000

A B C

Table 3. Coverage of area under drip irrigation


Period Target VIII Plan 1997-98 1998-99 1999-2000 2000-01 Total 107044 30425 43151 38833 6747 226200 Coverage (ha) Achievement 128444 45151 53017 45676 13422 285710

Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming : Issues and Approaches

there has been larger adoption of the technologies and achievements have been higher than the targets (Table 3). On an average about 45,000 ha are being brought under drip irrigation annually under horticultural crops, as a result India has now emerged as one of the leading countries in using microirrigation technology. The growth of microirrigation in India in comparison to other countries has been significant at 196 per cent. About 22 per cent of the area brought under microirrigation has been under coconut, mainly on account of more water requirement of the crop (100 litres/plant/day) as well as the less investments required on account of its wider spacing (7.5 m x 7.5 m). A substantial area has been brought under miscellaneous crops like grape, banana, papaya, strawberry, guava etc. Other crops covered are mango, pomegranate, citrus, capsicum and tomato. However, regional imbalance in use of drip irrigation is seen, as large area has been covered in a few states. The major beneficiaries of the programme are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Greenhouse
Greenhouse, which provides protection to crop and create environment for growing crop out of season also received due attention in the above scheme. During VIII Plan assistance was provided for construction of different Fig. 2. A view of greenhouse-growing gerbera types of greenhouses covering

Fig. 3. Orchids growing under shade of net house Fig. 4. Calla lily growing under greenhouse

Precision Farming in Horticulture

Fig. 5. Hi-tech production of capsicum under a Fig. 6. A commercial unit of anthurium grown greenhouse in pots under greenhouse

low-cost, medium-cost and high-cost greenhouses (Figs. 2-6). Assistance was continued in IX Plan with an outlay of Rs 53.06 crore for covering larger area under greenhouses. The programme has helped in generating awareness about the importance of greenhouses and enhancing productivity and production, particularly of horticultural crops having superior quality of produce. About 500 ha was brought under greenhouses since inception of the scheme. The major share has been in the Leh and Ladakh Region of Jammu and Kashmir where commercial cultivation of vegetables is being promoted. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and the North-Eastern states have also brought significant area under greenhouses. Although protected cultivation of horticultural crops was new in the first part of nineties, but through the efforts it has been possible to create awareness among farmers. Even small-scale growers of flowers and vegetables are keen to adopt protected cultivation for achieving higher yield per unit area having excellent quality of produce. However, to make this technology more farmer-friendly much more is requited to be done for its efficient utilisation. Package of practices for growing of different crops under greenhouse is required to be standardised.

Mulching
Plastic mulching has proved its efficacy in conserving moisture and enhancing yield and quality of produce, thus, it was promoted. Assistance for promoting plastic mulching was provided @ 50% of cost subject to a maximum ceiling of Rs 7,000/ha for a maximum of one ha per beneficiary. An area of about 3,000 ha was covered under plastic mulch. However, this intervention has been adopted

Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming : Issues and Approaches

only for a few high-value crops and need promotion to extend its adoption in a number of crops. Demonstration of this innovative technique has been considered important to convince farmers about its economics. Therefore, one of the programmes implemented has been on demonstration of plasticulture application like microirrigation, greenhouse and mulching. The demonstrations are done both on farmers fields and on the farms of SAUs and Government. In farmers participatory demonstration assistance has been proved for an area of 2 ha for microirrigation and an area of 500 m2 for greenhouse. For laying drip irrigation demonstration, the assistance is @ 75% of unit cost for different spaced crops subject to a maximum of Rs 34,000/ha. Similarly, for mulching the assistance is restricted to 75% of the cost, i.e. Rs 10,500/ha for plastic mulching. These demonstration have succeeded in creating an awareness for the use of this innovative technology. The success of any programme depends upon refinement of technology in regionally differentiated manner as per the local needs. Therefore, to have technological refinement and capacity building, programmes were initiated through Table 4. Location and year of establishment of Plasticulture Development Centres
Name and Location of PFDC Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, W.B. Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, T.N. Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri, Maharahtra N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh Orissa University of Agric. & Technol., Bhubanewswar Rajasthan Agric. University, Bikaner, Rajasthan G.B. Pant University of Agric. & Technol, Pantnagar Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat, Assam Gujarat Agricultural University, Navasri, Gujarat Rajendra Agricultural University, Samastipur, Bihar Haryana Agricultural University, Hissar, Haryana Dr. Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, H.P. Kerala Agricultural University, Tavanur, Kerala Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishva Vidyalaya, Raipur, M.P. Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH), Lucknow Year of establishment 1985-86 1985-86 1986-87 1986-87 1986-87 1987-88 1987-88 1987-88 1987-88 1988-89 1988-89 1995-96 1995-96 1995-96 1995-96 1995-96 2001-02

Precision Farming in Horticulture

network of Plastic Development Centres (PDCs), established in different agroclimactic conditions, which also serve as a nodal centre for all the information. These centres were established in different Plan periods. Currently there are 17 centres working on these interventions (Table 4). Considering the importance of the centre and its focus, these centres have been redesignated as Precision Farming Development Centres (PFDCs) with effect from 2001-02. One of PFDCs, was established at CISH, Lucknow, during 2001-02. The activities of these PFDC are : evaluation of crop water requirement and cost : benefit analysis of drip irrigation as compared to traditional practices for different (horticultural) crops; modification of crop geometry to minimise the cost of drip irrigation for different (horticulture) crops and evaluation of different systems in relation to efficacy and cost effectiveness; survey of drip irrigation for verifying the adaptability and farmers' reaction in the areas under the jurisdiction of PFDCs and modification, if any, in technology for better adaptability; design and development of greenhouses including development of package of practices for cultivation of flowers and vegetables under various agroclimatic conditions; studies on year round utilization of greenhouses to maximize returns and use of Fig. 7. Banana plants under drip irrigation greenhouses for propagation of horticultural crops; studies on use of low tunnels for raising suitable crop of the region; evaluation and cost : benefit analysis of plastic mulching as compared to traditional practices for different crops, also assess the efficacy of hair net and other application; organising training programme for state officials and farmers and interact for promotion of the technology.

Microirrigation
These PFDCs have successfully worked out regionally differentiated technology for adoption of microirrigation for a large number of crops important in the region and have provided technological support through capacity building. These centres have functioned as a major link in the promotion of this technology. 8

Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming : Issues and Approaches

Table 5. Water saving and yield enhancement due to microirrigation


Crop Yield (q/ha) Surface 5.70 32.00 91.00 140.00 171.00 42.30 155.00 284.00 172.00 10.50 42.40 61.80 575.00 264.00 130.00 34.00 82.10 Drip 8.80 43.00 148.00 195.00 274.00 60.90 225.00 342.00 291.00 11.90 58.90 88.70 875.00 325.00 230.00 67.00 504.00 Irrigation (cm) Surface 86.00 76.00 168.00 70.00 27.00 109.00 54.00 52.00 60.00 46.00 63.00 49.80 176.00 53.00 228.00 21.00 72.00 Drip 18.00 33.00 64.00 60.00 18.00 41.70 24.00 26.00 27.50 11.00 25.00 10.70 97.00 28.00 73.00 16.00 25.00 WUE (q/ha/cm) Surface 0.07 0.42 0.55 2.00 6.30 0.39 2.90 5.50 2.90 0.23 0.67 1.24 3.27 5.00 0.60 1.62 5.90 Drip 0.50 1.30 2.30 3.25 15.20 1.50 9.40 13.20 10.60 1.10 2.40 8.28 9.00 11.60 3.20 4.20 20.20 Advantaege of MI (%) Surface Drip 79.10 56.10 56.60 34.40 61.90 62.60 14.30 39.30 33.30 60.20 61.70 44.00 55.60 45.20 50.00 54.20 76.10 60.30 78.50 45.00 47.20 67.90 23.80 65.30 20.40 69.20 13.30 38.90 43.50 52.20 23.10 76.90 97.00 513.9

Beet root Bitter gourd Brinjal Broccoli Cauliflower Chilli Cucumber Okra Onion Potato Radish Sweet potato Tomato Banana Grape Papaya Pomegranate Watermelon

The experiments have clearly demonstrated the savings in water and yield enhancements (Fig. 7 and Table 5). The PFDCs have successfully demonstrated the off-season cultivation of vegetables like capsicum, cauliflower, tomato, cucumber, chilli and cabbage; flowers like chrysanthemum, rose, lilium and carnation. The experiments on mulching at different PFDCs have established that mulching results in 40-50 per cent saving of water, 20-25 per cent increase in yield and suppression of weed up to 90 per cent. The use of both drip irrigation and mulching has been found very useful and has resulted in further saving of water, increase in yield and weed suppression. The PFDCs have been organising training programmes for the farmers as well as officials. So far, 188 programmes for farmers and 152 training programmes for officers have been conducted in which 5,753 farmers and 2,960 officials have been trained. The Working Group on Horticulture, from its critical analysis of strength, weakness, opportunity and threats concluded that adoption of hi-tech interventions for improving the productivity and quality of horticultural crops is inevitable.

Precision Farming in Horticulture

Although substantial progress has been made in plasticulture intervention, there are other areas of hi-tech horticulture like genetic engineering, micropropagation, fertigation, use of biofertilizers, green food, hi-tech mechanization, soil-less culture, biological control etc. needing appropriate attention for its promotion to achieve higher output from unit land in given environment.

Quality Seed and Planting Material

Fig. 8. 1, Micropropagation of banana in-vitro; 2, A stand of banana in-vitro plants; 3, A bunch from in-vitro plant.

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Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming : Issues and Approaches

Quality seeds and plants determine the effectiveness of inputs and assume more significance when investment on input is increasing. Besides higher yield potential, the cultivar must have to have high nutritional quality, resistance to diseases and appropriate shelf-life. Thus, besides use of hybrids, there is a need to have paradigm shift in the perceptions of the farmers from production (total quantity) to productivity (quantity/unit area) to profitability (quality/unit area/ unit time/man). The solution to many of the above issues lies in developing and adopting newer techniques to boost productivity in an eco-friendly way. The use of transgenics is one of the approaches. Micropropagation is most widely used commercialized global application of plant biotechnology in horticulture. A large number of plants are being cloned and exploited commercially worldwide. Micropropagation is well-known as a means of producing millions of identical plants ('clones') under aseptic conditions, in a relatively short period of time, independent of seasonal constraints. An added advantage is production of pathogen-free planting material. Propagation of plants through tissue culture, including meristem culture and molecular indexing of diseases, are of immense use in making available healthy propagaules. Besides its several uses, micropropagation is also applied advantageously to national and international germplasm conservation and exchange, obviating quarantine-related problems. Global biotech business is estimated at around 150 billion US dollars. The annual demand of in-vitro plants continues to grow at the rate of 15 per cent. The Government of India identified micropropagation of plants as an industrial activity under the (D&R) Act of 1951, made effective in 1991 and several subsidies and incentives were offered. Large scale promotion of this technology was taken up during the VIII plan under the centrally sponsored scheme on Integrated Development of Horticulture. Under this scheme assistance was provided for establishing tissue culture labs under public and private sectors. The tissue culture units established in public sector have only done demonstrative work. Large scale multiplication has not been a reality. However, these interventions have succeeded in creating demand for in-vitro plants of a large number of crops. Convincingly, in-vitro propagated plants especially in banana (Fig. 8), strawberry and many other ornamental crops have become a commercial reality. In the process many problems including freeness from disease have been identified which need to be addressed. In order to strengthen the programme, contract micropropagation need to be

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Precision Farming in Horticulture

taken up by smaller entrepreneurs in the already existing commercial laboratories. To commercialize a highly technology-driven venture, several aspects need to be analyzed before embarking on a large-scale production especially since the industry deals with a product that is highly perishable, i.e. live plant. Moreover, there is a need to promote this technology for production of planting material. Considering high capital investment and long gestation period, moratorium period on the industry has to be increased. Technological infusion, facilitatation in terms of electricity and promotion to create market would be essential to harness this technology for the development of horticulture.

Fig. 9. Hi-tech production of banana using fertigation and in-vitro plants

Fertigation
Fertigation offers the best solution for intensive and economical crop production, where both water and fertilizers are delivered to growing crops through drip irrigation system. Fertigation provides essential elements directly to the active root zone, thus minimizing losses of expensive nutrients, which ultimately helps in improving productivity and quality of farm produce. Moreover, fertigation ensures higher and quality yield along with savings in time and labour which makes fertigation economically profitable. The experiments have clearly demonstrated that through fertigation 40-50 per cent of nutrients could be saved which is otherwise wasted. This has been already experienced by a large number of farmers in grape, pomegranate and banana (Fig. 9). Fertigation is ideally suited for hi-tech horticultural production systems since it involves not only the efficient use of the two most precious inputs, i.e. water and nutrients but also exploits the synergism of their simultaneous availability to plants. Though fertigation has found widespread use in plantation and horticultural 12

Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming : Issues and Approaches

crop production in India, its use is mainly confined to cut flower production under polyhouse and some field production of fruit crops. Significant yield response is possible if drip irrigation is practised along with fertilizer. One of the reasons for limited adoption of fertigation despite savings of fertilizer is attributed to nonavailability of water-soluble fertilizer at affordable cost. Imported water-soluble NPK fertilizers are costly thus savings are not compensated in terms of cost. Therefore, fertilizer policy has to adequately addresses the water-soluble fertilizer rationally, to encourage its use, which shall save 40-50 per cent nutrient and also safeguard against pollution. Policy has also to be backed by appropriate technologies to achieve higher productivity of different horticultural crops. Polyhouse cultivated cut flower industry is totally dependent on fertigation for its water and nutrient supply but the problem is the cost of nutrients. This affects the competitiveness of the industry. Imported liquid fertilizers or water-soluble fertilizers are invariably supplied as NPK complexes and freedom to choose required ratios is very limited. The grape, pomegranate and banana growers in Maharashtra have also adopted fertigation to some extent and the cost of watersoluble fertilizers is becoming a limiting factor. Therefore, to encourage fertigation conducive policy environment has to be created in terms of production of soluble fertilizer in such a manner that the savings made in fertilizers is not neutralized by cost.

Biofertilizers
Addition of inorganic fertilizers constitutes one of the most expensive inputs in agriculture. It is energy intensive and its excessive use in commercial horticultural crops like banana, grape, mango, papaya, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, and ornamental crops is detrimental to soil health besides the risk of pollution. Nitrate in groundwater is becoming a health concern in intensively cultivated areas. Thus, harnessing the potential of biofertilizer is essential. Under these circumstances, use of cost-effective and eco-friendly biofertilizers with suitable integration of organic manure will restore the soil health and keep the soil productive and sustainable. The nitrogen-fixing organisms associated with horticultural crops are Rhizobium spp. which live in symbiotic relationship with leguminous plants and free-living fixers belonging to Azotobacter family and Azospirillum species, which live in association with root system of crop plants. Several soil bacteria, particularly those belonging to the genera Pseudomonas and Bacillus and fungi belonging to the genera Penicillium and Aspergillus possess

13

Precision Farming in Horticulture

the ability to bring insoluble phosphates in soil into soluble forms by secreting organic acids such as acetic, formic, propionic, lactic, glycolic, fumaric and succinic acids. These acids lower the pH and bring about dissolution of bound form of phosphate. Some of the hydroxy acids may chelate with Ca and Fe resulting ineffective solubilisation and utilization of phosphates by crops.

Use of VAM
Mycorrhizal fungi are the most common fungal association among angiosperms. The vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae (VAM) are formed by the n o n - s e p t a t e phycomycetes fungi belonging to the genera Glomus, Gigaspora, Acaulospora and Sclerocystis in the family Endogonaceae of the order Mucorales. They produce vesicles and arbuscules inside the root system. Arbuscules are highly branched fungal Fig. 10. Vermicompost making in coconut garden hyphae while vesicles are bulbous swellings of these hyphae. These VAM fungi are beneficial to plants which they colonise. They make more nutrients available to the plant, improve soil texture, waterholding capacity, disease resistance and help in better plant growth. Besides, mycorrhizae are also helpful in the biological control of root pathogen. Thus, this need to be harnessed suitably depending upon the soil type and crops.

Vermiculture
Harnessing earthworms as versatile natural bioreactors is vermiculture. The processes of composting organic wastes through domesticated earthworms under controlled conditions is vermicomposting. Earthworms have tremendous ability to compost all biodegradable materials. Wastes subjected to earthworm consumption decompose 2-5 times faster than in conventional composting. During composting the wastes are de-odourised, pathogenic microorganisms are destroyed and 40-60 per cent volume reduction in organic wastes takes place. This technology 14

Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming : Issues and Approaches

depends on the feeding, species of worms are voracious feeders and prolific breeders (Fig. 10). They are also surface dwellers, organic matter feeders and surface casters. These worms feed on partially decomposed organic matter. Their digestive tracts act as grinding mills converting the wastes into granular aggregates, which are egested as worm cast. It is estimated that the earthworms feed about 45 times their own weight of material daily. Thus, one kg of worms decompose approximately 4-5 kg of organic wastes in 24 hours. Many of the operations needed in production, harvesting and post-harvest managements are done manually or with use of small implements which not only reduces the efficiency of human resources but also have impact on quality and cost of production. Thus, there is a scope to introduce variety of hi-tech mechanisation operation in horticulture for activities like nursery management, transplantation of floricultural plants in greenhouses as well as other plants, harvesting, transporting, grading and packing operations. This will help in reducing the post-harvest losses besides preserving the quality of the produce.

Organic Farming
Organic farming, holistic production management system, promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity and lead to production of green food. The organic production system is designed to enhance biological activity within the whole production system, increase soil biological activity, maintain long-term soil fertility duly relying on renewable resources in the locally organized agricultural systems. In this system the farm is the unit for development requiring documentation of soil characters, water quality, climatic conditions, availability of organics and maintenance of records. Without adequate organic matter content, soil gets poorer due to reduced nutrient and water-holding capacity. Deteriorated structures and the associated problems by air and water cause soil erosion. Adoption of organic farming is also a way for sustainability. Demand for green food is on increase and harnessing the potential of organic farming which address soil health, human health and environmental health is considered of greater significance. In last few years, organic farming has attracted many farmers across the country and many farmers have experimented in successfully. To achieve the large goal of sustainable production and minimise the use of chemical, use of biological agents, recycling of nutrients, harnessing solar radiations etc. have to be restored in eco-friendly manner. 15

Precision Farming in Horticulture

With growing urban population and pressure on land use of farm waste or substrate like cocopeat, rock wool, gravel, sand, saw dust, groundnut and paddy husk, vermiculite, perlite would be an option to grow fresh vegetables and flowers. Media constituent like cocopeat is successfully used for growing and enhancing yield and quality of fresh vegetables and many flowers. It is already proven that crop grown on cocopeat and rock wool have better growth and development compared to soil grown plants. It has a special advantage due to high retention of water coupled with good aeration because of lesser bulk density and higher porosity. Besides, flowers and vegetables are lighter in weight when grown on these media which is of great significance in exports. Hydroponic techniques using deep flow technique, nutrient film technique is used to limited extent for commercial cultivation of vegetables and flowers.

Biological Control
Biological control is use of organisms to regulate a pest or pathogen below its economic threshold level. It assumes importance in sustainable agriculture and organic farming, and production with reduced cost without chemical residues. However, it has several inherent disadvantages like the availability of natural enemies in sufficient numbers to utilise on a large scale which can be addressed by encouraging commercial insectaries, which can supply quality natural enemies to farmers at a very short notice. The use of commercial nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) is gaining importance all over the world. In India too, private industries are bringing out field compatible formulations. It has been found that using NPVs at early stage brings in excellent control of Helicoverpa armigera on tomato. NPV is further, compatible with Trichogramma egg parasitoids, endosulfan and pheromone traps. These, in turn would constitute an ideal IPM. One of the advantages of NPV is its specificity. However, NPV of Autographa californica Speyer is known to infect several Lepidopterous pests. It is necessary, therefore, to test specificity using restriction endo-nuclease analysis of viral DNA. Safe and sound technologies for IPM in several crop pest situations like tomato fruit-borer and mealy bugs of several fruit crops are available. The private and public sectors presently involved in mass production activities will not be in a position to meet the demand for supplying the biotric agents. There is a need to encourage production units to meet the demand. Biological suppression is a skilled job. The increasing demand for natural enemies combined with inadequate skill for producing, releasing and maintaining of bioagents has to be tackled.

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Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming : Issues and Approaches

Precision Farming
Precision farming is concerned with the management of variability in the dimensions of both space and time. Variability of resources, therefore, is a key factor of precision farming. Any component of production system ranging from natural resources to plants, production inputs, farm machinery and farm operators that is variable in some way, is included in the realm of precision farming. Aspects of precision farming, therefore, encompass a broad array of topics, including variability of soil resource base, weather, plant genetics, crop diversity, machinery performance, and most of the physical, chemical and biological inputs used in the production of a crop. These are closely linked to the socio-economic aspects of production system, because to be successful on the farm, precision farming should fit the needs and capabilities of farmer and should be profitable. Success in precision farming is directly related to how well it can be applied to manage the space-time continuum in production system. The prospects of precision management increase as the degree of spatial dependence increases. However, degree of difficulty in achieving precision management increases as the degree of spatial dependence increases. Similarly, degree of difficulty in achieving precision management increases with temporal variance. Thus, for management parameter that vary spatially, those with high temporal correlations will be more easily managed with precision farming rather than those with large temporal variance. Within a given management parameter, the success to date of precision management is to a large extent determined by the degree to which the spatial variability is temporally stable. Precision farming would involve the measurement and understanding of variability over time and space. Moreover, the system would use the information generated through surveys to manage this variability by matching inputs to conditions within fields using site-specific inputs. Finally, and most important, this system must provide for the measurement and recording of the efficiency of these site-specific practices in order to assess value on and off the farm. Thus, precision farming is technology enabled, information based, and decision focused. The enabling technologies of precision farming can be grouped into five major categories: Computer, Global Position System (GPS), Geographic Information System (GIS), Sensors and Application Control. Some of the enabling technologies were developed specifically for agriculture and their origins date back more than 20 years. It is the integration of these technologies that has enabled farmers and

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their service providers to do things not previously possible, at level of detail never before obtainable, and, when done correctly, at level of quality never before achieved. Availability of contiguous blocks of mono crops and equipments needed for survey, recording and analysis on near real time basis has made the precision farming technologies a reality in developed countries, where farms holdings is large, heavily equipment dependent. Precision farming in the Indian context is still in its infancy stage. A vast amount of data on various aspects like soil characteristics, climatic parameters, topographic features, crop requirement in terms of consumptive use and nutritional requirements have been generated and instruments needed for recording these parameters are also available. Technology for delivering the required amout of inputs to the crop through fertigation/chemigtation have also been developed in the country. However, application of precision farming as a package in farmers' fields has received little attention, although some aspects of precision farming have been practised. This has been primarily due to lack of awareness about the potential for increasing productivity and improving the quality of produce with minimum use of inputs. Use of in-vitro plants, fertigation and nutrient management based on soil analysis in banana have increased the yield manifold and improved the quality. Use of fertigation in grape coupled with nutrient application based on petiole analysis added with bunch management have increased the yield and quality. There are many other examples wherein a few components of precision farming have been adopted to greater advantages in increasing the returns from the land. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop a package based on knowledge of soil environment and crop needs to enhance the efficiency of inputs to get higher output in given time frame. NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON PLASTICULTURE APPLICATION IN HORTICULTURE (NCPAH) A National Committee on Plasticulture Application in Horticulture (NCPAH) has been providing support for the overall development of plasticulture in the country. Initially, in March 1981, this Committee was set up as National Committee on Use of Plastic in Agriculture (NCPA) in the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals (DCPC). The NCPA significantly contributed to the promotion of plasticulture applications in agriculture sector by initiating various programmes. The Committee submitted three reports to the Government. One of the major recommendations of the Committee was to set up 22 Plastic Development Centres

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Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming : Issues and Approaches

(PDCs) in different parts of the country. Consequently, 11 agricultural PDCs, 10 irrigation PDCs and two industrial PDCs were established, based on the recommendations of the Committee. Industrial PDCs were established at IPCL, Vadodra and Central Institute of of Plastic Tools and Equipments (CIPET), Chennai. Agricultural PDCs were established through NCPA at State Agricultural Universities (SAUs), irrigation PDCs through Central Board of Irrigation and Power. Industrial PDC was established by Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd (IPCL), Vadodra. CIPET was set up at Chennai to provide services for testing of plasticulture product. Considering the role the plasticulture has to play in development of horticulture, NCPA was transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture Table 6. Interventions of hi-tech horticulture and precision farming
Sl. No. A. 1. 2. Item Hi-Tech Horticulture Technology Development & Refinement in Hi-Tech Horticulture Technology Adoption in Hi-tech Horticulture i) Cultivation of Micropropagated Plants ii) Hi-tech Nursery iii) High-density Planting iv) Fertigation v) Hi-tech Greenhouse vi) In-situ Moisture Conservation through Mulching vii) Hi-tech Mechanization in Horticulture viii) Green Food Production (ha) ix) Recycling of Horticultural Waste for Environment Quality Improvement x) Biological Control Technology dissemination in hi-tech horticulture Precision farming Technology Development and Refinement in PF Precision Farming Adoption Precision Farming Technology Dissemination i) Training ii) Seminars/Workshops Support for Precision Farming Development Centres (PFDC) Support for National Council for Precision Farming/Apex Body Media Support and IT Emergent Requirement External Evaluation, Technical Support, Consultancy, Cell at HQ

3. B. 1. 2. 3.

C. D. E. F. G.

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in 1993. But CIPET, which provides support for testing was retained and the Industrial PDC at Vadodra were retained by Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals (DCPC). The programme of industrial plasticulture was phased out but the agriculture Plasticulture Development Centers continued to function under the Ministry of Agriculture. These centres have created significant impact on development of horticulture through plasticulture interventions such as drip irrigation, protected cultivation, mulching and other applications. Agriculture plasticulture has the potential to become a major component of precision farming. A Committee constituted under the Chairmanship of Special Secretary (A&C) reviewed the functioning of NCPAH and observed that NCPAH played a major role in promoting plasticulture applications in the country. However, due to nonlegal status of the Committee it could not function effectively and faced many hurdles. Keeping in view the mandate for promoting hi-tech horticulture and precision farming there is a need for institutional support mechanisms which can function as promoter and facilitator. National Council for Precision Farming (NCPF) as a registered Society, shall be a better option. It has been recognised that hi-tech horticulture would play a major role in the horticulture sector in the coming years to improve production and productivity of horticultural crops. Therefore, adoption of hi-tech horticulture and precision farming assumes greater significance. The endeavor would be to address all aspects of development covering technology development, technology dissemination and technology adoption. Special thrust will be needed for hi-tech interventions like micropropagation, hi-tech nursery, fertigation, hi-tech greenhouses, recycling of horticultural wastes, green food production, hi-tech mechanisation and biological control. Refinement in regional differentiated technological has to be done through PFCDs, which will play a leading role. A synergy has to be established to have vertical and hortizontal integration of programmes to achieve desired results in given time frame. The crops where some of the components of precision farming have been practised are banana, grape, pomegranate, capsicum, tomato, chilli, cashew and selected flowers have to be given emphasis for its raplicability. STRATEGY FOR PROMOTION It has been realized that adoption of hi-tech horticulture is inevitable to meet the challenge of increasing the productivity levels of horticultural crops with improved quality standards to meet the domestic as well as export demands. Therefore, a central sector scheme on Hi-tech Horticulture through Precision Farming has been proposed for implementation during X Plan. Some of interventions proposed to be taken up under the scheme are given in Table 6. CONCLUSION 20 The dissemination of technology on hi-tech horticulture and precision farming have to be addressed through training programmes for the benefit of farmers as well as field functionaries. The focused attention on horticulture since the VIII Plan has enabled the farming commonly to realize the untapped potential of horticulture resulting in increased returns per unit of area. In order to meet the challenge of producing 265 million tonnes of horticultural produce by 2007-08 from current level of 152.5 million tonnes, hi-tech horticulture through precision

Precision Farming in Horticulture


Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

PERSPECTIVE OF HI-TECH HORTICULTURE AND PRECISION FARMING


Jose C. Samuel 1 and H.P. Singh2

The horticultural production, which has reached the level of 152.5 million tonnes in 2000-01, needs to achieve a growth rate of 6-7 per cent for ensuring an overall growth rate of 4 per cent in the agriculture sector. In the global competition, it has become imperative that our produce is competitive, both for domestic market and exports. This demands infusion of technology for an efficient utilization of resources resulting in higher output per unit of inputs with excellent quality of produce, which is possible only through deployment of modern hi-tech applications and precision farming methods. The National Agriculture Policy has stipulated the application of these interventions for the holistic development of horticulture. Besides, the Working Group on Horticulture constituted by the Planning Commission for going into the modalities of horticultural development during X Plan had recommended deployment of hi-tech horticulture and precision farming for achieving vertical growth in horticulture.

DEFINITION AND SCOPE


Hi-tech Horticulture Hi-tech horticulture is the deployment of modern technology, which is capital intensive, less environment dependent, having capacity to improve the productivity and quality of produce. Hi-tech interventions in horticulture are not new. The sector, by itself is highly technology driven, needs deployment of modern technologies like micropropagation, microirrigation, protected cultivation, organic farming etc. which require skilled manpower as well as instruments. While the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) have been addressing the research and training aspects of hi-tech applications, some of them are introduced at the farmers' fields by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC) since VIII Plan. Prominent among these includes micropropagation, drip irrigation, green1 Deputy Commissioner (SWC-E), and 2 Horticulture Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture, Krishi Bhavan,

New Delhi 110 001

Precision Farming in Horticulture

house cultivation, plastic mulching, low tunnels, shading nets etc. The areas of hi-tech horticulture having scope for adoption are fertigation, use of biofertilizer, vermiculture, organic farming, hi-tech mechanisation, soil-less culture, biological control, use of remote sensing etc. Precision Farming Precision farming (PF) involves the application of technologies and principles to manage spatial and temporal variability associated with all aspects of horticultural production for improving crop performance and environment quality. This would call for efficient management of resources through location-specific hi-tech interventions. Precision farming could be defined as application of a holistic management strategy that uses information technology to bring data from multiple sources to bear decision associated with agricultural production, marketing, finance and personnel. Some of the other terminologies used for precision farming are Precision Agriculture (PA), SiteSpecific Farming (SSF), Site-Specific Management (SSM), farming-by-the-foot, Variable-Rate Technology (VRT) etc. A step towards promoting precision farming was taken by re-designating the Plasticulture Development Centres (PDC) as Precision Farming Development Centres (PFDCs) in September, 2001. PERSPECTIVE With a view to introduce the concepts of hi-tech horticulture, a new scheme on 'Hi-Tech Horticulture and Precision Farming' is proposed to be launched during the X Plan. Modalities of Programme Implementation Efforts of the programme would be to address three major areas, viz. technology development, adoption and dissemination. While the Research Institutions, ICAR Institutions, State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) and Organizations in private sector having the expertise and infrastructure would be expected to be the key players in technology development and technology dissemination. The application of technology at farmers' fields will be through Nodal Implementing Agencies (NIA) in the States which are in a position to maintain a separate bank account for implementing the programme. At the national level, the overall monitoring of the scheme will be done by the DAC through the National Council for Precision Farming (NCPF). Various aspects of hi-tech horticulture and precision farming are discussed below : HI-TECH HORTICULTURE Technology Development and Refinement The hi-tech interventions are under various stages of development. Some of the 22

Perspective of Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming

technologies like microirrigation, fertigation, greenhouse cultivation, high-density planting etc. are being adopted by the farmers, still there is a scope for refining the technology to reduce the system cost, development of location-specific package of practices, innovative design etc. The industry involved in the manufacture of the system components are mainly concentrating on R & D work for improving the products in terms of quality and strength but it is limited to a small number of manufacturers. In many areas of hitech horticulture like micropropagation, green food production, biological control etc. adaptive research are needed for refinement of technology to make it farmer-friendly. Hence, the efforts would be to provide project based assistance to research organizations/ institutions having capacity to do the identified refinement, both in public as well as in private sectors for taking up time bound adaptive research on technology refinement under hi-tech horticulture. The PFDCs, those involved in the development of regionally differentiated technologies on plasticulture, will have to work for hi-tech horticulture to provide research support and precision farming. Technology Adoption It would be necessary to provide some assistance as incentives to farmers and others involved in hi-tech horticultural programmes for adopting the proven technologies such as : Cultivation of micropropagated plants: A number of tissue culture units have been set up in the country for rapid multiplication of disease-free plantings. The total annual capacity of micropropagated plants is of the order up to 270 million plants. Although, the technology has been standardized for a number of horticultural crops, its cultivation is yet to gain momentum due to high cost of planting material. A committee constituted under the Chairmanship of Assistant Director General (Hort.), ICAR, had gone into various aspects of tissue culture in the country and found because of high initial investments, farmers could not be able to avail the technology for cultivation of micropropagated plants and have recommended for Governmental support for its cultivation. Accordingly, it is proposed to provide assistance mainly for taking up demonstration on cultivation of micropropagated plants. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) would provide support in the form of supply of micropropagated planting material. Hi-tech nursery: A large number of nurseries have come up in public as well as private sectors. Fruit nurseries have also been established under State Seed Farms. The

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requirement of planting material by the end of Plan is estimated to be about 1,185 million fruit plants. Many of the nurseries, particularly in the public sector have not been functioning at optimum level due to old infrastructure, inadequate trained manpower and Fig. 1. Tissue-cultured plants of cashew in pots are ready for lack of financial resources transplanting. resulting in considerable gap in the demand and availability of quality planting material. Hi-tech nurseries have been envisaged to plug this gap and ensure availability of quality planting material (Fig. 1, 2), for which mostly private sector would be mobilized. The hi-tech nurseries will have state-of-the-art for infrastructure with facilities for greenhouse, Fig. 2. Micrografted plants of Khasi orange microirrigation, quality testing, water source and equipments for phytosanitary system. The nursery will have the facilities to prepare rooting media for growing seedlings in pots or trays. Facilities for pulverizing, pasteurizing and mixing of root will also be available in such nurseries. High-density planting: High-density planting is emerging as a useful intervention for enhancing the productivity of horticultural crops per unit area (Fig. 3). It is being practised successfully in apple in Jammu and Kashmir, banana in Maharashtra and to some extent

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Perspective of Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming

mango in Uttar Pradesh. Technology has been developed for cashew. It is proposed to promote the technology during the X Plan as a package duly integrated with fertigation and other hi-tech interventions. Fig. 3. High-density planting of pineapple Fertigation : For intensive and economical crop production, the best solution for higher productivity is fertigation, where both water and fertilizers are delivered to growing crops through microirrigation system. Fertigation provides N, P, K as well as the essential trace elements (Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, MO and Mn) directly to active root zone, thus minimising losses of expensive nutrients, which ultimately helps in improving productivity and quality of farm produce. Fertigation ensures higher and quality yield along with savings in the time and labour, which makes it economically profitable. Experiments have proved that the system economises use of fertilizer and water ranging from 40 to 60 per cent. This is being experienced by a few progressive farmers. Grapes, pomegranate and banana are still beyond the reach of poor farmers. Fertigation is ideally suited for hi-tech horticultural production systems, since it involves not only the efficient use of two most precious inputs, i.e. water and nutrients but also ensures their simultaneous availability to plants. Though microirrigation has found widespread use in plantation and horticultural crop production in India, fertigation is confined to a few high-value crops. Significant yield response coupled with enhanced quality of produce is possible through hi-tech productivity using fertigation. The grape, pomegranate and banana growers in Maharashtra have adopted fertigation to some extent. Based on the studies on fertigation carried out on different horticultural crops, using several formulation of water-soluble fertilizers, the advantages of fertigation are summarized as follows:
!

By and large at least 20-40 per cent savings in fertilizers could be made, if, fertigation is adopted with water-soluble fertilizers (WSF) due to better fertilizer-use efficiency. The water-soluble fertilizers are ideally suited for fertigation as they do not cause any clogging of the system due to high acidic urea and phosphate used in formulation of these fertilizers.

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Precision Farming in Horticulture !

Frequent and split application of fertilizers through fertigation near the root zone of crops help in reduced leaching and consequently better absorption of nutrients resulting in increased yield by 25-35 per cent besides improvement in the quality of the produce in almost all the crops. Keeping in view the NPK requirement of various horticultural crops and several formulations that are available for evaluating their efficacy, fertilizers in the NPK ratio of 1:1:1, 2:1:3 and 1:2:0 are found more desirable as these could be used for majority of the crops by supplementing either N or K wherever necessary through fertigation.

The studies indicate that fertigation holds ample scope for adoption especially in high-value horticultural crops for getting high productivity and quality produce. It would also be cost effective, if type, level, split applications and cost of water-soluble fertilizers are optimized for various crops/regions. Keeping in view the promising results of fertigation in improving crop productivity, it is proposed to encourage fertigation by providing assistance to farmers for adopting the system. Hi-tech greenhouse: Optimum growth of plant is governed by the availability and use of natural resources of land, water and sunlight. However, climatic variations often tend to have adverse effect on yield and production of crops. Efforts have, therefore, been on for harnessing these natural resources through artificial means for increasing crop productivity. One such technology is greenhouse cultivation. Greenhouses are framed or inflated structures covered with plastic material or glass in which crops can be grown under partially controlled environment which is large enough to permit normal cultural operation manually. The size of greenhouse could vary from about 10 m2 to a few hectares (Fig. 4). Greenhouses of larger size are usually constructed for export-oriented projects Fig. 4. Front view of a greenhouse particularly for floriculture. Greenhouse technology was well adapted in Europe and USA by the end of nineteenth century. Presently, China and Japan are the leading 26

Perspective of Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming

countries. Other countries where greenhouse technology is being widely used are the Netherlands, Israel, Canada, Spain and Egypt besides some Arab countries. Greenhouses are suitable for growing a variety of vegetables, fruits and flowers. Year-round cultivation even under extreme climatic conditions is possible through greenhouses. In addition to temperature control, other benefits of greenhouse cultivation include protection from wind, soil warming and in some cases, protection against insect pests and diseases. In general, greenhouse cultivation could be considered as protected cultivation that enhances the maturity of crop, increases yield, improves the quality of produce and in some instances reduce the use of pesticides. The use of greenhouse technology also reduces the total time for preparation of seedlings and cuttings significantly. Greenhouse is also essential for plant propagation through tissue culture. Considering the advantages of greenhouse, there is ample scope for increase in area under protected cultivation of high-value flowers and vegetables out of season, both in temperate and tropical climates. However, profitability in greenhouse cultivation will depend upon the choice of greenhouse structure, selection of crops and varieties and production technologies adopted. While the conventional greenhouses are simple structures, hi-tech greenhouses have facilities for controlling light intensity, temperature, and humidity with complete automation system. The constraint in adoption of greenhouse is mainly the high investment requirement on equipments. Since capital cost is high due to high interest rate and consumers are less attuned to pay higher price for quality greenhouse, cultivation is viable only for one or two crops. However, with growing consciousness for quality, trend of reducing rate of interest on capital and increasing demand for different produce, the viability of this technology is improving. Since the technology has potential of increasing yield by 300 per cent coupled with quality, it needs to be encouraged. The endeavor would be to promote hi-tech greenhouse, which are fully equipped with system to regulate the growth conditions inside the greenhouse. In-situ moisture conservation : Mulching is a practice of covering the soil surface around plants to make conditions more conducive for plant growth. Use of dry leaves, straw, hay, stones etc. as mulching material has been prevalent for ages. However, introduction of plastic film as mulch increases the efficiency by improved moisture conservation, increased soil temperature and elimination of weed growth and hence, increase in crop yield. LDPE and LLDPE plastic films are commonly used for mulching. LLDPE black colour mulch films are more popular owing to the twin properties of possible down-gauging and better puncture resistance. Down-gauging leads to the 27

Precision Farming in Horticulture

availability of thinner films at lower cost and the puncture resistance and opacity check the weed growth under the film. Due to moisture barrier properties of plastic film, it does not allow the soil moisture to escape. The water that evaporates from the soil surface under plastic film condenses on lower surface of the film and falls back as droplets thus preserving the soil moisture for several days prolonged irrigation and intervals. Moreover, weed growth is completely eliminated by preventing penetration of sunlight. Mulch is also used for soil solarization. It helps to maintain favourable soil temperature during daytime and retains it during night. Plastic mulch combined with microirrigation has proved to be highly beneficial in terms of yield increase, water saving and weed control in fruit crops like strawberry. This is proposed to be promoted through use of organic as well as inorganic mulching. Hi-tech horticulture mechanisation: A variety of equipments are available which can be used for precise operations in cultivation to enhance quality of produce through proper handling at harvesting. Hi-tech mechanization envisages the deployment of power driven equipments such as tractor mounted sprayers, aeroblast sprayers, posthole diggers, potato planters, potato diggers, self-propelled weeder, picking platforms, hydraulic pruning machines, power operated loppers, mulch layers etc. Green food production: Adoption of intensive agricultural packages has resulted in many liabilities such as increasing threats to food security, degradation of soil health and natural heritage of diversified ecosystem. Steep rise in population has increased the demand for food, fibre, fodder and fuel necessitating the intensive use of inorganic chemicals. Inefficient use of these inputs has resulted in soil and water pollution and declined productivity. There is an increasing effort world over to produce healthy food, which does not carry residual effects of harmful insecticides, pesticides and chemicals. The emphasis has shifted on production of 'green food', which is produced through adoption of practices in ecologically sustainable manner with the help of standards formulated for production. Under this, the farm is the unit for development requiring thorough documentation of soil characters, water quality, climatic conditions, availability of organics and maintenance of records. Without adequate organic matter content, soil gets poorer due to reduced nutrient and water-holding capacity. Deteriorated structures and the associated problems caused by air and water lead to soil erosion. Adopting organic farming could effectively arrest all these adverse impacts. Since the organic products are grown with commitment to respect biological and ecological processes, the foods, which are sold, must be legally certified that they are organically produce. Assistance is proposed to be provided for capacity building, creation of infrastructure

28

Perspective of Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming

and adoption based on case-to-case and the farmers would be supported for technology adoption and certification. Recycling of horticultural wastes and promotion of biofertilizer:Horticultural produce leaves a substantial amount of waste material after harvesting. There is ample scope to convert this degradable waste into organic manure. Harnessing the earthworms as natural bioreactors for producing manure and its application to crops is vermiculture. The process of composting organic wastes through domesticated earthworms under controlled conditions is vermicomposting. Earthworms have tremendous ability to compost all biodegradable materials. Wastes subjected to earthworm consumption, decompose 2-5 times faster than in conventional composting. During composting the wastes are de-odourised, pathogenic microorganisms are destroyed and there is 4060 per cent reduction in volume of organic wastes. This technology depends on the feeding, excreting and breeding potentialities of the worms. Fast growing species of worms are voracious feeder and prolific breeder. They are also surface dwellers, organic matter feeders and surface casters, these worms feed on partially decomposed organic matter. Their digestive tracts act as grinding mills converting the wastes into granular aggregates, which are ejected as worm cast. It is estimated that the earthworms feed material daily about 4-5 times their own weight. Thus one kg of worms decomposes approximately 4-5 kg of organic wastes in 24 hours. Vermiculture helps the maintenance of temperature, pH (ideal for microbial processes) and produces enzymes, which break complex bio-molecules into simple compounds, utilized by the microorganisms. Since earthworms have haemoglobin with high saturation, it helps in maintaining aerobic condition. Moreover, earthworms feed on wastes and produce vermicastings with immobilized microflora and enriched with balanced plant nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, antibiotics and plant growth hormones. Since horticultural crops respond well for conversion to organic manure, it is proposed to provide assistance to farmers for setting up units for waste utilisation. Besides such work, bacterial culture also has potential to degrade the waste and need to be promoted. This will help to increase the income of farmers by selling of compost, and increase in production on his own farm. Excessive and indiscriminate use of inorganic fertilizers in commercial horticultural crops like banana, grape, mango, papaya, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, and ornamental crops has rendered the soil sick, polluted the groundwater and made it unsuitable for cultivation. Nitrate in groundwater is a major health concern in intensively cultivated areas. Production of chemical fertilizers is an energy-intensive process requiring a large 29

Precision Farming in Horticulture

amount of energy resources. Moreover, import of fertilizers is draining the foreign exchange reserve to a great extent. Various field studies indicated that the yield potential of many soils are declining gradually and there is stagnation in crop productivity. Under these circumstances, use of cost effective and eco-friendly biofertilizers with suitable integration of organic manure will restore the soil health and keep the soil productive and sustainable. Biofertilizers offer an economically attractive and ecologically sound means of reducing external inputs and improving the quality and quantity of internal resources. Biofertilizers contains microorganisms, which are capable of mobilising nutritive element froms nonusable form to usable through biological processes. They are less expensive, eco-friendly and sustainable. The beneficial microbes in the soil, which are of great significance to horticultural situations are: (1) biological nitrogen fixers, (2) phosphate solubilisers and (3) the mycorrhizal fungi. Assistance for setting up farm waste utilisation units at selected locations in the country has been contemplabed. Biological control: Biological control is use of organisms to regulate a pest or pathogen to keep it below its economic threshold level. It assumes importance in sustainable agriculture and organic farming. There are a few problem areas like non-availability of natural enemies in sufficient numbers to utilise on a large scale. Secondly, almost all parasitoids and predators do not integrate with insecticides. There is a tremendous need to develop natural enemies tolerant to multi-pesticidal groups. Further, it is necessary to encourage commercial insectaries, which can supply quality natural enemies to farmers at a very short notice. This also calls for developing appropriate transportation technologies. The use of commercial nuclear polyhedral viruses (NPVs) is gaining importance all over the world. In India too, private industry is bringing out field compatible formulations. It has been found that using NPVs at an early stage, brings excellent control of Helicoverpa armigera on tomato. Further, NPV is compatible with Trichogramma egg parasitoids, endosulfan and pheromone traps. These, in turn would constitute an ideal IPM. One of the advantages of NPV is its specificity. However, NPV of Autographa californica Speyer is known to infect several lepidopterous pests. It is necessary, therefore, to test specificity using restriction endo-nuclease analysis of viral DNA. Safe and sound technologies for Bio Intensive Pest Management (BIPM) in several crop pest situations like tomato fruit-borer and mealy bugs of various fruit crops are available. The private and public sectors presently involved in mass production activities will not be in position to meet the demand for supplying the biotic agents. There is a need to start more production units to meet the demand.

30

Perspective of Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming

Biological suppression is a skilled job. The increasing demand for natural enemies combined with need for improving skills for producing, release and maintenance of bioagents has to be met. Limited availability of financial resources is coming in the way of mass production. Under these circumstances, it would be worthwhile to provide assistance to entrepreneurs/unemployed graduates to take up the mass production of natural enemies near the application sites.

TECHNOLOGY DISSEMINATION
The dissemination of technology on hi-tech horticulture would be through farmer participatory demonstrations, training and visits of farmers, training and study tour of Departmental Staff. The demonstration on hi-tech horticulture would be taken up at strategic and easily appreciable locations through ICAR Institutions, State Agriculture Universities and organizations in the private sector having the expertise and infrastructure. The coverage of area under demonstrations would not exceed one ha for micropropagated plants, nursery, high-density planting, in-situ moisture conservation, and two ha for fertigation and 500 m2 for hi-tech greenhouse cultivation. The training programmes on hi-tech horticulture would be conducted by the PFDCs and other organizations having nursery expertise, infrastructure and facilities for conducting such training programmes. Need-based media support in electronic and other media, which shall be decided on case-to-case basis for promoting hi-tech horticulture. Workshops, seminars and international conference on hi-tech horticulture would also be supported.

PRECISION FARMING IN HORTICULTURE


Basic Concepts of Precision Farming Precision farming involves the measurement and understanding of variability over time and space. Moreover, the system would use the information generated through surveys to manage this variability by matching inputs to conditions within fields using site-specific inputs. Finally, and most important, this system must provide for the measurement and recording of the efficiency of these site-specific practices in order to assess value on and off the farm. Thus, precision farming is technology enabled, information based and decision focused. The enabling technologies of precision farming can be grouped into five major categories, i.e. computers, Global Position System (GPS), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), sensors and application control. Some of the enabling technologies were developed specifically for agriculture originated aboout 20 year back. It is the integration of these technologies that has enabled farmers and their service providers to 31

Precision Farming in Horticulture

do things not previously possible, at the levels of detail, never before obtainable, and when done correctly, at level of quality never before achieved. Availability of contiguous blocks of mono crops and equipments needed for survey, recording and analysis on near real time basis has made the precision farming technologies in these countries heavily equipment dependent. Precision farming in the Indian context is still in its infancy stage. A vast amount of data on various aspects like soil characteristics, climatic parameters, topographic features, crop requirement in terms of consumptive use and nutritional requirements have been generated and instruments needed for recording these parameters are also available. Technology for delivering the required amount of inputs to the crop through fertigation/ chemigation has also been developed at the country. However, application of precision farming as a package in the farmers' fields has not received much attention. This has been primarily due to the lack of awareness about the potential for increasing productivity and improving the quality of produce with minimum use of inputs. Secondly, there has been no serious attempt in the past to promote this technology by any agency. The infrastructure available in terms of remote sensing and GIS are yet to be used effectively in promoting precision farming. Hence, the development will have to be gradual in phases. Technology Development and Refinement/Demonstration Under technology development on precision farming, the focus would be on technology development, which is suitable under Indian conditions. The Precision Farming Development Centres (PFDCs) will have to play a leading role in the development of regionally differentiated technologies validation and dissemination. The PFDCs presently exist in 17 locations in the country, which are mostly in the SAUs, ICAR Institute and IIT, Kharagpur. On account of their experience in conducting applied research on plasticulture application, they have the expertise in terms of manpower and equipment. The PFDCs will have to be equipped further with the necessary hardware and software needed for generating information on precision farming techniques at farmers fields. A list of equipments needed is given in Table 1. Besides, a few PFDCs would be developed as Centres for Excellence for Precision Farming (CEPF). These Institutes will be fully equipped to take up research and development works on precision farming. The CEPFs would function as mother centres for providing technical support to other PFDCs located in the region. The ultimate goal will be to make available all the needed information to farmers so that they are in a position to apply the necessary inputs. Other organizations like ICAR Institutes and Institutes in private sector will also be involved in technology development. 32

Table 1. Indicative list of equipments needed for PFDCs


sSl. No. Name of equipment A. 1. 2. 3. 4. B. 1. 2. 3. C. 1. 2. 3. D. 1. 2. 3. E. 1. 2. 3. Variability mapping Topography equipment : dumpy level Soil survey kit Soil and water analysis in lab Digital top pan balance Input application/delivery PC with relevant software and accessories Equipment for NFT system Microirrigation system Monitoring Data logger with microclimatic sensors Microcontroller for greenhouse environment Portable psychrometer/hygrothermometer Dissemination LCD projection system Overhead projector Digital camera Miscellaneous Refractometer Portable Generator 15 KVA with accessories Contractual studies through remote sensing and survey Total Approximate cost (Rs. in lakhs) 0.7 1.0 4.0 0.5

2.0 1.0 1.0

2.5 1.0 0.2

2.0 0.6 0.5

0.5 1.5 10.0 28.7

Adoption The precision farming techniques will be tried on pilot scale first for selected crops like banana, grape, pomegranate, capsicum, tomato, chilli, cashew, rose, carnation and gerbera. Assistance is proposed to be provided to farmers for adopting precision farming methods. Organizations like Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the State Remote Sensing Application Centres (SRSAC), All India Soil & Land Use Survey Organization, National Bureau of Soil Survey & Land Use Planning, ICAR Institutes, State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) and Indian Meteorological Department (IMD)

Precision Farming in Horticulture

will have to be involved in generating spatial and temporal data for contiguous blocks of horticulture on project basis. It would also be necessary to provide assistance to Organizations, Associations, Societies, Farmers' Groups, and Manufacturers having necessary expertise and infrastructure for setting up Common Facility on Precision Farming (CFPF). The CFPF would function as the nodal point for the farmers to get information about the status of the land in terms of deficiency in moisture, nutrients and other inputs including weather parameters from a single window. Since vast amount of information would be needed by the farmer for taking up precision farming, effort would be made to provide all the relevant information at one place on payment of nominal fee. The farmers opting to take up precision farming would be registered with the NIA. These farmers would be known as Sushm Bagwan. These agencies could also function as the system suppliers/ implementers of precision farming at farmers' fields. Technology Dissemination The dissemination of technology about precision farming will be through capacity building programmes, both for farmers as well as Departmental Staff. The training programmes would be of short duration of one week and would be organized by the PFDCs and other organizations that have the necessary expertise, infrastructure and facilities for conducting such training programmes. Besides, it would be necessary to expose the Departmental Staff to the latest trends in Precision Farming in developed countries where it has been used widely. CONCLUSION The horticulture sector has been poised to achieve a growth rate of about 7 per cent during X Plan. Horticultural production will have to reach the level of about 265 million tonnes from the current level of 152.5 million tonnes. Hi-tech horticultural interventions like fertigation, use of biofertilizer, vermiculture, organic farming, hi-tech mechanization, soil-less culture, biological control etc. would be necessary. Besides, precision farming has been identified as a tool for increasing the productivity of horticultural crops. These interventions are proposed to be introduced at farmers' fields by launching a new scheme on Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming during X Plan. The major focus would be on technology development, adoption and its dissemination for all elements of the programme. In the overall perspective, with the introduction of innovative technologies, horticulture sector is expected to achieve a vertical growth.

34

Precision Farming in Horticulture


Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

REMOTE SENSING AND GIS AS A TOOL FOR PRECISION FARMING IN HORTICULTURE SECTOR IN INDIA
J.S. Parihar1, S. Panigrahy2 and Ashvir Singh3

Precision farming is one of the most scientific and modern approaches to sustainable agriculture that has gained momentum towards the end of 20th century. Precision farming actually is application of technologies and principles to manage spatial and temporal variability associated with all aspects of agricultural production (7). In other words, it is the matching of resource application and agronomic practices with soil attributes and crop requirements as they vary across a field. Precision farming is essential for serving dual purpose of enhancing productivity and reducing ecological degradation. It is a system for better management of farm resources. Precision farming is a informationand technology-based management system now possible because of currently available several frontier technologies to the domain of agriculture. These include global positioning systems, geographic information systems, yield monitoring devices, soil, plant and pest sensors, remote sensing and variable rate technologies for application of inputs. This information and technology for site-specific farming allows farmers to identify, analyse and manage the spatial and temporal variability of soil and plants for optimum profitability, sustainability and protection of the environment. Emerging precision agriculture technologies rely heavily on remote sensing geographic information system (GIS), global positioning system (GPS), auto analyser, sensors, computers along with appropriate software, etc. for precisely identifying areas of nutrient deficiencies and other biotic and abiotic stresses, etc. and quantification of the economic significance of soil-water- fertilizer-pest-crop related constraints and their environmental impacts at the farm/village/region levels. They can provide useful guidance for adopting the systems of integrated management of soil health, nutrients, pests, water, energy and different crop genetic resources. The main objective of adopting precision farming in India is to improve agricultural production, quality of environment and economic status of the farmers.
1,2,3,Agricultural

Resources Group Space Application Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad 380 015

Precision Farming in Horticulture

COMPONENT AND FACILITATOR OF PRECISION FARMING Many technological and scientific developments occurred during 20th century are responsible in bringing the precision farming from the corridor of laboratory to the doorstep of farming community. The enabling technologies, which enhance the acceptability of precision farming in the eyes of farmers, planners and scientific community, can be grouped into four major classes. Computer and Internet The computers and Internet are the most important components in enabling the precision farming possible as they are main source of information processing and gathering. The high-speed computer has made faster processing the data gathered during precise management of the land parcel. Internet, which is a network of computers, is the most recent development among all these technologies. The Internet has bridged the gap between the information provider and the user. In agriculture, like any other form of business, internet has the capability to supply timely data about changing conditions. Global Positioning System (GPS) The most common use of GPS in agriculture is for yield mapping and variable rate fertilizer/pesticide applicator. The GPS are important to find out the exact location in the field to assess the spatial variability and site-specific application of inputs. The GPS operating in differential mode are capable of providing location accuracy of 1 m. The GPS of high accuracy in future will enable the farmers to do farming operations at night when wind speed are low and more suitable for spraying and use night tillage to reduce the light induced germination of certain weeds. The GPS from the point of view of agricultural positioning system should have the requirement like ability of the system to work reliably in varying landscapes, position updates at least once every second, for yield mapping with combine (cutting width 5 m), location accuracy of + 3m and for applications based on changes in soil type accuracy of ~ 10 m. Geographical Information System (GIS) The GIS is an organized collection of computer hardware, software, geographical data, and personnel designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyse, and display all forms of geographically referenced information (2). It is the spatial analysis capabilities of GIS that enable the precision farming. The GIS is the key to extracting value from information on variability. It is rightly called as the brain of precision farming

36

Remote Sensing and GIS tool for Precision Farming in Horticulture Sector in India

(4). It can help in agriculture in two ways. One is in linking and integrating GIS data (soil, crop, weather field history) with simulation models. Other is to support the engineering component for designing implements and GPS guided machineries (variable rate applicators) for precision agriculture. Remote Sensing Remote sensing holds great promise for precision agriculture because of its potential for monitoring spatial variability over time at high resolution (6). Various workers (5) have shown the advantages of using remote sensing technology to obtain spatially and temporally variable information for precision farming. Remote sensing imagery for precision farming can be obtained either through satellite-based sensors or CIR video digital cameras on board small aircraft. Moran et al. (6) summarized the applications of remote sensing for precision farming. They have found RS can be used as source of different types of information for precision farming. However, using RS data for mapping has many inherent limitations, which includes, requirements for instrument calibration, atmospheric correction, normalization of off-nadir effects on optical data, cloud screening for data especially during monsoon period, processing images from air-borne video and digital cameras (6). Keeping in view the agricultural scenario in developing countries, the requirement for a marketable RS technology for precision agriculture is the delivery of information with characteristics like low turn around time (24-48 hr), low data cost (~ 100 Rs/acre/season), high Spatial Resolution (at least 2m multi-spectral), high Spectral Resolution (<25 nm), high temporal Resoultion (at least 5-6 data/season) and delivery of analytical products in simpler formation. STEPS IN PRECISION FARMING The concepts of precision farming involves the variation occurring in crop or soil properties within a field and these variations are often noted and mapped. The management actions are taken as a consequence of the spatial variability occurring within the field. The basic steps contributing to the concept of precision farming are assessing, managing and evaluation of variability, and these are described below: Assessing Variability Assessing variability is the critical first step in precision farming since it is clear that one cannot manage what one does not know. The processes and properties that regulate crop performance and yield vary in space and time. Techniques of assessing temporal variation also exist (8) but the simultaneous reporting of spatial and temporal variation is rare and the theory of these types of processes is still in its infancy. The spatial 37

Precision Farming in Horticulture

variability in the field can be mapped by different means like surveying, interpolation of point samples, using high resolution aerial and satellite data and modeling to estimate spatial patterns. The lower cost and ease of measuring variability by high-resolution sensors will be critical to the future and success of precision agriculture. In future modeling is proposed as an important tool in precision agriculture to simulate spatial and temporal variation in soil properties and environmental performance of cropping systems. Managing Variability Once variation is adequately assessed farmers must match agronomic inputs to known conditions using management recommendations that are site-specific and use accurate control equipment. Our emphasis in this paper is on variability assigned management of inputs to improve crop performance. The success of implementation of precision farming depends on how precisely, soil fertility, pest infestation, crop management with respect to biotic and abiotic variables and water are managed in the field and also how accurately the corrective actions are taken as per the variability noticed in the field. All part of the field are not equally infested with pest, so the variability of weed, insect and disease infestation can be noted and mapped, the remedial action can be applied according to the variability found in different parts of a field. Similarly water availability in the field can be mapped and irrigation can be applied using the principle of variable rate irrigation. Evaluation of Precision Farming We have discussed the technological capabilities and agronomical feasibility of precision farming for assessing and managing spatial and temporal variation. The technological possibility of precision farming based on sound scientific principle does not necessarily establish its utility or value. Three important evaluation issues namely, economic viability, maintenance of environment and feasibility of technology transfer of precision agriculture remain unresolved. The economic evaluation focus on whether the documented agronomic benefits translate into value through market mechanisms. Environment evaluation focus on whether precision farming can improve soil, water and general ecological sustainability of our agricultural systems. Final and the foremost important issue are whether this technology of site-specific farming will work on individual farms and how far this technology can be transferred to other farmers. POTENTIAL OF PRECISION FARMING IN INDIA Although precision farming is a proven technology in many advanced countries of the world but its scope in India (including developing countries) are limited. Different 38

Remote Sensing and GIS tool for Precision Farming in Horticulture Sector in India

scientists have reported certain constraints, which limited the scope for site-specific farming in India, are given as follows:
! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Small land holdings size. Socio-economic status of Indian farmers. Lack of success stories or cost-benefit studied on precision farming. Knowledge and technological gaps. Heterogeneity of cropping system in India. Lack of market perfections. Lack of local technical expertise. Lack of data availability in terms of quality and cost.

Out of these, two major problems for implementing precision agriculture in our country are small size operational holding and cost of precision farming system. In India, about 57.8 per cent of the operational holdings have size less than 1 ha. With this field size where farming being mostly subsistent, it is difficult task to adopt the techniques of precision farming at individual field level. However, when we consider contiguous field with same crop (mostly under similar management practices) the field (rather simulated field) sizes are large. These contiguous fields can be considered as a single field for the purpose of implementation of precision farming. However, many horticultural crops in India, which are high profit making, offer wide scope for precision farming. The scope of precision farming for horticultural crops is described below: Fruits and Orchards Grape: Grape (Vitis vinefera L.) is one of the important fruit crops of India. It is grown mainly for table purposes and raisin making. The major grape-growing states are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Haryana. One of the major grape-growing area in the country is Nasik district of Maharashtra, which can be selected for pilot studies on precision farming. Experienced grape growers know that grapes, which are very sensitive to their environment are influenced by sunlight levels. By using remote sensing data, one can determine where the canopy is too thin or too thick and grapes are being under or overexposed to the sun. Grower also can see where they may need to alter irrigation levels, modify fertilizer applications or prune vines to optimize their production and quality. Growers using the precision farming 39

Precision Farming in Horticulture

technique may also be able to detect anomalies in the canopy caused by insect infestation, eg. spider mites, leafhoppers, phylloxera or the presence of fungal diseases like powdery and downy mildew (Fig. 1). Apple: Apple is an important commercial fruit crop of India. It is mainly grown in the Himalayan region of India. Information on location, extent and condition of the orchards is the prerequisite for orchard management. In this respect satellite remote sensing has a significant role to play due to its synoptic, temporal and multi-spectral capability, Fig. 1. Spatial variability in grape growth that seems the optimum choice for such terrain as reflected by remote sensing data (field photo of the same orchard is conditions. Due to physiological requirement of also shown at the top) near to snowline and minimum hours of chilling requirement, apple orchards are concentrated on higher elevations. Slope, aspect and elevation are some of the deciding factors on orchard condition and productivity. Digital elevation model (DEM) is one of the methods to derive such information. Best orchards are found to be associated with 2,000-2,400 m elevation, 0-30 degree slope and north or east facing. Remote sensing and GIS are the techniques to locate new site for highdensity orcharding and managing effectively the exiting apple orchards. Mango: Mango is known as national fruit as well as the king of fruits in India. It is distributed throughout the length and breadth of the country. A systematic survey has not been conducted to ascertain at regular intervals the total area under this crop, its production and utilization. Accurate information on the area, spatial distribution of orchards, characterization of old and new orchards, identification of seeded and vegetatively raised orchard is essential prerequisite for scientific and precise management of orchards and for infrastructure planning purposes (3). India has a well - established system to collect regular statistical information of field crops, but it is not true for horticultural crops. Satellite remote sensing with its large area synoptic view and temporal coverage is an ideal tool to map and monitor the condition of mango orchard. In future high resolution and multi-spectral data can be used for mapping the extent of disease spread like mango malformation. Remote sensing and GIS can be important tools for orchard intensification and modeling post-harvest infrastructure for sustaining mango production.

40

Remote Sensing and GIS tool for Precision Farming in Horticulture Sector in India

Tubers and Vegetables Potato: Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is one of the important vegetable crops of India. Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Punjab and major potato-growing states in the Indo-Gangetic plains accounting for about 75 per cent of acreage and 85 per cent of country's potato production. It is one of the crops, which has got the potential for export as seed and ware potatoes or as processed products. Jalandhar district of Punjab is a major potato-growing district, where potato is mostly grown for seed purpose. In this district, potato is grown in large fields, with high inputs. Considering the importance of potato crop for farmers of Jalandhar district, Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, in collaboration with Central Potato Research Institute, Shimla, has initiated study on role of remote sensing and GIS for precision farming, using Central Potato Research Station Farm, Jalandhar, as the experimental site. This study was conducted using 23m multi-spectral and 5.6 m panchromatic data from IRS ID satellite. The study had showed that there exist variability both for soil and crop (vigour and yield) even in uniformly managed seed potato-growing farm (Fig. 2). This variability is not known to growers but can be noted with high-resolution satellite data. Fig. 2. Within field variability of potato crop vigour and yield derived from RS data at CRPS farm, Jalandhar Some relationship was observed between soil variability and crop yield. However, further studies need to be carried out to explore the physical /chemical reasons of this variability and to suggest specific management practices to cater this variability. In future, this variability study will show better result with the availability of high-resolution data from IKONOS (4m multi-spectral) and Resourcesat (LISS IV, 5.8 m multi-spectral). Onion: Onion is one of the most important commercial vegetable crops in India and occupies a special place in Indian household. Monitoring the prospects of onion crop early in the season is required for policy decisions on import/export, price monitoring in the internal market and modeling storage, packaging and marketing infrastructure as the crop registers significant annual acreage and fluctuations. Inventory of this crop using remote sensing data is constrained mainly due to the small field sizes, heterogeneity

41

Precision Farming in Horticulture

in crop calendar and low per cent area coverage. The launch of Resourcesat in future will be a boon for monitoring and capturing variability in crops like onion. A pilot study was conducted to monitor and assess onion condition in Bhavnagar and Nasik districts of Gujarat and Maharashtra, using LISS III data. The study showed that there exist a lot of variations in soil and management practices and this variation can be captured to suggest suitable management practices using remote sensing and GIS. Plantations/beverages Tea: India is the largest tea producer (30 per cent) and consumer of tea (23 per cent) in the world. Besides, it grows largest number of varieties of tea. The number of tea gardens has increased from 6,214 to 38,705 with an average garden area being 11.2 ha. Tea is also one of the largest foreign exchange earning commodities in the agriculture sector. Micro-level studies have indicated that there is a good potential for increasing tea production, through the adoption of improved agricultural practices and better crop husbandry practices, without any appreciable increase in area (1). Thus, tea provides great opportunity for adoption of precision farming. The diffusion of the technology of precision agriculture among the Indian farmers requires a lot of home work and prerequisite as given below:
!

Formation of multidisciplinary teams comprising scientist of different fields, engineers, equipment manufacturers, farmers, economists and NGOs to study the overall impact of precision farming on economics, environment and technology transfer. Governmental restriction for restraining farmers from indiscriminate inputs (fertilizer, pesticide, irrigation, etc.), which cause ecological/environmental imbalance. This will induce the farmers to go for alternative approach like precision farming /organic farming. To conduct demonstration study or pilot study on farmers fields rather than on experimental farms for precision farming implementation, as farmer is the first and last model for technology transfer.

The study on precision agriculture has already been initiated, in many research institutes in India. Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad, has taken a lead position in this respect and started experiment on precision farming at the Central Potato Research Station farm at Jalandhar, Punjab, to study the role of remote sensing in 42

Remote Sensing and GIS tool for Precision Farming in Horticulture Sector in India

mapping the variability. This Institute is also conducting precision farming studies in collaboration with MS Swaminathan Foundation, Chennai and Project Directorate of Cropping System, Modipuam, for capturing variability (Fig. 3) and variable rate input application. In coming few years precision may help the Indian farmers to harvest the fruits of frontier technologies without compromising the Fig. 3 . Spectral variability map of soil of Srirampuram village derived from LISS III data quality of land and environment. CONCLUSION Precision farming is essential for serving dual purpose of enhancing productivity and reducing ecological degradation. Though it is widely practised for commercial crops in developed countries, but is still a nascent stage in most of the developing countries. Remote sensing can provide a key input (variability map) for the implementation of precision farming. Developing countries have scope for precision agriculture, though it needs and integrates sustainable efforts. Many studies, which have started in India on precision farming, are expected to bear result and transform the Indian agriculture from sustaining livelihood to a commercial enterprise. REFERENCES
1. 2. 3. 4. Ahuja, S.S. (2000). Tea Production Constraints Stay. In: The Hindu Survey of Indian Agriculture 2000, pp. 105-108. Anon. (1991). Understanding GIS: The ARC/INFO Method. Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) Wiley, Redlands, CA/New York. Anon.(1993). Souvenir, National Horticulture Conference, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India, New Delhi. Clark, R.L. and McGucken, R.L. (1996). Variable rate application technology: An overview. In: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Precision Agriculture, Minneapolis, MN, June 23-26, 1996. Robert, P.C., Rust, R.H. and Larson, W.E. (Eds). ASA Miscellaneous Publication, ASA, CSSA, and SSSA, Madison, WI, pp. 651-662. Hanson, L.D., Robert, P.C. and Bauer, M. (1995). Mapping wild oats infestation using digital imagery for site specific management. In: Proc. Site-Specific Mgt. for Agric. Syst. 27-30 March. 1994, Minneapolis, MN, ASA-CSA-SSSA, Madison, WI, pp.495-503.

5.

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6.

Moran, M.S., Inoue, Y. and Barnes, E.M. (1997). Opportunities and limitations for image based remote sensing in precision crop management. Remote Sensing Environment 61: 31946. Pierce, F. J. and Nowak, P. (1999). Aspects of precision agriculture. Advances in Agronomy 67: 1-85. Shumway, R.H. (1998). Applied Statistical Time Series Analysis. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

7. 8.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

4
K.N. Tiwari1

SITE-SPECIFIC NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT FOR HIGH YIELD AND QUALITY OF FRUIT CROPS

In India, land is limited and shrinking whereas the human and animal populations are increasing. The land and man ratio has fallen rapidly in the past half century from 0.34 in 1950 to 0.14, and is projected to be 0.10 in 2025. Cereals cover about 125 million ha (half of it is rice) but there has been a significant deceleration in the growth of foodgrains production during the 1990's. On the other hand, non-food (cash) and horticultural crops in particular have shown substantial growth acceleration (Table 1). The area devoted to fruit production increased 50 per cent, while the vegetable growing area increased 20 per cent. Grape, an export crop, currently at 43,000 ha, increased 70 per cent. The value of horticultural crops grew at an average of 7.5 per cent during the 1990's. High yield and quality in horticulture can only be ensured through a rational blend of commercial fertilizers and organic nutrient sources. Fertilizer has certainly played a critical role in India's Green Revolution, but the per hectare consumption of fertilizer is still much less than neighbouring countries in Asia. This situation is compounded by imbalanced use of N, P2O5 and K2O (nutrient consumption ratio 6.9: 2.9: 1). Fertilizer consumption is far below actual nutrient removal and export from the farmer's fields. India has a total organic nutrient source potential of 7.8 million tonnes of N, P2O5 and K2O which includes human excreta, livestock dung and crop residues against a total N+P2O5+K2O requirement of 45 million tonnes by 2025. As a country tempted to 'own' organic farming, it is obvious that farming in India without adequate fertilizer input will prove fatal for both food security and environmental quality. It is an understatement to say that organic farming in India can only be practised in very small segments of cultivated area. This also applies to high-value crops meant for export. Findings from long-term fertilizer experiments clearly show that:
!

Intensive cropping with only N input is a short-lived phenomenon.

1Potash

and Phosphate Institute of Canada(India Programme), Sec. 19, Dundahera 122 016 (Haryana)

Precision Farming in Horticulture

Table 1. Some key figures for horticulture in India


1990 Total area* Of which area under agriculture Arable land Permanent crops Cereals Of which paddy/rice Sugarcane Cotton Fruit area (excluding melons) Citrus, '000 ha Mangoes, '000 ha Bananas, 000 ha Coconut Vegetable area (including melons) Tomatoes, '000 ha Eggplants, '000 ha Potatoes, '000 ha Cucumbers and cauliflowers, '000 ha Dry onions, '000 ha Pumpkins and squash, '000 ha Pimentos/allspices, '000 ha Melons and watermelons, '000 ha Grape, '000 ha Flowers, '000 ha Tobacco, '000 ha Total irrigated area Total fertilizer consumption, Mt N+P 2 O 5+K 2O 328 181 163 6 102 43 3.4 8 2.5 215 846 365 1.5 4.8 290 295 940 239 302 306 816 46 25 na 413 45 12.0 1999/2000 328 181 162 8 99 44 4.1 9 3.4 253 1,400 464 1.9 5.7 365 425 1,340 350 500 355 945 50 43 70 450 59 18.4

Source : New Ag. International May 2002, p.51. *all figures in million ha unless otherwise indicated

46

Site Specific Nutrient Management for High Yield and Quality of Fruit Crops ! ! !

Omission of limiting macro- or micronutrient leads to its progressive deficiency due to heavy removals. Sites initially well supplied with P, K or S become deficient when continuously cropped using N alone. Fertilizer rates considered as "optimum" still result in nutrient depletion at high productivity levels and if continued, become "sub-optimal" rates.

To feed its growing population, India will have to produce more and better food from less land. The goal, intensive high input - high output agriculture must be adopted in each and every field. The role of fertilizers, applied according to soil and crop dictates and nutritionally balanced so that nutrient-use efficiency and the crop yields level are high. Emergence of multi-nutrient deficiencies (N, P, K, S, Zn..) all over the country is compelling for balanced and efficient fertilizer use (Table 2). Table 2. Nutrient deficiencies in soils of India
Nutrient Low Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium Sulphur Magnesium Zinc Iron Boron 228 170 47 Nutrient status category Medium 118 184 194 High 8 17 122

Deficiency scattered over 130 districts South and north-east states, very acid soils. 50 per cent of 200,000 soil samples analyzed found deficient Widespread in upland calcareous soils Parts of West Bengal, Bihar and Karnataka

India is the second largest producer of fruits with total area of 3.8 million ha and total production of 45 million tonnes. Mango, banana, citrus, apple and guava occupy 80 per cent of the total area under fruits. India stands first in per cent production of many fruits like mango, banana, sapota and litchi. It is also one of the leading producers of coconut, cashewnut, spices and many vegetables. Horticulture is vital for India's agricultural economy. India's past, present and projected population, fruit requirement, 47

Precision Farming in Horticulture

Table 3. India's past, present and projected population, fruit requirement, fruit production and deficit
Parameter 1995 Population, million Fruit requirement, Mt Fruit production, Mt Deficit, Mt 930 79.1 32.9 -46.2 2000 1000 92.0 34.0 -58.0 Year 2005 1093 99.0 46.0 -54.0 2010 1209 109.0 53.0 -56.0

fruit production and deficit are given in Table 3. Fruit crops absorb 500-1,000 kg/ha of N + P2O5 + K2O Nutrient removal (kg/ha) by some fruit crops is given in Table 4. Apparently, horticultural crops are heavy feeders and place a great demand for nutrients on the soil and fertilizer system. Table 4. Nutrient removal (kg/ha) by some fruit crops
Crop Mango Papaya Grape Citrus Banana Apple Pineapple Yield (tonnes/ ha) 15 50 20 30 40 25 50 N 100 90 170 100 250 100 185 P2O5 25 25 60 60 60 45 55 K2O 110 130 220 350 1000 180 350 MgO 75 15 60 40 140 40 110 S NA 10 30 30 15 NA 20

Nutrient balance plays a major role in increasing productivity of fruit crops. The states having better balance among NPK also have higher productivity of fruit crops. The southern and western state of the country have better balance among NPK as compared to Uttar Pradesh (Table 5). Table 5. Area and production of fruits in some states : an example
State Karnataka Maharashtra Tamilnadu Uttar Pradesh Proportionate share (%) in area 6 3 4 26 Proportionate share (%) in production 17 16 19 7 NPK ratio 3.3:1.8:1 3.6:1.9:1 2.6:1.0:1 15.2:6.6:1

48

Site Specific Nutrient Management for High Yield and Quality of Fruit Crops

Table 6. Nutrient consumption ratio (N:P2O5:K2O)


Zone East North South West All India 1998-99 5.1 : 1.9 : 1 37.1 : 8.9 : 1 4.1 : 1.8 : 1 10.4 : 4.8 : 1 8.5 : 3.1 : 1 1999-2000 4.3 : 1.7 : 1 28.1 : 9.0 : 1 3.4 : 1.6 : 1 8.0 : 4.0 : 1 6.8 : 2.8 : 1

Zonal balance among NPK as provided in Table 6 clearly show that in northern zone use of P and K is much less. SITE-SPECIFIC NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT: AN ACTION PLAN Collecting Soil Samples Sample collection is the most critical part of soil testing for developing variable rate fertilizer consumption maps. Research is underway how to optimize sampling for various combinations of soil properties, cropping systems, and fertilisation/manuring histories. Overlay Field with a Grid
!

For the initial sampling, each grid cell should not be larger that 1 acre unless the field has a history of high soil test values and fertiliser applications in excess of normal crop removal. In the latter case a 2-acre cell may be acceptable. It may be necessary to sample portions of the field on a finer grid, if, responsive sites are identified with the first sampling pass. Future sampling of the field may be done using a larger grid size or by nutrient management areas, depending on the outcome of the initial sampling. Locate the sample point by counting rows and measuring distances, or preferably navigate to the point using GPS. Taking samples in straight rows across the field may be biased by previous management such as fertiliser application patterns. A systematic but unaligned pattern may be better choice, especially, if, GPS-referencing is available. Collect at least 5-8 soil cores for each grid cell, taking the cores from within a radius of 10 feet of the sample point. 49

! ! !

Precision Farming in Horticulture

Sample at a Uniform Depth


Soil tests are usually calibrated on the basis of an acre furrow slice approximately 2 million pounds of soil. Check with the analytical lab for its recommendation on sampling depth, because some labs use their own calibration data set that is based on a sampling depth different from the 62/3- inch standard. For no-till fields, consider collecting a set of samples at the standard depth and another set to represent the top 2 inches. This will help identify stratification of nutrients, and is especially important for pH determination. A goal of every farmer should be to develop a strategic plan that works toward detailed, site-specific nutrient management:
! !

Make a commitment to keep accurate, detailed records of production inputs and yields for each field, including variability within the field. Begin collecting soil test, nutrient application and crop yield data on a grid basis. Identify each sample with its exact location in the field. Use GPS locationreferencing, if, possible. Analyse records and develop a nutrient management plan that takes into account the variability within a field. Use spot spreading a variable rate application where appropriate. Measure yields for each field. Using on-the-go yield measurement to develop a yield map of each field is even better. Individual field yield records are a good starting point, but yield variation across the field must be measured to get an accurate check on response to site-specific management. Continue to add information each year and begin more detailed analysis of the records to refine the site-specific nutrient management plan. Even though the level of detail of different data sets will vary, each point in the field can be associated with each data set, if, all of the records are properly geo-referenced. As technology improves, some data sets can be replaced with more accurate or more detailed data sets for the same parameters.

Nutrient Management Plan


Every field should have a nutrient management plan that integrates the information from all sources of data available for the farm. The plan should integrate the specific experience, preferences and goals of the farmer. Yield goals should not only be realistic and profitable, but also progressive. Assessment of potential environmental impact and compliance with applicable regulations should be a part of the plan. 50

Site Specific Nutrient Management for High Yield and Quality of Fruit Crops

Plans should be written out in detail, with appropriate supporting records and other information. Nutrient management plans should include proper credits for previous crops, manure, sludge or industrial by product applications. Consider all of the nutrient resources available and select the best combination for each field. Good nutrition may be expensive, but inadequate nutrition can be even more costly in terms of lost yield potential...and lost profits!

Start NowBuild for the Future


A site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) system begins with a commitment to develop a good record keeping system that will document the past and help plan the future management practices and crop responses. Other components, including yield monitoring, grid soil sampling, and variable rate fertiliser application, can then be added as best fits the management and economics of the operation. To begin the process, it requires no major capital investment of specialized equipment. Computers and satellite-based positioning systems may be important tools in the long run, but they are of little value until the basic management strategy is established. Much can be done to implement site-specific management, even before new technology is added. The important step is to make a commitment and get started with accurate, detailed records and careful attention to management details. SSNM Treatments : An Example 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. NP3K3SZnB NP2K3SZnB NP1K3SZnB NP0K3SZnB NP3K2SZnB NP3K1SZnB NP3K0SZnB NP3K3SZnB0 NP3K3SZn0B NP3K3S0ZnB State recommended dose State recommendation++ 51

Precision Farming in Horticulture

Importance of Nutrient Management in Horticultural Crops


! ! ! !

Higher yield, quality and returns. Improving nutritional standards of the people. Greater and better quality raw materials for fruit and vegetable processing industries. Generate foreign exchange earnings through the export of high quality produce.

Balanced and Efficient Nutrient Management


! ! ! ! !

Add all deficient nutrients Replenish the amount removed by crops Add nutrients to compensate for nutrient losses from the soil Consider quantities "locked up" in perennial growth and removed in prunings Adopt BMP Long pre-bearing period Needs vary with age and productivity Deep root system Remain at the same place for years Large structure Distinct and lengthy phases of vegetative growth and fruit development Balance Efficiency Top yield Top quality Top profits Identify and quantify the variability of soil physical and chemical properties

The Basic Difference


! ! ! ! ! !

Site-Specific Nutrient Management: Ensures


! ! ! ! !

Objectives of Site-specific Management


!

52

Site Specific Nutrient Management for High Yield and Quality of Fruit Crops ! !

Understand the impact of soil variability on crop growth, yield and profitability Manage soil variability to improve production, increase profits, and reduce environmental impact Improved input efficiency Reduced potential for environmental impairment Documentation of "what, where, when, why"of management Identification of within-field variability in yield potential

Benefits of Site-specific Management


! ! ! !

The Potash and Phosphate Institute of Canada (India Programme) is the partner of the fertilizer industry, Agricultural Universities/Institutes, State Department of Agriculture in achieving balance through its network of research and educational programmes which help to achieve maximum economic yields through site-specific nutrient management in different soil-crop-climatic situations of India. Lessons learnt from PPIC's site-specific nutrient management programme are rewarding and emphasize the need for practicing balanced and efficient fertilizer use considering site-specific nutrient deficiencies and crop's nutrient requirements for targeted yield goals. Sustainability of Indian agriculture to maintain food self-sufficiency will depend on the 'high input-high output' principle. The 'low input-high output' concept is merely a dream, and adherence to this invalid view would prove fatal for food security and nutritional security. In the Indian context, this is more true now than ever before because of emerging demands for horticultural, floricultural, and plantation crop products. The founding father of the green revolution in India, Dr. Norman Borlaugh, has rightly stated that without the use of chemical fertilizers, India and China would have needed 2-3 times more land under cereals to meet food needs of 1991, if, they used the technology of 1960and not increase the, fertilizer input to sustain its present level of production. This is very true for horticulture sector also.

CONCLUSION
High yield agriculture must be at the top of India's agenda for food and nutritional security, and environmental safety. Maximum economic yield goals can be achieved on irrigated land by using improved genetics, yield targeted site-specific nutrient management, and improved crop husbandry practices. Attention must be paid to quantities of nutrients being removed by crops and quantities of nutrients supplied by all sources. To minimize India's current annual negative nutrient balance of 8-10 million 53

Precision Farming in Horticulture

tonnes of N+P2O5+K2O, increased use of fertilizers along with possible use of organic manures and biofertilizers would be essential and inevitable. Organics, which can supply a portion of P and K along with the secondary and micronutrients required by crops can help offset the negative nutrient balance and slow down nutrient depletion processes; however, it cannot meet the nutrient requirements of crops. Proponents of strictly organic farming systems tend to overlook three important factors, i.e. (a) the adequacy of supply of organic materials on a national basis, (b) the nutrient content and rate of supply to growing crops, and (c) the high labor costs to collect and apply organic materials. The importance of organics in improving soil physical and biological properties cannot be denied, their efficient use to the extent possible should, therefore, be promoted and integrated nutrient management be practised.

54

Precision Farming in Horticulture


Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

5
H.S. Chauhan1

LAND AND NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT IN PRECISION FARMING

The natural resources of the world are dwindling and the human population is increasing, along with increase in environmental pollution especially water, land and air. This is more in developing countries like India, China and many other Asian countries. Thus with the increase in population there will be more requirement of food and fibre, but our land and water resources are diminishing. This calls for better conservation, besides more harnessing of resources. Precision farming is the urgent need of the day and a very important and timely in the present context. There is no standard definition of precision farming. However, in the broad sense it aims at quantitative, qualitative and timely regulation and monitoring of all the environmental, physical and biological factors to optimise and sustain the productivity of food and fibre in a given land and environmental setting for human and animal consumption. The role and effect of different factors contributing to higher growth and yield are discussed below: FACTORS CONTRIBUTING HIGHER YIELD Crop Variety The selection of a crop suited to agroclimatic condition plays a very important role in obtaining higher productivity. The varieties suited in hilly region may not suit in plains. The varieties giving good yields in tropical region may not yield in subtropical region. Methods and Amount of Water In most of the crops, surface irrigation is commonly practised which is wasteful. For closely growing crops and undulating lands sprinkler irrigation is appropriately suited, while for medium to largely spaced crops microirrigation has been found to give water economy, better quality and higher yields, fertilizer, chemicals, labour and several other advantages. There is a need to establish proper amount and scheduling of irrigation for water economy.
1Ex, Prof. Irri. and Drainage Engg. (Agric.Engg.), G.B.Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar.

Present address : 1 2/156, Vishal Khand, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow

Precision Farming in Horticulture

Method of Fertilizer Application Application of fertilizers by broadcasting along with basin flooding, leads to uncontrolled leaching and is not only wasteful and uneconomic, also adds to nitrogen pollution but is reaching hazardous proportions in developed countries. Along with selection of proper method of microirrigation proper schedule of fertigation would lead to fertilizer economy and provide better fruit yield and has to be established. Agro-chemicals for Pest Management Irrigation acts as a vehicle of fertilizers and chemicals. For control of diseases, insect pests and weeds different chemicals are used. Along with selection of a specific method of irrigation proper amount and schedule of chemicals have to be established for a given crop. Effect of Rootstocks Difference in rootstocks make a lot of variation in growth and yield, if, other factors remain the same. For example, self-rooted peach and peach scions budded on peach and plum stock (Floradsun and Sharbati) were planted at different spacings and drip irrigated and plants on plum rootstock showed smallest increase in plant height. Root Wetting Root volume wetting makes a large difference in yield of different fruit crops such as citrus fruits. Greater yields were obtained using spray jet trickle systems, which irrigated the largest fraction of tree root zone. High-density Planting High-density planting constitutes a more efficient orcharding system. They consist of different planting densities for different fruit crops, e.g. 250-1,250 plants/ha in case of apples. They are easily manageable, have low labour costs, higher yield potential and production. The systems have to be established appropriately for different fruit crops. Environmental Consideration Greater application of water than required to not only leads to lesser yield but also may cause waterlogging and salinity, leading to land degradation. Similarly, excess application of fertilizers and chemicals may lead to groundwater pollution. Therefore, keeping in view environmental considerations, it is also important that appropriate and precise amount of water and fertilizers may be applied. AUTOMATED IRRIGATION Computer programmes have been developed for automation of localised irrigation 56

Land and Nutrient Management in Precision Farming

for scheduling irrigation of various orchard crops. In Mexico, AUTRI was developed for peach orchards. A real time expert system, CIMS, was developed for microirrigation of citrus orchards. To manage irrigation scheduling in different crops by various workers are discussed below : Apple Reproductive and vegetative responses of fruiting apple trees due to two methods of microirrigation and nitrogen fertilization were studied (3). Apple cultivars Granny Smith and Koop 10, irrigated by drip irrigation and subsoil irrigation and nitrogen applied either in the irrigation water or by topdressing. Results revaeled that there was a significant difference between the two methods of irrigation. However, with subsoil irrigation some blockages were observed in the pipes during the ninth growing season which resulted in lower yield and poorer fruit quality. Two experiments were carried out in Germany to study the effect of fertigation on the mineral composition of apple fruits and their colour (4). The first experiment was with cv. Elstar and Boscoop on M-9. Three fertigation levels, 2 nitrogen levels and a Ca NO3 application were compared with broadcast fertilizer application. In the second experiment, the influence of fertigation and quality in relation to planting density on cv. Jomica (3,330 or 6,000 trees/ha) and Elstar (2,000 trees/ha) was investigated. Differences were not observed in firmnness, acidity or sugar content and their changes between fertigated and unfertigated plots. Fertigation also did not improved fruit mineral content with respect to their storage potential. The reduction in the nitrogen level applied by fertigation did not affect fruit colour. Fertigation had no positive effect on flowering and productivity. Drip irrigation plus broadcast fertilizer application gave the best yields. Fruit quality was affected mainly by the number of fruits per tree. At low densities of crop (by thinning) firmness and TSS contents were higher giving a better taste than high-density fruits. Influence of three fertilizers (ammonium nitrate, urea mono ammonium phosphate) and 3 irrigation methods (microjet, drip and sprinkler) on growth and fruit yield of apple cv. Mascpurl trees are on M-106 rootstocks, planted in replant soil under orchard conditions in British Columbia, Canada (10). There was no significant difference for growth and fruit yield between untreated control and urea applied as foliar spray (1 kg/1,000 litres of water). Trunk cross-section area and fruit yield were significantly lower for trees watered by micro jet (2.3 hr/day) and drip (21.6 hr/day) compared with those receiving 2 durations of sprinkler irrigation (1.5 or 3 hr every 7 days). No significant differences were found between micro jet and drip irrigation or between two durations of sprinkler irrigation for trunk cross-section or fruit 57

Precision Farming in Horticulture

yield. Significant correlations were observed between trunk cross-section area and fruit yield for all 5 years. Banana Lahav and Kalmar (5) studied water amounts through drip irrigation regimes in banana. Water amounts were fixed according to the evaporation factor from a class A pan. The rate of water application corresponded to f = 0.8, 1.0, 1.2 and 1.4. An additional factor with a constant factor of evaporation of f = 1.0 was applied. The fertilizer regimes consisted of a fixed dose of fertilizers applied once a week and a constant concentration of fertilizer injected into the irrigation water throughout the irrigation season. The water applied amounted to 8,450-14,470 cubic m/ha/year. The increased water amount lead to an increase in sucker height, earlier flowering, more branches and increase in average bunch weight. Maximum effects were found in suckers irrigated at f =1.4 but any increase above f = 1.0 gave no significant advantage. Drip irrigation in Cavendish banana grown in a well-drained sandy clay loam soil gave better performance than basin irrigation in India (8). Different levels of evaporation replenishments were 20,40,60,80,100 and 120 per cent of class A pan evaporation and nitrogen (100, 200 and 300 g/plant) and potassium (100, 200 and 300 g/plant). Banana yields were significantly higher with drip irrigation (83.8 tonnes/ha) as compared with 78.9 with basin irrigation. Increasing N had no significant effect on water-use efficiency. Field experiments on fertigation by drip and micro spray irrigation at weekly or monthly intervals in banana revealed the more yield with micro spray applications for both fertigation methods (7). Stem circumference and number of hands in a bunch were greater for micro spray and at monthly application for both the methods. Mean bunch mass for weekly and monthly irrigations was 23.9 kg and 29.2 kg and drip irrigation 30.1 kg and 33.3 kg under micro spray irrigation. It was concluded that fertigation should be done on a monthly rather than weekly basis for both the methods. Effect of water-soluble fertilizers on yield and quality of banana was studied by Pawer et al. (6). The results showed that the fruit yield was significantly higher in normal planting (82.86 tonnes/ha) than paired row planting (75.75 tonnes/ha). The fruit yield increased in watersoluble fertilizer (81.1 tonnes/ha) compared to only nitrogen through drip (77.59 tonnes/ ha). Yield was minimum (72.61 tonnes/ha). in surface method. The water saving to the extent of 50 per cent under drip irrigation was also observed in comparison to surface method. Citrus Experiments by Bravdo et al. (1) on drip and micro jet sprays on 25-year-old 58

Land and Nutrient Management in Precision Farming

orchard on cv. Shamouti oranges showed that small volumes irrigation by dripper combined with a high concentration. NPK equivalent to half the strength of Hoagland solution resulted in highest yield. The increased yield due to larger number of fruits/ha which resulted in decreased fruit size initially but this effect gradually disappeared in the following years. The low volumes irrigation combined with high concentrations of NPK produced restricted root growth and a dense root system with a large number of small roots. Their was no treatment effects on fruit quality or leaf water potential. In South Africa, there was non-significant difference in yield and fruit size distribution on Mid Knight Valencia oranges due to fertigation frequencies and conventional hand fertilizer application practices (9). Stem circumference was greater in double line drip treatment with fortnightly fertigation. All the treatments met export quality but trees under single line drip fertigation had higher TSS, acid and juice content than other two treatments. In 10-year-old Mineola Tangelo groove on the coastal plains of Israel showed that low N rate (100kg N/ha) caused a gradual decline in fruit yield and in leaf nitrogen content but produced larger fruits with thinner rinds as compared with 200 and 300kg N/ha under various methods of fertigation (2). Trickle irrigation with two laterals produced better tree growth and higher yields than trickle irrigation with one lateral or micro sprinkler irrigation. Xin et al. (11) developed citrus management irrigation system (CIMS) to assist microirrigation cold protection and fertilizer management. The system integrates an expert system conventional control, a crop water requirement simulations model, databases and irrigation management tools into a single system to assist the decision making processes by irrigation managers. Soil moisture sensors and an automated weather station were installed in the field. Both laboratory and field tests showed that the integrated system worked as a management tool for irrigation, fertigation and cold protection. The system is highly automated and has the potential to improve microirrigation management to achieve water and energy savings and to prevent water pollution due to improper fertigation management. SALIENT INFERENCES FROM REVIEW From the above review on fertigation experiences of the selected fruit crops, viz. apple, banana and citrus, inferences have been drawn and given in brief below: Apple Fertigation with trickle and broadcast: Studies were done on a compound solution 19:6:6 NPK fertilizer applied in trickle irrigation annual fertigation between 10 8g N/tree and compared with irrigation broadcast fertilizer at 80 g N/tree and no fertilizer and irrigation. In the initial days there was not much difference in shoot growth among 59

Precision Farming in Horticulture

different treatments. Fertigation at 40 and 80 g N/tree caused large increase in total shoot growth associated with an excessive production of axillary floral buds. The best balance between increased shoot growth and fruit bud production, fruit set and cumulative yield was achieved with fertigation at 20gN/tree. Microsprinkler and fertilizer application : The apple tree growth was studied at 2 levels of potassium (0 and 200 kg/ha) and 2 irrigation schemes, without irrigation in 4 blocks and with irrigation which permits soil moisture in root zone as 25-35 kg/ha of soil moisture head. Irrigation was given in half the area (4 blocks). Significant influence of potassium at the level of 200 kg/ha on increase of soil moisture pressure head was found both for irrigated and non-irrigated blocks. A significant effect of microsprinkler on lowering by ratio of 2.5 of the contents of NO3 form in groundwater in irrigated blocks was found as compared to unirrigated blocks. Subsoil drip irrigation and nitrogen application: Studies on apple cv. Granny Smith, Smoothee and Koop 10 were done by drip irrigation and subsoil irrigation with nitrogen applied either in the irrigation water or by topdressing. The rate of watering was 100 per cent of evapotranspiration loss and amounted to 161 cubic m/ha. No significant differences were observed between the two methods of irrigation. However, with subsoil irrigation some blockage were observed in the pipes during the ninth growing season which resulted in lower yield and poor fruit quality. K deficiency correction through fertigation: Fertigation cv. Mc Intosh, 40 g N and 17.5 g P/tree by the third growing season with leaf K average 0.82 per cent dry mass suggesting deficiency of K. This coincided with extractable soil K concentrations of 50-60 g/tree soil in a narrow volume of coarse textured soil located within 0.3 m of the emitters. The decrease in leaf K was reversed and fruit K increased after applications of 15-30 g K/tree as granular KCl directly beneath the emitters in spring or as KCl applied as fertigant in irrigation water. K fertilizers improved fruit surface colour, size and titratable acidity when leaf K was less than 1. Fruit calcium and incidence of bitter pit or core flush were unaffected by K applications. Microjet/drip/sprinkler irrigation and fertigation : Study on influence of fertilizers (ammonium nitrate, urea and mono ammonium phosphate) and irrigation methods, (microjet, drip and sprinkler) on apple cv. Macspurl trees on MM-106 rootstock in Canada showed that there was no difference in growth and yield between untreated control and urea applied as a foliar spray (1 kg/100 litres of water). Trunk crosssection area and yield were lower for trees watered by microjet (2-3 hr/day) and drip (21.6 hr/ day) compared with those receiving 2 duration of sprinkler irrigation (1.5 or 60

Land and Nutrient Management in Precision Farming

3 hr every 7 days). No differences were obtained between microjet and drip irrigation or between two durations of sprinkler irrigation for trunk-cross-sect and fruit yield. Fertigation with drip and flooding : Work on nutrient management in apple carried out through trickle irrigation in Solan, Himanchal Pradesh (India) on cv. Mollie's Delicious with the recommended doses of NPK under drip irrigation, emitters broadcasting. For broadcasted fertilizer treatments, plots were irrigated either by basin irrigation or without irrigation. Placement of fertilizers under the emitters resulted in less leaching of N and better distribution of K to 60 cm soil depth. With basin flooding the nutrients leached down below this depth where they were no longer available to the plants. Fertigation, fertilizer broadcasing and mineral content : Results of fertigation on mineral composition and colouration in cv. Elstar and Boscoon in Germany showed that no differences were found in firmness, acidity, sugar content and their changes between fertigated and unfertigated plots. It was found that fertigation did not improve fruit mineral content with respect to their storage potential. The reduction in nitrogen level applied by fertigation did not affect fruit colour. Fertigation had no positive effect on flowering and productivity. Drip irrigation plus broadcast fertilizer application, gave the best yield. Banana Fertigation, drip and micro-spray: Field experiments were carried out on fertigation by drip and micro-spray irrigation at weekly and monthly intervals and it was observed that yields were higher with micro-spray application for both fertigation methods. Yield was also higher with monthly application compared to weekly applications. It was concluded that fertigation should be done at monthly intervals rather than weekly for both the methods. Drip, basin irrigation, NK and yield: Drip irrigation of Cavendish banana in a sandy clay loam soil gave better performance than basin irrigation. Different levels of evaporation replenishments and N and K gave significantly higher yield with drip irrigation (83.8 tonnes/ha) as compared with 78.9 tonnes/ha for basin irrigation. Increasing N had no significant effect on water-use efficiency but increasing K had some effect. Drip,water and fertilizer regimes : Different water amounts through drip irrigation regimes were studied where amount were fixed according to the evaporation factor from a class A pan, the fertilizer regimes consisted a fixed dose, once a week and constant concentration of fertilizer injected into the irrigation water throughout the 61

Precision Farming in Horticulture

irrigation season. The increased water amount lead to an increase in sucker height, earlier flowering, more branches and also increase in average bunch weight. Maximum effects were observed in suckers irrigated at f =1.4 but any increase above f =1.0 gave non-significant advantage. Drip and surface irrigation and fertilizer application : Effect of water-soluble fertilizers comprising 2 fertilizers sources, 3 levels and 2 planting systems were studied, and compared with surface method of irrigation using straight fertilizers. The fruit yield was significantly higher in normal planting (82.86 tonnes/ha) than paired row planting (75.75 tonnes/ha). The fruit yield increased in water-soluble fertilizer (81.01 tonnes/ha) compared to only nitrogen through drip (77.59 tonnes/ha). Minimum fruit yield was observed in surface method. (72.61 tonnes/ha). The water saving was 50 per cent under drip irrigation compared to surface method. Citrus Drip, microjet and fertigation : Research on Mid knight Valencia oranges in South Africa with various fertigation frequencies and conventional hand fertilizer application practices resulted in no statistical difference between treatments in respect of yield and fruit size. Stem circumference was greater in double line drip treatment with fortnightly fertigation. Trees under single line drip fertigation had higher TSS, acid and juice content than other two treatments. Drip, lateral numbers and fertilizer application : Studies on 10-year-old Mineola Tangelo grown in Israel with micro-sprinkler or trickle irrigation from 1 or 2 drip laterals per tree and N fertigation (100, 200 and 300 kg/ha) showed decreased fruit growth. The fruits of the stressed tree were smaller with higher sugar content. Low N rate (100 kg N/ha) caused a gradual decline in fruit yield and in leaf N content but produced large fruits with thinner rinds. Trickle irrigation with two laterals, had better tree growth and higher yield than trickle irrigation with one lateral. CMIS irrigation automation and expert system model : Citrus management irrigation system (CMIS) based on soil moisture sensors and automated weather station was developed to assist microirrigation and fertilizer management. The system integrates an expert system conventional control, a crop water requirement simulations model databases and irrigation management tools into a single system to assist the decisionmaking processes by irrigation managers. The system is highly automated and has the potential to improve microirrigation management to achieve water and energy savings and to prevent water pollution due to improper fertigation management.

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Drip, microjet and NPK fertigation : Study on drip and microjet sprays on 25year-old orchard of cv Shamouti oranges with small volumes irrigation by drippers combined with a high concentration of NPK equivalent to half the strength of Hoagland solution resulted in the highest yield. The increased yield was due to more number of fruits/ha. The low volumes irrigation combined with high concentrations of NPK produced restricted root growth and dense root system with more number of small roots. There was no treatment effects on fruit quality or leaf water potential. REFERENCES
1. Bravdo, B., Salomon, E., Erner, Y., Saada, D., Shufman, E. and Oren, Y. (1994). Effect of drip and mirosprinkler irrigation on citrus yield and quality. Proceedings of the International Society for Citriculture, vol.2. Cultural Practices. Diseases and Their Control, 7th International Citrus Congress, Acireale, Italy, March 8-13, 1992, pp. 646-50. Dasberg, S., Erner, Y. and Chartzoulakis,K.S.(1997). Effect of irrigation management and nitrogen application on yield and quality of Mineola mandarins. Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops; Chania Crete Greece, September 9-13, 1996. Acta Horticulturae, No. 449 : 125-31. Doichev, K.(1998). Vegetative and reproductive responses of fruiting apple trees to two methods of drip irrigation and nitrogen fertiliser application. Rasteniev"dni- Nauki. 35 : 39497. Dolega, E.K., Link, B. and Blanke, M. (1998). Fruit quality in relation to fertigation of apple trees. Proc. Second Workshop on Pome, Fruit Quality Bonn-Rottgen Germany November 2426, 1996. Acta Horticulutae No.466: 19-114. Lahav, E.and Kalmar, D. (1988). The response of banana to drip irrigation, water amounts and fertigation regimes. Soil Science and Plant Analysis 19 : 1, 25- 46. Pawar, D.D., Raskar, B.S., Bangar, A.R., Bhoi, P.G. and Shinde, S.H. (2001). Effects of water soluble fertilizers through drip and planting techniques on growth yield and quality of banana. Proceedings of International Conference on Micro and Sprinkler-Irrigation Microirrigation. Central Board of Irrigation and Power, held at Jalgaon. Singh, H.P., Kaushish, S.P., Kumar, Ashwani, Murthy, J.S., Samuel, J.C. (Eds.), pp. 515 - 19. Smith, B. and Hoffman, E. (1998). Comparing drip and microspray fertigation. NeltropikaBulletin, No. 302 : 14-16. Srinivas, K and Hedge, D.M. (1990). Drip Irrigation studies on banana. Proc. of 11th Int. Con. on Use of Plastics in Agriculture, New Delhi India, pp. 151-57. Tomlison T.R. and Coetzek (1997). Can fertigation influence fruit quality? Neltropika. Bulletin, No. 96 : 7-9. Utkhede, R.S., Utkhede, R. and Veghelyi (1998). Influence of cultural practices on the growth and yield of young apple trees planted in replant disease soil. Proceedings of International Symposium on Replant Problems Budapest, Hungary. Acta Horticulturae No. 477: 27-38. Xin J.N., Zazueta, F.S., Smajstrla, A.G., Wheaton, T.A., Jones J.W., Jones, P.H. and Dankel, D.D. (1977). CI MS an integrated real time computer system for Citrus micro-irrigation management. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 13 : 6, 785-90.

2.

3.

4.

5. 6.

7. 8. 9. 10.

11.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

CULTIVATION IN HI-TECH GREENHOUSES FOR ENHANCED PRODUCTIVITY OF NATURAL RESOURCES TO ACHIEVE THE OBJECTIVE OF PRECISION FARMING
Pitam Chandra1 and M.J. Gupta2

The term 'precision' farming means carefully tailoring soil and crop management to fit the different conditions found in each field. Precision farming is sometimes called 'prescription farming', 'site-specific farming' and 'variable rate technology'. Benefits of a comprehensive precision agriculture programme are summarized as increased production efficiency, improved product quality, more efficient chemical and seed use, energy conservation and surface and groundwater protection. Farmers need access to sitespecific technology through Global Positioning Systems (GPS). The GPS makes use of a series of military satellites that identifies the location of farm equipment within a metre of an actual site in the field. The value of knowing a precise location is, 1) location of soil samples and the laboratory results can be compared to a soil map, 2) fertilizer and pesticides can be prescribed to fit soil properties (clay and organic matter content) and soil conditions (relief and drainage), 3) tillage adjustments can be made as one finds various conditions across the field, and 4) one can monitor and record yield data as one goes across the field. The real value for the farmer is that he can adjust seeding rates, plan more accurate crop protection programmes, perform more timely tillage and know the yield variation within a field. HI-TECH VERSUS PRECISION FARMING Indian horticulture in recent times has been experiencing a high rate of growth and modernization. Several expressions are being used to express these developments. The two most common expressions are hi-tech horticulture and precision horticulture. The question is whether precision is more appropriate or hi-tech in qualifying the state of development. Any development, including that horticulture, is termed hi-tech if, it
1,2Division of Agricultural Engineering, IARI, New Delhi 110 012

Cultivation in Hi-Tech Greenhouses for Enhanced Productivity of Natural Resources

utilizes the technologies and resources which are significantly more sophisticated and contemporary than those already being used. Therefore, the term hi-tech indicates that the developments are being continually upgraded. What was hi-tech yesterday may not be hi-tech tomorrow. The basket of inputs keeps changing all the time. It is not possible, without additional qualifications, to decipher the contents of hi-tech horticulture. Precision horticulture, on the other hand, gives a very clear understanding of the intended objective. It is possible to find out the contents of the input basket for precision horticulture for a given location and point of time. It appears that the term precision farming is more specific and time invariant to express the developments. HI-TECH GREENHOUSE PRODUCTION A greenhouse is a framed or inflated structure covered with a transparent or translucent material in which crops could be grown under the conditions at least partially controlled environment and which is large enough to permit a person to work within it to carry out cultural operations (5). Principle The productivity of a crop is influenced not only by its heredity but also by the microclimate around it. The components of crop microclimate are light, temperature, air composition and the nature of the root medium. Under open field conditions, it is not possible to effect any control over light, temperature and air composition. The only possibility under open-field conditions is to manipulate the nature of the root medium by tillage, irrigation, fertilizer applications, etc. Even here, the nature of the root medium is being modified and not controlled. A greenhouse, due to its closed boundaries, permits the control over any one or more of the components of microclimate. A greenhouse is covered with a transparent or a translucent material such as glass or plastics. Depending upon its transparency, the greenhouse cover admits a major fraction of sunlight. The sunlight admitted to greenhouse is absorbed by the crop, floor, and other objects in the greenhouse. These objects in greenhouse in turn emit long wave thermal radiation for which the cover material has lower transparency, as a result, the solar energy is trapped in greenhouse raising its temperature. This phenomenon is generally known as greenhouse effect. It is this natural rise in the greenhouse air temperature which is utilized under cold climates to grow successful crops. The same natural phenomenon during summers, however, requires greenhouse cooling to maintain favourable temperatures. There are innumerable studies quantifying the effect of the environmental parameters individually as well as collectively on crop growth. The crop

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photosynthesis at optimum levels of environmental parameters follows a significantly higher curve. It is remarkable, and surprising to some, that there is a technology which has developed over last two centuries and which promises control over all the environmental parameters for commercial crop production. The obvious reference is to greenhouse technology. While full advantage is taken of the available sunshine for crop production in a greenhouse by way of selecting proper covering material, the enclosure provides the opportunity to control the other environmental parameters also. As a result, greenhouse crop productivity is largely independent of outdoor environmental conditions. The prospects of microclimatic control permit the raising of plants anywhere at any time of the year. Further, the crop productivities are at the maximum level on per unit area, per unit volume and per unit input bases. The microclimate control also implies superior quality of produce, free from pathogens, insect bites, and chemical residues. These basic advantages translate into specific benefits, such as: " " " " " " " Crop cultivation under inclement climatic conditions. Certain crops cultivated year round to meet the market demands. High value and high quality crops grown for export markets. Income from small land holdings increased manifold. Successful nurseries from seeds or by vegetative propagation prepared as and when necessary. More self-employment opportunities for educated youth of farm. Manipulation of microclimate and insect-proof feature of the greenhouse for plant breeding and, thus, the evolution of new varieties and production of seeds.

Hi-tech greenhouses allow high level of control over all the components of plant microclimate as per crop requirements such as: Light The importance of providing a consistent daily light integral is becoming more widely recognized as a means to achieve steady growth and production (1 and 2 ). Light is the sole source of energy provided to plants to build tissue (that is to grow). Excess light is not a problem in itself but the excessive heat associated with the high radiant energy can cause high temperature problems. During these problem periods, shading of the greenhouse to be practised. Shading compounds can be painted on the 66

Cultivation in Hi-Tech Greenhouses for Enhanced Productivity of Natural Resources

outside of the house or shade cloth systems can be erected inside/outside the house. A shade cloth system outside the house is a good choice since the cloth reduces the net solar irradiation to achieve cooling. Shade cloths can be manually opened and shut or that can be operated automatically through some controller operating through a pyranometer. Shading can be a 2-tier system where 30-40 per cent shade cloth is used over the house or on the inside on cables following the contour of the ceiling. The second cloth would be 10-20 per cent shade over the trellis at plant height. Shade systems on cables have an advantage of being moveable shading can be removed during cloudy periods. Shade cloths can be made of knitted or spun bonded polypropylene for the low cost small houses. Plastics sheets are not desirable as they collect water due to condensation. During winter, lighting is provided in the form of incandescent, tungsten, halogen, fluorescent and high intensity discharge lamps (HID) to induce flower growth during winter. However, its utility should be judged by the comparison of costs and added returns. Temperature Temperature management is very important for successful greenhouse crops. Poorly controlled temperature regimes can increase disease and lead to fruit colour and quality problems. Temperature control is achieved by the use of various systems including heating furnaces, exhaust fans, evaporative cooling pads, and shade cloths. Humidity A greenhouse is a closed space in which plants transpire and evaporation takes place from the floor. Some of this moisture, added to greenhouse air, is taken away by the air leaving the greenhouse due to ventilation and/or leakages. Sensible heat inputs modify the relative humidity to some extent. In order to maintain desirable relative humidity levels in greenhouses, efforts are made to use humidification or dehumidification. Humidification in summers can be achieved in conjunction with greenhouse cooling by employing appropriate evaporative cooling methods such as fan-pad and fogging systems. Sometimes during winters when sensible heat is being added to raise the greenhouse air temperature during nights the relative humidity level might fall below the acceptable limit. In that situation, humidifiers might need to be operated to circumvent the problem. Dehumidification is often a problem not amenable to simple solutions. During rainy seasons the ambient relative humidity is high along with that of the greenhouse. In this situation the ventilation can not lower the humidity of greenhouse air but when the ambient relative humidity is lower then ventilation could be practised to reduce the greenhouse relative humidity. Chemical dehumidification systems are 67

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technically feasible but expensive at present. Use of refrigeration systems (cooling coils) has also been made for dehumidification, but only at a smaller level. Water and Nutrients Vegetables produced in greenhouses require ample amounts of water for optimum growth, yield, and fruit quality. Water is the universal solvent in plant cells and is involved in many biochemical processes. Growth processes will slow, and lower yield and quality, will result if, the plant is without water even for a very short period. Ground culture of greenhouse vegetable crop involves growing crop directly in the natural soil under the greenhouse cover. Plants are oriented in double rows and irrigation is handled through the use of proportioners, injection pumps, or large nutrient storage tanks with sump pumps. Drip or ring emitters are placed at the base of each plant to provide water and nutrients to the plants. Various other production systems can be used in the greenhouse to grow the crop. These systems include nutrient film technique (NFT) and various versions of traditional NFT, perlite, rockwool, peat and bark mixes, lay-flat bags, upright bags, through culture, pot culture, and ground culture. Most studies that have attempted to compare several of these systems have found that there are very few differences as far as productivity is concerned when each system is managed properly. The choice of production system depends largely on grower's preference and on marketing constraints since some markets may demand true NFT and not soil-produced vegetables. Each cultural system has its own set of requirements for management and successful crops are routinely possible with any system as long as production details are understood eg. NFT requires precise management of fertilizer and irrigation programmes. The NFT system components are reusable, therefore the system components are relatively inexpensive when amortized over many crops. Perlite and rockwool systems also rely on precise water and fertilizer management but are not closed systems. Plants are grown in individually wrapped slabs of rockwool or bags/pots of perlite and receive the water and fertilizer from a microsystem. Excess water and fertilizer solution leaches from the media and is removed from the greenhouse. Carbon Dioxide Carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment of the winter greenhouse environment is a question that many growers ask. Research in northern climates has shown that raising the CO2 level from the normal ambient level of 350-1000 ppm often results in increased yield. Effective use of this technology requires that houses be closed for long periods each day. The frequent need for ventilation of the greenhouse, even in winter in India makes CO2 enrichment a very questionable practice. The problem is that high levels of CO2 cannot be maintained for more than an hour or so on most day. 68

Cultivation in Hi-Tech Greenhouses for Enhanced Productivity of Natural Resources

Pest, Disease and Plant Health Management Several diseases, insects and nematodes can potentially be pests of greenhouse crops. Cultivar selection, greenhouse sanitation and well-timed applications of properly selected pesticides are all important in managing these pests in the greenhouse. Any production system required diligent sanitation between crops. This involves removing old plants and bleaching, fumigating or steaming production system components and growing surfaces. However, there are situations when some pests do get into a greenhouse and infect the crop. Hi-tech greenhouses have mechanism for effective monitoring of insect pest/disease attack on plants. Suitable equipment and chemical formulations are then employed to control the plant health related problems. In recent times, biological control systems have found more acceptance for plant protection in greenhouses. Control Systems In typical greenhouses, controls are a mix of manual adjustments, timed events and theoretically regulated actions. In very sophisticated operations, computers are used. Computerized environmental control allows integration of the different greenhouse components into an efficient and profitable system. In recognizing mechanistic relationship between a crop and its greenhouse environment, growers have increasingly come to rely on automatic control systems to provide consistent favourable environmental conditions. Regulated timers and solenoids are used for automation of irrigation systems that are labour saving, allow precision in regulating the timing of irrigation events and in the amount that growers apply to their crops. In the same manner, the trend from thermostats to electronic controllers has provided some increased flexibility in regulating heaters, ventilation fans and wet pads. The next logical step is a greenhouse computer control system that can link and manage all of the automated control subunits. Generally, computer control strategies can be much more sophisticated than other types of controllers. This provides the grower with more precise management capabilities for efficient operation of heaters, ventilation fans and other control equipment. Computerized control systems can help the development of a grower's overall management strategy by providing consistent, detailed data about the greenhouse environment. Today, tomato yields from rockwool will approach 500 tonnes/ha/year or approximately 18 kg/plant. This yield is from a single tomato crop with a harvest period of 7-8 months. Cucumber yields may exceed 700 tonnes/ha/year, this yield is an accumulated yield from 2 to 3 crops over a period of one year. COMPONENTS OF A HI-TECH GREENHOUSE A hi-tech greenhouse has two major components, which are as follows: 69

Precision Farming in Horticulture

Structure There are many types of greenhouse structures used successfully in protected agriculture. Although there is advantage of each for particular applications, there is not one 'best' greenhouse in general. Wood, bamboo, steel pipe, aluminium and reinforced concrete are materials, used to build frames for greenhouses. Greenhouse shapes are many. The most common shapes are quonset, gable, lean-to, gothic arch, etc. Glass is still a common glazing material. With the development of plastic films and rigid sheets began the era of plastics greenhouses. Polyethylene, PVC, EVA, acrylic, polycarbonate, fiberglass, polyester and PVF are some of the plastics materials used for greenhouse glazing. Equipment for Environmental Control Depending upon the level of sophistication, the environment control system in a greenhouse may include partial or complete control of microclimatic parameters. In some cases, it may even include suitable decision support systems for efficient management of the environmental control equipment. A general list of equipment for greenhouse environment control is given in Table 1. It is assumed that a hi-tech greenhouse would include most of these equipment. Table 1. Environment control equipment
Component Lighting system Fan-pad cooling system Air conditioners Shading/thermal screen system Fogging/misting system Heating equipment Humidifiers Fertigation equipment CO2 generators Controllers Parameter controlled/modified Supplemental light, photoperiod and temperature (indirectly) Temperature and humidity Temperature and humidity Temperature, light and photoperiod Temperature and humidity Temperature Relative humidity and temperature Moisture content and nutrient status of soil Air composition Operation of all other equipment

ROLE OF GREENHOUSES IN PRECISION FARMING Having discussed the concepts of precision farming and those of hi-tech greenhouse production it is now possible to argue that hi-tech greenhouse cultivation is essentially the highest level of precision farming. Crop productivity depends on genetic potential of

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Cultivation in Hi-Tech Greenhouses for Enhanced Productivity of Natural Resources

selected variety, environmental control and management of crop cultural practices. Having selected a particular variety for the given cropping activity, a grower must ensure that the crop requirements in terms of microclimate, irrigation and nutrition are fulfilled. Of course, it is assumed that such crop requirements have already been determined. Under open field conditions, it is only the soil and the root medium related parameters that could be addressed for efficient management systems. There is no possibility of meeting the precise requirements of crops in open fields as far as light, air temperature and composition of surrounding air are concerned. Therefore, a crop under open field conditions could not be expected to express its full productivity. A crop under greenhouse conditions, on the other hand, is sought to be cultivated with control over all components of crop microclimate. A hi-tech greenhouse seeks to ensure that the deviation between the crop requirements and the actual levels of different parameters are within the permissible limits. The criterion of the permissible limits is dictated by the financial consideration, i.e. the cost of reducing the deviation increases almost exponentially as we approach the zero deviation level. In essence, any spatial and temporal variations in the input requirements are taken into consideration either by removing the source of variation or by variable rate applicators. Ultimately all the abiotic and biotic stresses are minimized so that the crop productivity in terms of both quality and quantity is maximized. Clearly, the crop production in hi-tech greenhouses is the ultimate practical limit of precision farming. The natural resources use efficiencies of greenhouses in terms of light, land, and overall energy use are described below :

Photosynthetic Efficiency
The photosynthetic efficiencies of a few selected crops under greenhouses and open fields are given in the Table 2 which gives an indication of the level to which greenhouse cultivation can increase the photosynthetic efficiency. Table 2. Comparison of photosynthetic efficiency of crops in greenhouses and open fields
Crop Tomato Cucumber Spinach Bean (Chandra et al., 3) Crop duration (days) 115 105 75 85 Total incident solar Photosynthetic efficiency (%) energy (TJ/ha) Open field cultivation Greenhouse cultivation 17.25 15.75 11.25 12.75 0.48 0.53 0.15 1.13 1.94 2.55 0.37 1.87

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Land-use Efficiency
Land-use efficiency is maximized in a hi-tech greenhouses except for the periods when greenhouse operation becomes prohibitively costly. Greenhouses are used year round for cultivation of either a given crop type or a variety of crop. Dutch and French growers have been reported to grow 7-8 crops of lettuce in a year. Nine crops of radish in a year have been taken in Abu Dhabi (6). The yield of a few selected crops is presented in Table 3. Table 3. Comparison of yield in open field, greenhouse and hydroponic system
Crop Greenhouse Tomato Cucumber Capsicum Broccoli 150 180 110 15 Yield (tonnes/ha) Open field 50 8 100 7 Hydroponic 187.5 250.0 -

It is evident from Table 3 that crop cultivation in greenhouse makes unit area of land yield more. Greenhouses permit very high input-use efficiencies. As a results, crop productivities are several times of those obtained in open field agriculture. The net financial returns per unit area are also 10-100 times higher in comparison to open field agriculture. Table 4. Energy requirement for tomato cultivation under open field conditions (expected yield = 50 tonnes/ha)
Component Preparation of seedling for transplanting @ 200,000 plants/ha Field preparation Transplanting Fertilizer/nutrient application a) FYM @ 20 tonnes/ha b) N @ 200 kg/ha c) P @ 100 kg/ha d) K @ 100 kg/ha Irrigation @ 5000 m3/ha Pesticide/insecticide etc. @ 3 litres/ha Soil treatment with Thiran and Captan 50-60 g, Furadan 500-100 g Manpower @ 5 persons/ha for 4 months. Total Energy required MJ/ha 580.0 200.0 28.5 6,000.0 12,120.0 11,100.0 670.0 56,000.0 3,600.0 1.5 9,408.0 86,478.0

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Cultivation in Hi-Tech Greenhouses for Enhanced Productivity of Natural Resources

Table 5. Energy requirement for greenhouse tomato cultivation (expected yield = 150 tonnes/ha)
Component Steel pipe frame @ 2 crops/year for 20 years Plastics a) Glazing @ 8000 kg/ha for 3 years and 2 crops/year b) Drip irrigation system @ 25,000 kg/ha @ 2 crops/year for 5 years Preparation of seedlings for transplanting @ 30,000 plants/ha Field preparation Transplanting Fertilizer/nutrient application a) FYM @ 20 tonnes/ha b) N @ 200 kg/ha c) P @ 100 kg/ha d) K @ 100 kg/ha Irrigation @ 50,000 m3/ha Pesticide/insecticide etc. @ 3 litres/ha Soil treatment with Thiran and Captan 50-60 g, Furadan 50-100g Manpower @ 10 persons/ha for 6 months Environment control a) Mild climate @ 25% T.E. b) Harsh climate @ 90% T.E. Total a) Mild climate @ 25% T.E. b) Harsh climate @ 90% T.E. 6,29,498.7 47,21,240.0 1,57,374.7 42,49,116.0 6,000.0 72,720.0 1,665.0 21,775.0 56,000.0 360.0 1.5 28,224.0 1,68,000.0 3,150.0 9,000.0 200.0 28.5 Energy required, MJ/ha 1,05,000.0

Total Energy-use efficiency


To assess the resource-use efficiency of hi-tech greenhouses let us compare total energy for greenhouse (Table 5) cultivation with that of open field (Table 4) cultivation (4). Combining this input energy with the sunlight available, i.e. 17.25 TJ (from Table 2) the total input energy in open field cultivation becomes 17.34 TJ/ha and hence, production energy/kg of tomato becomes 0.3468 GJ/kg. Similarly, for greenhouse conditions the production energy requirement/kg of tomato becomes, a. 0.12 GJ/kg and b. 0.146 GJ/kg. 73

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CONCLUSION An effort has been made to review the attributes of precision farming and hi-tech greenhouses. The information clearly indicates that a hi-tech greenhouse is essentially a proposition for precision farming of horticultural crops because the crop requirements of the inputs are precisely met. The hi-tech greenhouse crop production results into manifold increase in the input-use efficiencies. It has been observed that a tomato crop in a hi-tech greenhouse would result in 2-3 times higher input energy-use efficiency as compared to that for an open field grown tomato crop. REFERENCES
1. 2. Both, A.J., Leed, A.R., Goto, E., Albright, L.D. and Langhans, R.W. (1996). Greenhouse spinach production in a NFT system. Acta Horticulturae 456 : 187-92. Both, A.J., Albright, L.D. and Langhans, R.W. (1998). Coordinated management of daily PAR integral and carbon dioxide for hydroponic lettuce production. Acta Horticulturae 418 : 4551. Chandra, P., Bohra,C.P., Maheshwari, R.C. (1982). Improvement in photosynthetic efficiency through greenhouse application. Proc. NSEC, New Delhi. Chandra, P. and Gupta, M.J. (2000). Energy requirement for greenhouse cultivation. Agricultural Engineering Today 24 : 63-70. Dalrymple, D.G. (1973). A global review of greenhouse food production. Foreign Agricultural Economic Report No.89. Economic Research Service, USDA, Washington, D.C., 20250 USA. Jensen, M.H. and Malter, A.J. (1994). Protected Agriculture: Global Review. World Bank Technical Paper No. 253.

3. 4. 5. 6.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

STRATEGIC APPROACHES OF PRECISION TECHNOLOGY FOR IMPROVEMENT OF FRUIT PRODUCTION


V. K. Singh1 and Gorakh Singh2 In India, a large number of fruits are grown due to wide range of agroclimatic conditions and enjoy an enviable position in the horticultural map of the world. Almost all types of horticultural crops (tropical, subtropical and temperate) can be grown in one or other part of the country. At present, India is the largest producer of fruits next to China, total production of fruits in India has been estimated to 45.49 million tonnes from 3.79 million ha and its share in the world production of fruits is 10.2 per cent. It leads the world in the production of mango, banana, papaya, orange, mosambi, guava, grape, apple, pineapple, sapota, ber, pomegranate, strawberry and litchi. Fruit production increased 5-8 times since independence, from 55 lakh tonnes in 1952 - 53 to 286.32 in 1991 - 92 and 440.42 in 1998 - 99. The productivity of fruits per unit area in India has increased nearly from 10 to 12 tonnes/ha in almost one decade. Cashew nut cultivation has a big potential and its production, productivity and export have increased significantly. In grape, India has recorded highest productivity per unit area in the world. India is the home of spices and continues to enjoy a pride of place in the International market. Except grape, the average productivity in most of the fruit crops is far below than the average productivity. Moreover, Indian horticulture has been insulated from the outside world market. Amongst the several fruit crops, India is the largest producer of mangoes and in the intervening years, it has well established as fresh fruit and processed products in the world market but contributes almost insignificantly (0.11 per cent of total domestic production) towards export (13). However, other countries like Mexico, the Philippines and Venezuela which produce far less, export 4 per cent of their total production. The productivity and quality of majority of fruit crops continued to remain below the potential level except for grape, banana and papaya. On the other hand, the population
1,2 Senior

Scientists, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107, India

Precision Farming in Horticulture

of India has already crossed a billion marks and land area is shrinking. In recommended dietary allowances (RDA), the minimum per capita consumption of fruit is 90 g. Accordingly, a production of 60 million tonnes of fruit is required to meet the need of present population of the country by 2002. Further, under WTO regime it has become imperative to increased production of quality fruit for export as well as to compete in internal market with the imported fruits (50). Therefore, to achieve the target of required fruit production in future, the aim of fruit research strategies should be to generate superior technology or to use hi-tech horticulture and precision farming for achieving vertical growth in horticulture, if required, these may be refined to suit our conditions. Hi-tech horticulture is the deployment of modern technology which is capital intensive, less environment dependent, having capacity to improve the productivity and quality of produce (13). The hi-tech horticulture and precision farming would be for facilitating technology development and refinement, technology adoption and technology dissemination. It also envisages that the profitability, productivity and fruit quality per unit area is to be enhanced along with sustainability and must employ safeguards to the environment and human health. LIMITING FACTORS IN FRUIT PRODUCTION AND FUTURE STRATEGY There are a few major bottlenecks, which limit the fruit production in different fruit-producing countries. The following are the main constraints in fruit production, which need attention. Genetic Resource Conservation and Characterization Main limiting factors of all the fruit-growing countries is lack of proper genetic resource conservation programme of fruit crops which is a backbone of the crop improvement programme. Urbanization, decline of old plant material, unchecked exploitation of wild resources is causing a great threat to survival of indigenous and rare species of fruit crops like mango, citrus, apple and papaya. Therefore, systematic efforts to conserve these materials on field condition or conservation in a conventional gene bank are needed. The documentation of germplasm is another key issue that must be addressed. Molecular characterization of important germplasm and DNA banking is the need of the hour. Lack of Quality Seed and Genuine Planting Material Because of long gestation period, high heterozygosity, lack of information on inheritance pattern, less number of seeds in fruits, and inadequate supply of genuine and 76

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certified planting material to the grower are some of the reasons for the low productivity of fruit crops. Papaya seeds are produced by controlled cross-pollination and by maintaining isolation distance (47) that causes non-availability of sufficient quantity of pure seed and quality planting material which in turn limit its commercial production. Ram and Majumder (46) have found that cv. Pusa Dwarf produced the highest seed yield (391.7 kg/ha) at lowest cost (Rs 61/kg), while Pusa Majesty gave the lowest yield (52.5 kg/ha) at the highest cost (Rs 416.60/kg). It is suggested that foundation seed production on commercial scale may be conducted on isolation fields (400 1,000 m distance) to meet the increasing demands for papaya seed in India. However, breeders seed should be produced under strictly controlled pollination to maintain genetic purity (45). Normally 2:1 ratio of bisexual and female plants has been recommended for seed production of papaya. On the other hand in other perennial fruit crop like mango, plant multiplication being done by grafting techniques on descript rootstock resulted in inferior plants. Similarly, crops like guava, litchi and citrus are being multiplied through stooling, airlayering and budding which are sluggish and cumbersome and the plants are not multiplied through elite mother trees of superior quality. Therefore, multiplication should be done only from the mother plants of established superiority. It would be desirable to establish elite orchard of important fruit crops in the fruit growing state for the supply of authentic plant materials. Clonal selection would be an important aspect of this programme (58). Lack of High-density Plantation Most of the fruit orchards are at present planted at low density and such orchards provide low returns with long gestation period. Productivity of fruits is static and per capita land is decreasing. Lack of dwarfing rootstock and non-availability of precocious variety are the main reasons for low-density plantation. Therefore, transforming fruit industry through high-density planting is the dream of day for the horticulture. Highdensity planting increases productivity and fruit quality, shortens juvenility, gives high early returns and provides high land use and better use of natural resources like light, water and nutrient, besides easy harvesting. To have a full physiological control of the tree in high density, it would be essential to have dwarf tree. A shallow canopy (1.5 2.0 m depth) is needed in high density to achieve maximum efficiency for trapping sun energy through foliage and chanellizing metabolites for quality fruit production with maximum return. In India, high-density planting has been successfully demonstrated for high yield in case of banana, pineapple, papaya and mango but most of the orchards are still under the traditional low-density system, resulting in low average productivity

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(4, 19, 49). The high-density technology developed in mango utilizes vigorous seedlings rootstock of varying genotypes rather than dwarfing rootstock like in temperate fruits. The tree is managed dwarf through training and pruning and growth is restricted within

Fig. 1. Canopy management with application of paclobutrazol to maintain height control and for better harvest under high-density planting in Mango cv. Dashehari: (a) heading back from 1.5 m height (b) new shoot developing in response to heading cut; (c) profuse flowering in pruned and paclobutazol applied tree and (d) heavy fruiting in pruned coupled with paclobutazol treated tree.

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planting distance provided between the trees. Closer the density higher the productivity has been the general guiding principle. The mango, being an evergreen tree, has been assumed earlier to be unresponsive to pruning unlike the grapes which are pruned regularly to induce and regulate growth, flowering and cropping. Pruning is particularly effective in trees which bear fruit on new shoots and thus it is done to induce healthy current season shoots from older wood. It was reported that pruning of mango trees may not be successful to regulate bearing as the new growth turns out to be purely vegetative (39). However, Iyer and Subramaniam (26) reported that pruning of oneyear-old shoots at the base induced flowering. Pruning coupled with paclobutrazol has got remarkable success in high-density planting (Fig. 1a,b,c and d) of mango (60). High-density orcharding having closer planting (3.0m x 3.0 m) in mango for regular crop is practised through training and annual pruning after crop harvest and induction of flowering through paclobutrazol in alternate bearing varieties like Dashehari (49). However, no paclobutrazol is to be applied in regular varieties like Rumani, Amrapali, Sindhu, Tomy Atkins and Sensation (48). The training helps to develop proper frame of trees in early stages of growth, while pruning helps to curtail growth and maintain tree vigour on sustainable basis for regular fruiting year after year along with control of disease and pest. The high-density orcharding provides 8-9 time higher yield than the traditional orcharding (49). In Israel, productivity of mango has been doubled by adopting high-density planting technology. Mango tree training technique for high density for the hot tropics has been developed (11). The plant density in papaya plays a vital role in productivity per unit area. The yield per unit area can be enhanced by increasing plant density. It is generally grown at planting density of 1,400-1,700 plants/ha. A plant population of 2,500/ha is recommended for high-density planting (4). With the development of dwarf cultivars like Pusha Nanha and Ranchi Dwarf, it is possible to plant papaya still closer. Ranchi Dwarf planted @ 2,922 plants/yield 98.05 tonnes/ha fruits and Pusha Nanha planted at 1.25 m x 1.25 m (6,400 plant/ha) yielded 60 - 65 tonnes/ha as compared to traditional yield of 15 - 20 tonnes/ha (44). Growth control is primary requirement of high density orcharding which can be achieved by dwarfing rootstock, pruning, dwarf scion varieties, use of chemical etc. Recent advancement in tree physiology has shown that growth retardant has tremendous potential to control the growth of tree with or without dwarfing rootstock and scion cultivars which is prerequisite of high-density orcharding. In mango, dwarfing rootstock or scion cultivar is not available, chemical like paclobutrazol was found effective to control the tree growth by reducing the xylem : phloem ratio with higher yield. 79

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The ability to influence the development and productivity of tree fruits rests in genetic or cultural techniques. Breeding to improve fruit production has so far had limited success. Among several agro-techniques, such as high-density planting, control of tree size and canopy management is some of the important technology to achieve high productivity per unit area both in short duration and perennial crops. In India, high-density planting is being recommended in fruits like pineapple, banana, papaya, citrus and mango. Neverthless, high-density planting systems were recommended long ago, but the growers have not started adopting the technique. Delay in acceptance of the high density planting system can be attributed to the lack of a reliable and universally acceptable method to control tree vigor and higher initial capital investment. In mango, dwarf and compact trees have been identified (Amrapali in India and other selections in Thailand and Pakistan) but to develop an ideal plant type, the terminal buds of shoots need to be pinched off in atleast three successive flushes of growth. The polyembryonic, Sabre has reportedly been effective as a dwarfing rootstock in South Africa, although in Israel it was unsuccessful. Therefore, a hi-tech strategy for high-density planting in horticultural crops in India would call for the introduction of dwarfing gene for the management of tree size and canopy shape. Tree Flowering and Erratic Bearing The flowering process is of vital importance to fruit crop productivity as yield is directly dependent upon its success or failure. The erratic and irregular flowering in most of fruit crops cause low orchard efficiency. Each fruit tree in commercial groves does not bear equal crops year after year. Climatic variations in particular year, environmental factors such as photoperiod, temperature, plant water stress and genetical nature of variety as well as physiological changes occurring in trees during floral induction period are the main reason for erratic bearing and accounting for low productivity of fruits. Alternation in cropping habit of mango is used as a synonym for poor yields. In mango, growth flushes are very erratic and occur up to 3-4 times per year on individual stems, depending upon cultivar and growth condition and they tend to flower only after 9-10 months as to attain proper physiological maturity (42). In north Indian commercial varieties, only March flush is the major one that accounts for over 80 per cent of annual growth and its shoots has the maximum potential for becoming new fruiting shoot (21). The other flushes are minor ones and are not appreciably related to flowering. Therefore, bienniality / irregularity in flowering would ensue because of inability of one shoot to bear vegetative growth and flower in the same year. Several chemicals and plant growth regulators like Chlormequat Chloride (35), Ethephon, KNO3, Salicylic acid and triazoles particularly paclobutrazol were found 80

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effective to regulate the flowering and bearing in mango, apple and citrus by inhibiting vegetative growth of shoots and promoting flowering (7, 16, 29, 33, 55, 62, 63 and 64). Amongst them paclobutrazol is being widely used to increase flowering, enhance yield and control the alternate bearing habit in commercial monoembryonic mango orchards of India (9 and 61), China (68) Australia (51) and South Africa (21 and 70). Triazole having anti-gibberellin activity induce flowering even in the 'off' year of bearing by regulating the synthesis of gibberellins (61). There have been numerous studies on the inhibitory effect of GA3 on flowering of fruit crops (1, 14, 38, 41 and 56). Paclobutrazol is also being commercially used to advance the harvesting of the mango varieties by about a month (61). However, its application through judicious nutrient management also needs to be integrated for continued and sustainable production. On the other hand KNO3 which is commercially used in the Philippines for regular flowering and fruiting in mango did not give consistent result in commercial mangoes cultivated in India. It was believed that these inconsistent results are due to the fact that in the Philippines and in some other regions where the growth is continuous and the cultivars are polyembryonic whereas in India the cultivars are monoembryonic and period of plant growth is well defined and not continuous. Ataide and Jose (3) reported that application of ethephon stimulate the floral differentiation of flowering buds, whereas KNO3 stimulates the break of dormancy of already differentiated buds. Papaya having uncertainty in flowering and fruiting is a large perennial herb. It is highly problematic, complicated and interesting fruit crop from botanical, genetical, cytogenetical and horticultural point of view. It is one of the most important crops grown in tropics and subtropics. The important papaya-growing countries are Zaire, Mexico, Brazil, India and Indonesia. United States of America is the main importing country. Papaya fruits are valued for fresh consumption and papain production. Its varied use in brewing, meat, fish and food industry, has made it a crop of commerce. The major bottleneck in papaya (Carica papaya L.) cultivation is its inherent heterozygosity, dioceous nature and susceptibility to a number of viral diseases. Sex reversal under varied environmental condition is also one of the reasons for low productivity of papaya in per unit area (8). It is a polygamous plant and has many sex forms. There are three basic sex forms: hermaphrodite or bisexual, pistillate or female, and staminate or male (65). Amongst these flowers, only female is stable whereas flowers of hermaphrodite and male vary in sex expression under different environment conditions. Storey (67) classified papaya flowers into eight categories: (i) staminate, (ii) teratological staminate, (iii) reduced elongata, (iv) elongata, (v) carpelloid elongata, (vi) pentandria, (vii) carpelloid pentandria and (viii) pistillate. 81

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Staminate flowers are produced by male plants whereas teratoiogical staminate flowers by sex reversing male. Type third to seventh are normally produced by hermaphrodite plants and type eigth are produced by female plants. Planting period is also found to determine the sex expression as high percentage of female (66.0 per cent) produced during November planting closely followed by September (65.0 per cent) in cv. Pusa Delicious. Sex in papaya is determined by three homologous genes complexes on sex chromosomes (24 and 66). The genes are so tightly linked that no crossing-over occurs among them, thus the complexes are transmitted to offspring with pleiotropic effect on phenotypic expression. Sex in papaya cannot be identified unless they flower but the ratio can be predicted provided it is pollinated under controlled condition. However, the sex can be identified at seedling stage through chemical analysis (15). The leaves of male plant were found richer in carbohydrate, phosphorus and chlorophyll content than those of female plants, which are richer in nitrogen and potash. Thus through this analysis the male plant can be removed at early stage and could be replaced by female seedling which in turn increase the yield. It was estimated that the average yield of papaya could vary from 37.23 tonnes/ha with a maximum of 6 per cent male plants present to 19.96 tonnes/ha with 50 per cent male plants. The male plants serve only as pollenizer and hence, it would be adequate to leave one male plant for every 20 female plants. Thus, removal of male plants allowing the robust growth of female plants is a potential strategy to increase the production of papaya. The profitable productive life of papaya is two-and-a-half years under northern Indian conditions provided the crop is well managed, therefore, they should be replaced by the new plantation for getting profitable yield. Photoperiods and temperature play an important role in sex expression (23). The appearance of a large number of modified forms occurs in progenies from appropriate hybridization when grown under a temperature regime of 13-32C. Temperature from 22 to 26C are said to be best for flowering and fruit production (52). It was observed that stamen carpellody is expressed under cool temperature (40). The fruit develops from the carpellody are misshapen and unmarketable. The incidence of carpellody also declines with increasing plant age and may be related to internodal length. Female sterility occurs at warm temperature (40). Excessive nitrogen and moisture also favours stamen carpellody, while plant stress influences female sterility (32). Several chemical and plant growth regulators have been used to improve fruit production via producing more normal and female flower. Hermaphrodite trees sprayed with 2,3-dichloroisobutyrate (DCIB, 2-6 g/litre) and 2,3-dichloropropionate (Dalapon, 2 to 6 g/litre) produced more normal and female like (Carpelloid) flowers than untreated 82

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trees (32). TIBA, NAA or IAA was also found to induce the flower significantly (17). The papain yield, which is considered as one of the important products of papaya, could be increased four-fold compared with control by the application of 200 ppm ethrel (12). Model for Management of Erratic Flowering in Mango There are three main processes, which determine the fate of mango flowering, i.e. competence, induction and determination. Competence is exhibited, if a cell / tissue / organ is exposed to a signal and it responds in the expected manner only when they first attained readiness to flower stage. When they are ready to flower, then they are said to have attained competence. Induction occurs when a signal gives a unique developmental response from competent tissue and determination is shown, if, a cell or groups of cells exhibits the same development fate. For the flowering gibberellic acid levels must first fall below threshold level for its competence to flower to be expressed. Adequate assimilates (carbohydrates) must be on hand to support flowering and fruit growth. In an environment where GA levels are high, no starch accumulation can take place. Therefore, GA concentration needs to fall below a certain threshold level, so that starch can accumulate within the tree. Fortunately paclobutrazol in an inductive agent, which slow, down the synthesis of GA and provided the stimulus, which bring the change from vegetative phase to reproductive state. From competence tissue, flower initiation can proceed. In this model nitrogen is also crucial for flowering. Presumably, there is also a threshold for nitrogen content that, if, exceeded will allow the plant to flower. Most probably, thiourea, application triggers flowering by exceeding this threshold level. However, thiourea was also found to be useful for the vegetative flush if sprayed after harvesting of fruits. It was estimated that less than 0.1 per cent of the hermaphrodite flowers develop into mature fruits, the rest fall to the ground (57). Assuming there are 1,00,000 flowers and each flower contains to 10 g of nitrogen, then each time a tree flowers, it loses 1 kg of nitrogen. The tree will, therefore, need to have adequate nitrogen reserves for flower and subsequent fruit formation. Threshold level of nitrogen also reported to exist in citrus for proper fruiting (34). However, more research is needed in this area for validating the model. Occurrence of Post-bloom Vegetative Flush Heavy flower and fruit drop is a serious problem in mango. This is attributed to several causes, such as genetic, hormonal, insect pests, diseases, degeneration of embryo, lack of pollination and competition between fruitlets. However some mango 83

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cultivars like Alphonso, Langra etc. produce heavy vegetative flush during flowering and fruit set. Yields from such trees were invariably very poor inspite of profuse flowering. Flushing tendency was observed more pronounced in young orchards (30). The possible reason which affected vegetative growth and fruit retention could be the competition between the sinks. Although, seeds in growing fruits are generally considered as powerful sinks for mobilisation of the photosynthates, in this case, the post-bloom vegetative flush may become a powerful sink than the seed and fruits. Such type of phenomenon is common in apple and pear (43 and 69). Removal of post-bloom vegetative flush was found the best remedy for remarkable increase in fruit retention and yield. Domination of Low-Efficient Orchard Low photosynthetic efficiency in fruit crops is one of the important factors responsible for low yield and inferior orchard efficiency (18). It is because the first enzyme for photosynthesis system, ribulose biphosphate carbolase (Rubisco), which fixes CO2 also catalyses an alternative reaction involving oxygenation of sugar biphosphate. Both carboxylase and oxygenase reactions occur at the same site and compete with each other (20). This oxygenase reaction is energetically wasteful, especially at limiting light intensities in the orchard of fruit crops, which in turn decrease the photosynthetic efficiency of the tree resulted in low yield. In most of perennial fruit crops there, exist predomination of old, dense and senile orchards. Their declining productivity (30 - 35 per cent) has become a matter of serious concern for the orchardists, traders as well as Scientists. Decline in productivity in old and dense orchard was largely due to poor photosynthetic efficiency besides several other compounding factors. Compared to temperate fruit orchards, canopies of tropical and subtropical fruit orchards like mango have a higher proportion of shade to sun leaves. The maximum photosynthetic rates for sun-leaves of trees occurred at 60 per cent of full sunlight (PPF approximately 1200 mol quanta/ m2/second) (53 and 73). For overcoming this problem, rejuvenation technology in mango was developed at Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow (India), which provides new productive life to existing old and unproductive orchards (31). The technique aims at pruning of undesired branches for inducing development of umbrella like open canopy of healthy shoots. Open canopy ensures better light penetration and interception improves photosynthetic efficiency, flowering and fruiting potential of shoots. Pruned trees attain canopy of healthy shoots in two years and from third year onward they start bearing fruits. In pruning studies to rejuvenate 55 - year old mango trees, yield of 298.4 kg in the 'on' year and 158.1 kg in the 'off' year was obtained by removal of secondary branches keeping the leader intact and application of 1.5 kg N, 0.75 kg P2O5 and 1.5 84

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kg K2O/tree. It was also observed that as a result of pruning, the dry-matter content (C / N ratio) in leaf and stem, ribonucleic acid (RNA), total phenolic content, IAA oxidase activity increased many fold. Pruning of the old trees also increased the respiration rate of leaves, photosynthetic pigment content, PAR as a result of improved light conditions of trees. The level of cytokinins, which have been reported to favour flowering (2), were found to increase as a result of pruning. Abundant cauliflorus flowering in the pruned trees indicate the higher level of cytokinin in the bark. Its increased flow in the xylem sap as a result of pruning seems to have released the latent buds from their innate dormancy resulting cauliflory. On the other hand the gibberllin like substances in the leaves of pruned trees were found to be lower than unprunned ones. Lower contents were associated with normal flowering as discussed previously. Thus the technology was found helpful in giving new productive life of the orchards and have potential for the improvement of yield. Strategically timed, selective pruning can also be utilised for this purpose, where costs are not prohibitive. Eco-physiological Disorder There are a number of eco-physiological disorders in fruit crop which limit productivity and quality of fruits. Among them biennial bearing, malformation, spongy tissue, recurrent flowering and internal necrosis are important in mango. Fruit cracking in citrus, litchi, grape, banana and mango, granulation in citrus and guava wilt is also very common which causes significant losses in fruit production. In this section some of the major disorders of fruits are discussed. Biennial bearing is a serious problem in mango as most of the commercial varieties of mango flower in alternate year. Flowering and fruiting in mango is a complex phenomenon and thus it is not possible to pinpoint a single factor responsible for biennial bearing. The work on mango hybridization has shown that regular bearing character can be transmitted to F1 hybrids. Therefore, there are more chances of tackling this problem through hybridization. A number of cultural practices have been tried to reduce the intensity of biennial flowering and fruiting, however, more success has been achieved to overcome this problem by the application of paclobutrazol (61). Mango malformation, either vegetative or floral, is very common in northern India where temperature becomes low during flowering whereas its incidence in southern part was sporadic. However, its incidence is showing increasing trend in some parts of South India. Therefore, recently it has attracted national concern in India since it is a prominent bottleneck in mango cultivation owing to the extensive economic losses caused. 85

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Various biotic and abiotic factors are reported to be associated with the causation of mango malformation. Considerable research work has been done on causes and control of this malady but the results are still inconclusive. However, recently integrated approach for the control management of floral malformation was developed on susceptible mango cultivar Amrapali by pruning and spraying with chelated copper, zinc phosphomidon, carbendazim and NAA. Significant reduction in the incidence of malformation was obtained by this integrated approach. This integrated strategy appears to be promising and will be useful in control of mango malformation (62). Alphonso mango, which is main export cultivar, suffers from a serious malady known as spongy tissue or internal breakdown in ripe fruits. This disorder renders the fruit unfit for consumption and hence it has become a bottleneck in export and expansion of its cultivation in Maharashtra and Gujarat where it is grown commercially. There are many biochemical changes associated with spongy tissue, however no conclusive results have been obtained to control this malady. Convicting heat arising from soil was reported to be the main cause for this disorder and mulching with paddy straw and dry leaves was found effective in its control (27). Recently recurrent flowering is noticed in some commercially varieties of mango which is characterized by the emergence of new lateral panicles from the base point of early emerged ones leading to severe fruit drop from the main panicles (7). Recurrent flowering not only deprives the farmer from early season premium prices but also reduces the total return anticipated from the orchard. Foliar application of GA @ 200 ppm at 50 per cent flowering was found to minimize the recurrent flowering. Fruit cracking is another eco-physiological disorder, which causes losses as high as up to 75 per cent in litchi, citrus and grape. Significant losses also occur in banana and mango. The cracked fruits deteriorate rapidly and often suffer secondary infestation by disease and pest and fruits ultimately become non-marketable and cause great loss to the grower. Pre-harvest hormonal spray like 2,4,5-T, NAA, nutritional spray like K, Ca, Zn, B, Cu, Mo and Mn and maintenance of adequate soil moisture during the dry period were found helpful in reduction of cracking in fruit crops (59). In citrus granulation is major problem, which causes great economic loss to the fruit growers. This disorder was also called dry end, Kaosarn and crystallisation in several countries. Citrus juice could be extracted from the affected fruits. In the affected fruit the juice vesicles become hard and enlarged and contain a viscous jelly like substance instead of free running juice with an increase in moisture, inorganic matter and polysaccharides and a decrease in acidity and sugars. Although, no successful method to control granulation has yet been found, certain measures for reducing its incidence and intensity have been suggested. Sprays of lime, zinc sulphate and Bordeaux mixture 86

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singly or in combination reduced granulation (5). Some growth regulators like 2,4-D, GA3 and NAA @ 5 per cent, 20 ppm and 300 ppm were found to reduce the incidence of granulation in citrus crops (28). CONCLUSION Due to various problems in fruit crops, the productivity of a majority of fruit crops is below the potential level. However, WTO necessitated the increased production of quality fruits for export as well as to compete with the imported fruits. Therefore, the need of the day is to exploit horticultural hi-tech technologies by adopting precision farming through the application of holistic approach for the improving quantity and quality of products. REFERENCES
1. Andres, I. and Le Fook, U. (1985). Effect of growth regulators on flowering pattern, flower suppression and fruit set in mango (Mangifera indica L.). Joint Proceeding, 21st Annual Meeting of the Carribbean Food Crops Society and 32nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science. Trinidad, pp. 61 - 65. Anonymous (1979). Mango Workers Meeting, Panaji, Goa, 1979, Research Report on Mango, pp. 357 - 77. Ataide, E.M. and Jose, A.R.S. (2000). Effect of different intervals of potassium nitrate spraying on flowering and production of mango trees (Mangifera indica L.). Acta Hort. 509 : 581 - 86. Awasthi, R P and Mehta, K (2000). Strategies for developing high-density planting in horticultural crops. Souvenir, National Seminar on Hi-tech Horticulture, held at Bangalore (India), 26 - 28 June, 2000, pp. 29 - 33. Awasthi, R.P. and Nauriyal, J.P. (1973). Effect of different frequencies of irrigation on granulation in sweet orange. J. Res., PAU 10 : 329 -30. Bhat, S.R., Bhat, K.H. and Chandel, K.P.S. (1994). Studies on germination and cryopreservation of Musa balbisiana. Seed Science and Technology 22 : 637 - 40. Bondad, N.D., Blanco, A.E. and Mercado, E.L. (1978). Foliar sprays of potassium nitrate for flower induction in mango (Mangifera indica cultivar Pahutan) shoots. Philippines J. Crop Sci. 3 : 251 -56. Bose, T.K., Mitra, S.K. and Sanyal, D. (2001). Fruits : Tropical and Subtropical 1 : 496 - 555. Burondkar, M.M. and Gunjate, R.T. (1993). Control of vegetative growth and induction of regular and early cropping in 'Alphonso' mango with paclobutrazol. Acta Hort. 341 : 206 15. Burondkar, M.M., Rajput, J.C. and Waghmare, G.M. (2000). Recurrent flowering : A new physiological disorder in Alphonso mango. Acta Hort. 509 : 669 - 73.

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Campbell, R.J. and Wasielewaski, J. (2000). Mango tree training techniques for the hot tropics. Acta Hort. 509 : 641 - 51. Chacko, E.K., Randhawa, G.S., Menon, M.A. and Negi, S.P. (1972). Effect of ethrel on papain production in papaya. Curr. Sci. 41 : 455. Chadha, K.L. (2000). An overview of Hi-tech horticulture : opportunities and constraints. National Symposium on Hi-tech Horticulture, held at Bangalore (India), during June 26 - 28, 2000, pp. 1 - 30. Chen, W.S. (1985). Flower induction in mango (Mangifera indica L.) with plant growth substance. Proc. Nat. Sci. Council, Part B, Life Sciences. Taipei, Republic of China, 9 : 9 12. Choudhury, R.S. (1957). Identification of sex in papaya seedling stage. Indian. J. Hort. 14 : 179 - 85. Davenport, T.L. (1993). Floral manipulation in mangos. In : Proceedings, Conference on Mango in Hawaii. Chia, L.E. and Evans, D.O.(Eds), Cooperative Extension Service, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, pp. 54 - 60. Dedolph, R.R. (1962). Effect of benzothiazole-2-oxyacetate on flowering and fruiting of papaya. Bot. Gaz. 124 : 75 - 78. Flore, J.A. and Lakso, A.N. (1989). Environmental and physiological regulation of photosynthesis in fruit crops. Hort. Review 11 : 111 - 57. Giesen, B. (1990). First known data on sweet cherries as hedges. Fruittectt - Den - Haag 80 : 5 - 11. Govindjee (1982). Photosynthesis : Development, Carbon Metabolism and Plant Productivity, Vol. II. Academic Press, New York : Hanumashetty, S.I. (1978). Studies on vegetative growth and its relationship of flowering in mango cultivars with special reference to cv. Pairi and Totapuri. Ph. D. thesis, UAS, Dharwad. Hillier, G.R. and Rudge, T.G. (1991). Promotion of regular fruit cropping in mango with Cultar. Acta Hort. 291 : 51 - 59. Hofmeyr, J.D.J. (1970). Aspects of sex reversal in the flowering of Carica papaya L. and of the flowers of the species cross Carica stipulate x C. monoica. Proc. 4th Congr. South Africa Genet. Soc., Pretoria. Horovitz, S.L. (1954). Determinacion del sexo en Carica papaya L. Estructura hipotetica de los cromosomas sexuales, Agron. Trop. 3 : 229 - 49. Huber, D.J. (1983). The role of cell wall hydrolases in fruit softening. Hort. Reviews 5 : 169 219. Iyer, C.P.A. and Subramaniam, M.D. (1975). Developing simple methods for dwarfing mango trees. Panjab Hort. J. 31 : 18 - 20.

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27. 28.

Katrodia, J.S. and Sheth, I.K. (1989). The spongy tissue development in Alphonso mango in relation to temperature and its control. Acta Hort. 231 : 827 - 34. Kaur, H., Kapur, S.P. and Chanana, Y.R. (1988). Effect of growth regulators on granulation in sweet orange cv. Mosambi (Citrus sinensis Osbeck). National Seminar on Advances in Plant Growth Regulator Research, held at Jodhpur, 17 - 19 Nov., 1988, 189 pp. Kulkarni, V.J. (1988). Effect of post - bloom vegetative flush on fruit retention in mango. Acta Hort. 231 : 500 - 502. Kulkarni, V.K. (1988). Chemical control of tree vigour and the promotion of flowering and fruiting in mango (Mangifera indica L.) using paclobutrazol. J. Hort. Sci. 65 : 557 - 66. Lal, B. and Padaria, R.N. (2001). Rejuvenation of Mango Orchard. CISH Publication 9 : 1 - 20. Lange, A.H. (1961). The effect of 2, 3-dichloroisobutyrate and 2, 3-dichloropropionate on the sex expression of Carica papaya L. Proc. Am. Soc. Hort. Sci. 78 : 218 - 24. Lopez, M.R. (1984). El nitrato de potasio como promotor de la sitesis endogena de etileno y la induccion floral en mango (Mangifera indica L.) cv. Manila. M. Sc. Thesis, Universidad Autonoma Chapingo, Chapingo, Mexico. Lovatt, C.J., Yusheng, Z. and Hake, K.D. (1988). A new look at the Krans - Kraybill hypothesis and flowering in citrus. Proceeding of the 6th International Citrus Congress. Goren, R. and Mendel, K. (Eds), pp. 475 - 83. Maiti, S.C., Basu, R.N. and Sen, P.K. (1972). Chemical control of growth and flowering in Mangifera indica L. Acta Hort. 24 : 192 - 95. Malik, C.P. (1999). Isolation and quantification of growth hormones. In : Advances in Plant Hormones Research. Malik, C. P. (Ed.). Indian Scenario, Agro-Botanica Press, pp. 185 - 199. Mukherjee, S.K. (1949). The mango and its relatives. Science and Culture 15 : 5 - 19. Mullins, P.D.F. (1985). Delaying of flowering in Haden mango tree. Technical Communications in Horticultural Science Series No. 200. Department of Agriculture, Republic of South Africa, Citrus and Sub tropical Research Institute, Netspruit, RSA, pp. 6 - 8. Naik, K.C. (1948). Orchard efficiency analysis in mangoes and oranges. Madras Agric. J. 28 : 99 - 109. Nakasone, H.Y. (1967). Papaya breeding in Hawaii. Agron. Trop. 17 : 391 - 99. Oosthuryse, S.A. (1995). Effect of aqueous application of GA3 on flowering of mango trees, Mango 2000 Marketing Seminar and Production Workshop Proceedings, Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, pp. 75 - 85. Pandey, R.M. (1989). Physiology of flowering in mango. Acta. Hort. 231 : 361 - 80. Quinlan, J.D. and Preston, A.P. (1971). The influence of shoot competition on fruit retention and cropping of apple trees. J. Hort. Sci. 46 : 524 - 34. Ram, M. (1983). High-density plantation in papaya. Indian Hort. 28 : 17 - 20.

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Ram, M. (1995). Seed production in papaya. Seed Research 23 : 98 - 101. Ram, M. and Majumdar, P.K. (1990). Seed production in papaya cultivars. Seed Research 18 : 117 - 30. Ram, M. and Ray, P.K. (1992). Study on pure seed production in papaya. Seed Research 20 : 81 - 84. Ram, S. and Sirohi, S.C. (1988). Studies on high-density orcharding in mango cv. Dashehari. Acta. Hort. 231 : 339 - 44. Ram, S., Singh, C.P. and Kumar, S. (1997). A success story of high-density orcharding in mango. Acta Hort. 455 : 375 - 82. Rathore, D.S. (2001). Networking for genetic resources management of horticulture crops. National Symposium on Plant Genetic Research held at NBPGR, New Delhi (India), during Feb. 1 - 4, 2001. Rowley, A.J. (1990). The effect of Cultar applied as a soil drench on ' Zill' mango trees. Acta Hort. 275 : 211 - 15. Samson, J.A. (1980). Papaya. Tropical Fruits, 208 pp. Longman, New York. Schaffer, B., Whiley, A.W. and Crane, J.H. (1994). Mango. In : Handbook of Environmental Physiology. Vol. II. Subtropical and Tropical Crops, pp. 165-96. Schaffer, B. and Anderson, P.C. (Eds) . CRC Press, Boca Raton. Selvaraj, Y., Kumar, R. and Pal, D.K. (1989). Changes in sugars, organic acids, amino acids, lipid constituents and aroma characteristics of ripening mango (Mangifera indica L.) fruit. J. Fruit Sci. and Tech. 26 : 308 - 13. Sen, P.K., Maiti, S.K. and Maiti, S.C. (1972). Studies on induction axillary flowering in Mangifera indica L. Acta Hort. 24 : 185 - 88. Singh, L.B. (1961). Biennial bearing in mango - effect of gibberellic and Malic hydrazide. Hort. Advances 5 : 96 - 106. Singh, R.N. (1987). Mango. In : Tree Crop Physiology, 27-318. Sethuraj, M.R. and Raghavendra, A.S. (Eds). Elsevier - Amsterdam. Singh, R.N. (1996). Mango, pp. 114 - 18. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi. Singh, Ranvir and Singh, A.K. (1993). Fruit cracking. Advances in Horticulture 4 : 2119 - 27. Singh, V.K. and Mishra, M. (2002). Molecular physiology in Hi - Tech Horticulture : A new paradigm in improvement of fruits crop. In : Plant Genetic Engineering, Improvement of Fruits. Jaiwal, P.K. and Singh, R.P. (Eds). Singh, V.K. and Saini, J.P. (2001). Regulation of flowering and fruiting in mango (Mangifera indica L.) with paclobutrazol. In : Plant Physiological Paradigm for Fostering Agro and Biotechnology and Augmenting Environmental Productivity. Dwivedi, R.S. and Singh, V.K. (Eds). Indian Society of Plant Physiology, New Delhi, pp. 61 - 68.

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Singh, V.K. (2001). Strategy for the control of floral malformationin mango (Mangifera indica) on role of plant physiology for sustaining quality and quantity of food production in relation to environment. Chetti, M.B., Kurauinashett, M.S., Hiremath, S.M. and Kalpana, M. (Eds), pp. 131-33. Singh, V.K., Saini, J.P. and Misra, A.K. (1998). Effect of plant growth regulators and other chemicals on floral malformation, flowering, fruit set, yield and fruit quality of mango cv. Amrapali. Biol. Memoirs 24 : 19 - 24. Singh, V.K., Saini, J.P. and Misra, A.K. (2001). Response of salicylic acid on flowering, floral malformation, fruit, yield and associated bio-physical and bio-chemical character of mango. Indian J. Hort. 58 : 196 - 201. Storey, W.B. (1941). The botany and sex relation in papaya. I. Papaya production in Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull. 87 : 5 - 22. Storey, W.B. (1953). Genetics of the papaya. J. Hered. 44 : 70 - 78. Storey, W.B. (1958). Modifications of sex expression in papaya. Hortic. Adv. 2 : 49 - 60. Tongumpai, P., Hongsbhanich, N. and Voon, C.H. (1989). 'Cultar' - for flowering regulation of mango in Thailand. Acta Hort. 239 : 375 - 78. Varga, A. (1971). Effects of shoot growth retardation and tapping of young shoots on the yield of peer. Moded, Fac. Landbouw Wetnesch. Gent., 36 : 472 - 78. Voon, C.H., Pitakpaivan, C. and Tan, S.J. (1991). Mango cropping manipulation with Cultar. Acta Hort. 291 : 219 - 28. Wang, X.F., Rui, Wang, X.F. and Fu, J.R. (1994). Desiccation and cryopreservation of excised embryonic axes of mango seeds. Journal of South China Agricultural Univ. 15 : 88 - 92. Weigel, D. and Nilsson, O. (1995). A developmental switch sufficient for flower initiation in diverse plant. Nature 377 : 495 - 500. Whieley, A.W. (1993). Environmental effects on phenology and physiology of mango - a review. Acta Hort. 341 : 168 - 76.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

APPROACHES AND STRATEGIES FOR PRECISION FARMING IN GUAVA


Gorakh Singh1, Shailendra Rajan2 and A.K. Singh3

Guava is considered to be one of the exquisite, nutritionally valuable and remunerative crops. Guava fruits are used for both, fresh eating and processing. As soon as, one gets accustomed to its penetrating aroma, it becomes most delicious and fascinating fruit for consumers. It excels most other fruit trees in productivity, hardiness, adaptability and vitamin 'C' content. Besides its high nutritive value, it bears heavy crop every year and gives handsome economic returns involving very little inputs. This has prompted several Indian farmers to take up guava cultivation on a commercial scale. Its cultivation is not seriously affected by extremes of temperature, hot winds, scanty rainfall, saline and poor soil, waterlogging condition and above all, unavailability of water, fertilizer and other inputs. Guava trees are not difficult to grow and can survive in a range of soil and climatic conditions. However, precise management is required to produce a highly profitable crop.

CURRENT SCENARIO
Because of its ease of culture, high nutritional value and popularity of the processed products, guava is important in international trade as well as in the local markets of over 60 countries (2). The largest producers are Brazil, Mexico, India, Thailand, USA (Hawaii), New Zealand, the Philippines, China, Indonesia, Cuba, Java, Venezuela, Australia and some African countries, producing guava at commercial scale (5). International trade is virtually limited to processed products and includes export to the United States, Japan and Europe. In India, guava is well adapted in almost all states. The major producing areas in Uttar Pradesh are Allahabad, Kausambi, Farrukhabad, Kanpur, Unnao, Aligarh, Badaun, Varanasi, Fatehpur and Lucknow. In Andhra Pradesh, it is grown in east and west Godawari, Guntur, Krishna, Ananthapur, Medak and Khemmam districts. In Madhya Pradesh, concentrated production is around Raipur, Durg and Jabalpur. In Gujarat, it is more concentrated around Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad. In Maharastra, it is grown mainly
1, 2, 3 Senior

Scientist (Horticulture), Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow 227 107, India.

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Guava

in Satara, Beed, Pune, Ahmed Nagar, Aurangabad and Amravati areas. In Karnataka, it is mainly grown in Bangalore, Kolar, Dharwar and Shimoga, while in Tamil Nadu, major concentration of production is around Madurai, Dinadigul and Salem.

DISTRIBUTION PATTERN IN INDIA


The major guava-growing states are Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. It is estimated that the area and production in India is 150.9 ha and 1710.6 M t. Bihar has largest area (0.31 lakh ha) followed by Uttar Pradesh (0.18 lakh ha) and Maharastra (0.17 lakh ha). Bihar also ranks first in production (0.37 million tones), followed closely by Maharastra (0.21 Mt). Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are next with a production of 0.18 and 0.17 million tonnes, respectively. However, highest productivity is recorded in Madhya Pradesh (20.1 tonnes/ ha) followed by Punjab (17.4 tonnes/ha), Gujarat (14.4 tonnes/ha) and Karnataka (12.5 tonnes/ha) . Cultivars and production system vary in these regions which influence the productivity.

PRECISION TECHNOLOGIES FOR IMPROVED PRODUCTION


Selection of Varieties Although, a large number of varieties are known in guava, Allahabad Safeda and Sardar (L 49) form the main stay of Indian guava industry, owing to its high yield, wide market acceptability and high economic return. These cultivars have assumed the status of commercial cultivation. Allahabad Safeda : Medium to tall, upright growth in nature, heavy bearer, foliage mostly dense, tendency to produce long shoots. Crown broad and compact, often dome-shaped, rarely loose. Fruit medium, roundish in shape, smooth skin, white flesh and with few soft seeds, keeping quality is good. Sardar (L 49) : Vigorous, spreading and profuse bearing, heavy branching type, crown flat, fruit large, roundish ovate in shape, skin colour primose-yellow, white flesh, seeds soft and in plenty. Apart from above two varieties, some of the cultivars which are grown in some specific areas are Chittidar, Red Fleshed, Apple Colour, Anakapalle, Banarsi Surkha, Sangam and Dharwar. New Promising Cultivars Lalit, a new variety of guava has been released by the CISH, Lucknow, for commercial cultivation (Fig. 1). Its fruits are medium-sized (185g) with attractive saffron-yellow

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Fig. 1. Lalit

Fig. 2. Pant Prabhat

colour with red blush. Its flesh is firm and pink with good blend of sugar and acid. This is suitable for both table and processing purposes. The pink colour in the beverage remains stable for more than a year in storage. The jelly made of this variety has better flavour and appearance. It gives 24% higher yield than popular variety Allahabad Safeda (4). Pant Prabhat has been selected by the Department of Horticulture, GBPU&T, Pantnagar (Uttranchal), for commercial cultivation (Fig. 2). Plant growth is upright with broad leaves, tree highly productive (100-125 kg), fruit round, peel smooth and light yellow in colour, fruit medium (150-172 g), pulp white, seeds small and soft as compared to Sardar. Sweet taste with pleasant flavour, ascorbic acid content varies from 125 mg (rainy season) to 300 mg/100 g fruit weight (winter season). TSS varies from 10.5 to 13.50o Brix. Multiplication of Genuine Planting Material Genuine planting material is the basic requirement for quality guava production. Most of the nurseries in private and public sectors do not produce standard plant material which ultimately affect not only the production potential but also the yield of quality fruits. The guava industry is ravaged by wilt. To overcome this problem, production of disease-free quality planting material is very important. There is an urgent need to contain the spread of wilt through infected orchard. Sapling must be healthy and vigorous at the time of planting. Plants propagated from diseased, old and exhausted mother tree, never develop into good nursery plants. Preferably, nursery stock should be raised from true-to-type, healthy and vigorous 94

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young mother tree planted in separate block and used exclusively for propagation programme. Such trees, when they lose vigour due to continuous use for a number of years, should be invigourated by pruning practices. Better results are achieved with vegetative propagation. As compared to seed propagation, vegetative propagation in guava results in a uniform crop and short juvenile phase. There are various methods of vegetative propagation but budding and stooling are found to be better. Budding: Budding is done in several ways, but patch budding is considered to be most efficient and satisfactory method of propagation in guava which gives high rate of success. However, success depends on vigour of both scion and stock. Seedlings of about one- year-old, uniform and active in growth are selected. The thickness should not be more than that of an ordinary lead pencil. This method is most satisfactory when vigorously growing plants, 1.25-2.5 cm in diameter, are used as stock. The trees from which buds are taken should be highly vegetative lush, succulent growth to permit easy separation of buds from the stem. It is better to take well-swollen and unsprouted dormant buds from leaf axil of mature twigs of the scion variety. A patch, approximately 1 cm (0.5 inch) x 1.5 cm (0.75 inch) seems to take better than when a smaller patch or bud is used. Similarly, 1-1.5 cm long patch is removed from the rootstock and bud is fitted into the remaining portion on the stock seedling. Bud should be fitted at a height of nearly 15cm above the ground level. Polythene strip is used for keeping the buds close to the stock. When the bark adheres tightly to the wood, budding is usually successful. After about 2-3 weeks of budding the polythene strip can be opened to examine the success. In successful cases, about one-third of top of shoot of the rootstock can be removed for forcing the growth of buds. The remaining two-thirds can be removed after three weeks of the first cutting, leaving about 2-3 cm above the bud. The best time for budding is May, July and August. Stooling: Stooling is the easiest and cheapest method of guava propagation. This method can be used for quick multiplication of desired varieties and also rootstocks. In this method, self-rooted plants (cuttings and layers) are planted 0.5 m apart in the stooling bed. These are allowed to grow for about three years. Then these are cut down at the ground level in March. New shoots emerge on the beheaded stumps. A 30-cm wide ring of bark is removed from the base of each shoot rubbing the cambium of the exposed portion in May. All the shoots are mounted with the soil to a height of 30 cm. The soil is covered with mulch to conserve the moisture. After a period of two months of the onset of monsoon, the shoots are detached from the mother plant at ringed portion and planted in the nursery. The shoots are headed back to maintain the root and shoot balance before planting in the nursery by following the technique of 95

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ringing and mounding of the shoots, second time stooling is done on the same mother shoot in the first week of September. The rooted shoot layers are detached in the first week of November. Thus, stooling is done twice on the same mother stool in a year. The stooling of a mother stool can be done for many years. With the advancement of its age, the number of stool layers also increases every year. The growth and development of a stool layer are better than seedlings. The application of rooting hormone is not required.

Establishment of Guava Orchard


Guava is not difficult to grow, however, profitability depends on the ability of the careful management programme to maximize production and to reduce fruit losses. Commercial production from guava orchard begins on third year after planting and cropping may continue for 40 years or more. Therefore, performance of a orchard depends on its management, which includes water and nutrient management, selection of right cultivars, planting technique, canopy management for flowering and fruiting, improved light efficiency through pruning to optimise the quality and production of young and bearing trees. Planting Technique Before layout, the land should be well ploughed 3-4 times. The square or rectangular system of layout should be preferred as it facilitates orchard operations. The pits of 75 cm x 75 cm x 75 cm size should be dug before the monsoon at a distance of 5m x 5m which results in 400 trees/ha. Rows should be planted in north-south directions to allow maximum sunlight exposure. After 15-20 days, the pits may be filled with top soil mixed with 30-40 kg of well-decomposed cattle manure and 1.0 kg of superphosphate. The pit is irrigated after filling so that the soil mixtures settle down. Pit should be treated with Tricel (2.5 ml/litre of water) or dusting of Seiven (20 g/pit) to prevent white ant (termite) infestation. After making the exact position of the plant in the pit with the help of planting board, scoop out enough soil from the centre of the pit so as to accommodate the guava plant with its ball of earth. The plant is placed straight in the centre of the pit. The soil around the plant is pressed firmly and a small basin is made for regular watering. Immediately after planting, it should be copiously watered. It is desirable to stake the plant to avoid breakage especially at the graft joint and to keep it erect. Planting is done from July to October. Training and Pruning The objective of pruning is to open up the canopy, as more sunlight leads to more 96

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Guava

number of shoots and higher yield. Pruning begins at an early stage of plant growth to develop single trunk trees with well-spaced scaffold branches to form the framework. Within the first 3-4 months after planting, the guava plant needs to be pruned and trained to allow maximum production of fruit as soon as possible and at the lowest possible cost (6). In the initial stage, trees are trained to a single upright stem with the fruit bearing lateral structural branches emerging from the single stem beginning at a height about 50-70 cm from the ground level, rather than having these laterals emerging at ground level, as usually in the case of untrained trees. As the trees become older and better able to support the scaffold branches, the main trunk can be extended upwards by cutting off the lower interfering scaffold branches. Lateral structural branches should be pruned and trained to radiate outwards from the central axis of the tree. Any branch that does not fix into such pattern should be gradually removed. Essentially, then, guava trees are pruned to increase yield and to reduce the total cost of field operations by eliminating obstacles and branch hazards which slow down easier movement around the trees. Dried twigs should be removed regularly. Suckers emerging from the soil (ground level) should also be removed regularly as presence of suckers' results in poor growth of the plants. A properly pruned and trained tree can be gradually confined to a foliage canopy approaching 4m in radius. The angle between the branches of the stem must be wide so that sunlight is able to penetrate into the centre of the tree. Trees are pruned and fertilised to induce new axillary growth upon which flowers will be produced. Branches grown horizontally are far more productive than vertical ones(6). For dessert cultivars, an ideal tree shape is one with no branches 50-70 from the ground and 3-6 horizontal branches. High-density Planting Due to recent advancements in horticultural practices on one hand, and agricultural engineering on the other, establishment of densely planted, dwarf, and intensive orchards is becoming more and more a universal challenge for all guava growers (Fig. 3). Among the production practices, tree management, specifically size control, has become a priority for the modern guava producer due to the demands imposed by modern markets in terms of production costs, yield and fruit quality. Early management of apical growth is necessary to maintain height control in guava (6). Recent advances in fruit tree training techniques are rapidly changing production strategies throughout the tropics. Modifications in training techniques influences plant spacing and production decisions. Similarly, unpruned tall and crowded guava trees pose a number of problems while carrying out various cultural operations. Canopy design and shape influence light 97

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Fig. 3 Fig. 4

Fig. 5

Fig. 3. High-density planting in guava. Fig. 4. Early shoot management for better production and canopy shape. A, unpruned; B, pruned tree. Fig. 5. Initial canopy management, brings maximum shoots in fruiting, for better harvest under high-density planting system.

interception (Figs. 4 A and B) and higher monetary returns can be assured to guava growers. In fact, guava responds well to canopy modification by pruning and training and is one of the most suitable for high density planting, as it bears fruits on current season's growth and responds to pruning (Figs. 6 a, b, c and d). Wide branch angles, producing a spreading tree are important to minimize the branch breakage when carrying heavy crop and to reduce labour input in guava tree shaping, particularly in high-density planting system. Control of apical growth must begin within first year of planting of guava continue each year in high-density planting system. Topping and hedging have been found to be valuable techniques in controlling tree size during initial stage (Fig. 5). Planting density of 3.0 m x 6.0 m (555 plants/ha) has been found most suitable and highly productive for Allahabad Safeda (6). However, HDP has been also developed for Allahabad Safeda which accommodates 5,000 plants/ha: (1.0 m x 2.0 m) coupled with regular topping and hedging, particularly during initial stage, are helpful in vigour control and extending fruit availability and yield per unit area (Fig. 7)(6). In young 98

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Guava

vigorously growing trees the leading branches can be bent down and tipped to promote sprouting of laterals, which are capable of bearing profusely (Fig. 8).

(b)

(a)

(c)

B (d) (d) (e)

Fig. 6. Concurrent shoot pruning has been found efficeint method for controlling tree size and better productivity under high-density planting. (a) Pruning for the initiation of new shoots, capable of producing flower buds; (b) repruning of new shoots when the fruits are 2-3 cm in diameter for initiation of new shoots; (c) new shoots emerging as a result of step (b) are also efficient in fruit producition; (d) reponse of topping and hedging (A) and unpruned row (B) under high density planting and (e) a portion of a tree showing several fruit-bearing shoots as a response of concurrent pruning.

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Fig. 8
Fig. 7. Reponse of topping and hedging during initial stage for accommodating more number of plants per unit area. Fig. 8. Bending of branches in guava tree can induce profuse flowering and fruiting.

Fig. 7

Rejuvenation of Old Plantation The old orchards which have turned unproductive and produce low grade fruits require a special attention. They should be rejuvenated through heavy and systematic pruning, followed by fertilization and plant protection measures. Heading back of unproductive guava trees (at the height of 1.5-2 m from the ground level) is done in the month of May followed by pruning of newly sprouted shoots below the cut point of parent stump in October has shown encouraging results (Figs. 9 a, b, c and d). The newly initiated shoots after 'October-cut' are found to be very conducive for flowering and fruiting in the following seasons.

Growth and Development


One of the critical characteristics of guava is that flowers are borne on newlyemerging lateral shoots, irrespective of time of year (11). Consequently, the occurrence of bloom and fruiting in the course of the year may be erratic or seasonal, depending on how the environment affects shoot growth. This characteristics allows the tree to be manipulated to crop when desired in a favourable climate. Defoliation/ pruning are the main methods to force the axillary bud to shoot (14). Presumably, the flowers are already differentiated before the side shoots emerge, implying that the lateral buds should not be forced to break before differentiation has been completed. Shoot growth is indeterminate under good growing conditions long vigorous shoots dominate, which suppress the emergence of flowering side shoots. A load of fruits acts as strong sink to moderate extension growth and to delay the leafing out of lateral buds until after harvest. Good fruiting is therefore instrumental in establishing the desired pattern of shoot growth thereby regulating canopy size.

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(c) (a) UR R

(b)
Fig. 9. (a) Rejuvenated (heading back) guava tree in the month of May (R) and unrejuvenated (UR) guava trees; (b) new shoots emerging on rejuvenated trees; (c) new shoots were pruned during October to induce new laterals capable of fruiting and (d) a close view of fruiting twigs as a result of pruning shown in (c). Source: Singh, Gorakh, PFDC, Lucknow

(d)

Crop Regulation There are two major flowering seasons, once during March-May, the fruits of which are harvested in rainy season (late-July to mid-October) and the other in JulyAugust with the fruits harvested during winter (late-October to mid-February). Often a third crop is also noticed, from flower appearing in October and the fruits harvested in March (8). Among three flowering seasons, maximum fruiting occurs in rainy season (11). This is incidentally, the period when heavy rains are received and the wet-humid weather adversely affects quality while approaching the maturity stage. Various types of fungal diseases and attack of fruit fly are common. This crop is poor in quality, fruits are rough, insipid, watery and less nutritive. Rainy season fruits are also spoiled rapidly due to loss of glossy appearance with discolouration followed by blemishes, desiccation, loss of firmness, protopectin and vitamin 'C' after harvesting. As regards the net return in terms of cash, the winter season crop is more profitable than rainy season crop due to high selling rates and less damage to fruits by diseases and insect pests (13). Winter

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fruits have better storage life and can be transported over a long distance. Orchard losses can be avoided by following simple and effective crop regulation practices by which guava trees can be made to bear and mature as regular winter crop of disease free fruit of very good quality (9 and 12). The crop regulation studies confirmed the efficacy of spraying fertilizer grade urea in May to increase the yield of winter season crop (Figs. 10, 11 and 12). A crop regulation technology has been developed at CISH, Lucknow (10), wherein the inferior quality rainy season crop is eliminated by spraying twice with fertilizer grade urea (10 per cent) in Allahabad Safeda and in Sardar, during bloom (April-May). This resulted in increase of good quality fruits during winters by four times in Allahabad Safeda and three times in Sardar(7).

Fig. 12 Fig. 10 Fig. 11

Fig. 10. Defoliation induced by fertilizer grade urea. Fig. 11. Fruit set on new shoots emerged as a result of defoliation. Fig. 12. Heavy winter crop as a response of defoliation through fertilizer grade urea

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Weed Control Weed control is crucial during first 2-3 years of orchard establishment. After that, the trees provide adequate shade to minimize interference by weeds. Mulching with black polythene sheet or heavy mulching with organic material, such as, straw, dried grass, banana leaves, immediately surrounding the main trunk drastically reduces weed growth. Herbicides are generally not recommended in young orchards due to the possibility of causing severe damage by spray drift or direct contact. Herbicide such as, glyphosate may be applied by rope wicks or rollers saturated with the herbicide solution and wiped on the weeds. Irrigation The chief economic consideration, which encourages growers to go for guava cultivation is that, this tree does not suffer much if it is not watered during hot months. It is, however, observed that where the plantation receives better care and regular irrigation in early years, yield of fruits is heavier and fruits are of better quality than the trees, which are neglected, as it usually happens. Adequate moisture is required during vegetative growth and for optimum flowering and fruit development. Almost complete post set drop is observed during drought. In dry tropics, flowering is greatly influenced of water availability. To promote the development of the fruiting twigs, irrigate every 10-15 days in summer and about 25 days in winter should be given. During the rainy season, plants hardly require any irrigation. The care of the young trees consists in watering them regularly during the dry season. In regions, receiving 380-500 mm rainfall, an additional 2,460 mm water is required through 8-10 irrigation. Drip irrigation is being used increasingly to replenish daily water loss (25-50 mm per week). This method can deliver sufficient water if the entire orchard can be supplied on a daily basis. In large orchards, where irrigation is done by selections, the microjet or a low sprinkler system is more desirable. This system also make it easier to apply fertilizer for immediate effect. At CISH, Lucknow, the maximum yield is obtained when irrigation is given at 60 per cent OPE replenishment. Intercultivation Regular intercultivation is very essential for proper upkeep of the guava orchard. It improves physical condition of soil, ensures aeration by breaking soil surface crust, removes weeds that compete for soil moisture and nutrients and helps in serves the purpose of mulching and thereby, reduces evaporation losses. In young guava orchards, 103

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intercultivation should be done as and when necessary to check weed growth. Regular intercultivation in young orchards helps in promoting shoot and root growth of trees. In bearing orchards, one ploughing during June, second during August/September and third in December depending upon the soil moisture conditions should be given. The first ploughing helps in checking the run off losses and facilitates maximum intake of water into the soil. The second ploughing checks the weed growth, whereas third induces vegetative shoot. Nutrition Guava is very hardy to soil and agroclimatic conditions, but shows good response to manuring in increasing fruit production. Since leaf is the principal site of metabolic activity in the plant and changes occurring in this leaf metabolic activity are reflected in the plant performance, emphasis is now placed to adopt leaf analysis as a tool to assess nutrient needs of guava plants. Soil analysis can also be helpful since it gives a measure of the nutrients available in the soil, but leaf analysis can tell us whether these nutrients are being absorbed. Among several factors associated with the plant system like variety, flushing season, fruiting on non-fruiting shoot, crop load, tree to tree variation, leaf part, leaf age, leaf size, leaf health and its position on shoot, tree age, and sample size are very essential one. Such information would be useful in determining the proper period of fertilizer application to guava trees, depending upon their needs. Setting of Concentration Standards The concentration below, which a response can be expected varies with variety, sampling procedure and site. Standards for the interpretation of guava leaf analysis data have been established. These are based on experiments and partially on experiences gathered over a number of years in a wide range of growing conditions. Tentative critical concentrations are given below. Concentrations are empirically desired and even within their own environment may not be very accurate. They do, however, provide a useful guide to the nutrition of guava when considered along with other characteristics, deficiency symptoms, soil conditions and previous fertilizer history. This accounts for the widespread field use of leaf analysis in guava. Many experiments have been conducted to establish the concentration of an element below which a response to added fertilizer may be expected.

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Leaf nutrient status/guide to fertilization


Critical nutrient limits (per cent) N 1.63-1.96 P 0.18-0.24 K 1.31-1.71 Ca 0.67-0.83 Mg 0.52-0.65

Stage and position of leaf for representative sample Tissue to be sampled Leaf 3rd or 4th pair leaf at chest height 50-60 days July for rainy season and November for winter season Fruiting terminals from all sides of tree Position Age Time Stage

Fertilization The amount of manure and fertilizers to be applied depends on the age of trees, condition of plant and type of soil. For proper growth and profitable yields, fertilizer should be applied in the required optimum dose. Application of manures to guava plant starts right from planting in the field. First application is made at the time of filling of pits (15-20 kg well-rotten FYM + 1.5 kg superphosphate per pit). Fertilizer application during first year of planting may be given as urea 260g + superphosphate 375g + 100g muriate of potash per plant. This dose should be increased every year up to five years in the multiple of first year's dose. Thus, a five year and above tree may get 1,300 g urea + 1,875 g superphosphate + 500 g muriate of potash along with 50 kg of FYM. This mixture is to be applied in two split doses perfectly in June and September. Fifty per cent of urea and entire potash to be applied in June and the rest of urea and entire superphosphate in September. Fertilizers are applied in a ring which covers an area of 30cm away from the trunk and covering the periphery of the tree. Soil should be dug to depth of only 8-10 cm and fertilizers properly mixed in the soil. Deep digging should be avoided as most of the nutrient absorbing roots are located close to the surface level. Use of fertilizer through drip irrigation has been found effective for enhanced yield efficiency. Yield increases substantially by drip irrigation when applied at 60 per cent open pan evaporation (OPE) in combination with 50 per cent recommended dose of nitrogen fertilizer (300g urea). Nutrient Deficiency Deficiencies of zinc and boron have become widespread in guava areas. Zinc: Zinc deficiency is serious problem in waterlogged and saline areas. It is 105

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characterized by reduction in leaf size, interveinal chlorosis, suppression of growth and die-back of leaders. Remedy:
! !

Soil application of zinc sulphate at 800g/tree 10-15 days before every flowering. Two pre-blossom spray of 0.3-0.5 per cent zinc sulphate and hydrated lime (0.23 kg) at 15 days interval.

Boron: Boron deficiency is characterized by red spots on young leaves. Remedy:


! !

Pre-flowering spray of 0.3-0.4 per cent boric acid. 5 g borax in one litre of hot water sprayed during July -August is found beneficial for fruit quality.

Bronzing: It is another common problem in guava attributed due to deficiency of phosphorus and zinc, and toxicity of aluminium (Fig. 11). Water soluble P status of leaves is the better index for bronzing (1). It can be reduced by soil pH and soil application of N, P, K and Zn at 200, 80, 150 and 80g/plant/ year, respectively or fortnightly foliar application of these nutrients each at 2 per cent resulted in Fig. 11. Bronzing in guava. reduction of bronzing.

PEST AND DISEASE MANAGEMENT


Fruit fly, fruit-borer and bark-eating caterpillars are major insect pests, whereas guava wilt, fruit-rot and die-back are important diseases(3).

Pest Management
Fruit fly (Bactocera dorsalis): The fruit fly is the most destructive insect in the production of guava, particularly during rainy season. When the fly is uncontrolled, the amount of marketable fruit is drastically reduced. Damage occurs as the larvae hatch out from eggs oviposited beneath the skin of ripening fruit and begin to feed on the flesh. Fruit turn progressively soft and mushy as the larvae begin feeding, until the fruits become 'waterlogged and the juice begin to drip on handling.

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Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Guava

Management
!

The traps are very useful tool in monitoring and control of population of fruit fly. Hanging of bottle traps containing 100 ml of water emulsion of methyl euginol (0.1%) + malathion (0.1%) during fruiting season (April-July) is very effective for control of fruit fly. Ten traps per hectare of orchard give satisfactory control. Traps can be fixed during morning time. Collection and destruction of infested and fallen fruits along with maggots useful in reducing the pest population. Ploughing tree basin also helps in checking the pest population as the pupae are destroyed by being exposed to unfavourable temperature and also becomes the prey for predators. Adult fruit flies can be controlled by bait spraying of carbaryl (0.2%) + 0.4% protein hydrolysates or molasses at pre-oviposition time.

Bark-eating caterpillar (Inderbela spp.): It is another serious pest of guava found in all over the India. The old, shady and neglected orchards are more prone to the attack of this pest. The caterpillars bore into trunk, main stem and thick branches of guava trees and remain inside the holes during day. The caterpillars come out in night to feed on the bark and make silken galleries inside. Management
!

After removing the webs of bark-eating caterpillar, all the borer holes except the fresh one, should be plugged with mud plastering. Application of monocrotophos (0.05%) or DDVP (0.1%) emulsion in holes and plugging with mud.

Mealy bug (Ferrisia virgata): The problem of mealy bug is more pronounced in summer months. This occurs on leaves and fruits. Mealy bugs are small, oval, sucking insects which are cottony-white, and waxy covering on their bodies. They are found sticking to the underside of the guava leaves. They secrete honeydew on which sooty mould develops. Fruits covered with the mealy bug and sooty mould lose the market value. All the commonly used insecticides do not provide adequate control because of the waxy coating over their bodies. Management
!

Release of predator Cryptolaemus sp. @ 10-20 beetles/tree gives very effective control within 30-45 days of the release.

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Guava fruit-borer (Virachola isocrates): The guava fruit-borer has been found in northern region of the country. The caterpillars bore the raw fruits of all sizes and eat the pulp of the fruits. The infested fruits usually dry up. Management
!

Collection of infested fruits with borer and their destruction to check the carry over of the pest. The adults may be controlled by spraying of carbaryl (0.1%) or fenthoate (0.05%) or phosalone (0.01%) at the beginning of fruiting season and before ripening of fruits. Spraying of carbaryl (0.2%) at the early stage of crop has been found effective in reducing the pest population.

Scale insect (Chloropulvianria psidii): These are small scale like, flat, green insect which are found sticking to leaves, shoots and sometime fruits. This is serious pest of guava in India. The appearance of sooty mould on tree is the first recognisable symptoms to appear. In a badly infested orchard, trees are covered with scales, and sooty mould. In severe infestations, defoliation and flower abortion can occur, reducing yield drastically. Generally, the infestation is more in summer. The trees become black instead of the usual lush green. Management
! !

Prune affected parts and burn at the early stage of infestation. Two-three sprayings with monocrotophos (0.05%) at 15 days intervals are necessary in summer. Water spraying removes sooty mould. In heavy infestation, spray starch 2% or mixture of wetable sulphur + methyl parathion + gum acacia (0.2% + 0.1% + 0.3%). Since ants are nearly always associated with scales, they should also be controlled.

! !

DISEASE MANAGEMENT
Guava wilt: Among diseases affecting culture of this crop, wilt is most destructive disease known to occur mostly in northern and eastern India. Disease starts with the withering and yellowing of leaves. The leaves droop down and epinasty is the main symptom. The plant generally wilts within 15 days to two months. There may be either

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Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Guava

partial or full wilting of the plant. The disease occur more severely in alkaline soil. Generally, the incidence is evident only during July-November and is however not observed during winter and summer months. It is severe at the time of fruit bearing. Now it is felt besides pathogens, there are other factors, i.e. soil, nutrition and management, which are also responsible for this malady. Management
! ! ! ! !

Remove and destroy wilted branches. Uproot and burn severely affected trees. Proper sanitation in the orchards is essential. Avoid waterlogging. Use of organic and green manures helps in reducing the disease. As preventive control, soil treatment with neem cake (4.0 kg/plant) and gypsum (2 kg/plant) is useful. The soil may be drenched with Bavistin at the early stage of infection. Incidence of the disease can be minimised by application of Aspergillus niger strain AN17. Culture of A. niger is mixed in FYM at the rate of 1%, allow to multiply it and after 10-15 days incubation the enriched FYM is applied at the rate of 5 kg/ plant.

! !

Fruit canker: The fruit canker is widely prevalent in India. It produces numerous circular to raised dark coloured corky cankerous growths on fruits. Infected fruits are deformed and give a chickenpox appearance. They do not ripe and are not palatable. Management
!

The disease can be effectively controlled by two sprayings of Dithane M-45 (0.2%) during green fruit stage.

Anthracnose : High humidity and frequent rains favour the spread and intensity of disease attack. It occurs mostly on fruits during rainy season. Most characteristic symptoms include the appearance of small spots of the size of pinhead, which are first observed on unripe fully grown fruits during rainy season. They are dark brown to black in colour, sunken, circular and bear numerous minute black pinhead growth in the centre of the lesions. In favourable weather, several spots coalesce to form bigger lesions. The diseased portions are comparatively harder than the healthy tissues. Ripe fruits become soft. Unopened flowers and buds are also attacked and they are shed.

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Management
!

Pruning of diseased twigs and destruction of fallen leaves and fruits are also helpful in controlling the disease. Dithane M-45 (0.2%) or Topsin M (0.1%) or Bavistin (0.1%) or copper oxychloride (3g/litre of water) on mature fruits reduce the infection.

Stylar-end rot: Severe infestation occurs during rainy season which reduces the quality of fruits. The symptoms start as a circular, water-soaked lesions at the stylar end and later on they become reddish brown in colour. Management
!

The disease can be controlled effectively by spraying of Bavistin or Topsin M (0.1%) at 15 days interval during fruit maturity stage. However, no spraying is done before 15 days of harvesting.

Fruit rot: The symptoms appear on mature green fruits as a water-soaked lesion that develops very rapidly to affect entire fruits. This is very serious during rainy weather and spoils nearly 20-25 per cent of the fruits before harvesting. Management
!

Removal of diseases fruits from the orchard and destroying them so that fruit flies and other insects cannot land on the fungal mass to pick up spores for reinfection. Pre-harvest spraying of carbendazin or thiophonate methyl (Bavistin or Topsin M,.5%) 15 - 20 days before harvesting.

HARVESTING
Harvesting of guava fruits is determined on the basis of visual fruits colour observations. Fruits attaining maturity show signs of changing colour from pale green to yellowish green. However, experience is the best guide. During the peak period of season, harvest interval cannot be more than 2-3 days otherwise losses of over-ripe fruits become a problem. When only fully ripe fruit are harvested on a 3-day cycle, losses between 35 and 40 per cent can occur, as fruits ripen so rapidly and abscise. It is desirable to harvest the fruits with the stalk along with one or two leaves. It delays ripening and the fruits are attractive in appearance. The fruit is soft and requires considerable care in picking and handling. The fruit is picked selectively by hand. Once picked, the fruit deteriorates rapidly if left standing in the hot sun in the fields. Hence, while in the field, they should be stored in a cool location under trees or in a centralised 110

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Guava

shed protected from the scorching sun. Over-ripe fruits and those severely infected with fruit flies and diseases should be destroyed rather than left to fall and rot in the field, as these fruits become the source of continuous field infection. If the fruit is to be shipped to distant market it should be mature, full sized and of firm texture, but without an obvious colour break on the surface. Fruits for local market can be harvested in a more advanced stage of maturity.

Packaging and Storage


Being a fruit of highly perishable nature, it must be sold out soon after its arrival in the market. These fruits have less weight loss, high vitamin 'C', a high organoleptic score and no adverse changes in fruit quality. For larger markets, storage at 5 oC extends post-harvest life by two weeks in comparison with storage at 20 oC. Fruits packed in polythene bags can be stored at 8-10 oC for 14 days.

Yield
The yield of guava varies greatly depending upon the variety and agroclimatic conditions prevailing in a region. At the end of the second year or at the beginning of third, the grafted guava trees can be put into production cycle. The production begins from third year with about 8 tonnes/ha and increases to 25 tonnes/ha by seventh year. By adopting optimum package of practices for cultivation, guava trees can be made even to bear up to 40 years of age. The most economic period of the plants (plants with heavy bearing) is up to 20 years, and thereafter declines gradually.

Handling
The fruit is delicate and should be handled with great care. To avoid damage, it should be graded and transported in small boxes rather than in large crates immediately after harvesting, when it is still firm, it should reach the consumer before it soften.

Utilization
The guava is a sweet, juicy and highly flavoured fruit, eaten mostly as fresh or processed. Guava puree is an important product predominantly used now in the production of guava juice or nectars, cakes, sauce, jams, jellies, pastry, and other products. Guavas are also dehydrated and powdered.

POTENTIAL FOR COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT


The guava is an ideal fruit because of its hardiness, high yield, long supply season and high nutritive value. The potential for a larger role of guava in the fresh fruit market 111

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appears to be mainly limited by its short shelf-life and its susceptibility to fruit flies, which make it difficult to fully exploit the high quality of ripe fruits. In short, the points to be considered for profit are given below: ! Selecting reliable and high-yielding varieties (Sardar, Allahabad Safeda, Lalit and Pant Prabhat).
! !

Adoption of high-density planting. Management of tree canopy particularly in initial stage of planting under highdensity plantation. Increasing water-use efficiency through modern systems like drip irrigation. Development of balanced nutrition schedules for guava orchard based on nutrient analysis of plant and soil. Carrying out husbandry operations efficiently and intelligently in time. Providing correct instruction to labour performing intercultural operations, harvesting and handling etc. Growers should regulate the cropping with the help of fertilizer grade urea, which results in regular satisfactory yields, and fruit of high quality or pruning of branchlets to their half length (50 per cent) on entire trees in the month of May. Careful market survey and selection. Rejuvenation of senile orchards. Adoption of plant protection technologies with integrated pest and disease management components.

! !

! ! !

! ! !

CONCLUSION
For the sustainable revolution in guava production, several issues on production and marketing front need to be adressed. First and foremost is the need to produce quality planting material to meet the international standards. Tree shape and size are important secondary characters that are required to be combined into a new improved guava cultivar. Priorities are to be given on selection of varieties, planting system and density, canopy management, soil water and nutrient management, integrated insect pests and disease management, rejuvenation of senile orchards, post-harvest technology and processing for value - added products.Precision technology is a key component in the battle of increased and sustainable guava production and has potential to play a much greater role in future.

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REFERENCES
1. 2. Edward, R.M. and Singh, Gorakh (1990). Studies on bronzing in guava. Adv. Hort. Forestry 1: 55-63 Knight, R. Jr. (1980). Origin and world importance of tropical and subtropical fruit crops. In: Tropical and Subtropical Fruits, pp. 1-20. Nagy, S. and Shaw, P. E. (Eds). AVI Publishing Inc. West-port Connecticut (USA). Ragunathan, V., Pawar, A.D., Misra, M.P. and Singh, J. (2002). Integrated management of pests in horticultural crops. In: Approaches for Sustainable Development of Horticulture, pp. 97-112. Singh, H.P., Negi, J.P., Samuel, J.C. (Eds). DAC, MOA. Rajan, S., Negi, S.S. and Kumar, Ram (1996). Breeding high-yielding and coloured guava varieties. Abstract. 2nd Int. Crop Sci. Congr., New Delhi Singh, B.P. and Rana, R.S. (1993). Promising fruit introductions In: Advances in Horticulture Vol. I. pp. 43-66. Chadha, K.L. and Pareek. O.P. (Eds). Malhotra Publishing House, New Delhi. Singh, Gorakh (2000-01). High-density planting in guava. Annual Report, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow. Singh, Gorakh, Singh, A.K. and Verma, A. (2000). Economic evaluation of crop regulation treatments in guava (Psidium guajava L.). Indian J. Agric. Sci. 70: 226-30. Singh, Gorakh, Singh, A.K. and Pandey, D. (2000). Effect of cropping pattern on fruiting behaviour of guava (Psidium guajava L.) trees. Annals Agric. Res. 21: 175-82. Singh, Gorakh, Pandey, D. and Singh, A.K. (1995). The possibilities of regulating crop in guava through pruning and chemicals. Prog. Hort. 27: 168-74. Singh, Gorakh, Pandey, D., Rajan, S. and Singh, A.K. (1996). Crop regulation in guava through different crop regulating treatments. Fruits 51: 241-46. Singh, Gorakh, Rajan, S. Singh A.K. and Pandey, D. (1999). Fruit bud differentiation and contribution of different flushes towards annual yield of guava (Psidium guajava L.). J. Appl. Hort. 1: 19-23. Singh, Gorakh, Rajan, S. Pandey, D. and Singh, A.K. (1997). Effect of soil moisture stress on water relation by plant and cropping behaviour in guava (Psidium guajava L.). Indian J. Agric. Sci. 67: 303-6. Singh, Gorakh, Sinha, G.C., Pandey, D. and Rajan, S. (1995). Studies on the physio-chemical composition of fruits of twenty four guava varieties. Indian Food Packer. 49: 15-20. Singh, Gorakh, Singh, A.K. and Rajan, S. (1999). Effect of defoliation, decapitation and deblossoming on fruit bud differentiation in guava (Psidium guajava L.). J. Appl. Hort. 1: 97100. Soetopo, L. (1991). Psidium guajava L. In: Plant Resources of South-east Asia, No.2. Edible Fruits and Nuts, pp. 266-70. Verheij, E.W.M. and Coronel, R.E. (Eds). Pudoc Wageningen, Netherland.

3.

4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

12.

13. 14.

15.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

PRECISION FARMING OF BANANA IN MAHARASHTRA


V.R. Balasubrahmanyam1, A.V. Dhake2, K.B. Patil3 Prosenjit Moitra4 and S. Daryapurkar5

Maharashtra is the leading state in fruit production in the country. Banana occupies 72,200 ha, producing 433 lakh tonnes with an average productivity of 60 tonnes/ha. Banana is one of the few crops in India where hi-tech and precision farming techniques have been successfully practised with full advantage. Introduction of improved variety suitable for processing and export, micropropagation, crop geometry, drip irrigation fertigation, mulching, green manuring, recycling of banana wastes (vermicompost), organic farming, proper hygiene of banana plantation through integrated disease and pests management, processing to puree transfer technology, training, participative demonstration etc. are some of the aspects responsible for the increased productivity, production and improvement in quality of the banana crop in Maharashtra. The results of some of the trials carried out at the R & D farms of Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd., Jalgaon, and their impact on banana industry are briefly discussed below: IMPROVED VARIETY Basrai (AAA Group), a Dwarf Cavendish cultivar, and its improved selections like Srimanti and Ardhapuri and common varieties are grown in Maharashtra. Basrai is low-yielding (15-18 kg/bunch), susceptible to Sigatoka leaf spot, and having poor shelf-life. In order to meet international standards in quality and to export, tissue culture raised plants of three varieties, viz. Grand Naine, William and Zeleig were introduced in 1994 from Israel. Of these, Grand Naine has been observed suitable for the region in terms of vigour, yield and quality long shelf-life. Williams and Zeleig although are highyielding with good quality fruits but these are tall varieties and susceptible to wind damage during summer under Maharashtra conditions. The general characteristics of Basrai and Grand Naine are given in Table 1.

1,2,3,4,5 Jain

Irrigation Systems Ltd., Jalgaon (Maharashtra)

Precision Farming of Banana in Maharashtra

Table 1. Characteristics of Grand Naine and Basrai varieties


Particulars Grand Naine - Cavendish AAA Group Basrai - Dwarf Cavendish triploid seedless

Intermediate between Giant and Low in stature, less susceptible to Dwarf Cavendish, withstand wind wind damage damage Psuedostem height (cm) Psuedostem girth Leaves / leaf 203 cm 61 cm 29-31 157 cm 56 cm with brown and black large blotches 26-27, leaves are clustered at crown with short internodes, winged petiole having widely open canals, not clasping Pendulous, 274 borne on a short having peduncle. 385 Medium with compact hands susceptible to 'Choke', impeded bunch emergence due to low temperature 18.0 8-10 16-20 19 27 142-155 The fingers are curved thick rind retains green colour on ripening, under cold conditions develop yellow colour pulp soft and more sweet and short shelf-life.

Planting to shooting (days) Inflorescence Planting to harvesting (days) Bunch

246 -352 Large with compact hand impeded bunch emergence due to low temperature in winter 26.0 12-14 16-21 21 32 178 Long, cylindrial fingers with small curvature, yellowish green, high pulp and peel ratio, more suitable for processing, sweet in taste, longer shelf-life and good for transport

Bunch weight (kg) No. of hands No. of fruits/hand Fruit length (cm) Fruit diameter (mm) No. of fingers Other characters

MICROPROPAGATION BY TISSUE CULTURE The initial trials have shown the superior quality of Grand Naine over the local varieties. The advantages of tissue culture raised plants over those of rhizome or sucker planted ones need not be emphasized. The performance of tissue cultured plants and sucker planted (cv. Grand Naine) banana are shown in Table 2. A pilot tissue culture laboratory was established in 1995 with a capacity of one million propagules. 115

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Subsequently a laboratory of 5 million capacity with infrastructural facilities for primary hardening, fully automised Greenhouses (0.5 ha) and shade houses (10 ha) for secondary hardening have been established. The laboratory has so far distributed about 10 million plants covering 12-14 per cent of area under tissue culture raised Grand Naine in the region. The laboratory has registered an exponential growth in its capacity and distribution in the last three years. As the farmers' response to tissue culture raised Grand Naine has been positive and encouraging. The laboratory has a target to reach 10 million plants in a year by 2004-05. Grop Geometry The normal spacing followed in Basrai plantation by the farmers in Maharashtra is 1.5m x 1.5m, accomodating 4,444 plants/ha. In this system, there is a severe competition amongst plants for sunlight. Consequently the vegetative phase is prolonged and the per plant yield is quite low, with poor quality of bunches and fruits although per hectare yield is compensated because of more number of plants. The results of spacing trials carried out at R & D farms showed that a spacing of 1.8 m x 1.5 m (3,703 plants/ha) alternatively pair row planting at 3m x 2m x 1m, accomodating 3,333 plants/ha are suitable for Grand Naine banana and in the later spacing, the cost of drip system is comparatively cheaper (Fig. 1 and Table 1). Most of the Grand Naine plantations are established either with 1.8m x 1.5m spacing and a few plantations are under pair row planting. Drip Irrigation Banana plants have large leaf area and the transpirational loss is heavy particularly during summer months. Hence, its water requirement is more. It is estimated that the crop's annual water requirement is about 2,200 mm. This includes 600 mm of water through rains. The crop water requirement calculated on the basis of monthly average daily evapotranspiration for Jalgaon, ranged between 155 and 680 mm/plant/month from June to May and a total of 4,200 mm/plant/year. Pair row planting at 3m x 2m x 1m (Fig.1) with two laterals having 4 LPH drippers at one m were found suitable for optimal response under rectangular planting system (1.8m x 1.5m), the lateral consists of two 4 LPH drippers at 17 inches interval near the plants followed by 3.5 spacing before the next pair of drippers are provided (Fig.2). This ensures uniform wetting of the bed and entire root zone. Besides uniform flowering and early harvest, better quality fruits, saving of labour and control of weed growth are other advantages under drip. The yield increase was as much as 52 per cent over flow irrigated banana and water saved was to the 116

Precision Farming of Banana in Maharashtra

F.S. 63 mm PVC PIPE 4Kg/Cm2 W.S.

63mm PVC PIPE 4kg/Cm2


63m 1.52 m

64m

1.52 m

PT12 mm

PT12 mm

0.23 Cm

1. LENGTH OF POLYTUBE : 2260 m 2. DRIPPERS 8 Lph : 2862 NO. 3. COST / ACRE : RS. 23062.00

BANANA PLANT DRIPPER 4Lph

Fig. 1. Crop geometry

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1.83 m

Precision Farming in Horticulture

F.S. 63 mm PVC PIPE 4Kg/Cm2 W.S.

63mm PVC PIPE 4kg/Cm2


63m 3m

PT12 mm

64m

PT12 mm BANANA PLANT DRIPPER 8Lph 1. LENGTH OF POLYTUBE : 5250 m 2. DRIPPERS 8 Lph : 675 NO. 3. COST / ACRE : RS. 15158.00

1.0 m

Fig. 2. Drip irrigation system

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Table 2. Performance of tissue culture raised and sucker planted banana (cv. Grand Nain)
Particulars Tissue cultured plants in polybags with 5-6 leaves (secondary hardened) 1.8m x 1.5 m (3,700 plants/ha) 2.33 0.65 15.0 248 352 24.1 89.17 Conventional sucker planting rhizome (1.5-2.0 kg) 1.8 m x 1.5 m 2.3 0.60 13.6 294 403 2.86 77.20

Spacing Psuedosterm height at flowering (m) Psuedostem girth (m) Functional leaves at flowering Days to flowering Days to harvesting Bunch weight Yield tonnes/ha

extent of 45 per cent. Amongst fruit crops, maximum area covered under drip is in banana. More than 80 per cent of banana farmers have installed drip irrigation system (Table 3). Fertigation The results of fertigation trial carried out during 1995-97 using liquid and waterTable 3. Performance of cv. Grand Nain under drip / flow irrigation
Particulars Drip irrigation Spacing (m) Fertilizer NPK (kg/ha) Days to harvesting Av. Bunch wt. (kg) Yield (tonnes/ha) No. of hands No. of fingers Finger length (cm) Finger girth (cm) Water applied (cm) Water saving (%) Water-use efficiency (kg/ha/year) 1.8 x 1.5 550, 111, 550 385 23.6 87.5 10.6 159 19.3 12.2 97 45 902 Irrigation Flow irrigation 1.8 x 1.5 740, 148, 740 426 15.54 57.5 8.9 138 16.5 11.7 176 -327

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Table 4. Response of Grand Nain to fertigation and conventional fertilizers


Particulars Spacing (m) Psuedostem height at flowering (cm) Psuedostem girth (cm) Leaf area (m ) Days to flowering Days to harvesting Bunch wt.(kg) Yield(tonnes/ha) Average no.of hands Average no. of fingers Length of fingers (cm) TSS (%)
2

Fertigation at weekly interval, Solid fertilizers 40 weeks (NPK 555, 111, 555 (NPK 740, 148, 740 kg/ha) kg/ha) 1.8 m x 1.5 m 203 61 8.95 248 344 24.86 92.0 9.2 148 21.5 19.0 1.8 m x 1.5 m 196 55 7.40 257 352 21.8 81.0 8.5 136 20.7 18.2

* Urea in 4 split doses 1) Basal, 2) 60 days, 3) 90 days and 4) 120 days after planting. SSP and MOP in two doses at planting and 60 days after planting.

soluble solid fertilizers and conventional fertilizers showed increased fertilizer-use efficiency under drip system. The result from three crops, first plant crop and two successive ratoons indicated the scope for increasing the nitrogen dose. Subsequent trials with higher dose of nitrogen indicated that to get optimal yield of acceptable quality of banana cv. Grand Naine planted at 1.8 m x 1.5m (3,703 plants/ha), it is necessary to apply NPK 550, 111 and 550 kg/ha through liquid fertilizers (grade 8:8:8 and 12:0:12) at weekly interval for 40 weeks along with irrigation water (Tables 4 and 5). Foliar spray of water-soluble solid fertilizer 0:52:34 at 3 g/litre of water at fruit development stage 2-3 times at 15 day intervals improved finger length, size and colour of fruits. Vermicompost From the banana processing plant wastes consisting of peels, spoiled fruits, pedicels etc. constituting 40 per cent by weight of raw material are removed. These wastes consisting of cellulose, lignin, pectin, starch, fibres etc. are subjected to microbial degradation by spraying microbial culture on the heap. After 4-5 days, in the second stage, the partially degraded wastes are mixed with filler material like cowdung and press-mud cake and inoculated with earthworms. The worms voraciously feed on these 120

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Table 5. Dose of NPK for fertigation in banana


Fertigation Grade Particulars First 15 weeks Next 16-20 weeks Next 21-40 weeks N: P : 8:8:8 K 555 : 111 : 555 kg/ha 3700 kg. Total Quantity (kg) 1040.25 925.0 925.0 347.0 1850.0 kg/week/ha 69.35 62.0 185.0 17.35 92.5 1387.5 kg 12:0:12 Grade 75% 8:8:8 25% 12:0:12 25% 12:0:12 25% 8:8:8 50% 12:01:12

material and the castings ejected by worms is vermicompost in granular form. After 4550 days, vermicompost is ready for harvesting. Eisennia fotida and Megascolex marutii are species of worms used for vermiculture. These worms have a short life-cycle and high reproductive potential. Each kg earthworms convert 5 kg of wastes into 3 kg manure per day. For every tonne of organic waste, about 5 kg of earth worms are needed. The vermicompost beds are made under shade and the moisture level is maintained using microsprinkler. On an average about 2 tonnes of vermicompost are produced per day. It is a high-value biofertilizer used for improving fertility and texture of the soil. Efforts are being made to totally shift to organic farming. Green Manuring and Mulching One month after planting and immediately after first monsoon rain in June-July, dhaincha is sown as a green manure crop @ 40 kg seed/ha in between the rows of banana crop. When dhaincha attains 0.60 m height, before flowering, the biomass is ploughed and mixed in soil. Dried disease-free banana leaves are used for mulching during summer months to prevent evaporation loss and suppress weed growth. Hygiene and Crop Protection Jalgaon and adjoining banana-growing districts being arid, the crop is comparatively free from major diseases and pests. Generally pesticides are not used for spray. Proper hygiene of the plantation is maintained by maintaining the plots need free. The bunches are covered with vented polythene bags to get blemishless bright coloured fruits. Ratoon Crops Generally, farmers take only one crop of banana, the duration of the crop being 16-18 months with sucker planted crop. The results of trials carried out at the R & D 121

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farm using tissue culture raised, Grand Naine plants under drip system amply demonstrated the profitability of two ratoon crops after the first planted crop and all the three crops can be harvested in 30-31 months, the vigour of plants and average yield of first ratoon crop were even better than plant crop and that of the second ratoon was almost equal to the first plant crop. The followers for ratoon crops have to be selected carefully. Two healthy, sword suckers as flowers should be retained after 35-40 per cent flowering. The irrigation and fertigation schedule are the same for the ratoon crops as recommended for main crop (Table 6). Table 6. Performance of Grain Naine in Maharashtra
Particulars Plant height at flowering (m) Psuedostem girth Days to harvesting Av. bunch wt. (kg) Yield/ha Main crop 2.15 0.60 352 24.8 91.7 I ratoon 2.46 0.65 605 27.0 99.9 II ratoon 2.3 0.58 910 23.2 85.8

With high-tech inputs like tissue culture plants, high-density planting, drip irrigation, fertigation with liquid fertilizers and vermicompost as basal dose, it was possible to harvest high-quality bunches close to 100 tonnes/ha. Processing into Puree The group has established a processing plant of 140 tonnes/day capacity in 1997. On receiving the bunches at the plant, hands are separated from the main peduncle, inspected for any defects and healthy fingers in crates sent to ripening chambers. Uniform ripening is triggered by exposure to ethylene under controlled conditions. The ripe fingers are washed, blanched and inspected. The fruits are peeled manually, pulped, centrifuged, homogenised, thermally processed and aseptically filled into presterilized high barier bags in drums, preserving the taste, flavour, colour and aroma of the fresh fruit. The banana puree is homogenous in texture, cream coloured at 19-22oC, pH 4.65.5 and rich in flavour with characteristic taste. Good manufacturing practices (GMP), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), Quality Assurance (QA), Statistical Process Control (SPC), strict sanitation, hygiene and other modern concepts are practised in processing. The processed puree samples are analysed for various parameters before shipped for sale / export.

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TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY AND TRAINING TO CONTRACT FARMERS The team consisting of agronomists, design engineers and extension specialists are in constant touch with about 1,500 banana contract farmers, who follow hi-tech, precision farming practices like propagation with tissue culture, Grand Naine banana, irrigation by drip, fertigation with liquid fertilizers and other improved practices. The team visits the banana plantations and advise the farmers on nutrition and disease management. The group is the only organization in the state where banana farmers not only get hitech inputs but also the know-how and expertise of precision farming. Participative demonstration, group discussion, farmers' meet and other modern extension techniques are employed to improve banana industry and thereby improve the quality of life of farming community.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

10

APPROACHES AND STRATEGIES FOR PRECISION FARMING IN MANGO


Shailendra Rajan1 and Gorakh Singh2

Mango is the most important fruit crop of India, accounting for about 39.16 per cent of total area under fruits and more than 23.09 per cent of total production in the country. Uttar Pradesh ranks first in area under mango, i.e. 0.24 million ha followed by 0.20 and 0.15 million ha in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, respectively. However, Andhra Pradesh is largest producer of mango with production of 3.07 million tonnes as against 2.39 and l.79 million tonnes produced by Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, respectively. India ranks first in the world for mango production and area under cultivation but with a very low productivity as compared to Israel, Mexico and South Africa. In spite of large area under mango, per capita availability of mango is insufficient in India. Therefore, there is a need and great scope of boosting mango production for fresh consumption and processing into various products, both for domestic as well as export markets. Adoption of proper strategies, for overall increase in mango productivity is the present-day need to sustain commercial viability of the orchards.

STRATEGIES FOR HIGHER PRODUCTION


Selection of Suitable Variety In India, more than a thousand mango varieties are being grown in different parts of the country. A considerable area is under seedling orchards, majority of which is totally neglected, uncared, least productive and without any major economical significance. Most of the Indian commercial cultivars are characteristically specific to geographical adaptation and their performance is satisfactory in a particular region. Therefore, selection of varieties for mango cultivation should be based on their suitability for a particular region. In north India, varieties can be selected from an array of varieties, well adapted in different regions. In north, Dashehari, Langra, Chausa, Bombay Green and Lucknow
1, 2 Senior

Scientist, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow-227 107, India

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Mango

Safeda; in south, Banganapalli, Bangalora, Neelum, Mulgoa and Suvernarekha; in west, Alphonso, Kesar, Pairi, Goam Mankurad, Jamadar and Rajapuri; in east, Himsagar, Fazri, Zardalu, Kishanbhog, Gulabkhas and Langra can be selected for commercial plantation. Newer varieties developed in different parts of the country can be exploited for various regions (Figs. 1 A, B, C, D and E). Some hybrids, Mallika and Amrapali, have performed well in most of the parts of the country and show wider adaptability. However, Arka Puneet, Arka Neelkiran and Arka Anmol developed from IIHR, Bangalore; Ratna and Sindhu from Vengurla; Ambika from CISH, Lucknow and Neelphanso, Neeleshan Gujarat and Neeleshwari from Paria, Gujarat, can be successfully grown in respective regions. Bangalora, Neelum and Mallika have been recommended for south Telengana region (5). Selection of a cultivars, for specific purpose, is one of the important factors. Cultivars like Ramkela in Uttar Pradesh and Ashwina in West Bengal are suitable for pickle-making. Alphonso, Dashehari and Mallika are suitable for canning propose. Variability in clones of commercial varieties like Dashehari, Langra, Neelum, Totapuri and Sunderja have been exploited through making clonal selections. A regularbearing and high-yielding clone, Dashehari 51, has been released by CISH, Lucknow (4). Clonal selections in Langra from Varanasi, Sunderja at Rewa, Neelum and Rumani from Tamil Nadu have been recommended for commercial plantation (10 and 13). Multiplication of Genuine Planting Material Establishment of healthy mother tree block with desirable characteristics of varieties is one of the important factors deciding the fate of the production efficiency in mango orchard. Multiplication of low-yielding clones of undescript cultivars may lead to uncertainty in mango orcharding. Therefore, high-yielding clones of various commercial varieties should be selected for developing mother blocks. Several propagation methods, suitable for respective regions have been standardized in the country. Adoption of these methods in different mango-growing states for making healthy planting material on a large scale for expanding area under mango cultivation is of importance. Currently most of the mango-production areas use traditional methods of plant propagation such as inarching. But, mango can be commercially propagated by veneer grafting in north India, soft wood grafting in eastern India, side grafting in central India and stone grafting in western India. Coastal areas with higher humidity and moderate temperature are suitable for mass multiplication through soft wood grafting. However, protected nurseries in polyhouses and use of sprinkler and drip is becoming common

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A B

Fig. 1. Newly developed promising hybrids: (A) Ambika with profound fruiting and its attractive fruits, (B) Arka Puneet, (C) Mallika, (D) and (E) Amrapali

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for raising humidity level, which is required for higher grafting success rate in mango (Figs 2 A and B). Experiments have shown that veneer grafting technique can be used with high success in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Epicotyle and softwood grafting are suitable for Konkan region of Maharashtra and other costal regions. Use of salt tolerant rootstock, 13-1 should be tried in problem soils of India. Water-use Efficiency Several factors, which determine the response of irrigation like soil type, season, region, stage of tree growth and varieties, should be taken into account while making irrigation schedules. Juvenile mango plantation, responds well to irrigation (10,950 litres/ tree/year), whereas bearing trees (5-9 years-old) require a minimum of 20,280 litres/ tree/year. Normally, non-bearing trees up to 4-5 years of age are irrigated at 10 days intervals during summer because of their undeveloped root system. In bearing orchards, irrigation should be stopped during winter months coinciding with flower-bud differentiation. In north India, 3-5 irrigations are required, starting from March to June, depending upon the soil type and depth, rainfall and its distribution. For judicious water use, drip irrigation is being used in mango growing. Young plants require 9-12 litres water/plant/day, 3-6 years old 30-35 litres, 6-10 years old 50-60 litres and 9-12 years old 80-90 litres/day/plant. Fully-grown trees require 120 litres of water/day/tree. Two dripper lines (1-1.5m apart) along both sides of tree row; distance between emitters on the line 0.75-1.5 m; interval between irrigation application 1-2 days; dose of water calculated based on an index of 0.6 of the evaporation. However, method require location-specific modifications for different types and depths of soil, varieties and season. Daily replenishment of evaporation losses with 4 emitters/plant results in higher yield in bearing mango trees (11). Balanced Nutrition Studies on leaf sampling techniques has shown that a sample of 6-7 months old, 30-40 normal and healthy leaves from middle of the shoot, representing almost all elevations on the crown from all directions reveals the correct nutrient status of the tree. Critical limits of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu have been worked out which are 1.23, 0.06, 0.54, 1.71, 0.9, 0.12 per cent and 171.0, 66, 25, 12 mg/g, respectively. Optimum levels of leaf N have been worked out in the range of 1.40 to 1.54 per cent for maximum production. Beneficial effect on growth, flowering, fruiting and fruit quality can be achieved 127

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Fig. 2. Mango seedlings grown in polybags are better than conventionally grown field nursery. (A) Multiplication of mango plants by softwood grafting, (B) Drip and polybags are being used for mass multiplication of mango through grafting

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with foliar sprays of Zn (2-4% ZnSO4 + half quantity lime) in the orchards thriving on sandy soils. Drop of young fruitlets in mango is also attributed to Zn deficiency, besides deficiency of promoters and excess of inhibitors during early and fast rate of fruit growth. Boron deficient soils are commonly found in mango-producing areas of India and its application to deficient mango trees increases fruit set (7). Application of organic manure in addition to balanced nutrients is important in the maintenance of soil fertility which play vital role in tree growth and productivity. Soil testing, as the sole basis for making fertilizer recommendations, has limited applicability with mango due to its large root distribution, perennial habit, rootstock effects and differential fruiting. Soil and leaf analysis should, therefore, be complementary for determining the optimum dose of nutrients. However, leaf analysis is more useful. A considerable amount of research has gone into the sampling technique. Due to limitation of critical or balance ratio concepts, DRIS (diagnosis recommendations and integrated system) can be applied to fulfil predictive use of leaf diagnosis. Contrary to other approaches, e.g. sufficiency of range method, DRIS is an integral approach that identities the sufficiency of each nutrient in relation to others in the plant rather than a critical concentration of a specific nutrient. DRIS can be used to identify mineral deficiency associated with mango decline due to nutritional imbalance conditions. Nutrient imbalance index is higher for trees in orchard with the highest percentage of declined tree than generally healthy orchard. DRIS should be utilized in conjunction with critical value for nutrient concentration. At present, newer fertilization practice is Fertigation, using liquid fertilizers in tank. Common mixtures are 12:2:8 and 8:2:4 of N, P2O5, K2O, respectively. Manipulation of Vegetative Growth and Flowering The habits of growth, flowering and fruiting of mango cultivars should be thoroughly understood by to safegaurd the adversaries of cultivation, if any. The seasonal cyclic changes of growth in shoot, root, flower, fruit and their development differ between cultivars and location. Environmental stimuli are dominant factors on yield potential of a mango cultivar. Tree canopy size of mango depends upon the variety, climate, edaphic conditions and cultural practices. Mango tree requires new vegetative growth in order to produce fruits each year. Temperature of 24-30oC is considered optimum for proper growth. A cessation of vegetative growth is required to induce transformation from vegetative to reproductive phase. Therefore, canopy management and reproductive manipulation practices vary according to cultivars and climatic conditions. In tropics, with the understanding of flowering behaviour along with advances in technology it is

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possible to manipulate the time of flowering and indirectly productivity and net returns. High-density Planting and Tree Canopy Management Poor yields experienced in Indian mango industry are partly due to wide tree spacings of conventional orchards with spacings ranging from 10 to 12 m between trees in rows and between rows. Canopies of these trees often take more than 10 years to fill the allocated space in orchard row. This problem can be resolved with higher density plantings. Although, optimal spacing for commercial cultivars still has to be determined, it appears that there is a tremendous scope for increasing orchard productivity by increasing planting density. Tree canopy management, especially size control, has become a priority for reducing production cost and increasing fruit yield and quality. However, unlike temperate fruits, where tree management technologies have been developed and refined for over a century, the similar tools and experiences can be applied with a few modifications in mango. Tree management techniques, especifically for mango have been developed and being used in different parts of the world, which can be adopted after certain modifications in different mango-growing regions. Early height control and tree canopy management are important techniques and should be practised in India . Similarly, the problem of large tree size in mango can be tackled by using topping and hedging because large and crowded trees pose many disadvantages. Appropriate height, topping and hedging, cutting angles, as well as time and frequency of hedging determined for mango, which are common practices in Israel, USA, Australia and South Africa, can be used for increased efficiency and production in India. Proper control of vegetative growth is a prerequisite for high-density planting and without it there is overcrowding and shading, which reduces flower-bud formation, fruit retention, fruit size and fruit colour. Control of apical growth must begin within the first year of planting and continue each year in high-density planting (HDP). If management techniques are not applied early in the life of tree, encouraging lateral canopy growth and fruiting, the resulting tree canopy will be difficult and expensive to control in future (12). Shaping the mango tree immediately after planting has its own importance for keeping desirable plant height at first branching, so that proper clearance for equipment, etc. is possible (Figs 3 A and B). An initial branching height between 60 and 70 cm is appropriate. A single cut is made on main stem of the graft at this point, which gives rise to multiple leafy branches from the buds just below the initial cut. Of these, three or four horizontal shoots, spaced equally around the stem are allowed to grow. Upright growing 130

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shoots should be removed. These selected horizontal shoots form the main scaffold limbs of the tree. These shoots should be allowed to grow to about 40-50 cm long, this length is generally reached during the second growth flush of leaves. The flush at this time is pinched off with the fingers or left to mature and then pruned. Multiple shoots emerge from the buds below the cut. These are allowed to extend about 40-50 cm in length and then pruned. This procedure is continued in second year also. If selected shoots grow vertically, these can be pulled down by attaching some weight with the help of string. These weights are left for about three months. These horizontal scaffold limbs are stronger and flower and fruit earlier. Short branches within tree canopy produce a complex, compact, strong structure of fruiting shoots after three years. Fruiting is expected in these plants after second or third year after planting depending on the cultivar. Fruiting should be allowed in initial years, because it is one of the best tools for maintaining tree size. After harvesting, trees are pruned and headed back small branches to a length of 50 cm whcih favour horizontal shoots. In vigorous-grown cultivars, proper pruning may lead trees to develop large, structural limbs with less

Fig. 3. Initial pruning is one of the important steps in developing high-density planting. (A) unpruned plant, (B) new shoots developing as a result of initial pruning.

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energy fruit production. Annually some portion of this wood is removed by thining out entire limb. These cuts affect the vigour of tree and allows to maintain tree dwarf without excessive vegetative growth. Therefore, efficient mango tree canopy management starts early in the life of the tree and continues indefinitely. In absence of dwarfing rootstock, application of mechanical tree size control (hedging, topping, pruning and tree thinning) has increased in high-density orchards (9). This may be the only practical method of tree size control of inherently large trees in HDP. Tree height control is accomplished by removal of multiple central leaders within the canopy of young tree. The dominant, upward shoot or shoot from each growth umbel (whorl of new shoots) is removed and when there are parallel branches within the canopy, more dominant upright shoots are removed. Overcrowding of mango tree in mature orchards generally has occurred in most of mango-growing areas. In such cases, hedge pruning and topping should be practised, mostly on an annual or biennial cycle. In addition, one or more major limbs are sometimes removed from centre of each tree (opening). Young trees are sometimes getting light pruning of scaffold formation, but cultivars with poor natural ramification are regularly pruned severely (heading back) during first 4-5 Fig. 4. High-density plantation of Dashehari mango at Pantnagar years, and sometimes developed by annual pruning after harvesting and using of Paclobutrazol. later. High-density planting of Dashehari with regular pruning after harvesting followed by application of paclobutrazol in tarai region of Uttaranchal has been recommended (Fig. 4) (8). Amrapali being a regular-bearer, high-density planting (1,600 plants/ha) can be recommended provided that, pruning after harvesting is performed for sustainable high production.

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Alternate Bearing Management


Alternate-bearing is a common phenomenon in majority of commercial mango cultivars, which is mostly because of existing antagonism between vegetative and reproductive phases. To manage this problem, efforts can be made to regulate vegetative growth and flowering. The suppression of vegetative flushes using growth retardant and reducing the magnitude of antagonism between vegetative and reproductive phases is necessary to promote concomitant development of new shoots at the time of flowering. Under north Indian conditions, application of paclobutrazol (3.2 ml/m tree canopy diameter) in soil can induces 80-90 per cent flowering in biennial bearing cultivars during off year also. To overcome the problem of biennial bearing in mango, paclobutrazol has given encouraging results in different parts of the country. Soil application of paclobutrazol has produced higher number of hermaphrodite flowers, improved fruit set and increased yield in Dashehari. Soil application of paclobutrazol to Alphonso during July-August reduces vegetative growth, induces 3-4 weeks early profuse flowering, regular and higher yield every year than the control trees. A regular yield, which is 2-8 times more than the control, can be obtained. Use of paclobutrazol (5-10 g/m canopy diameter), 3 months before bud-burst applied through soil drenching can be used for obtaining regular bearing. Rejuvenation of Unproductive Orchards One of the reasons for the low productivity is a large number of old mango orchards in the age group of 30-60 and above, have either gone unproductive or showing marked decline in productivity. This is attributed to overcrowded and intermingling of large branches and meager foliage, allowing poor light availability to growing shoots within the canopy. This renders them uneconomical. In north India, exhausted trees can be rejuvenated by severe pruning in winters for the production of new shoots, which can bear good crop in the following years (3). Heading back (4-5 m) induces several new shoots on pruned branches after winters and a few healthy shoots are retained at proper spacing and growing towards periphery of tree. Successive removal of unwanted shoots, considering the vigour and growing direction is important. Proper development of new canopy in horizontal direction should be kept in mind while practising thinning of shoots. Tree health is maintained by judicious application of fertilizers, irrigation, protection from insect pests and diseases. New shoots bear flowers and fruits 2-3 years after pruning. The yield continues to increase in succeeding years turning the unproductive trees into productive ones (Figs 5 A, B, C, D and E). 133

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B D

Fig. 5. Steps involved in rejuvenation of unproductive mango trees. (A) Mango tree is headed back at the height of 4 m by selecting branches in each direction, (B) newly-emerged shoots on beheaded branches, (C) new developing canopy after one year as a result of heading back and thining of undesirable shoots, (D) tree starts flowering after second year, (E) a close view of fruiting twig of Dashehari mango as a result of rejuvenation.

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Often this technique does not hold good under warm and humid tropics where only new growth following pruning remains vegetative for several years. Under such situations, soil application of paclobutrazol @ 5-7 g/tree one month before flower-bud differentiation can be practised (2).

MANAGING DISORDERS
Spongy Tissue It is the development of white corky tissue in the fruit mesocarp in maturing and ripening fruits. This is non-edible sour patch and slightly desiccated in nature. Symptoms of spongy tissue are not apparent externally at the time of harvesting and the affected tissues are visible only when cut open. In severe cases, the epicarp turns brown black forming a flat depression outside. The spongy tissue could be separated from surrounding flesh with ease. Mostly fruits of Alphonso suffer from this malady to the extent of 55 per cent. Damage varies with fruit weight, picking time, place of harvesting, orchard conditions and season. Fruits exposed to sunlight suffer more, when temperature is also high the fruits under shade are also affected. Reproduction of disorder has been claimed subjecting the fruit to sun exposure, infrared rays and incubation at high temperatures above 400C at post-harvest stages. Sod culture should be practised in Alphonso orchard. Minimize post-harvest fruit losses through creating infrastructure and employing scientific management in postharvest handling and storage of fruits and standardizing cost-effective processing technologies. Early picking in Alphonso mango escapes the disorder to some extent but the quality of ripe fruits is poor. Higher percentage of spongy tissue in larger fruits than smaller ones has been observed. Varying degree of damage in fruits of the same tree or at different places in the same cultivar may be observed due to differences in plant environments. Post-harvest dipping of CaCl2 (1-2%) increases Ca content and has been reported to reduce spongy tissue in ripe Alphonso fruits. Malformation Malformation is a very serious disorder of mango in subtropics and sometimes causing up to 90 per cent crop loss, varying from place to place, cultivar to cultivar, year to year in the same cultivar, depending on tree age and other climatic factors. None of the commercial cultivars grown in subtropics of the world are resistant to this malady. However, great variability in severity of the disorder occurs among cultivars at the same location. The causes and control of this disorder/disease are still the subject of investigation. 135

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Several causes have been suggested for malformation which include mites, nutritional problem, physiological or hormonal imbalance and viruses. Many treatments have been suggested for its control including removal of affected shoots, deblossoming at bud stage (1.0 cm long) alone or in combination with spraying of 200ppm NAA during fruit-bud differentiation. Since, safe and effective chemical control measures have not been identified, the only viable control option is annual pruning of shoots after harvesting. Black Tip This disorder is mainly prevalent in the vicinity of brick kilns or areas having higher concentrations of industrial gasses like sulphur dioxide and carbon monooxide. The earliest noticeable symptom of black tip is etiolation (yellowing) of distal end of fruits leaving mesocarp and seed unaffected. Etiolated area, which gradually spreads and turns nearly black and covers the tip completely. Smoke emanated from the brick kiln located in vicinity of 1.6 km is the causal factor for this malady. Spraying of Borax (1 per cent) or caustic soda (0.8 per cent) can control this disorder. Leaf Scorch This disorders show characteristic symptoms of potassium deficiency, i.e. scorching at the tip and margin of old leaves. The affected leaves fall down and affect the health and vigour of tree adversely. Excess of chloride ion appears to make potassium unavailable to tree and thus this disorder is more prevalent under saline soil/water-logged conditions. Potassium sulphate should be used as potassium fertilizer and use of muriate of potash should be avoided under such situations. Potassium sulphate (5 per cent) as foliar on newly-emerged leaves is effective in controlling this disorder.

PEST AND DISEASE MANAGEMENT


Efficient management of insect pests and diseases is important because they affect essentially every phase of growth and development. Out of 260 species of insects and mites, 87 are fruit feeders, 127 foliage feeders, 36 inflorescence feeders, 33 damage buds and 25 feed on branches and trunk. Most of the insect pests and diseases require annual control measures. Fortunately, except fungal and bacterial diseases, attack of other pathogens like virus, viroid, phytoplasma on mango is not common. Control measures are available for most of the major diseases. If some of the insect pests, like mango mealy bug, stem-borer and shoot-gall maker, are controlled continuously for couple of years, can be eradicated for a long period of time. However, fruit flies, seed weevils, shoot-borer, mango hoppers etc. are required to control every year. Some of 136

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Mango

the diseases and pests such as anthracnose, powdery mildew, mango hoppers, midges etc. cause severe damage and are present throughout the mango-growing areas of the world (1). Therefore, future of mango insect pests and disease control has a great promise with the development of IPM technology in view of a large number of insect pests and diseases attacking mango trees throughout the year. A large number of chemicals are recommended to control them. It may be difficult to produce mango crop in the absence of some of these control measures. Of the mango pests, hoppers, fruitfly, mealy bug and stone weevils are considered as major constraints in mango production (6). Many of the major insects and pests have developed resistance due to rapid change in agro-ecosystem, advancement in orchard management practices and indiscriminate use of pesticides. This has led orchardist to use high dose of toxic insecticides, thereby causing imbalance in population dynamics of pollinators and other useful fauna and incorporating high toxic residues in fruits. Therefore, it is necessary to bring out modern concepts of IPM for important mango pests. Mango hopper (Idioscopus clypealis, I. nitidulus and Amritodus atkinsoni): In general, this is a serious pest and starts attacking during flowering season. Nymphs damage more than adults by sucking sap from tender shoots and panicles. The attacked panicles wither away resulting in no fruit set. Furthermore, sooty mould fungi develops on leaves and panicles due to honeydew secreted by hoppers. Overcrowding and neglect of orchard results in more severe infestation by hoppers. Thus proper canopy management is important in high-density plantations. Spraying of monocrotophos (0.054 per cent), quinalphos (0.05 per cent), carbaryl (0.15 per cent), dimethoate (0.06 per cent) and chlorpyriphos (0.04 per cent) are effective at panicle emergence and fruit set stages to control this pest. However, this pest has developed resistance to some of these pesticides and therefore, needs further investigation on its control measures through IPM. The efforts on biological control of insect pests have given some encouraging results but largescale field testing may lead to conclusive results. Mealy bug (Drosicha mangiferae): Its nymphs emerge in December-January and climb the tree by crawling and suck juice from young shoots, panicles and flower pedicels. Adults lay eggs under soil clods up to a depth of 5-15cm around tree trunk during May. Destroying eggs and pupae through ploughing is a very effective control measure. Fastening of polyethylene strip 400 gauge thick, 25 cm wide around tree trunk (3045cm above the ground level) in December to check nymphs from climbing the tree is 137

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one of the most effective methods. Raking of soil around the trunk and mixing with neem cake or application of chlorpyriphos dust (2 per cent) or methyl parathion dust @ 200-250 g/tree around tree trunk is effective to control mealy bug. Application of Beauvaria bassiana near tree trunk before emergence of first instar of nymphs has been found effective (6). Infloresence midge (Erosomyia indica): The pest attacks on pre-flowering shoots and inflorescence buds, axis of inflorescence, panicles, newly-formed fruits and postflowering shoot buds. The adult female lays eggs in between leaves and buds. The newly-hatched larvae penetrate the tissues and form small blister like galls. The larvae feed within galls and at the time of pupation come out with swift jump and pupate in the soil. Black spots of varying sizes are normal features of their infestation. It is also observed that at the site of infestation, inflorescence gets bent at an angle. The larvae also enter inside the small ovary of the fruit and develop inside. The attacked fruits turn pale, become deformed, stop growing and finally drop. The exit holes are usually observed in infested fruits. It is controlled by need-based foliar spraying of 0.05 per cent fenitrothion or 0.45 per cent diazinon after monitoring the adult population in Febraury. Summer ploughing of orchard has been found useful in reducing the midge population as the diapausing midge larvae are exposed to sun, hot wind, etc. and are killed. Stem-borer (Batocera rufomaculata): The pest makes tunnel through the main trunk and branches can be identified by dry hard balls of excreta on affected parts. The borer may be controlled by clearing tunnels with hard wire, pouring kerosene oil or petrol or quinalphos (0.05 per cent) and plugged with mud. Shoot gall psylla (Apsylla cistellata): It is prevalent in tarai region. Its nymph enters the axillary and terminal buds turning them into hard conical galls through their secretion. It lays egg in rows of two on underside of the leaf of new flush along the midrib in March-April. The nymphs on emergence, 5-6 months after egg laying enter axillary and terminal buds. Spraying of Monocrotophos (0.05 per cent) during September is effective to control this pest. Fruit fly (Bactocera dorsalis): Fruit flies are spread widely throughout the world. Other species are confined to specific regions, they continue to be major problem, particularly to the export fruit producing areas. The pest makes the fruits rot by laying its eggs in clusters, just before the ripening, under the peel of fruits. Hanging of trap (methyl eugionl 0.1 per cent + 0.01 per cent malathion ) during April - June check fruit

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fly effectively. Ten traps/ha of orchard give satisfactory control. Fruit fly can be controlled by spraying of bait (0.2 per cent carbaryl + 0.1 per cent protein hydrolysate or molasses) at preoviposition stage. Vapour heat treatment (VHT) at 52oC temperature is recommended for exporting fruits to foreign markets. Stone weevil (Sternochetus mangiferae): Stone weevil has been a major deterrent to mango export. Grubs damage both the pulp and cotyledons mostly of sweet cultivars. The grubs developed from the eggs laid in partially developed fruits, travel through the pulp and enter the seed. After pupation in the seeds the adults come out piercing through the stone and pulp. The pest can be effectively controlled by destroying the adults in the bark crevices and holes during August. For effective control , spraying of trees with fenitrothion (0.01 per cent) during oviposition period is recommended. Anthracnose (Colletotrichurn gloeosporioides): Anthracnose is one of the most important diseases of mango in almost all mango-producing areas, as it attacks leaves, flowering panicles and fruits. Yields are drastically reduced when the inflorescence is attacked. Blackish spots on shoots, leaves, panicles and fruits are caused by this pathogen. Its severity is more during rainy season, because of hot and humid atmosphere when fruits are in the last stage of maturity. This disease also expresses itself during storage of fruits. The disease produce die-back symptoms on young shoots. The fungus survives on dried twigs, hence these should be removed from trees and destroyed. Diseased leaves, twigs and fruit lying on floor of the orchards must be removed. Spraying of Blitox (0.3 per cent), Bavistin (0.1 per cent) and Phytolan (0.3 per cent) can control this disease. Powdery mildew (Oidium mangiferae): The disease is more prevalent during panicle development and fruit setting period under environmental conditions of high humidity accompanied by cloudy weather. Affected flowers and fruitlets show the appearance of greyish-white powdery growth and the panicles ultimately turn black and die out rapidly. For effective control measures wettable sulphur (0.2 per cent), Karathane (0.1 per cent), Bavistin (0.1 per cent)and Bayleton (0.05 per cent) can be used. Three sprays of these fungicides at 15 days interval starting from fourth week of February may be required. Mango bacterial canker disease (Xanthomonas campestris pv. mangiferaeindicae): Small dark green water-soaked spots on leaves and fruits which finally assume the shape of raised dark brown to black lesions are its symptoms. Fruits become unattractive and unmarketable because affected parts of fruits show longitudinal crack and oozing of bacterial exudate and leading to fruit drop. StreptocycIine (100139

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200pprn), Agrimycin-100 (100pprn) and copper oxychloride (0.3%) are reported effective against bacterial canker. Sooty-mould: The disease is common where honey dew or sugary substances secreting insects, viz. mangohoppers, scales, coccid and mealy bugs are found. These insects must be controlled for controlling the mould. Spraying of wettable sulpher + methyl parathion + gum Accacia (0.2 per cent + 0.10 per cent + 0.3 per cent) in Indian oil formulation No. I and 2 at 15 days interval has proved to be quite effective.

PEST AND DISEASE MANAGEMENT SCHEDULE


Monthly integrated pest and disease management schedules have been suggested for mango (6). It is : July
!

Deep ploughing of orchard after harvesting to expose eggs and pupae of mealy bug and inflorescence midge. Removal of webs (made by leaf webber) and burning them. If infestation still continues spray carbaryl (0.2 per cent) or monocrotophos (0.04 per cent). Pruning of over-crowded and overlapping branches for control of leaf webber. Pruning of infected and dried branches, 10 cm below the dried portion and pasting of copper oxychloride for control of die-back. Spraying of 0.3 per cent copper oxychloride (3g/litre) after pruning for the control of die back, phoma blight, anthracnose and red rust disease. Removal of diseased foliage/twig infected with anthracnose (twig blight phase). Removal of weeds. Deep ploughing of the orchards for exposing eggs and pupae of insects and removal of weeds in mango orchard which harbour pests and diseases. Second spraying of copper oxychloride (3g/litre) for control of die-back and foliar diseases. 140

August-September
! ! !

October
! ! ! !

November
! !

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Mango !

Collection of dropped diseased leaves and burning them. Fastening of polythene sheet of 400 gauge thickness, 25 cm wide around the base of tree for controlling mealy bug. Raking of soil around the trunk and mixing with neem cake for management of mealy bug nymphs or apply 2 per cent dust of methyl parathion @ 250 g/tree or 2 per cent chlorpyriphos dust. Application of Beauvaria bassiana around tree trunk to manage nymphs of mealy bug. Cleaning of polythene bands at regular intervals. Spraying of fenitrothion (0.05 per cent) or dimethoate (0.045 per cent) at budburst stage for control of inflorescence midge. Removal of weeds and infected young leaves of mango for control of powdery mildew. First spray of 5 per cent neem seed kernel extract (NSKE) or Nimbicidine (2 per cent) at bud-burst stage for control of hoppers. Spraying of Verticilium lacani (106) at bud-burst stage for control of hopper and it should be repeated during July (second appearance) for controlling nest generation hoppers. Second spray of 5 per cent neem seed kernel extract (NSKE) or Nimbicidine (2 per cent) when fruits are at pea-sized stage. First spray of sulphur (2g/litre) to control powdery mildew. Third spray of endosulfan (0.07 per cent) if required after 5 days of second spray. Second spray of sulphur (2g/litre) after fruit setting against powdery mildew. Removal of powdery mildew infected leaves and malformed panicles. Hanging of fruit fly traps (0.1 per cent methyl euginol + 0.01 per cent malathion) for control of fruit fly. 141

December
! !

January
! ! !

February
! !

March
! !

April
! ! !

May
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June
! ! !

Methyl euginol traps should be continued. Early harvesting of mature fruits to avoid fruit fly infestation. Collection and destruction of fruit fly infested fruits

HARVESTING AND POST-HARVEST MANAGEMENT


The mango fruits should be harvested at mature green stage during morning hours. The maturity stage is determined on the basis of skin and pulp colour, specific gravity and number of days from fruit set. Mango Dashehari and Langra require 12 weeks after fruit settling for maturity, while Chausa and Mallika require 15 weeks and Banganapally and Alphonso require 16 weeks. Fruits should be hand picked or plucked with a harvester. Shaking of branches to drop them should not be followed for better shelf-life. Simple, low-cost and portable mango harvesters, designed and developed at different centres in the country can be used. With the harvester, fruits are harvested with stalks, which appear better on ripening as undesired spots on skin caused by sap burn are prevented. Fruits are also less prone to stem-end rot disease during storage when harvested in this manner. In recent years, mechanical harvest aids have been developed in view of caustic nature of fruit sap causing sap burn and requirement of stalk attached to fruits for harvesting and desapping in the packaging line. Fruits are picked with 2-5 cm fruit stalk to prevent sap spurting. The fruits are then placed in field crates and taken to packaging shade for desapping. At present, fruits are harvested by pulling them from the tree using hooks that separate the fruit from the panicle, without stalk. Thus, harvesting by hand with fruit stalk should be prefered. Fruit yield of mango is dependent on variety, bearing habit, climate, tree age, incidence of pest and diseases and cultural practices followed in the orchard. Grafted trees begin to yield 3-4 years after planting. The period of fruit development from flowering to fruit maturity varies from 100 to 150 days. Tree age and planting density are important factors contributing towards yield. However, fruit quality is dependent mostly on variety, cultural practices followed and nutrition. In vigorous varieties like Langra and Chausa, bearing potential is realized after 15-20 years as compared to 10 years in Dashehari.

Packaging and Transport


During post-harvest handling and distribution, there is a great loss of produce. 142

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Mango

Timber and bamboo have been used for making packaging containers in most part of India. However, alternative packaging material such as corrugated card board packages are available in market and can be used as suitable alternative to timber and bamboo. Tissue paper and polythene foam paper are used for wrapping high-value fresh mangoes. Post-harvest handling of mango comprise all activities concerning bringing fruit from tree to table. These activities are important because shelf-life of fruits after harvesting depends upon health and quality of fruits, time of harvesting and post-harvest handling including fruit maturity, colour, shape, size, sweetness, position on tree, occurrence of pest and diseases, weather conditions, soil moisture, nutrient availability etc. These factors vary from tree to tree, orchard to orchard and season to season. Hence, precise management of these factors is the key for getting better returns. Oozing of latex after detachment of stem trickles over skin and causes shabby appearance of fruits by blemishing the skin. Thus, picking of fruits is followed by washing, desapping, precooling, hot-water dipping and fungicide application, grading, waxing, packaging, ripening, transport and marketing. Fruit maturity is very important at the time of harvesting among all the considerations which affect the quality and shelf-life of fruits after harvesting.

CONCLUSION
Production and productivity of mango can be optimized by efficient and judicious use of inputs like water, nutrients, useful herbicides, need-based eco-friendly pesticides expanding area in problematic soils through developing/selecting suitable cultivars/ rootstocks; high-density plantation and canopy management. Better returns are assured by efficient post-harvest handling, which is responsible for better shelf-life, quality and makes it high-value commodity.

REFERENCES
1. 2. Anonymous (1998). The Mango. Tech. Bull., CISH, Lucknow. Burondkar, M.M., Gunjate, R.T., Nagdum, M.B. and Govekar, M.A. (2000). Rejuvenation of old and overcrowded Alphonso mango orchard with pruning and use of paclobutrazol. Acta Hort. 509:681-86. Lal, B., Rajput, M.S., Rajan, S. and Rathore, D. S. (2000). Effect of rejuvenation of old mango trees, Indian J. Hort. 57:240-42. Negi, S.S. (2000). Mango production in India. Acta Hort. 509:69-78. Negi, S.S., Rajan, S. and Kumar, Ram. (2000). Developing mango varieties through hybridization. Acta Hort. 509:159-60. Ragunathan, V., Pawar, A.D., Misra, M.P. and Singh, J. (2002). Integrated management of

3. 4. 5. 6.

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pests in horticultural crops. In: Approaches for Sustainable Development of Horticulture. Singh, H.P., Negi, J.P., Samuel, J.C. (Eds). DAC, MOA, pp. 97-112. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Ram, S., Bist, L.D. and Sirohi, S.C. (1989). Internal fruit necrosis in mango and its control. Acta Hort. 231 : 305-13. Ram, S. and Tripathi, P.C. (1993). Effect of cultar on flowering and fruiting in high density Dashehari mango trees. Indian. J. Hort. 50 : 292-95. Ram, S., Singh, C.P. and Kumar, S. (1997). A success story of high-density orcharding in mango. Acta Hort. 455 (1) : 375-82. Singh, R.N., Singh, Gorakh, Rao, O.P. and Mishra, J.S. (1984). Improvement of Banarasi Langra through clonal selection. Prog. Hort. 17:273-77 Srinivas, K.(2001). Microirrigation and feritigation in fruit crops. In: Microirrigation, 252-55. Singh, H.P., Kaushik, S.P., Kumar, Ashwani, Murthy, T.S., Samuel, J.C. (Eds).Central Board of Irrigation and Power. Stassen, P.J.C., Grove, H.G. and Davie, S.J. (1999). Tree shaping strategies for higher density mango orchards. Journal of Applied Horticulture 1: 1-4. Yadav, I.S. and Rajan, S. (1993). Genetic Resources of Mangifera. In: Advances in Horticulture, vol. 1, part 1, pp. 77-93. Chadha, K.L. and Pareek, O.P. (Eds). Malhotra Publishing House, New Delhi.

12. 13.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

11
Om Prakash1

INTEGRATED APPROACH IN MANAGEMENT OF MANGO DISEASES

The changed horticultural scenario has to focus attention on disease management to cut the losses so as to avoid wide fluctuations in production and sustain higher level of productivity. A wide genetic variation in mango gene, largely tropical and subtropical climate, overlapping growing seasons, different varieties, production systems, and varying cultural practices favour the occurrence of a number of diseases. A few of them are quite serious and cause heavy losses. Fungal diseases are a menace in mango crop affecting yield and quality of the produce. The indiscriminate use of fungicides has resulted in serious damage to the ecosystem. It has, therefore, become imperative to turn to more eco-friendly methods of management. The success obtained so far with the use of biopesticides / bioagents would definitely lead to the development of precision technologies for disease management strategy in mango without causing further environmental deterioration. The trees tend to be more productive in term of both quality and quantity in localities, where there are at least 4-5 months of dry weather from flowering to harvesting. Frequent showers and heavy rains hinder pollination and fruit setting, apart from inducing fungal infections. A list of important diseases and disorders including phoma blight, gummosis, red rust, sooty mould, wilt, sclerotium rot, root rot, damping-off, and stem bleeding, flat limb, crinkle, tumour, woody gall, clustering and chimeras causing various types of symptoms are mentioned in Table 1. MANAGEMENT OF MAJOR DISEASES The major diseases are discused below :

Powdery Mildew (Oidium mangiferae Berthet)


Dropping of unfertilized infected flowers and immature fruits cause heavy loss by mildew pathogen (32). In India, the loss varies from 22.35 to 90.41 per cent ( 24). The
1Principal

Scientist and Head, Division of Crop Protection, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow 227 107, India

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Table 1. List of major diseases which affect mango production


Disease Causal pathogens Parasitic diseases Fungal Powdery mildew Anthracnose Oidium mangiferae Berthet Colletotrichum gloeosporioides cingulata (Ston.) Spauld and Schrenk. Penz., Glomerella

Die-back

Lasioldiplodia theobromae (Pat.) (Botryodiplodia theobromae Pat.) Phoma glomerata (Corda) Woll. & Hochapf.

Griff.&

Maubl.

Phoma blight Gummosis Leaf spot Angular leaf spot Mango malformation Sclerotium rot Bacterial Bacterial canker

Lasioldiplodia theobromae (Pat.) Griff. & Maubl. Phoma sorghina (Sacc.) Boerema Doren & Vankest Planotrichella mangiferae Prakash and Mishra Fusarium subglutinans, F. moniliformae var. subglutinans) Sclerotium rolfsii Sacc.

Xanthomonas campestris pv. mangiferaeindicae (Patel), Moniz & Kulkarni) Robbs, Ribiero & Kimura Non-parasitic diseases

Sooty mould/sooty blotch

Meliola mangiferae Earle, Capnodium mangiferae Cke. & Brown, Microxyphium columnatum Bat, Cif & Nasc., Leptoxyphium fumago (Woronichin) Srivastava Algal and lichen

Red rust and lichen

Cephaleuros (Fee.) Mull. Arg.

virescens

Kunze.,

Strigula

elegans

disease can be noticed on inflorescence, stalk of inflorescence, leaves and young fruits. Mildew pathogen attacks flowers resulting in white superficial powdery growth of the fungus on inflorescence which causes its shedding. The sepals are relatively more susceptible than petals. The affected flowers fail to open and may fall prematurely. Dropping of unfertilised infected flowers leads to serious crop loss (Fig. 1). 146

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Young fruits are covered entirely by white mildew growth. When it grows, epidermis of the infected fruits cracks and corky tissues are formed. Purplish brown blotchy areas appear on skin of older fruits with cracking. Dropping of immature fruits leads to serious crop loss (Fig. 2). It is frequently noticed on young leaves, when their colour changes from brown to light green. Young leaves are attacked on both the sides as small irregular greyish patches, but on the underside the symptoms are generally more conspicuous. Often, these patches coalesce and occupy larger areas turning into purplish brown in colour. At a later stage, patches become darker in colour. The pathogen is frequently restricted Fig. 1. Powdery mildew on flowers to the area of the central and lateral veins. Such leaves often twist, curl and get distorted. Recently, it has been observed that distortion of leaves is more common in plains, while in foothill areas, it shows ashy brown patches with white powdery growth on leaf surface. Perpetuation: Mildew is found throughout the year on leaves, mostly under shade. The mildew pathogen persists on infected Fig. 2. Powdery mildew on fruits leaves of the previous years flush, which are retained on plants in succeeding year. During flowering (January-March), conducive environmental conditions activate dormant mycelium already persisting in necrotic tissue of previous years infected leaves. Abundant conidia are produced and blown over to new flushes or young flowers, which in turn provide sufficient spore load for initiating the disease (18 and 23). Epidemiology: Prakash et al. (18) advocated that high wind velocity (3-4 days) with maximum temperature (15-300C) and relative humidity (23-84%) are conducive for the rapid spread of mildew pathogen.

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Management: Removal of diseased leaves and malformed panicles and fruits reduce the load of primary inoculum and improve the control achieved by spraying of fungicides. As the inflorescence infection causes serious harm, 3 sprays of fungicides during flowering season are recommended at 15-20 days interval. The first spray of wettable sulphur (0.2%) is done when panicles are 3-4 in size, second spray of dinocap (0.1%) after 15-20 days of first spray and third spray of tridemorph (0.1%) after fruit setting. All sprays with wettable sulphur had no adverse effect on mildew, fruit setting and yield of mango. Bioagent (Actinomycetes) gives some encouraging results (2 and 3).

Anthracnose [Colletotrichum gloeosporioides Penz.=Glomerella cingulata (Stons) Spauld & Schrenk]


Losses due to anthracnose are estimated to be as high as 2-39% (16 and 25). Young plantation of mango. Bombay Green and germplasm of East Indian cultivars were completely wiped out in tarai and Lucknow regions of Uttar Pradesh due to severe wither tip. Anthracnose pathogen causes various manifestations, viz. blossom blight, twig blight, foliar blight, staining, russetting, tear staining and shoulder browning. On leaves, symptoms appear as oval or irregular vinaceous brown to deep brown spots of various sizes scattered all over the leaf surface. Under damp conditions, the fungus grows rapidly forming elongated brown necrotic areas measuring 20-25 mm in diameter. Young leaves are more prone to attack than the older ones. Petioles, when affected, turn grey or black, the leaves droop down, slowly dry up and ultimately fall-off, leaving a black scar on twigs. Disease produces elongated black necrotic areas on twigs. The tip of very young branches starts drying from tip downwards showing characteristic symptoms of wither tip (Fig. 3). On blossom, the earliest symptoms are production of blackish brown specks on peduncle and flowers. Small black spots appear on panicles and open flowers, which gradually enlarge and coalesce to cause drying up of flowers (22). On fruit, initially the spots are round but later coalesce to form large irregular Fig. 3. Anthracnose on foliage blotches. Sometimes it covers the entire fruit 148

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surface. The spots have large deep cracks and the fungus penetrates deep into the fruit causing extensive rotting (Fig. 4). Association of anthracnose pathogen with gall midge infested leaves, twigs and inflorescence is often noticed in most of the places in India. Injuries caused by the insect on tissues, activate the pathogen, resulting in heavy incidence of the disease. After the larvae are left for pupation in the soil, the injuries caused by them develops into spot and subsequently attacked by the pathogen and produces into Shot hole symptom, the most destructive phase of the disease.

Fig. 4. Anthracnose on fruit

Perpetuation: The pathogen survives on fallen leaves, blighted peduncle, dead stem, and diseased twigs attached to trees. The pathogen produces spores under favourable conditions and these serve as foci of infection for the succeeding bloom. However under tropical conditions, fresh supplies of spores are being continuously made throughout the year. About 70 per cent spores of the fungus, produced in acervuli on twigs are viable. On diseased leaves, the fungus remains viable for 14 months (16). Epidemiology: The optimum temperature for infection of pathogen is around 250C. The injury caused by the pathogen is dependent on humidity, rain, misty condition or heavy dews at the time of blossoming. Continuous wet weather during flowering causes serious blossom blight. Relative humdity above 95% for 12 hr is essential for infection and development of C. gloeosporioides on mango fruits. Infection progresses faster in wounded tissues as well as in ripe fruits. Management: The management strategies recommended to control anthracnose include cultural practices and tree management, varietal selection and use of protective and curative fungicides. Remove gall midge infested foliage (twig, leaf and panicles) and fruits from the orchard. Combined sprays of insecticide and fungicide are essential to combat both anthracnose and gall midge. Bagging of individual fruits with brown paper/ newspaper bags enhances the shelf-life, minimize the sunscald and develops attractive

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colour without foliage attack. Mustard oil treated fruits have more shelf-life and less fungal invasion (25). Blossom infection can be controlled effectively by 2 sprays of carbendazim (0.1%) or copper oxychloride (0.3%). The major strategies in controlling post-harvest anthracnose are scheduled pre-harvest sprays with thiophanate methyl or carbendazim (0.1%) in the field to reduce the latent infection and treatment of fruits with hot water alone or hot water with fungicides after harvesting to eradicate the leftover latent infection. Hot-water treatment at 520C for 30 minutes gave good control of anthracnose. However, duration of hot-water treatment could be reduced to 15 minutes by supplementing with fungicides, viz. carbendazim or thiophanate methyl @ 0.1 per cent (19).

Die-back [Lasiodiplodia theobromae (Pat.) Griffon & Mouble, syn. Botryodiplodia theobromae Pat.]
About 30-40 per cent roadside trees are found infected, but it goes much more even up to 96.5 per cent in seedling cultivars(32). It is characterized by drying back of twigs from top downwards particularly in the older trees followed by drying of leaves which gives an appearance of fire scorch. Dark patches are usually seen on young

Fig. 5. Die-back (partially infected plant)

Fig. 6. Die-back (fully infected tree)

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green twigs (Fig. 5). When the dark lesions increase in size, dying of young twigs begins. The upper leaves lose their green colour and gradually dry (Fig. 6). Internal browning in wood tissue is observed when its slit open along with the long axis. Cracks appear on branches and exude before they die out (13,14 and 26). When graft union of nursery plants are affected, these usually die. It has also been noticed that the infection occurs at nodes at variable distances below growing point and the part of twigs on both the sides of infection die (32). Perpetuation: The organism is a wound parasite and capable of causing great damage under favourable conditions. The pathogen penetrates the host through epidermal wounds and lenticels. Artificial inoculation experiments have shown that establishment of the fungus requires at least 48 hr at 27-300 C and RH of 80-85 per cent. The fungus remains in vascular tissues until tissues die. Diseased twigs bearing fruiting bodies are the main source of perpetuation and survival of the pathogen. Use of infected bud stick is largely responsible for carry over of the pathogen from one season to the next and for spreading to new areas. Within orchards, the most important means of spread are inoculum already present and contaminated garden tools. The former accounts for the increase in disease severity and the latter contributes to the survival and spread of the pathogen within an area and from season to season. Trees damaged by gummosis, insects, sun scorch, tangle foot, stress, injury and mineral deficiencies favour disease development (10). Epidemiology: High summer temperature predisposes the mango plants to the attack of pathogen through reducing the vitality of plants. Disease development is favoured by rains, relative humidity (approximately 80%) and maximum and minimum temperatures of 31.5 and 25.9oC. The growth of germ tube of single celled spores was best at 30oC. On exposure to higher temperature (54oC) for 10 minutes, loose spores lost their viability. The mango beetle (Batocera rufomaculata) aggravates the disease incidence (12 and 26). Management: Scion wood selected for propagation should be free from infection, while multiplying the planting material. Pruning (3 below the infection site) followed by spraying of copper oxychloride (0.3%) is most effective method to control it. Pasting of cowdung at cut ends is very effective (2).

Phoma Blight [Phoma glomerata (Corda) Woll. & Hochapf]


Symptoms of this disease are noticed on matured/old leaves generally. Initially, 151

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lesions are minute, irregular, angular, yellow to light brown, scattered all over the leaf lamina. As the lesions enlarge, their colour changes from brown to cinnamon, and these become irregular in shape. Fully developed spots are characterized by dark margin and dull grey necrotic centres. In severe cases, the spots coalesce to form big patches, which result in withering and defoliation of infected leaves (Fig. 7). Such plants can be identified easily from a distance (27 and 31). Management: Spraying of benomyl (0.2%) or copper oxychloride (0.3%) have been found effective against this disease (32). Fig. 7. Phoma blight

Gummosis [Lasiodiplodia theobromae (Pat.) Grifton and Mauble, syn. Botryodiplodia theobromae Pat., perfect stage Physalospora rhodina].
The disease is characterized by the presence of profuse oozing of gum on the surface of affected wood, bark of trunk and also on larger branches but more common on cracked branches. In severe cases, droplets of gum trickle down on stem and the bark turns dark brown with longitudinal cracks. Bark rots completely and tree dries up because of cracking, rotting and girdling effects (32). Management The affected bark/portion should be removed, cleaned and covered with cowdung or copper oxychloride paste. Application of copper sulphate (500 g/tree, depending upon the age of the tree) in soil around the tree trunk is advocated. Application of fresh cowdung around trunk or cut portion is also advocated (2).

Leaf Spot [Phoma sorghina (Sacc.) Boerema. Doren. & Vankest]


This leaf spot disease caused by Phoma sorghina has been reported on mango from Lucknow, India (20). Disease manifests itself in the form of small, irregular, oval to roughly circular water-soaked spots on young leaves, measuring mere pinhead to 2.5 mm in size. Lesions are brown, later differentiated into brown margin with straw colour. Yellow halo around the brown margin is also observed. The infected leaves become brown and ultimately dry. Lesions near the midrib are elongated and more conspicuous. In severe cases, the spots coalesce to form large spots measuring up to 14 mm. Symptoms 152

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produced by this fungus are very much much similar to those of anthracnose and these may sometimes be confused. In this case, spots are smaller and there is no cracking in the centre as found in anthracnose (10 and 32). Management Control measures are the same as reported for phoma blight disease.

Angular Leaf Spot (Plenotrichella mangiferae Prakash & Misra)


Initially spots are minute, irregular and brown in colour. In due course, they enlarge and turn darker in colour. Spots are distinctively visible on both the surfaces of leaves and are irregularly scattered on the entire leaf surface more towards midrib. The spots are mostly angular in shape and are generally restricted by the midrib or side veins. As the spots turn older, the central area becomes grey to almost white, with distinct dark brown margin, which is characteristic symptom of the disease. Spots vary in size (3-11 mm x 2-8 mm) (Fig. 8). Number of black pycnidial bodies are distinctly visible in grey area on the old spots (17). Spot epiphyllous, irregularly circular, olivaceous, with black dots, measuring 3-11 mm x 2-8 mm of diameter. Mycelium superficial, hyphae septate, not constricted, abundant, ramified, having arborescent disposition, olivaceous-maroon, having cells of 7.0-14.5 x 2.0-2.5 m covering the pycniostromata. Absence of septa and hyphopodia. Pycniostromata superficial, membranous, isolated, orbicular, scutellar, dimidiated, meandriform, astomous, of irregular dehiscence at maturity, 320490 m of diameter., 15-24 m of height, maroon, glabrous; edges thin, clear maroon, film-like, up to 85 m of extension; lower wall indistinct. Fig. 8. Angular leaf spot Conidiophores not observed. Hymenium superior and hence inverted. Pycnidiospores fusoid, continuous, sessile straight or curved with 9.0-1.5 x 1-2.0 m. Management : The disease is controlled by spraying of Carbendazim (0.1%) at 20 days interval before emergence of symptoms (17).

Malformation (Fusarium subglutinans)


Malformation, also known as bunchy top, is a serious threat in mango-growing 153

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areas of the world. In recent years, the extent of this malady has taken such a high magnitude that the mango industry is badly threatened in India, particularly in northern mango belt. In spite of a lapse of hundred years since the disease was first reported and a good number of papers published on mango malformation (MM), the etiology of the disease still remains obscure. The complex nature of the malady is obvious by the diverse claims made by different workers from different countries about its cause(s) ranging from physiological, viral, fungal, acarological to nutritional (12 and 18). Mango malformation is of two types vegetative and floral. Vegeative malformation is pronounced in young seedlings. The afected seedlings develop excessie vegetative growth. The internodes are of limited growth and short. These form bunches of various sizes, which are often produced on tips of seedlings giving buncy top appearance. Such formations are also found on bigh plants but are relatively less (Fig. 9). Floral malformation is characerizied by the reduction in length of primary axis and secondary branches of the panicle, which make the flowers, Fig. 9. Vegetative malformation appear in clusters. The flower buds are transformed into vegetative buds and a larger number of small leaves and stems, which are characterized by appreciably reduced internodes, give a witchs broom-like appearance (Fig. 10). Management: Definite control measures for mango malformation can be advocated. However, Fig. 10. Floral malformation following measures may reduce the incidence of malformations. It is advisable to avoid scion stick from trees bearing malformed inflorescence for propagation. Indexing of healthy mango trees be done to serve as material for propagation. Only certified samplings should be used for propagation. 154

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As soon as the disease symptom is noticed, the affected terminals should be pruned along with the basal 15-20 cm apparently healthy portion and burnt. Healthy orchards located in disease-prone pockets should be sprayed with fungicides/insecticides as a prophylactic measure to avoid further recurrence of the disease. Spraying of 200 ppm NAA in the first week of October is advocated followed by deblossoming at bud-burst stage. Early flowers should be deblossomed.

Sclerotium Rot (Sclerotium rolfsii Sacc.)


About 18 per cent mango seedlings died of stem rot and many of the seeds (stones) rotted before or in the course of germination (28 and 30). The disease is characterized by the presence of mycelial weft on the base of the stem at the ground level. Beneath the mycelial growth, a dark brown spot may develop which gradually encircles the base of the stem. At this stage, the succulent top droops and bends towards the ground, tissues lose turgidity and seedlings die within a week. When the disease is at peak, the fungus may be seen encircling stem up to the height of 2" or even more above the ground level. The disease also causes severe rotting of seeds during or before germination. Numerous sclerotia develop Fig. 11. Sclerotium rot on young seedlings on cotyledons of rotted seeds (Fig. 11). Perpetuation: The sclerotia remain viable for more than a year under drought conditions while in moist conditions persist longer or indefinitely, especially if susceptible hosts are present. The fungus passes over adverse conditions by means of sclerotial bodies. The sclerotia kept in dry conditions remained alive for more than a year. Management: Infected soil should be thoroughly surface burnt before the seed beds are prepared. Diseased mango and weeds should be removed and burn. Excessive use of water and close planting should be avoided as the organism is moisture-loving. Seed beds should be prepared with sufficient drainage arrangement. Planting of susceptible hosts should be avoided. Two minutes dipping of stones in Agallol/Brassicol/ Captan/Thiram/ Carbendazin (0.1%) and subsequent soil drenching at 10-15 days interval reduce the intensity of the disease (28).

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Bacterial Canker Disease (Xanthomonas campestris pv. mangiferaeindicae Patel, Moniz & Kulkarni) Robbs, Ribiero & Kimura
The promising mango industry in northern India is threatened by bacterial canker disease. During early sixties, the disease was considered as a minor, but now it is posing a great threat to the commercial cultivars (Dashehari, Mallika and Amrapali) as well as seedling cultivars grown in the country. Canker incidence was noticed first time in polyembryonic cultivars of mango. Its widespread and severity posed much losses of mango fruits. Recurrence, intensity and spread of the disease have also been observed gradually extending in new areas (15,18 and 20). Bacterial canker caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. mangiferaeindicae became serious in Uttar Pradesh mainly in Lucknow as early as 1978 and thus has been commonly present in most of the states. The disease is quite widespread in mangogrowing regions of the world (15,18 and 21). The losses are as high as 100% in certain cultivars. On leaves, minute water-soaked irregular stellate to angular raised lesions measuring 1-4 mm in diameter are formed. These lesions are light yellow in colour initially with yellow halo but with age, enlarge or colaesce to form irregular dark brown necrotic cankerous patches usually on the lower side but occasionally on both sides. On young leaves, the halos are larger and distinct, while on older leaves, these are narrow and could be observed only against light. In server infections, leaves turn yellow and are dropped off. Canker on leaf stalks, sometimes progresses superficially along the midrib (Fig. 12). On twigs and branches, freshly developed Fig. 12. Bacterial canker on leaves lesions are observed as water-soaked, dark brown, raised with longitudinal fissures exposing the vascular tissues mostly filled with gummy substance which oozes outward. The infections are deep seated. Black discolouration of underlying tissues with cracked bark are also characteristic symptom. On fruits, the symptoms are quite conspicuous, water-soaked, dark brown to black coloured lesions are observed which gradually develop into cankerous, raised or

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flat spots. These spots grown bigger usually up to 5 mm in diameter, which cover almost the whole fruit. These spots often, burst extruding gummy substances containing highly contagious bacterial cells (Fig. 13). Sometimes, the exposed flesh in cankerous spots attracts insects and subsequently involved by secondary micro-organisms, which initiate rooting. Fruit dropping is observed more when cankers develop near the stalk end. Severaly infected fruits crack and become brown in colour. In some excessive infected fruits, pulp and stones are also found to be infected. Perpetuation: Bacterium survives in infected Fig. 13. Bacterial canker on fruit plant parts on trees. Cankers on mango leaves are reduced by fall of infected leaves but pathogen survives up to 8 months in diseased leaves. Twig canker initiates the infection on fruits. Bacterium is found pathogenic on Anacardium occidentale, Acanthosperma hispidum, Caesalpinia mimosoides, Ficus glomerata, Lantana camara, Psophocarpus tetragonolobus, Schinus terebenthifolius, Solanum tarvum, Spondias mangifera and S. mombin (7). Role of mango stones in the survival of pathogens has been established (15 and 32). Pathogen also survives in resident form on weed hosts (7) and mango leaves and fruits. Disease spread is rapid during rains. In new areas, the disease spreads through infected planting material and from diseased to healthy ones through wind splashed rains (18). Epidemiology: Development of the pathogen in the field is favoured by high relative humidity (above 90%) and temperatures between 25 and 30oC (6). Pathogen has been found to be more active under field conditions from July to September than from November to March. Though the temperatures from April onwards remain favourable (28-30oC), fresh infections do not occur until it rains. However, in trees having infected twigs, infection on fruit starts early in the last week of April and continues to increase during May, when weather is dry (32 and 15). Maximum and minimum temperature between 30-40 and 17.3-26.0oC, RH 68-100%, evening RH 25-68% and high wind velocity during April-May have been found favourable for the disease build-up (15).

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Management: Regular inspection of orchards, sanitation and seedling certification are recommended as preventive measures against the disease. Selection of stones from healthy fruits for rootstock is advisable (15). Streptomycin sulphate (250 ppm) followed by Aureofungin (15) and 3 sprays of Streptocycline (200 ppm) at 10 days intervals (8) reduce the fruit infection. Streptocycline (300 ppm ) and copper oxychloride (0.3%) are more effective in controlling bacterial canker (32). Garg and Kasera (1) have reported essential oil from A. occidentale effective against campestris mangifera indicae. An antagonistic phylloplane bacterium, Bacillus coagulans, isolated from mango, has been found very effective against X.c.m.i. strains and may be further utilized in biocontrol of mango bacterial canker disease (4 and 5).

Sooty Mould and Black Mildew (Capnodium mangiferae Cke. Borwn, Microxyphium columnatum, Leptoxyphium fumago and Tripospermum myrti)
The disease has created a history during the year 1984 when appeared in an epidemic form and gradually engulfed the entire mango belt of Siyana, district Bulandshehar (Uttar Pradesh). The disease was so much serious in certain pockets that even thick branches of tree died resulting in serious casualties of older plants (32 and 10). The disease is characterized by the presence of a black velvety thin membranous covering on leaves, stems and fruits. These range from thin, diffuse webs of dark hyphae to opaque felty layers. In severe cases, the tree appear black due to heavy infection of mould on entire surface of leaves and twigs. The affected leaves curl and shrivel under dry conditions. Because of the production of masses of black spores, which stick to leaf surface due to sticky honey dew, the foliage appears black, ugly and hence the name sooty mould. The severity of incidence is dependent upon the sugary secretion by insects. During flowering time if the fungus infects the blossoms, fruit setting is affected and sometimes even small fruits fell down. Mature fruits having black patches are also detract considerably from the appearance and marketability. Causal organisms : Meliola mangiferae Earle, Capnodium mangiferae Cke. and Borwn, Capnodium ramosum Cke., Microxyphium columnatum, Leptoxyphium fumago and Tripospermum myrti. Epidemiology: Disease is severe in old and dense orchards where penetration of light intensity is low. Trees exposed to eastern side (sunlight) have less incidence while trees in centre of the orchard, especially those growing dense have 95% incidence. Sugary substance secreted by the insects is stated to be a condition favourable for development

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of sooty mould. Continuous and heavy rainfall results in continuous washing off such substances. Incidence of insects on shoots is directly associated with disease severity. High humidity, however, proved to be congenial for growth of the fungus (11). Management: The remedy for this disease consists of destroying the insects. The mould will die out for want of a suitable growth medium if honey dew-secreting insects are killed by suitable insecticides. Spraying of wettasulf (wettable sulphur) + metacid (methyl parathion) + gum Accacia (0.2 + 0.1+ 0.3%) and Indian oil formulation No. 1 and 2 at 15 days interval could control sooty mould (9 and 11).

Red Rust (Cephaleuros virescens Kunze)


The disease is readily recognised by the presence of rusty red fructification of alga on surface of leaves, veins, petiole, young twigs and foliage infected with gall midge. Initially spots are greenish grey in colour and velvety in texture and finally turn reddish brown. Spots are circular to irregular in shape, erumpent, measuring 2 mm in diameter. When coalesce, they may be up to 1 cm in diameter. After shedding of spores, the algal matrix remains attached to leaf surface, leaving a creamy white mark at the original rust spots. The upper surface of spot consists of numerous, unbranched filaments in which some of the filaments are sterile hairs while others are fertile ones. The latter bear cluster of spores at the top. Such fruiting bodies are formed in moist atmosphere, that is why the disease is more common on closely planted orchards. The parasite can make headway only when plants grow slowly. The alga is generally shed off by exfoliation of outer tissues when plants are Fig. 14. Red rust on upper and lower lamina vigorous. Thus, disease is rare on newly-emerging shoots (Fig. 14). An alga, Cephaleuros sp., is well-known part of the lichen, Strigula, which is

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widespread in tropical and subtropical regions. The S. elegans (Fee.) Mull. Arg. with C. virescens has been found on mango. It was reported that Cephaleuros may enter into a lichenous association with different fungi and fungal component is parasitic on alga and ultimately destroy the phycobiont (32). The disease appeared in an epidemic form in the tarai region of Uttar Pradesh and was reported to cause reduction in photosynthetic activity and defoliation resulting in lowering the vitality of plants. Management: The main stress for controlling alga is laid on correcting cultural malpractices and alleviating nutritional deficiencies. The direct link between host vigour and damage caused by alga has been noticed. Avoidance of close planting is helpful. Thus, pruning the canopy, mowing beneath trees and using wider row spacing which increase air circulation and sunlight penetration help reduce conditions which favour the pathogen. Pruning and manuring of host trees are also beneficial. Copper oxychloride (0.3%) is effective in managing the algal infection (29). Control of insect pests, mites and other foliar diseases, all increase the tree ability to cope with algal leaf spot.

CONCLUSION
Mango crop is prone to attack by a number of diseases. Failure to check the attach of diseases from root to crown and fruits would more or less tantamount to total crop loss. About over 160 pathogens are known to cause damage to crop, but there are a few diseases, which are of great economic importance. The most destructive diseases of mango in India are powdery mildew, die-back and anthracnose/blossom blight and bacterial canker. These diseases take heavy toll and have become a limiting factor in the profitable cultivation of mango. Powdery mildew is widely prevalent and in some years, it has completely destroyed the crop. Die-back, recorded in late seventies in Northern India, has assumed an alarming proportion everywhere and is threatening mango cultivation for the last one decade. High summer temperatures predispose the mango plants to the attack of pathogen. Anthracnose//blossom blight, another widespread disease, is directly influenced by excessive rains, heavy dews, high humidity and warm weather. Similarly bacterial canker has also assumed importance in recent years, destroying choicest varieties like Langra, Dashehari and Lucknow Safeda. Mildew disease is known to cause extensive damage at the latitude of 400NS of the equator.Highest foliage incidence of mildew was recorded in Dashehari and Langra during early-March after refoliation. Fresh infection on refoliated plants during December at Durgapura, Rajasthan is a unique event in disease epidemiology and help in maintaining

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high inoculum load for further recurrence and outbreak of the disease. The disease perpetuates on newly infected leaves/ hidden malformed panicles throughout the year. The production of abundant fungal propagules on such leaves helps in initiation of new infection on panicles. To reduce the inoculum load persisting on leaves/ hidden malformed panicles, removal of the such infected leaves/ malformed panicles are prerequisite for effective disease management. Repeated sprayings of wettable sulphur (0.2%) after expansion of panicle, before opening of flowers and after fruit setting (mustard size) are recommended. Studies are required to be expanded on the bioagent tried for control of mildew pathogen. Anthracnose pathogen perpetuates in the detached diseased twigs / leaves, which either falls on the ground or remain attached to trees up to 14 months. Association of anthracnose pathogen with gall midge infected leaves/panicles/twigs has also been noticed. Injuries caused by midge, activate the pathogen. In the management strategies cultural practices, tree management, removal of midge infected parts, varietal selection and protective/curative fungicidal sprays are found very effective. Bioagents like actionomycete isolated from cowdung give encouraging results in controlling the disease (3). Botryodiplodia [Lasiodiplodia] theobromae is an important mango pathogen in India. Its infection mainly causes die-back besides many other manifestations like gummosis twig blight etc. The fungus is frequently encountered in the affected plant parts exhibiting from these manifestations. It seems to be universal in its occurrence but the main domains lie in the tropics and subtropics (300 NS of the equator). Invariably in die-back infected trees, trunk-borer beetle (Batocera rufomaculata) was noticed and seems to be an important biological means in the dissemination of vegetative part (mycelium) of the fungus (L. theobromae). The galleries made by the beetle in tree trunk / branch, provide necessary entrance to fungus into the plant tissues. The vegetative parts adhere to beetle body are carried over from one plant to other and thus, the infection spreads. Pruning of dead twigs (about 10 cm below the infection site) and spraying / pasting of copper oxychloride (0.3%) or fresh cowdung are most effective in managing the disease (2). Development of precise detection techniques particularly causal organisms of diseases whose etiology is not yet known needs special emphasis as it would eventually lead to standardize the dependable management schedules for diseases of unknown etiology. Adoption of any single method for control of mango disease has its own limitations. Hence, judicious integration of various measures like cultural, mechanical, use of resistant varieties with need-based fungicidal and biopestcidal/bioagents 161

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applications are needed for development of precise technologies for the end-users.

REFERENCES
1. 2. Garg, S.C. and Kasera, H.L. (1994). Antibactrial activity of essential oil of Anacardium occidentale L. Indian Perfumer 28 : 95-97. Garg, Neelima, Prakash, Om and Pathak, R.K. (2002). Use of cowdung paste for controlling gummosis and die-back disease of mango. Proc. Ann.Conf. Association of Micribiology, HAU, Hissar, Dec 11-13. Garg, Neelima, Prakash, Om and Pathak, R.K. (2002). Actinomycete of cowdung origin as potential biogent against anthracnose and stem end rot diseases of mango (Ibid). Kishun, R. (1994). Evaluation of phylloplane micro-organism from mango against X.c.pv.mangiferaeindicae. Indian Phytopath 47 : 313. Kishun, R. (1995). Detection and mangement of Xanthomonos campestris pv. mangiferaeindicae In: Detection of Plant Pathogens and Their Management, pp. 173-82. Verma, J.P. (Ed.). Angkar Publishers, New Delhi. Kishun, R and Sohi, H.S. (1983). Bacterial cankar in mango. Indian Farmers Digest 14 : 2123 Kishun, R. and Chand, R. (1994). Epiphytic survival of Xanthomonas compestris pv. mangiferae indicae on weeds and its role in MBCD. Plant Disease Research 9 : 35-40 Misra, A.K. and Prakash, Om (1992). Bacterial canker of mango, incidence and control. Indian Phytopath 45 : 142-75. Misra, AK, Prakash, Om (1993). Host range and efficacy of different chemicals for the control of sooty mould of mango. National Academy of Science (India) 63: II.233-35. Ploetz, C.R. and Prakash, Om (1997). Foliar, floral and soil borne diseases of mango. In : The Mango Botany, Production and Uses, pp. 281-326. Richards, E. Litz (Ed.). C.A.B. International, Wallingford, U.K. Prakash,Om, (1991). Sooty mould disease of mango and its control. Int. J. Trop. Plant Diseases 9 : 277-80. Prakash, Om (1996). Principal diseases of mango, causes and control. In: Advances in Diseases of Fruit Crops in India, 397 pp. Singh, S. J. (Ed.). Kalyani Publishers, Ludhiana. Prakash, Om and Eckert, J.W. (1998). Twig die back disease of mango (Mangifera indica L.) caused by Botryosphaeria ribis from California , Proceedings of Sixth International Mango Symposium, held at Pattaya, Thailand. Prakash, Om and Eckert, J.W. (2002). Twig die back disease of mango (Mangifera indica L.) caused by Botryosphaeria ribis in California. Biological Memoirs 27 : 71-72. Prakash,Om and Misra, A.K. and Raoof, MA (1994). Studies on mango bacterial cankar

3. 4. 5.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

11. 12. 13.

14. 15.

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16.

17. 18.

19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.

25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32.

disease. Biological Memoirs 20 : 95-107. Prakash, Om; Misra, A.K. and Pandey, B.K. (1996). Anthracnose disease of tropical and subtropical fruits. In : Disease Scenario in Crop Plants, Vol. II, pp. 1-27. Agnihotri, V.P., Prakash, Om, Kishun, R and Mishra, A.K. (Eds). International Books and Periodicals Supply Service, New Delhi. Prakash, Om and Misra, A.K. (2001). A new species of Plenotrichella causing angular leaf spot of mango and its control. Indian J. Pl. Pathol. 19 : 97-99. Prakash, Om, Misra, A.K., and Kishun, R. (1997). Some threatening disease of mango and their management. In: Threatening Plant Disease of National Impartance, pp. 197-205. Agnihotri, V.P., (Ed.). Prakash, Om and Pandey, B.K. (2000). Control of mango anthracnose by hot water and fungicidal treatments. Indian Phytopath. 53 : 92-94. Prakash, Om and Raoof, M.A. (1985). New records of fungi on leaves and twigs of mango (M. indica). Indian J.Pl.Pathol. 3 : 243-44. Prakash, Om and Raoof, M.A. (1985). Bacterial canker of mango. Proceedings of Second International Symposium on Mango, Bangalore (India), 50 p. Prakash, Om and Raoof, M.A. (1985). Blossom blight disease of mango. Indian J. Plant Pathology 3 : 271-72. Prakash, Om and Raoof, M.A. (1985). Perpetuation of powdery mildew of mango. Indian J. Pl. Pathol. 3 : 273-74. Prakash, Om and Raoof, M.A. (1994). Studies on powdery mildew (Oidium mangiferae) disease of mango : Distribution, perpetuation, losses and chemical control. Biological Memoirs 20 : 31-45. Prakash, Om and Raoof, M.A. (1996). Post harvest diseases of mango and their control. Journal of Andaman Science Association 7 : 23-30. Prakash Om and Raoof, M.A. (1989). Die back disease of mango (Mangifera indica), its distribution, incidence, cause and management. Fitopatologia Brasileira 14 : 207-15. Prakash, Om and Singh, U.N. (1976). New Disease of mango. Proc. Fruit Res. Workshop, Hyderabad, May, 24-28, pp. 300-2. Prakash, Om and Singh, U.N. (1976). Basal rot of mango seedling casud by Scelerotium rolfsii. Indian J. Pl. Pathol. 6 : 75. Prakash, Om and Singh, U.N. (1979). Fungicidal control of red rust of mango. Indian J. Pl. Pathol. 9 : 175-76. Prakash, Om and Singh, U.N. (1980). Root rot and damping off of mango seedlings casued by Rhizoctonia solani Kuhn. Indian J. Mycol Pl. Pathol. 10 : 69. Prakash, Om and Singh, U.N. (1977). Phoma blight, a new disease of mango. Plant Disease Reporter 61 : 419-21. Prakash, Om and Srivastava, K.C. (1987). Mango Diseases and their Management, 175 pp. Today & Tomorrows Printers and Publsihers, Karol, Bagh, New Delhi.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

12

APPROACHES AND STRATEGIES FOR PRECISION FARMING IN PAPAYA


A. K. Singh1 and Gorakh Singh2

Papaya (Carica papaya L.) is widely grown in tropics and India is the largest producer in the world. It requires less area for tree, comes to fruiting in a year, is easy to cultivate and provides more income next to banana. A rich, well-drained sandy loam soil is ideal for its cultivation. Papaya fruits are extremely valued for their nutritive value and are rich source of vitamin A (1500-2020 IU/100g). From the latex of unripe fruits, papain is prepared for which there is a great demand in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. There is a great potential for the export of papaya fruits and its products. Papaya has a wide range of adaptability and for high economic return per unit area. Basic information on sex expression and genetics of papaya which have helped in developing improved varieties (both dioecious and gynodioecious lines) and hybrids. Improved production technology on papaya has been developed for different agroclimatic regions of the country through multilocational trials. However, it is felt that precision farming be used in India, it will be possible with the introduction of hi-tech techniques in papaya cultivation like water management through drip irrigation, fertigation, crop geometry, plastic mulching and tissue culture techniques with introduction and multiplication of excellent varieties.

PRECISION TECHNOLOGIES FOR IMPROVED PRODUCTION


In India, papaya is raised in about 70,000 ha of land, producing annually 1.68 Mt of fruits. Orissa, Kerala, Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are major papaya-growing states, the highest productivity being 87.16 tonnes/ha in Karnataka followed by Andhra Pradesh (75.57 tonnes/ha), Tamil Nadu (56.0 tonnes/ ha), Madhya Pradesh (47.78 tonnes/ha), Gujarat (41.38 tonnes/ha), West Bengal (33.2 tonnes/ha), Rajasthan (31.80 tonnes/ha), Bihar (30.82 tonnes/ha) and Uttar Pradesh (23.75 tonnes/ha). The lowest productivity is from the north-eastern region including Kerala.
1,2 Senior Scientist (Hort.), Division of Crop Improvement and Production, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow 227 107, India

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Papaya

Selection of Varieties A large number of varieties are cultivated in India. As a matter of fact many of them are not real varieties since these cannot be relied upon to reproduce the parental characters in their progenies. Based on sex expression, papaya varieties can be classified either as dioecious or gynodioecious. The dioecious varieties produce male and female plants in a 1:1 ratio when propagated from seeds. However, gynodioecious varieties produce female and bisexual (hermaphrodite) in a 1:2 ratio. Seven varieties (CO1, CO2, CO3, CO4, CO5, CO6 and CO7) have been released from TNAU, Coimbatore. Of them, CO2 and CO5 are recommended for papain extraction, while CO3 and CO7 are suitable for table purpose. Pusa Delicious, Pusa Majesty, Pusa Giant, Pusa Dwarf and Pusa Nanha have been released from IARI regional station. Of these, Pusa Majesty is recommended for papain extraction, while Pusa Nanha for kitchen gardening and high-density planting. Other gynodioecious variety Surya developed from IIHR, Banglore, having pink flesh colour is good for table purpose. Propagation and Nursery Production Papaya is normally propagated by seeds. To ensure genetic purity, seeds should be procured only from reliable sources. For planting one hectare area, about 500 g seed is required. The seedling can be raised in 3 m x 1 m x 10 cm nursery-beds or in polythene bags. The seeds should be sown 10 cm apart and one cm deep in rows and covered with fine compost or leaf-mould. Light irrigation may be followed in morning hours. The nursery-bed may be covered with polythene sheet / paddy straw / dry straw mulch to protect it from adverse weather conditions. Apart from nursery-beds, seeds are also sown in polybags of 20 cm x 12 cm size at the rate of 4 seeds/bag. The pot mixture should consist of one part each of sand, top-soil and FYM/vermicompost. The seeds should be sown not deeper than 1.5 cm. Regular watering with water-can should be done gently in morning and evening until seeds germinate. The soil in bag should be treated with 100 ml of 0.1 per cent copper oxychloride to prevent damping-off, a fungal disease, which affects young papaya seedlings. Repeat after one month. Thin out seedlings to 2/bag 30 days after germination. Tender seedlings must be protected against heavy rainfall. The most serious disease in the nursery is damping off. Treating seeds with 0.1 per cent Monosan (phenyl mercury acetate) before sowing is the best preventive measure against this disease. Drenching with fungicide, copper oxychloride (0.3 per cent) prevents fungal rots at nursery stage. The optimum temperature for germination of papaya seeds is 35oC and temperatures below 23oC and above 44oC are detrimental. The seedlings become ready for transplanting when they are 45-60 days old or attain the height of 25-30 cm. 165

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Vegetative Propagation Since papaya is commercially propagated by seed, this leads to variation and a varietal name becomes misnomer. Even after six or seven generations of inbreeding only a maximum of 90 per cent homozygosity is attained (15). Hence, to perpetuate papaya true-to-type, utilisation of easy method of vegetative multiplication is necessary. The multiplication of papaya through budding has been attempted by Singh et al. (16). Preparation of stock seedlings: Seedlings are raised by sowing papaya seeds before 60 days of budding and transferred to pots/polybags/field when they attain a height of 8 cm. The seedlings of 1-1.5 cm diameter are ready for budding. Selection of scion: For scion material, vigorously grown female plant is headed back well in advance of budding (about 45 days), to induce axilliary growth (Fig. 1). Side shoots emerging from below the cut point, having a length of 24 cm and 1.2 cm diameter, are taken for bud wood. In this regard juvenility of the plant has to be given due consideration. It has been observed that female plant cut at a height of 30 -60 cm gives rise to Fig. 1. Axillary growth after heading back papaya plant shoots which have vegetative buds. At a higher level, emerging shoots have reproductive buds only. Using the above rootstock and scion material, patch and shield budding are done during July, August, September and October (Table 1). The top of seedling stock is removed after a week of budding. The buds sprouted after 15 days of budding attain sufficient length after a month (Fig. 2). The highest success of 90 per cent is obtained in patch budding if Fig. 2. Patch budded plant 166

Fig. 3. Shield budded plant

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Papaya

done in the first fortnight of September closely followed by 80 per cent in the second fortnight of August, whereas in shield budding good success is obtained (80 per cent) if done in the first fortnight of September (Fig. 3). There is earliness of flowering and increased yield in budded plants as compared to the control plants. Table 1. Seasonal effect on success in different methods of budding in papaya
Time of budding Patch budding July August September October 60.0 80.0 90.0 50.0 Success (per cent) Shield budding 37.5 56.0 80.0 40.0

Source: R.N. Singh, Gorakh Singh and O.P. Rao (16 )

Planting Season The season of planting has a great influence on growth and fruiting. Seedlings planted during monsoon, grow taller and bear fruits at higher level on trunk than those planted in other seasons (8), thereby increasing the cost of production. Allan et al. (1) reported various effects of environment on seedlings of papaya but the use of different planting times is desirable to obtain accurate information on papaya plantation. Muthukrishnan and Irulappan (7) observed that the best season of papaya planting was beginning of monsoon but transplanting could be continued from June to November. Singh and Singh (12) reported that September planting was more beneficial as it gave higher yield, better fruit quality and less incidence of papaya ring spot virus and can be recommended for end-users. Spacing Planting distance is determined by the integration of light interception, cultivar and economic consideration. In various papaya-growing tracts of India,spacings are recommended as per papaya cultivars (7). High-density planting of papaya has increased the productivity per unit area and considerable information has been published (6, 8 and 12). A spacing of 1.8 m x 1.8m is normally followed for most of the cultivars. A closer spacing of 1.33 m x 1.33m (5,609 plants/ha) is optimum for Coorg Honey Dew. The spacing of 1.4m x 1.4m or 1.4m x 1.6m is best suited for cv. Pusa Delicious under subtropical condition of Bihar. Spacing of 1.6m x 1.6m gives highest yield of fruits as

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well as papain in Tamil Nadu. A closer spacing of 1.2m x 1.2m for Pusa Nanha is adopted for high-density orcharding, accommodating 64,000 plants/ha. Singh and Singh (13) suggested that 2.0m x 1.8m spacing is optimum plant density (OPD) for better canopy development, yield and fruit quality of papaya cv. Pusa Delicious under Uttar Pradesh condition (Figs 4 and 5).

Fig. 4. High-density planting in papaya

Fig. 5. Good yield of papaya can be obtained in high-density planting

Sex Expression and Thinning Recent studies confirmed precocious separation of one pair of chromosome with complete 9 : 9 chromosomal separation. The karyological analysis indicates that there is a satellite chromosome in male plant. This satellite chromosome determines sex in papaya (10) but homologue chromosome is not a satellite. According to Chaudhary et al. (5) leaves of male plants are rich in total carbohydrate, phosphorus and chlorophyll a and b than those of female plants, which are rich in nitrogen and potassium. The prediction of sex of nursery seedlings by chlorimetric test of leaf extracts was provided correct up to 88 per cent in case of female and 61 per cent in male (14). In dioecious varieties, male and female plants will be in a 1:1 ratio. Keeping 5 per cent male plants in the orchard for proper pollination, other male plants should be removed. Normally, male plants flower earlier than female ones and can easily be identified as they have pendulous, hanging and branched stalks. In gynodioecious varieties, stamens can be seen adhering to petals surrounding the ovary. Only one plant per pit should be retained. Fertilizer Application The development of nutrition management to maintain plant health and encourage successful fruiting in papaya depends on improving our understanding on the role of each nutrient on different components of growth. Papaya is a heavy feeder and adequate 168

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Papaya

manuring of young and mature plants is essential to maintain the growth and vigour of tree for regular high yields. The petiole analysis methodology proved satisfactory in fertilizer recommendation to papaya. The petiole from sixth fully opened leaf from top, 6 months after planting is found best indicator for the nutrient status of papaya. Critical limits of N, P and K have been workout which are 1.01 - 2.50 per cent, 220-400 mg/ g and 3.30 - 5.50 per cent, respectively. The importance of N for the growth of papaya was demonstrated by Awada (2) and Awada and Long (3 and 4). Application of N, P and K increased the concentration of respective elements in papaya petiole (11). The Ca and Mg content of petiole was not related in any way to applied N, P and K. Before planting, each pit should be filled with 10 kg well- decomposed farmyard manure / compost, Azospirillium (20 g) and Phosphobacterium (20 g), neem cake (20 kg) and bone-meal or fishmeal (1 kg). The following dose of fertilizers (Table 2) has been standardized to achieve the objective of precision farming. Table 2. Fertilizer dose for papaya plants
Fertilizer Nitrogen Phosphorus Potash (N) (P) (K) Form Urea Single superphosphate Muriate of potash Dose (g/plant/year) 250 250 500

These fertilizers should be applied in five split doses (after 4 moths of age) at twomonth intervals. Deficiency of lime and boron has often been observed in papaya orchards. Spraying of 0.5 per cent zinc sulphate (twice) and one spray of borax (0.1 per cent) may be done depending upon the nutrient status of soil. Irrigation Management Irrigation in papaya is empirical and not based on soil plant water relationship. It depends upon the soil and climatic conditions of specific region. Papaya is a shallowrooted crop and is highly sensitive to fluctuation of soil moisture. Prolonged moisture stress affects the growth and development, encouraging the production of male flower, leading to poor fruit set. Fruits of papaya produced in high rainfall and humid regions are usually larger than those grown in low rainfall regions irrespective of varieties. Lower moisture level shifts plants towards sterility and male floral characters, while higher moisture conditions results in excessive production of undesirable carpelloid types in which the stamens fuse with developing ovary, resulting in mishappened fruits. Trials taken up have revealed that irrigation at 60-80 per cent available soils moisture depletion is found optimum for papaya. 169

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The crop is extremely sensitive to collar rot under flood irrigation where water comes in direct contact with the trunk. In north Indian condition, papaya requires irrigation at 5-7 days intervals during summer and 15 days in winter. Low-volume, high frequency irrigation like drip irrigation is becoming increasingly popular in long-duration commercial crops and could be an alternative system of irrigation for papaya in order to efficient utilization of water which is becoming a scarce and costly input in recent years. Replenishment of evaporation losses under basin irrigation up to 100 per cent increased the yields although the yield difference between 75 and 100 per cent were not significant. The evapotranspirational loss was around 3,510 mm with 75 per cent of evaporation replenishment (28 months crop) (17). Whereas drip irrigation of papaya with 60 per cent of evaporation replenishment was found to be optimum. The water use with 60 per cent replenishment was around 2,985 mm. Restricting the water flow under drip irrigation by allowing the water to flow in pipes embedded in soil 30 cm away from the trunk on either side of the plant resulted in higher yields (Table 3). Daily irrigation of papaya with 2 emitters/plant placed midway between the trunk and skirtline was found to be ideal for papaya growing (17). The relative performance in papaya with drip irrigation in comparision to traditional system of irrigation is given in Table 4. Table 3. Growth, yield and water use of papaya in relation to irrigation frequency, number of emitters and their placement under drip irrigation
Treatment Plant Trunk Fruit Average Fruit yield height girth (m) number / fruit (tonnes/ha) (m) plant weight (kg) Irrigation frequency 2.46 0.36 36 1.32 116.5 2.31 0.32 31 1.24 110.2 Number of emitters 30 1.21 35 1.30 placement 30 1.12 34 1.20 Total soluble solids (0Brix) 12.6 12.8 Water-use efficiency (kg/ha/mm)

Drip daily Drip alternate day 1 emitter/plant 2 emitters/plant Emitter Skirtline Midway between trunk and skirtline

42.4 36.9

2.25 2.38

0.33 0.38

98.2 115.6

12.1 12.4

32.9 38.7

2.25 2.40

0.32 0.36

101.4 120.5

12.5 12.3

33.9 40.4

Source : Srinivas, K. (17)

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Table 4 Relative performance of papaya with drip irrigation in comparison with traditional irrigation method
Place Yield (q/ha) Irrigation water (cm) Drip Water-use efficiency (q/ha/cm) Advantage of drip irrigation

Surface Drip Surface

Surface Drip Saving of Increase in water (%) average yield (kg/plant) 0.6 13.0 3.20 34.8 68.5 54.2 43.5 18.5

Coimbatore Kalyani

130.0 312.0

230.0 383.0

228.0 24.0

73.0 11.0

Source : Approaches for Sustainable Development of Horticulture. Singh, H.P., Negi, J.P. and Samuel, J.C. (Eds), pp. 81-91.

Drainage and Productive Life Papaya plants are very much susceptible to waterlogging. Even 24 hours stagnation of water may kill the well-established orchard. Therefore, it is essential to make some furrows/ trenches for quick and complete drainage of water during rainy season. The profitable productive life of papaya is two-and-a-half years under north Indian conditions provided the crop is well-managed.

Intercrop
When papaya is grown as a main crop, all kinds of vegetables can be grown as intercrops for about six months from planting. Vegetables such as cowpea, tomato and clusterbean can be grown as intercrops. Papaya is itself grown as intercrop in combination with perennial fruit orchards where the spacing required for the main crop like mango, sapota, guava, lemon etc., is more than 5 m especially during early periods of orchard establishment.

PLANT PROTECTION Insect Pests


Papaya is not preferred host for many species of insects. But, a few insects like scales, mealy bugs, aphids and thrips have been reported infesting it. Scale insects and mealy bugs on stem and leaves are effectively controlled by spraying of malathion 50 EC 4 ml/litre (or) methyl demeton 25 EC (2 ml/litre of water). Aphids can be controlled to a large extent by keeping the papaya orchard relatively 171

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free of weeds. In severe attacks, methyl demeton 25 EC 2 ml/litre or Demeton 30 EC (2 ml/litre) can be used. Thrips are controlled by spraying of methyl demeton 25 EC (2 ml/litre). Mite incidence may be occasionally noted especially during summer. It can be controlled by spraying of kelthane (1 g/litre of water).

Diseases
Collar rot and wilt: Wilting of young seedlings and grown-up plants in main field is a common problem. This occurs mainly due to the incidence of Pythium aphenidermatum and Photophthora palmivora. One per cent Brdeaux mixture or copper oxychloride (2 g/litre of water) may be used to drench the nursery bags (25 ml/ bag) to protect against wilting of (damping off) young seedlings. Prior to commencement of heavy monsoon rains, soil around plants in the main field may be drenched with any one of the above chemicals at the rate of 2 litres/plant. Metalaxyl @ 2 g/litre can also be drenched 2-4 times at 15 days intervals. Water stagnation should be avoided. Anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloesporioides) : It is on eof the major diseases of papaya affecting fruits and leaves in most of papaya-growing areas. The initial symptoms are small, round, water-soaked areas on fruits which later develop into sunken or concentric lesions. The disease also affects the petioles of lower leaves leading to their shedding. Papaya grown in dry areas is usually less affected than those grown in high rainfall areas. Good control of anthracnose can be achieved by spraying the fruits on tree with copper oxychloride or Mancozeb @ 2 g/ litre. Powdery Mildew (Oidium caricae): The fungus is found mostly growing on upper surface of leaves, withdrawing nutrients from cells of the leaf surface. Under severe attack of powdery mildew, the top portion of seedlings may die. It can be controlled by spraying of wettable sulphur @ 2g/ litre.

Viral Diseases
Three major viral diseases namely mosaic, leaf curl and ring spot are commonly found in most of the regions of papaya cultivation. Of these, papaya ring spot virus is common in north India, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Of late it has become a major threat to papaya production in several tracts. The plant should be watched carefully for any virus like symptoms and removed and destroyed as soon as symptoms appear. It is better to avoid seeds or planting material from virus prevalent areas and unknown

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sources. The virus is usually transmitted by any form of aphids and these vectors should be controlled by employing systemic insecticides such as methyl demeton 25 EC or dimethoate 30 EC @ 2ml/litre.

Nematodes
Root knot (Meloidogyne sp.) and Reniform (Rotylenchulus reniformis) can damage the root system and cause yield reductions. Nematodes can be contolled by the application of carbofuran 3 G @ 3 g/polybag at nursery stage and 15-20 g/plant in the main field. Neem cake 250g + carbufuran 1g a.i. + Pseudomonas fluorescens formulation (4 g) can be applied in each pit. Incorporation of neem cake in nursery stage and in main field greatly reduces nematode incidence.

HARVESTING AND YIELD


The fruits should be left on tree until they fully mature. Usually fruits are harvested when they are of full size, light green with tinge of yellow at apical end. On ripening, fruits of certain varieties turn yellow white while some of them remain green. When the latex ceases to be milky and become watery, the fruits become suitable for harvesting. While picking fruits from the tree, care must be taken that they are not scratched, and are free from any blemishes, otherwise they are attacked by fungus and start decaying during marketing. The fruit yield of papaya varies widely according to variety, soil, climate and management of the orchard. On an average each plant of improved varieties bear 30-50 fruits, weighing 40-75 kg in one fruiting season. Being perishable in nature a good crop may fail, if, harvesting of fruits is not done properly. The fruits should be left on trees until they are fully mature, but pick them up before they soften, otherwise, it is difficult to protect fruits from birds and to market them without spoilage.

CONCLUSION
The future looks quite bright for papaya. However, there are certain apprehensions which need to be addressed. The first and foremost is the clonal propagation of papaya, not only for nursery raising but it attains special significance for maintaining varietal purity/ homogenity. Improve the availability of quality seed by increasing production of quality seeds of improved varieties/hybrids. Emphasis needs to be given on popularization of high-yielding / disease resistant varieties bred by ICAR institute and universities. Expand area under improved varieties. Develop area-specific package of practices and intensify transfer of technology programme on latest available production and post-

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harvest technologies. Approaches and strategies for precision farming is one ray of hope to resolve most of the issues related to production and productivity of papaya.

REFERENCES
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Allan, P., Charley, J. M. C. and Biggs, D. (1987). Environmental effects on clonal female and male Carica papaya L. plants. Sci.Hort. 32 : 22132. Awada, M. (1977). Relations of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilization to nutrient composition of petiole and growth of papaya. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 102 : 413-18. Awada, M. and Long, C. (1978). Relation of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization on fruiting and petiole composition of Solo papaya. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 103 : 217-19. Awada, M. and Long, C. (1980). Nitrogen and potassium fertilization effects on fruiting and petiole composition of 24-48 months old papaya plants. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 105:505-7. Choudhaery, R.S., Garg, O.K. and Borah, P. C. (1957). Physiological changes in relation to sex in papaya (C. papaya L.). Phyton. 9: 137-41. Kohli, R. R., Biswas, S. R., Ramachander, P. R. and Reddy, Y. T. N. (1986). Systematic design for a spacing trial with Coorg Honey Dew papaya. Indian J. Hort. 43: 88-93. Muthukrishnan, C. R. and Irrulappan, J. (1990). Papaya. In : FruitsTropical and Subtropical, pp. 314-15. Bose, T. K. (Ed.). Naya Prakash, Calcutta. Purohit, A. G. (1981). Growing papaya the proper way. Indian Hort. 25 : 3-5. Ram M. (1983). Some aspects of genetics, cytogenetics and breeding of papaya. South Indian Horticulture 31: 34-43. Ram, M. (1982). Studies on genetical cytogenetical and some breeding aspects of papaya (Carica papaya L.). Ph.D. Thesis, Agra University, Agra. Reddy, Y.T.N., Kohli, R.R. and Bhargava, B.S. (1988). Growth of papaya and petiole nutrient composition in relation to N, P and K fertilization. Gartenbauwissenschaft 53: 92-95. Singh, A. K. and Singh, Gorakh (1998). Effect of time of planting on growth, fruiting behaviour and sex relations of papaya (Carica papaya L.). Indian J. agric. Sci. 68: 769-72. Singh, A. K. and Singh, Gorakh (1999). Canopy development and yield efficiency of papaya in different plant densities. In : Plant Physiology for Sustainable Agriculture, pp. 321-26. Srivastava, G.C.; Singh, K. and Pal, M. (Eds) Pointer Publishers, Popular Offset Services, Jaipur. Singh, R. N., Majumadar, P. K. and Sharma, D. K. (1961). Sex determination in papaya, seedling identification in nursery stage by colorimetric test. Hort. Adv. 5: 63-70. Singh, R. N., Rao, O. P. and Singh, Gorakh (1985). A new approach to papaya propagation. Curr. Sci. 54 : 1189-90.

14. 15.

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16. 17.

Singh, R. N., Singh, Gorakh and Rao, O. P. (1986). Vegetative propagation of papaya through budding. Indian J. Hort. 43: 1-8. Srinivas, K. (1996). Growth, yield and water use of papaya under drip irrigation. Indian J. Hort. 53: 19-22.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

13

APPROACHES AND STRATEGIES FOR PRECISION FARMING IN AONLA


R. K. Pathak 1, D. Pandey2 , Gorakh Singh3 and Dushyant Mishra4

Aonla or Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) is indigenous to Indian subcontinent. Owing to hardy nature, suitability to various wastelands, high productivity and nutritive and therapeutic values, aonla has become an important fruit. In fact, aonla, in its processed form is very popular among the social elites. As an indigenous fruit, it has extensive adaptability to grow in diverse climatic and soil conditions ranging from western and eastern Himalayas, Arawali, Vindhyan and southern hills. The climate ranges from hot tropical plains to humid subtropical mid-elevation hills is suitable for its cultivation. It is successfully raised in arid, semi-arid, coastal and warm temperate conditions. Similarly, it grows well in saline, alkaline, and degraded as well as in sandy, red and clay soils. Mature plant can withstand tepmperature as high as 460C, as well as freezing temperature as low as 00C. Aonla seedlings have shown excellent salt tolerance up to ESP (Exchangeable Sodium Percentage) 43.5 and Ec 10 mmhos/cm.

CURRENT STATUS AND PROJECTIONS


India ranks first in the world in area and production. Apart from India, naturally growing aonla trees are also found in different parts of the world like Sri Lanka, Cuba, Puerto Rico, USA (Hawaii and Florida), Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, China, Malaysia, Bhutan, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Trinidad, Panama and Japan. The major aonlagrowing states in India are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh ranks first in area and production. The major producing areas in Uttar Pradesh are Pratapgarh, Raibareli, Varanasi, Jaunpur, Sultanpur, Kanpur, Fatehpur, Agra and Mathura districts. In Madhya Pradesh, major aonla-producing regions are Dewas, Hoshangabad, Shiwani, Tikamgarh, Betul, Chindwara, Shivapurkala, Panna, Rewa and Satna. In Haryana, aonla is mainly grown in Bewal and Gurugaon areas. In Karnataka, Bilgiri Rangan Hills in Mysore is aonla-producing area. In Tamil Nadu, concentrated
1Director, 2,3Senior Scientists, 4 Scientist, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow 227 107, India

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Aonla

production is around Salem and Dindugal. In Himachal Pradesh, aonla is grown in Palampur, Bilaspur and Hamirpur areas. All India estimates of area and production of cultivated aonla during 1999-2000 are about 50,000 ha and 1,10,000 tonnes, respectively. Uttar Pradesh is the largest producer of cultivated aonla, with an annual production of about 63,000 tonnes from an area of about 15,700 ha with an average productivity of 4.0 tonnes/ha. The second and third largest states in terms of area are Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The highest productivity of aonla (5.2 tonnes/ha) is reported from Haryana, whereas lowest from Rajasthan (1.2 tonnes/ha) (Table 1). Table 1. Area, productivity and production of aonla (1999-2000)
State Area (ha) Uttar Pradesh Gujarat Rajasthan Maharashtra Haryana Mizoram Tamil Nadu Andhra Pradesh Karnataka Bihar Others Total 15,750 10,050 5,000 4,000 600 70 5,500 3,000 1,800 1,350 2,500 50,000 Productivity (tonnes/ha) 4.0 1.5 1.2 1.4 5.2 2.9 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 Production (tonnes) 63,000 12,000 6,000 5,600 3,100 200 8,250 4,500 2,700 2,000 3,750 1,11,100

Source: Market Study of Aonla (UPLDC Nov. 2002).

Forests have been the traditional source of aonla. Traders, researchers and NGOs working in forest areas indicated that major collection of aonla is done from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. In relatively smaller quantities, it is also collected from the forests of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. The supply from forest area in the major states is given in Table 2.

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Table 2. Supply estimation of forest aonla produce (1999-2000)


State Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh) Karnataka Uttar Pradesh Himachal Pradesh Others Total Production (tonnes) 35,000 3,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 41,000

All-India Production/Supply
Year-to-year fluctuations in productions are largely influenced by variations in yield caused by rainfall and weather aberrations. However, long-term trend in growth of production of aonla is largely influenced by growth in area through new plantations and improvement in yield due to better management of orchards. As rainfall and weather are assumed to be normal for the projected period, growth in area and yield, are important determinants of production in future. There are two possible methods for projecting production, i.e. (a) using the trends as observed in the past, and (b) using growth in area and yield, as estimated through new plantations. Based on projected growth rates of area and yield (Table 3), it is expected that production of aonla in country will reach the level of 2,72,089 tonnes by the year 201112. This translates into an increase of about 51.2 per cent in a period of 10 years, over the existing base level production of 1,80,000 tonnes in 2001-02. Current Status and Demand The domestic consumers provide major market to aonla. Increasing health consciousness of middle income group consumers and growing popularity of alternate medicine, health foods and herbal products are enhancing the requirement of aonla. The demand of aonla generated from different product segments, i.e. household usage, health food, herbal medicines, food products, personal care and export are increasing very fast. PRECISION TECHNOLOGIES FOR IMPROVED PRODUCTION Attributes of Ideal Aonla Varieties
!

Dwarf tree stature which can be accommodated 4-5 m apart. 178

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Aonla

Table 3. Projected area, production and yield of aonla in India during 2002-03 to 2011-12
Year 2001-2002 (base year) Growth rate for next 5 years (%) 2002-2003 2003-2004 2004-2005 2005-2006 2006-2007 Growth rate for next 5 years (%) 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 Area (ha) 51,500 2.8 52,942 54,424 55,948 57,515 59,125 2.8 60,781 62,483 64,232 66,031 67,879 Production (tonnes) 180,000 4.7 188,064 196,354 204,876 213,636 222,642 4.4 231,993 241,606 251,488 261,646 272,089 Yield (kg/ha) 3,495 1.6 3,552 3,608 3,662 3,714 3,766 1.3 3,817 3,867 3,915 3,963 4,008

Source: Market Study of Aonla (UPLDC-Nov. 2002) ! ! ! ! !

Precocious and prolific bearing. Medium-to large-sized fruits (60-80 g/fruit). Less fiber content and good self-life. Self fruitful variety with stiff branches. Resistance/tolerance to fruit cracking, necrosis and diseases like rust and anthracnose.

Selection of Suitable Varieties Although a large number of varieties are known in India, the commercial cultivation revolves around only a few of them such as Kanchan (NA 4), Krishna (NA 5), NA 6, NA 7 and NA 10. The salient features of these varieties are given below: Kanchan (NA 4) : A seedling selection from Chakaiya, it is heavy and regular bearer (7.7 female flowers/branchlet) with medium-sized fruits and higher fibre content (Fig. 1). It is mostly preferred by industries for pulp extraction and manufacturing of 179

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Table 4. Demand projections of aonla during Tenth Five-Year Plan


Category of aonla Base level Assumed of growth rate demand 2002-03 Household Health food Herbal pharmaceutical Food products Personal care Export 61,500 36,500 26,000 8,500 11,500 6,500 4.24 4.48 4.24 4.48 4.24 4.48 4.00 4.27 64,108 38,135 27,102 8,881 11,988 6,791 32,760 189,765 Demand during Tenth Five-Year Plan (tonnes) 2003-04 66,826 39,844 28,252 9,279 12,496 7,095 34,070 197,861 2004-05 69,659 41,629 29,449 9,649 13,026 7,413 35,433 206,304 2005-06 72,613 43,434 30,698 10,129 13,578 7,745 36,851 215,107 2006-07 75,692 45,442 32,000 10,582 14,154 8,092 38,325 224,286

Transit losses and 31,500 storage Total 182,000

Source: Market Study of Aonla (UPLDC-Nov. 2002)

various products. This variety is adopted very well in semi-arid region of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Krishna (NA 5) : A seedling selection from Banarasi, NA 5 is an early-bearer (October-November). It has large fruit, smooth skin and whitish green to apricot yellow surface with red spot on exposed surface (Fig. 2). Flesh pinkish green, less fibrous, highly astringent and having moderate keeping quality. It is an ideal variety for preserve, candy and aonla juice. NA 6 : This is a selection from Chakaiya, possess all the desirable attributes. The fruits are attractive and shining, medium-to large-sized, flattened and less fibrous (Fig. 3). It has heavy bearing capacity and is highly suitable for candy, preserve, jam and sauce. NA 7 : A seedling selection of Frencis having precocius and prolific regularbearer (9.7 female flowers/branchlet). The incidence of necrosis has never been observed. Fruits are medium to large-sized with conical apex. This variety has adopted well in Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It is 180

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recommended for making of chavanprash, chuteny, pickle, jam and squash preparation (Fig. 4). NA 10 : This is a selection from Banarasi. It is an early-maturing and its fruits are medium-to large-sized, flatten with roundish styler end. It has heavy bearing capacity and suitable for dehydration and pickle (Fig. 5). Multiplication of Genuine Planting Material Aonla plants raised through seeds have slow growth, long juvenile period and do not produce true- to-type fruits. Therefore, only vegetatively propagated genuine planting material should be planted. Aonla is successfully propagated through patch or modified ring budding from mid-May to September with 60-100 per cent success. Considering the efficacy of single bud, budding is an ideal method of propagation. Six months to one-year-old seedlings obtained from desi and sometimes even from cultivated varieties are used for rootstock. Sincere efforts are required for selection of ideal rootstock in aonla. Ideal rootstock should have following characteristics:
! ! !

Dwarfing influence on scion variety. Resistance/tolerance to abiotic stress, viz. sodic/saline, moisture stress and damp soils. Efficient utilization of macro/micronutrients.

Mature aonla fruits are collected during January-February and their seeds are extracted after drying. Seeds are sown in raised beds April onward and these are transplanted in separate beds for subsequent budding. Polythene bags of 35cm x 15cm x 24cm size are best for growing rootstocks (1). The plants transplanted in polythene bags have maximum rate of survival. The post field planting losses are hardly 1.5-2 per cent against 25-30 per cent in case of ball of earth. Generally, better results are obtained by putting the plants in polyshed. After budding within 21 days, the sprouting takes place and the growth picked up. However, there is a need to modernized nursery through:
! ! !

Establish of separate mother block from elite clones of promising varieties of the region. Manage mother block scientifically in such a way that healthy scion shoots are available round the years. Standardize media, use of containers for year round multiplication with the aid of poly and net house facilities. 181

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182

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Aonla !

Standardize micropropagation techniques for quick multiplication by newlydeveloped varieties.

Planting Techniques Budded aonla plants are planted 7-10m apart during July-August or February. However, planting at a distance of 6m x 6m or 6m x 4m or 5m x 5m are ideal to get high yield and quality fruits. These densities are being commonly used for planting in different parts of India. The pits of 75cm x 75cm x 75cm size are dug 2 months prior to planting. In each pit, 3-4 basket (25-40kg) of well-rotten farmyard manure and 1kg neem cake or 500g bone-meal are mixed with 50 per cent of top soil and filled. In sodic soil, 5-8 kg gypsum along with 20 kg sand is also incorporated. Filled pits are irrigated thoroughly if there is no rains. The budded plants with their earth balls should be taken and placed in the centre of the pit by excavating the soil to accommodate the earth ball. It is better to adjust at same depth at which it was in the nursery. The moist soil of the pit is then pressed around the earth ball. Light irrigations are given just after planting. In order to establish aonla orchards particularly under adverse soil conditions, it is desirable to grow seedlings directly in the pits and perform budding (in-situ) at uniform height. Aonla scion shoots can be safely stored/transported in moist moss grass/ moist new paper for 5-7 days with good success. Self-incompatibility in aonla is a common problem among various cultivars, hence two varieties in alternate rows are planted for higher productivity. Planting of mixed varieties results in better yield. The best combination is NA 6 with NA 7, NA 7 with NA 10 and Kanchan with Krishna. Training and Pruning Aonla plant should be encouraged to develop a medium headed tree. The main branches should be allowed to appear at a height of 0.75-1.0 m above the ground level. Plant should be trained to modify central leader system. Two to four branches with wide crotch angle, appearing in the opposite directions should be encouraged in early years. The unwanted branches are pinched off during March-April. In a subsequent years, 4-6 branches should be allowed to develop. Regular pruning of a bearing aonla tree is not required. As per growth habit, shedding of all determinate shoots encourages new growth in coming season. However, dead, infested, broken, weak or overlapping branches and suckers appearing from rootstock should be removed regularly. Top-working Old and unproductive trees of Banarsi, Francis and desi type can be rejuvenated and easily changed into superior type by top-working. The plants are headed back 183

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a c

Fig. 6. Top-working in aonla. (a) Newly-emerged shoots on beheaded branches, (b) patch budded shoots, (c) new developing canopy, as a result of top-working.

during December-January to the extent of 3-4 m above ground level (leaving 4-6 main cut limbs in all the directions). The cut portion of the trees is then pasted with the tree paste (cowdung + soil) to avoid infection of fungal diseases. Four to six shoots from the outer directions in main limbs should be allowed to develop. During June-July, patch budding with superior variety is done on each selected shoot. After sprouting, the top portion of the shoot is removed. Care should be taken to manage the insect pest problems as these plants are prone to insect and sometimes wind damage (Figs 6a,b and c). Manuring and Fertilizer Though no systematic work has been done on nutritional requirement of aonla fruits. However, fertilizer dose depends upon soil fertility, age of plant and production. Recommendation based on visual experience and personal communication, fertilizer and manure can be recommended to aonla plant for better production efficiency. Fertilizer application during the first year of planting may be given 10kg FYM, 100g nitrogen, 184

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50g phosphorus, 100g potash per plant. This dose should be increased every year up to 10 years in the multiple of first year dose. Thus, a 10-year-old and above trees may get a fertilizer dose of 100g nitrogen + 500g phosphorous + 1000g potash along with 1,000kg FYM. Fifty per cent of urea and entire phosphorous and potash should be given during January-February before flowering and the rest of the nitrogen during the end of August. The manure and mixture of fertilizers should be spread under the entire canopy of tree and it should be incorporated well in the surface soil with the help of spade. Light irrigation should be given immediately after fertilizer application. In sodic soil, 100g each of boron, zinc sulphate and copper sulphate should also be incorporated along with fertilizer as per the tree age and vigour. Besides, two sprays of micronutrient (August/ September), viz. B, Zn, Cu (0.4 per cent) along with hydrated lime is helpful in reducing fruit drop, improving fruit quality and reduction in fruit necrosis particularly in Francis. Efficient Water Management Established aonla orchards in general do not require irrigation particularly in normal soil. Aonla plantation is highly susceptible to waterlogging, hence care should be taken to save the plantation from excess of waterlogging condition particularly during rainy season (2). No irrigation is required during rainy and winter season too. However, irrigation at an interval of 15-20 days is desirable in dry summer particularly during early years of orchard establishment under wasteland conditions. Brakish water should not be used for irrigation. In the bearing plantation, first irrigation should be given just after manure and fertilizer application (January-February). Irrigation should be avoided during flowering (mid-March to mid-April). Irrigation at 15-20 days interval should be given after fruit set (AprilJune). Among various irrigation systems, basin system is well suited for aonla. Recently, drip irrigation has shown promising response in aonla (Fig. 7). Drip irrigation at 60 CPE was found very effective over the control in improving number of fruits, yield/ plant and fruit quality. Fig. 7. Aonla plantation under drip irrigation 185

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Plant height, canopy spread and stock girth have been found significantly better under alternate day drip irrigation over the conventional method (4). With the use of drip irrigation yield of 30kg/tree is achieved in third year itself in gravelly soil against 20 kg/ tree in 4-5 years in rainfed aonla orchards (1). Mulching Mulching with organic wastes has been found very effective for establishment of aonla orchard. Various mulches in aonla orchard in sodic soil were found better with paddy straw, sugarcane trash, coconut husk and FYM. Apart from increasing growth and yield, it also improves organic matter content, infiltration rate, restricting the upward movement of soluble salts and thus escaping their toxicity menace in salt affected soil. Among various mulching materials, black polythene and paddy straw proved best materials in respect of yield, number of fruits, nutrient status, water-use efficiency and soil microbial population (6 and 4). Aonla-based Cropping System During initial 2-3 years of planting aonla groves present an excellent opportunity for utilizing vacant interspace in the orchards. Aonla being a deep rooted, deciduous tree with sparse foliage is an ideal plant amicable for 2 or 3-tier cropping system. Fruits (guava, caronda and ber), vegetables (bottle gourd, okra, cauliflower and coriander), flowers (gladiolus and marigold) and medicinal and aromatic plants are well suited for intercropping in aonla orchards. Some models are aonla + ber (2-tier), aonla + guava (2-tier), aonla + ber + phalsa (3-tier), aonla + sesbania + wheat or barley, aonla + sesbania + onion/garlic + fenugreek/brinjal and aonla + sesbania + german chamomile. PEST AND DISEASE MANAGEMENT Among pests, bark-eating caterpillar, shoot-gall maker, mealy bug, leaf-rolling catterpillar and pomegranate butter fly are major constraints in aonla production.

Pest Management
Bark-eating catterpiller (Interbela tetraonis): It is a serious polyphagous pest, which attacks on guava, mango, jackfruit and aonla. Larvae and caterpillars nibble the tree bark, it breaks continuity of sap flow, which results in poor growth and fruiting. Silken webs consisting excreta and chewed particles can be seen particularly near the junction of two branches. The pest can be managed through clean cultivation, avoiding the over-crowding of branches, killing the larvae by inserting iron spoke or injecting dichlorovas or endosulphon 186

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Aonla

0.05% plastered with mud in the holes. Shoot-gall maker (Betonsa stylophora): Nursery plants and old bearing trees are infested by caterpillar during July-September. It forms a tunnel in the shoot and infested portion bulge abruptly into galls. The affected shoots do not grow and a number of side shoots appear. Galled shoots should be collected and destroyed, over-crowding of branches should be discouraged and monocrotophos (0.05%) should be sprayed during JulyAugust. Mealy bug (Nipaecocus vastator) : Nymph and adults have been reported infecting aonla orchards from April to November. Organophosphates provide excellent control of this insect. Monocrotophos (0.04%) or malathion (0.08) or methyl parathion (0.03%) are affective as spray. Leaf-rolling catterpillar (Garcillario acidula): This caterpillar roll the leaf and feed inside reducing the photosynthetic capacity of leaves and causes leaf sheding. It can be effectively controlled by spraying of malathion (0.08%) or monocrotophos (0.04%). Pomegranate butter fly (Virachola isocrates): It lays eggs on young fruits, caterpillars bore into the fruits and feed on developing seed. It makes a hole in fruit, which facilitates the infection of microorganisms resulting in rotting of fruit. Pomegranate and guava being major host plants, should be discouraged close to aonla orchard. Infested fruits should be collected and destroyed. Spray of monocrotophos (0.04%) or endosulphon (0.05%) is effective during July-August. Diseases Management Aonla rust (Ravellia emblicae): It is a serious disease of aonla, characterized by appearance of brown pustules on leaves and fruits, which become dark brown to black in colour. Affected fruits may drop before reaching to maturity. In case of severe infection spraying of dithane Z-78 (0.2%) or indofil-45 0.2 (%) is effective in minimizing the incidence. Two applications during August-September are effective. HARVESTING AND POST-HARVEST MANAGEMENT The change in seed colour from creamy white to brown is indicative of fruit maturity.

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However, Singh (5) defined the other maturity indices like specific gravity (1.07-1.10), TSS/ acid ratio (5-6), ground colour (change to dull grenish yellow), fiber appears on seed cover and seed colour from creamy white initiate to brown. Fully developed fruits which show sign of maturity are harvested. This helps in size gain of remaining fruits. Delay in harvesting results in heavy drop of fruits and also affect the bearing in following years. Individual fruits are plucked by hand wherever possible and by climbing on trees with the help of the ladder. Harvesting should be done early or late hours to reduced field heat. Yield The fruiting in aonla starts in three years in grafted tree, whereas seedling trees take 6-8 years. Budded plants attain full bearing in 10-12 years and may continue to bear up to 60-75 years of age under well-managed conditions. The yield varies greatly in aonla cultivars. NA 6, Krishna and NA 10 are average bearer, while Kanchan and NA 7 are prolific bearer. Aonla tree may produce 1-3 q fruits/tree/year. Grading Aonla fruits should be graded into three grades on the basis of size and appearance for getting attractive price. Large-sized fruits (4.0 cm and abaove and free from blemishes), medium-sized fruit (less than 4.0 cm and free from blemishes) and blemished and necrotic fruits. Packing and Storage Gunny bags and baskets are used for packing of aonla fruit though they have poor dimentional stability as well as staking strength, yet they are the prime packaging containers for aonla fruits. Basket made from pigeonpea stems and jute gunny bags of 40-50kg capacity with newspaper lining and aonla leaves as a cushioning materials. Aonla fruits can be stored for 6-9 days at ambient temperatures. However, with salt solution (10-15 per cent), they can be stored up to 75 days. Processing Aonla fruits because of high acidity and astringent taste are not palatable for direct consumption. It is consumed mainly in the processed form. The excellent nutritive and therapeutic values of its fruits offer great potential for processing into several quality products. In general, aonla fruits are utilized for three purposes. They are : As food item: RTS, nectar, squash, syrup, jam, preserve, candy, pickle, sauce, chutney, dehydrated shreads etc. 188

Approaches and Strategies for Precision Farming in Aonla

Ayurvedic preparation: Chavanprash, trifla, trifla prash, trifla mashy, trifla churn, amalaki grith, brahad dhatri lauh, madhumeh churn, brahad dhatri ghrit, maahatikat ghrit, bavasir nashak mahausidhi etc. Cosmetic and industrial uses : Hair oil, shampoos, tooth powder and in tanning industries. ISSUES CONCERNING MARKETING There are several aspects regarding marketing of aonla, that need to be addressed so that the atmosphere is conducive for its growth. These are:
!

Market integration
$ $

Spatial integration Temporal integration

! ! ! ! ! !

Marketing infrastructure Absence of grower cooperative Lack of information Post-harvest, processing and other techniques Marketing extension Patents and Intellectual Property Right (IPR).

CONCLUSION Aonla cultivation is gaining popularity due to its commercial attractiveness to growers. It presents with tremendous commercial possibilities to growers in different agroclimatic zones, such as dry regions of arid zones, salt affected soils and in ravines. It has been successfully attempted and demonstrated also in saline land. Such land offers vary vast potential to undertake aonla cultivation. The following points need to be considered for better output and profit.
! ! ! !

Identification of right variety. Supply of elite and quality plant. Demand-driven expansion of area. There is an increasing trend for consumption of aonla based products owing to its therapeutic value, hence technologies for organic/biodynamic production of aonla

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based cropping need to be standardized.


!

In the production season, often there is glut in the market, and farmers are forced to market their produce at throwaway price. There is a need to standardize techniques of storage of whole fruit and pulp with minimum use of chemicals. Develop processing technology of aonla into new products and improving of traditional foods made from them, such as, low sugar containing Chavanprash. Study prevailing post-harvest technologies of aonla and devise improvement and develop technologies suitable under Indian conditions. Development of processing technology for the production of intermediate and finished product/ production including design and building of prototype equipment/ pilot plants. Update processing, packing and storage technologies for all major processed products so that they meet International Standards. Development of new cost-effective packaging for food products both domestic and export purposes. Standardization of various factors such as bacteriological standards, preservation standards, additives, pesticide residue etc. Design and development of equipments for manufacture of products, development of new inexpensive packaging techniques and equipments, analysis of existing packaging methods, materials, processes, quality control norms, studies on improvement in currently used systems and newer packaging possibilities.
Mehta, S.S. (2002). A case study on development of aonla in Tamil Nadu. In : Approaches for Sustainable Development of Horticulture. Singh, H.P., Negi, J.P. and Samuel, J.C. (Eds), pp. 160-63. Pathak, R.K. (2000). Aonla. In : Handbook of Horticulture, pp. 115-18. Chadha, K.L. (Ed.). DIPA, ICAR, New Delhi. Rao, V.K. and Pathak, R.K. (1998). Effect of mulches on aonla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) orchard in sodic soil. Indian J. Hort. 55: 27-32. Shukla, A.K., Pathak, R.K., Tiwari, R.P., Vishal Nath (2000). Influence of irrigation and mulching on plant growth and leaf nutrient status of aonla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) under sodic soil. J. Appl. Hort. 2 :37-38.

! ! !

! ! ! !

REFERENCES
1.

2. 3. 4.

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5. 6.

Singh, I.S. (1997). Aonla: An Industrial Profile. Department of Horticulture, NDUA & T, Kumarganj, Faizabad. Suhail, M. (1998). Efficiency of drip irrigation and mulching in aonla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.). Ph. D. Thesis, NDUA & T, Kumarganj, Faizabad.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

14
U.B. Pandey1

PRECISION FARMING IN ONION

Onion is an important commercial vegetable crop grown almost all over the country. It is consumed by the common masses round the year. As fresh, it is used as salad and cooked in various ways. Dehydrated products of onions are also now being used domestically. Onions are also being exported both in fresh and dehydrated forms. The total annual production of onion is about 55 lakh tonnes. Annual requirement including export is about 47-48 lakh tonnes. Its consumption is, however, increasing and it is expected that by the year 2020, the total requirement will be 120 lakh tonnes. Presently productivity of onion in India is about 11 tonnes/ha which is quite low. The experimental findings on the productivity are 25-30 tonnes/ha. If, we are to make available 120 lakh tonnes of onion for meeting domestic and export requirements, we shall have to increase our productivity. There are many recommendations available on improved varieties, production technologies and also post-harvest technologies. Government of India has initiated many developmental schemes for improving production and productivity as also reducing losses. If farmers adopt new technologies with precision, the productivity and production certainly could be increased. Precision farming in India in the real sense is yet to take up in its specific terms for commercial cultivation of crops in open fields. In general, if, all the specific findings of the researchers for cultivation of a particular crop are followed with precision, it can also be called as precision farming. Precision farming in other countries has emerged as a management practice with the potential to increase yield, reduce cost of cultivation and thereby increasing profit by utilizing more precise information about all resources. This means management of all input variables, such as application rate, selection of cultivar and cultivation practices including irrigation scheduling. In other countries, technology has now been developed where field information controlled and monitored about every 3' in the field at a reasonable cost. Pesticide can be applied only in areas of pest infestation, thereby reducing the quantity of pesticide applied. Fertilizer can be applied where needed. Plant population may be chosen to optimize soil nutrients, while
1Director,

National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation, Nasik (MS)

Precision Farming in onion

varietal selection to take advantage of the field conditions. Crop yield can be monitored to create maps with high and low production areas in a field for improved management decisions. In a crop planted in row, following operations require decisions with precision. ! Selection of variety / seed ! Fertilizer application rate and time for application ! Date of planting, population and depth ! Cultural practices ! Irrigation scheduling and various methods ! Pesticide application rate and time ! Harvesting and curing (time and further operations) The details of specific recommendations for precision farming with a view to get good yield of quality bulbs in onion are given below : PRECISION FARMING IN ONION Selection of Variety Common onion is produced normally in two seasons, i.e. kharif and rabi. The varieties are different for both the seasons and as such for good yield of quality bulbs, only those varieties should be selected which are recommended for a particular season. Agrifound Dark Red, Baswant 780 and Arka Kalyan are improved varieties for kharif and Agrifound Light Red, Pusa Red, N-2-4-1 and Arka Niketan are recommended for rabi season. It may be added here that kharif varieties, if, planted in rabi may produce premature bolters, whereas rabi varieties, if, planted in kharif may not develop bulbs due to difference in their day length requirement. Since rabi varieties require more day length 12-13 hr, do not develop in kharif where day lengths are shorter at the time of bulb development. Use of Seed In the market, seeds of improved as well as local varieties are available. Further, seeds are available in loose conditions and also in packed with proper labeling. To make sure that seed is genetically pure and has good germination and vigour, it is necessary to purchase and use labeled seed of improved variety from genuine sources. Seeding/Transplanting Dropping of individual seeds at a predetermined spacing within a row produces a crop of uniform shape and size and less culls, thus higher yield of desired size. Similarly, transplanting at proper spacing is a must for getting good yield of quality bulbs. Direct 193

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seeders are available in other countries. In India NDDB, New Delhi, and M/s Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd., Jalgaon, have also imported direct seeding machines which have been found quite useful in direct sowing of onion seeds. It may be mentioned that direct sowing gives crop one month earlier which may be beneficial to farmers in kharif all over the country in getting better price and in rabi in Eastern India where farmers suffer badly on account of rains in May. In direct seeding planters are often used with coated / pellated seeds. It is necessary to drop seeds at 2-2.5 cm depth. At this depth, good global round-shaped bulbs develop. Shallow planting results in flatten bulbs and deeper seed placement results in latten or top-shaped bulbs. Similar depth should be maintained for transplanting also. Further, it is better to have raised beds for good uniform bulb development. Time of sowing / transplanting also affects yield and quality. June-July sowing and July-August transplanting for late-kharif onion, August-September sowing and September-October transplanting for late-kharif, October-November sowing and December-January transplanting in rabi crop give good yield and quality. Early planting gives bolting and late planting particularly in rabi results in production of small bulbs. The details of recommended sowing, transplanting and harvesting timings of onion in different states are given in Table 1. Table 1. Sowing, transplanting and harvesting times of onion in different parts of India.
Time of sowing Time of transplanting Time of harvesting Maharashtra and some parts of Gujarat Kharif May-Jun Jul-Aug Oct-Dec Early-rabi or late-kharif Aug-Sep Oct-Nov Jan-Mar Rabi Oct-Nov Dec-Jan Apr-May Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh Early-kharif Feb-Apr Apr-Jun Jul-Sep Kharif May-Jun Jul-Aug Oct-Dec Rabi Sep-Oct Nov-Dec Mar-Apr Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar Kharif May-Jun Jul-Aug Nov-Dec Rabi West Bengal and Orissa Kharif Jun-Jul Aug-Sep Nov-Dec Late-kharif Aug-Sep Oct-Nov Feb-Mar Hills Rabi Sep-Oct. Oct-Nov Jun-Jul Summer (long day type) Nov-Dec Feb-Mar Aug-Oct Season

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Spacing A spacing of 15 cm x 10 cm is recommended for getting 5-6 cm sized bulbs, 10 cm x 5 cm for medium-sized bulbs and 8 cm x 5 cm for small onions. Accordingly, spacing should be selected for different sized onions as required in domestic / export markets. Nursery age for kharif transplanting should be 6-7 weeks while for rabi, it should be 8-9 week for good quality onions. Fertilizers and Manures General recommendations are application of 20-25 tonnes of FYM and 100 kg N, 5 kg P and 5 kg K/ha. The requirement, however, depends on soil type, region, varieties and removal of major nutrients. It is, therefore, necessary to analyse the soil and apply fertilizers and manures as per the recommendations. Some of the recommendations on manuring and fertilization for different areas, varieties and seasons are given in Table 2. Table 2. Requirement of manures and fertilizers in onion for different seasons and areas of the country.
Details of fertilizer (kg/ha) N P K 150 60 00 150 80 00 150 40 50 150 60 60 100 50 50 80 00 00 100 80 50 100 80 50 125 50 125 60 60 30 100 50 50 100 25 25 With 25 FYM (25 tonnes/ha) Variety / season Area

N-53 (kharif) Pusa Red (rabi) Agrifound Dark Red (kharif) Pusa Red (rabi) Punjab Selection (rabi) Patna Red (rabi) Arka Kalyan (kharif) Arka Pragati and Arka Niketan (rabi) Bangalore Rose (rabi) Multiplier Agrifound Light Red (rabi) Agrifound Light Red (rabi)

Rahuri (MS) Karnal (Haryana) Karnal (Haryana) Jabalpur (MP) Ludhiana Sabour (Bihar) Hessarghatta (Bangalore) Hessarghatta (Bangalore) Karnataka Tamil Nadu Karnal (Haryana) Nasik (MS)

Fifty per cent nitrogen should be applied before planting and rest in two splits at 30 and between 45 and 60 days for effective use in growth and development. The P and K should be applied before planting. Fertigation is also now being considered in many crops particularly when drip irrigation is followed which gives effective utilization. In onions also irrigation has given good results as 25-45 per cent increase in yield with bulb of uniform size and shape has been obtained. Care should be taken in applying all

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N before initiation of bulbing otherwise thickness of neck will be more. Application of Zn, Cu and B gives increased yield and quality in soils having deficiency of these nutrients. Cropping Pattern It is necessary to follow definite cropping pattern for getting good crop. In rabi, paddyonion crop rotation has been found good, whereas in kharif, onion is taken after Frenchbean-millets or groundnut. Intercropping with sugarcane and banana is also recommended. Irrigation Onion is a shallow-rooted crop. The water requirement of its crop at the initial growth period is less. In fact, it depends on crop growth, soil type and planting season. In kharif season, one irrigation immediately after transplanting is necessary to avoid mortality of seedling particularly in Northern India where temperature at the time is very high. Since there is a problem of power supply, it is better to transplant 8 hr after irrigation. Frequent and light irrigation at 8-10 days interval is considered better. Irrigation after long spell of drought results in splitting, heavy irrigation that too by flooding method gives poor bulb development and yield. Sprinkler and drip irrigation are considered better. Drip irrigation is, however, best. Sprinkler irrigation at 75 cm CPE at 40 mm depth and drip irrigation in rabi season at 21 cm water is better. Irrigation should be stopped 10-15 days before harvesting. For drip irrigation, it is necessary to have raised beds. Drip irrigation along with mulching of straw has resulted in 40-45 per cent increase in yield in onion seed crop. Weed Management Weeding is necessary during growth and bulb development stage for good crops since hand-weeding is costly, it is recommended to apply Pendimethalin weedicide @ 3.5 kg/ha 3 days after transplanting. One hand-weeding is still necessary 45 days after transplanting. Use of Oxylurofen at 0.15-0.25 kg/ha is also recommended. Mulching with straw also gives good control of weeds and increases the yield. Disease and Pest Control Purple blotch, Stemphylium blight and Colletotrichum blight are the diseases in field which affect the growth and development and finally yield. Purple blotch is more prevalent at around 21-300C temperature and humidity of 75 per cent and above, whereas Stemphylium blight is prevalent at around 20-250C temperature and 75 per cent relative humidity (RH). High rainfall and waterlogging conditions with temperature 196

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of 23-300C are conducive for development of Colletotrichum blight. Thrips severity increases at around 25-35 per cent temperature and RH below 75 per cent. The disease and pest management measures should, therefore, be adopted when such conditions are likely to be prevalent. Mancozeb @ 0.25 per cent or Chlorothalonil @ 0.2 per cent along with sticker Triton should be sprayed at fortnightly interval after one month from transplanting of the crop against Purple blotch and for Stemphylium blight, Mancozeb @ 0.25 per cent along with Monocrotophos @ 0.18 per cent and sticker Triton should be sprayed at fortnightly intervals. The spray should be started before appearance of the disease. Benlate and Carbendazim both 0.1 per cent, give good control of Colletotrichum blight. Thrip is the common insect which affects the crop adversely. Malathion or Metasystox @ 0.1 per cent or Deltamethrin @ 0.01 per cent or Curacron @ 0.2 per cent are recommended for the control of insect pests. Mixing of Triton sticker (0.06 per cent) is necessary. Harvesting and Post-harvest Management Harvesting should be done at proper maturity of crop. It takes about 100 days after transplanting for maturity of onion crop in kharif varieties and 120-130 days in rabi. Leaves show yellowing from top and bulbs are of 4.5-6.5 cm size at maturity in kharif. Also in kharif, there is no top fall. Any delay in harvesting results in bolting and splitting. In rabi, crop should be harvested one week after 50 per cent tops have fallen over. After harvesting, onions are windrowed for field curing for 3-5 days. In kharif season, it takes about 15-20 days for curing in sun. Many times it is not possible to cure in sun due to rains. Artificial curing needs to be taken in such cases. The recommended temperature is 460C for 16 hr. In rabi season, after field curing, bulbs are cured in shade for 10-12 days. Tops are cut leaving 2.5 neck above the bulbs. Storage After curing, sorted and graded onions should be disposed off or stored for sale in lean period. Onions require sufficient ventilation instead of cold storage. Model ventilated godowns have been developed and some farmers have already created the facility. Losses in stores particularly due to decay are reduced in such stores significantly compared to stores without bottom ventilation. Farmers should come forward for construction of small stores having ventilation from bottom. If, all practices are followed with precision as discussed, it is possible to obtain yields up to 25-30 tonnes/ha and also reduce post-harvest losses significantly. The cost also can be reduced from Rs 300 or Rs 400 to Rs 150 /q or so. 197

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

15

SCOPE OF FERTIGATION IN HI-TECH HORTICULTURE


Ashwani Kumar1 and H.P. Singh2

In India, fertigation is in introductory stage with microirrigation system and its success depends upon how efficiently plants uptake the nutrients. Proper scheduling must be planned as to provide nutrients at a time when required by plants. In India, fully soluble fertilizers are limited in availability, however some firms initiated manufacturing water-soluble fertilizers but it was not price competitive. The Government of India (GOI) has a subsidy structure for the conventional fertilizers of approved grades, but for fertigation the requirement of water-soluble fertilizer varies with respect to its grade in comparison to conventional fertilizer. The Government should adopt a fertilizer policy in such a way that the manufacturers of fully soluble fertilizer are not in disadvantage as compared to conventional fertilizer manufacturers. The experiments also show quite successful results in terms of yield advantage, saving of fertilizer and production of quality of produce. The efforts were made to introduce microirrigation system at farmers level around 1980 in the country. The growth of microirrigation has picked up momentum which could be observed that in 1985 it had the area of 1,500 ha against present area of 0.35 million ha. To promote the concept, efforts have been made at research level by Indian Council of Agricultural Research, State Agricultural Universities, National Committee on Use of Plastics in Agriculture and Ministry of Water Resources and Drip Manufacturers Association. Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Water Resources and State Governments undertook the promotional activities. The R&D efforts are required to address to high capital cost, the operational problems of microirrigation system, availability of spares, know-how at grassroot level and integration of fertigation/ chemigation along with the system.
1Project

Coordinator, AICRP on Application of Plastics in Agriculture, Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology, PO. PAU, Ludhiana 141 004. 2Horticulture Commissioner, Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture (Department of Agriculture & Cooperation), Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi 110 001.

Scope of Fertigation in Hi-tech Horticulture

FERTIGATION IN HI-TECH HORTICULTURE Fertigation All chemicals applied through irrigation system must avoid corrosion, softening of plastic pipe and tubing, or clogging any component of the system. It must be safe for field use, must increase or at least not decrease crop yield, must be soluble or emulisifiable in water, and it must not react adversely to salts or other chemicals in the irrigation water. In addition, the chemicals or fertilizers must be distributed uniformly throughout the field. Uniformity of distribution requires efficient mixing, uniform water application and knowledge of the flow characteristics of water and fertilizer in the distribution lines. To avoid clogging, chemicals are applied through microirrigation systems to dissolve the deposits in drip lines. The solubility of some of the fertilizers are given in Table 1. Table 1. Fertilizer solubilities of conventional fertilizer (at 20C)
Fertilizer Potassium chloride Ammonium sulphate Urea Potassium sulphate Potassium nitrate Monoammonium phosphate Magnesium sulphate Solubility (g-1) 340 750 1,060 110 320 370 250

Equipment and Methods for Fertilizer Injection Fertilizers can be injected into drip irrigation systems by selecting appropriate equipment from a wide assortment of available pumps, valves, tanks, venturies and aspirators. Fertigation injection system: Pumping is the most common method of injecting fertilizer into a drip irrigation system. Injector energy is provided from electrical motors, internal combustion engines, water-driven hydraulic motors and pumps, and impeller driven power units. The positive injection pumps include single or multiple piston, diaphram, gear, and roller pumps. In case of two or more different types of fertilizers multiple pump units can be used to avoid/reduce precipitation problems. All of the injection pumps can be regulated to achieve the desired or required rate, usually by adjusting the length of stroke of piston pump or by selecting the appropriate pulley

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diameter. Another means of adjusting fertilizer application is with variable-speed motors. Water-driven pumps usually are more complex, difficult to maintain and expensive. However, they are useful where electricity is unavailable or where gasoline-driven units can be operated for only short Fig. 1. Fertigation injection system periods. A typical figure of fertigation injection system is shown in Fig. 1. Pressure differential injection system: Pressure differential (PD) units are another method of injecting fertilizer into drip irrigation system. A schematic diagram of a PD unit is shown in Fig.2. The PD unit takes advantage of the system's pressure-head differences. Pressure differences can be developed by valves, venturi, elbows, or pipe friction. The main advantage of the PD applicators is the absence of moving parts. They are simple in operation and require no electric and gasoline, or waterpowered pumps. The primary disadvantage of the PD units is that Fig. 2. Pressure differential injection system the rate of application is not constant and changes continuously with time; thus, a uniform concentration of a nutrient cannot be maintained. Following equation can be used to know the percentage of material remain in the tank: n = 100 exp (-xt/100), where n is per cent mixture remaining in the tank, exp is the exponential function, x is the flow rate through the tank, and t is time (Fig. 3).

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Fig. 3. Fertilizer remained in the tank with time in pressure differential system

Venturi injection system: Some venturi injection system allows fertilizer to be added directly into the system form open tanks without being diluted. A portion of the irrigation water is bypassed through a venturi, which functions as an aspirator to pull the solution into the system. Because of high pressure losses, larger venturis may require booster pumps. Solution injection rates are regulated by flow meters and valves. The Fig. 4 shows a typical venturi injection system.

Fig. 4. Venturi injection system

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Application of Fertilizers Nitrogen: Nitrogen, the plant nutrient most commonly deficient for crop production, is often applied through microirrigation system. Nitrate nitrogen moves readily in soil with irrigation water and can be applied separately or in mixture with such compound as ammonium sulphate, urea, calcium ammonium nitrate and ammonium nitrate. Calcium nitrate can also be used when bicarbonates are low. Anhydrous ammonia, aqua ammonia and ammonium phosphate in most instances cause clogging problems. Nitrogen source selection should be based on its possible reactions with the irrigation water and the soil. Several researches (1,5 and 15) have proposed various reasons for the increased efficiency of fertigation, i.e. saving in fertilizer as it is applied only in root zone, improved timing of fertilization, because the more frequent application make it possible to match plant requirements of various growth stages and improved distribution of fertilizer with minimum leaching beyond the root zone or run off. Phene et al. (12) found that nitrate concentrations remained higher in root zone with frequent drip irrigation of sweet corn than with flood sprinkler irrigation. Rolston and Boradbent (14) found that little denitrification occurred in a clay loam soil, if the soil tension was higher, than 10 bar. Phene et al. (12) have shown that high frequency of nitrogen application on shallow sandy loam soil with drip irrigation improved the efficiency of nitrogen use by potato more than double of conventional fertilization method (broadcast plus banded). Miller et al. (8) indicated that nitrogen is used more efficiently when applied through drip in tomato. Phosphorus: Phosphorus has not generally been recommended for application in drip irrigation because of its tendency to cause clogging and its limited movement in soil. If, irrigation water is high in calcium and magnesium precipitate of insoluble calcium and magnesium phosphate may result from the application of inorganic phosphate. Rauschkolb et al. (13) applied phosphoric acid along with short pulses of sulphuric acid to keep the water pH low in drip irrigation system without precipitation or clogging problems. Organic phosphate will not participate unless compound is being hydrolyzed to inorganic phosphate in the water or the water pH is high. O' Neill et al. (10) found that phosphorous was delivered to greater soil volume when applied as orthophosphoric acid through a drip system than triple super phosphate applied as a soil amendment beneath each emitter. The orthophosphoric acid lowered enough the pH of irrigation water to minimize clogging problems from phosphate precipitation over 3 and 24 days of irrigation period.

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Potassium: Common K sources are potassium sulphate, potassium chloride and potassium nitrate, which are readily soluble in water. These fertilizers move freely in soil and some of the potassium ions are exchanged on the clay complex and are readily leached away. However, Urei et al. (16) were not able to demonstrate it but there was some movement after the potassium ions concentrated in soil near the emitter. Micronutrients: Micronutrients such as iron, zinc, copper and manganese can be applied as chelates or sulphate salts in drip irrigation system. Normal plant requirements for these nutrients are very low and their application through drip irrigation requires careful and precise metering. McElhoe and Hilton (7) found that zinc EDTA applied through drip irrigation for pecan trees cost less than foliar application but leaf concentration of zinc were generally lower with drip than the foliar applications. Trials on Fertigation Generally, crop response to fertilizer applications by drip method been excellent and frequent nutrient application have improved the fertilizer application efficiency. Reductions of 25-50 per cent in total fertilizer application using drip irrigation as compared with surface broadcasting have been reported by Phene et al. (12). Bucks and Nakayama (3) applied CO2 saturated water through subsurface, drip systems to provide additional CO2 around plant for improving their photosynthetic efficiency, it showed that potato yield tended to improve. However, wheat yield increased significantly about 20 per cent more with subsurface CO2 concentration and decreased soil pH by 1.5 units in wetted zone around the drip tubing, an effect which could improve root environment where alkalinity is problem. Strawberry : A few strawberry farmers were selected for conducting field trials on fertigation around Pune. The fertilizer doses were given through microirrigation system on well-drained medium black soil as fertigation and it was compared with conventional method of fertilizer application. The results with respect to number of crowns and yield were recorded. It was observed that number of crowns and yield of strawberry were influenced much by use of fertilizers over conventional fertilizer. The average percentage of increase was 74 per cent, indicating efficiency and economy in the use of fertilizers. The fertilizers being acidic in nature, solubilizes native macro and micronutrients resulting its more uptake, which has reflected in getting more number of crowns and yield. Micronutrient deficiencies in plot were less as compared to that in conventional plot. The yields of strawberry increased by 40 per cent (Table 2).

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Table 2. Comparative study of fertigation in strawberry


Location No. of crowns/plant Fertigation A B C 7 6 6 Conventional fertilizer 4 5 3 Yield (tonnes/ha) Fertigation 23.75 22.00 19.25 Conventional fertilizer 14.00 13.00 10.50 Increase in yield (per cent) 41.00 40.90 45.50

Pomegranate : The field trials on fertigation were conducted on pomegranate and data on yield and quality of pomegranate were recorded. The other package of practices were adopted as per the recommendations. The yield and quality of pomegranate have been influenced in fertigated plots (Table 3). In fertigation plot the fruits setting was more in comparison to conventional plot. Uniformity in fruits was also observed in fertigation plots. Shining and firmness of fruits were better and its maturity was 6-7 days earlier in fertigation plot than conventional ones. Table 3. Comparative study of fertigation in pomegranate
Location A B C D E Yield (tonnes/ha) Increase in yield Remarks (per cent) Fertigation Conventional 76.00 46.00 40.00 Mean weight of fruit with fertigation was 670 g and with 76.30 56.40 26.00 conventional method it was 510 g. The shining, firmness and colour 73.00 43.80 40.00 were much better with fertigation. The uniformity in fruit size with 68.60 41.50 39.50 fertigation was much better (2 grade) as compared to 57.00 40.30 29.30 conventional (4-5 grades).

Grape : The field trails of fertigation on grape crop were conducted keeping other package of practices same as per the recommendations. The yield data along with biometric observations were recorded. It was observed that crop growth was satisfactory. Uniform berry size was observed in fertigation plots bunches of grape in all varieties while berry size were varying in different bunches of conventional plots in all varieties resulting prinking of small berries was to be carried out. The observations recorded at various sites are given in Table 4.

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Table 4. Comparative study of fertigation in grape


Location Variety Yield (tonnes/ha) Fertigation A B C D E F G H Thomson Seedless Thomson Seedless Thomson Seedless Thomson Seedless Sonaka Sonaka Sharad Seedless Sharad Seedless 38.00 36.50 40.00 41.00 25.50 24.25 37.00 38.00 Conventional 29.50 29.00 36.75 37.00 18.00 16.75 28.00 29.75 Increase in yield (per cent) 22.40 20.50 8.10 9.80 29.40 30.90 24.30 21.70

Broccoli : Sprouting broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica L.) cv. Packman was sown in nursery, transplanted in the field after 5 weeks and harvested after 3 months at 30 cm x 60 cm distance. All necessary measures were taken to keep the crop pestfree. The marketable yield of broccoli was taken as the total fresh weight at harvest. Fertigation with different days were applied and the amount of water added through the drip system was almost identical and frequent, while in the control (basin treatment), it was relatively higher and applied at less frequent intervals. The soil and water content profiles were drawn for all drip irrigation/fertigation treatments and have shown that the soil moisture status remained at the optimum level (tension 0.1-0.15 bar) through the profile (0-90cm), indicating higher efficiency of system in maintaining an ideal soil moisture regime for crop growth in addition to savings in water application (Table 5). Table 5. Comparative study of fertigation in broccoli
Treatment Fertigation (40%) T1 Fertigation (50%) T2 Fertigation (30%) T3 Check basin Yield (kg/ha) 4301 3904 2907 1997 Nitrogen applied (kg) 100 80 60 200 N-use efficiency (kg/ha/kg N) 43.01 48.80 48.45 09.98

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Advantages of Fertigation Uniform application of fertilizer : In fertigation, fertilizer is applied along with irrigation water, i.e. through dripper. Normally, uniformity in drip irrigation system is above 95 per cent and thus fertilizer application also achieves higher uniformity. Placement in root zone: Fertigation provides the opportunity to apply fertilizers/ chemicals in the root zone only as it is possible to have a control through drip irrigation system. Quick and convenient method: The fertigation is quick and convenient as it provides management of time and quality at control unit of drip irrigation. Saves fertilizer : The nutrients supplied through fertigation increases their availability, limit the wastage of their being leached out below rooting depth and consequently improve fertilizer-use efficiency. Frequent application is possible : Fertigation provides an opportunity to apply fertilizer more frequently than conventional methods. However, a mechanical spreader is costly, causes soil compaction, may damage the growing crop and always not accurate. Possibility of application in different grades to suit the stage of crop : The soil and plant system requires different types of fertilizer material during the crop cycle, can be supplied through fertigation more effectively compared to conventional methods. Micronutrients application along with NPK : Fertigation provides an opportunity to mix the required micronutrients along with conventional NPK and can be applied to soil/plant systems. Save groundwater pollution : The excessive use of fertilizer through conventional methods lead to the leaching of fertilizer material beyond the root zone depth. At a number of locations it has been observed that it pollutes the groundwater of the area. The fertigation provides an opportunity to prevent these environmental hazards. Limitation of Fertigation Contamination of drinking water : Generally irrigation water forms part of the drinking water network in any farming system. As water-containing fertilizers are toxic, field workers and bypassers must be warned not to inadvertently use the water for drinking. Warning signs must be prominently displayed and a separate supply of drinking water be provided. Corrosion : The metallic parts of the equipment are highly prone to corrosion. Sensitive 206

Scope of Fertigation in Hi-tech Horticulture

parts of the equipment must be made of protected or resistant materials and extra care should be taken, while filling the tanks. Fertilizer suitability : The method is suitable for soluble fertilizers. However, some fertilizers such as superphosphate and calcium ammonium phosphate are having low solubility, hence are not suitable and may clog the pipes. Availability of material : In India, the required soluble fertilizer and grades are not available freely. CONSTRAINTS OF FERTIGATION In India, growth of adoption of microirrigation system has taken place during last decade and mostly horticultural farmers are adopting this technology to save irrigation water and enhancing the water-use efficiency. Although, fertigation offers numerous advantages but it is not being used widely due to the reasons given below:
!

There is lack of research and developmental information in respect of its rate of application, amount applied and frequency adopted. However, research efforts are being focussed on this aspect but there is a lack of information in respect of varied agroclimatic conditions and crops. In India, there is a subsidy policy for normal NPK fertilizers in specified grades. However, for fertigation the requirement of fertilizer is in different grades and it should be 100 per cent water soluble for its effective application. The fertigation material is either not available in desired form or available at higher price, than the conventional fertilizer. Once the fertigation practice is being followed along with drip irrigation system causes higher clogging. The farmers must be trained to adopt fertigation along with other chemigation technique. OF FERTIGATION IN HI-TECH

FUTURE PERSPECTIVES HORTICULTURE

The worldwide adoption of microirrigation is linked with horticultural crops, because of economic considerations. In India, Government has not given due consideration to promote this sector up to VIII plan period. However, realizing the importance of this sector for national growth, due attention was given from VIII plan period, which has shown its results well. India has a wide diversity in climatic conditions, provide a better scope of growing horticultural crops than other countries. Presently, area under horticultural crops is around 15 million ha. To promote horticulture, aggressive efforts 207

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are required to bring more area under cultivation through area expansion schemes. At first instance the dryland/rainfed area gets attention, with technological interventions and adopting microirrigation system at least 20 per cent of this area could be converted in this sector and in due course of time it will provide a better economy. The other area is the wasteland and up to 3 million ha area from this sector can also be converted for growing suitable horticultural crops. Overall promotion of these sectors may involve development and adoption of microirrigation system. The biggest advantage of microirrigation technology is due to its low rate of water application, i.e. 1-3 lps, besides other advantage of saving of irrigation water, better quality produce and enhancement of yield. The additional advantage of microirrigation is that it could be coupled with the fertigation programme and due attention of planners are required to couple this activity for saving of fertilizer for better quality produce and enhanced yield. In the present era of globalization and worldwide competitive market these measures are absolutely essential for economic scale production and to maintain sustainability of production. To promote fertigation scientific planning is required in terms of selecting a proper grade of fertigation material, its concentration, application frequency and coupling it with other micronutrients to harvest desired quality of produce. A tentative schedule of fertigation has been drawn for vegetable crops are presented in Table 6. To tap the full potential of the system, appropriate policies may be adopted. This calls for an integrated approach and endeavor on the part of both the Central and State Governments, and other agencies. The major steps that may be taken to popularize the microirrigation system are: OPERATIONAL ASPECT OF MICROIRRIGATION SYSTEM Since the evolution of microirrigation system, a major problem associated with the system is the dripper clogging. Discrete particulate matter may produce blockage in system by chemical precipitation or by microbiological matter either directly or by aggregating inorganic material. If, particulate matter (sand) is the cause of blocking, the solution is to ensure dust free by improved primary filtration the water pathway in the system is larger in bore than the largest particle. However, if chemical precipitation (or microbiological aggregation) is the cause of blocking a high velocity of flow to prevent such precipitation occurring within the system is required. Unfortunately, these differences in needs are still not widely recognized and a tendency has developed to increase the bore of the water pathway in drip system regardless of the cause of blocking. The need for primary filtration to remove discrete particles is universally accepted and the maximum permissible particle size ratio of 1 : 10 has been suggested by Peleg (11).

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Table 6. Tentative/suggestive schedule of fertigation for vegetable crops


Stages of crop Crop Emerge/transplant to 6 leaf (kg/ha) N Potato Tomato Capsicum Onion Red cabbage Carrot Lettuce Cucumber Watermelon Melon 44 55 55 60 32 55 55 55 110 15 P2O5 32 98 122 107 32 120 122 121 10 15 K2O 16 58 58 60 32 58 55 55 20 15 Six leaf to fruit set Fruit set to fruit size (kg/ha) (kg/ha) N 26 35 35 32 35 30 35 35 25 30 P2O5 26 17 17 33 18 15 18 17 25 15 K2O 58 35 35 32 35 171 35 35 25 45 N 130 30 30 31 33 30 35 30 35 P2O5 87 15 15 15 15 15 17 15 18 K2O 196 45 45 171 173 171 35 75 80 Fruit set to end (kg/ha) N 30 30 32 35 P2O5 15 15 32 17 K2O 172 172 32 55 N 200 150 150 155 100 115 90 125 165 115 Total (kg/ha)

P2O5 145 145 170 185 65 150 140 155 50 65

K2O 270 310 310 295 240 400 90 125 120 195

Scope of Fertigation in Hi-tech Horticulture

209

Note-:- i) The normal grade of fertigation should be

ii)

13:13:13 12:6:18 14:7:14 5:15:30 The frequency of fertigation should be adopted at least twice a week

Precision Farming in Horticulture

Mc Elhoe and Hilton (7) found that improving filtration to remove particles greater than 25 rather than 90 reduced the level blockages over 80 days operation from 92-78 per cent but treatment with intermittent chlorination at 10 ppm for 20 minutes per day on water filtered to 90 reduced the level blockage from 92 to10 per cent. Other additives with bactericidal or algicidal properties had similar but less marked effects. Mc Elhoe and Gibson (6) have confirmed the effect of chlorination but obtained higher levels of blockages with chlorinated sand filtered water than with chlorinated screen mesh-filtered water. The clogging problem often discourages the operators and consequently cause the abandoning of the system and return to less efficient method of irrigation. It is the quality of irrigation water, i.e. suspended load, microbial activity and chemical composition, and which, the dripper clogging can be directly related. Fertilizer injected into the drip lines may also contribute to clogging. Consistency of water quality must be considered and filtration be planned for the average worst condition. Open water such as lakes, ponds, rivers streams and canals can vary widely in quality and often contains a large amount of organic matter and silt. Warm weather light and slow moving or still water favour rapid algal growth. The water may also be chemically unstable and produce chemical precipitates in pipes and drippers. To rectify the problem for system operation for several years without treatment. Morris and Black (9) suggest slug dosing with chlorine at 1000 ppm for 24 hours to destroy organic matter. In places, where bore water is used for microirrigation the chemical composition of water will have an important bearing on the source of clogging material and specific action to overcome each problem may be required. Peleg (11) suggests that where precipitation of carbonates is a major source of blockages, treatment with one per cent hydrochloric acid for about 10 minutes will clear partially blocked system. Black (2) suggests this problem can be minimized, if, the reticulation system is buried a few centimetres below the soil surface to reduce the temperature rises responsible for the precipitation of carbonates from the soluble bicarbonates. Biochemical precipitation of iron and sulphur produces blockages from well water in florida (4). Sulphur precipitation can be reduced by reducing the pH of water and iron precipitation may be reduced by chlorination. Calcium and oxidative iron precipitation have been successfully prevented from causing blockages in Australia (3) by injecting polyphosphates as chelating material into the irrigation water from 3 to 5 ppm.

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RECOMMENDATIONS TO PROMOTE MICROIRRIGATION AND FERTIGATION Microirrigation technology has been recognized as an answer to meet the increasing demand of water for irrigation, especially for horticultural crops as this method has about 95 per cent efficiency. It ensures increase in crop yield, higher quality of crop, less water and energy consumption, less chemicals and fertilizer use, reduced leaching and run-off and lees weeds and soil compaction. There has been significant increase in the area under microirrigation in the country, brought about mainly due to governmental intervention. Investments of Rs 4,000 million have been made by the Government for promoting microirrigation which has resulted in capital formation and creation of assets. The financial assistance provided by the Government along with infrastructure created by drip manufactures and the concerted efforts of farmers have helped to bring substantial area under microirrigation in the country. In general, about 22 per cent of the area is covered under coconut. Other crops are mango, grape, banana, pomegranate, arecanut etc. About 1.2 lakh ha is supposed to be covered during the ninth plan. Presently, more than 80 per cent of coverage is restricted in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu where water is scarce. Increased yield, reduced harvesting time and economy in water use have been the factors, which promote the adoption of this system particularly in high-value horticultural crops. With the expansion of area many problems have surfaced which would require to be addressed for larger adoption of the system. Microirrigation system in India could be promoted effectively if the issue of research, development and promotion could be taken up simultaneously. Some of the important issues are : " The system should be designed to suit the agroclimatic conditions of the area and specific care should be taken for the existing orchard so as sufficient soul mass is provided wetting to avoid soil moisture stress. The adequate measures are required to prevent clogging of the system. Maintenance schedule may be strongly adhered to, so that it provides a desired level of uniformity in the field. The adequate infrastructure is required to augment the need of after sales service of the system, spares of the system and training to the farmers. The appropriate trainers' training programme need to be developed so that it could meet out the requirement of the entire country.

" " " "

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"

Research experiments could be carried out after following a uniform and effective approach of irrigation scheduling. Microirrigation system could adopt FAO Penman - montieth (FAO Publication No. 56) method for estimating crop water requirement. Suitable correction factors for crop coefficient could be developed for different agroclimatic region. The annual covergage of area under microirrigation in the country need to be increased to at least 50,000-60,000 ha against the current level of 30,000-40,000 ha. More efficient applications such as subsurface drip irrigation have been developed in other countries, which need to be tested for adoption and application under Indian conditions. There is a need to popularize fertigation to economize the use of fertilizers.

"

"

"

CONCLUSION Fertigation is very important activity to be undertaken with microirrigation system to harvest quality produce at competitive price, boost up the export and promote hitech horticulture. The R&D efforts are required to develop package of practices for different agroclimatic conditions and efforts of Government are required to encourage fertilizer manufacturers to develop desired fertigation material at competitive market rates. The farmers should be trained to adopt these technologies as per scientific recommendations to produce quality products. The Government effort in these directions will help in enhancing the overall GDP of the country and in turns its prosperity. REFERENCES
1. 2. 3. Bester, D. H., Lotter, D. C. and Veldman, G. H. (1974). Drip Irrigation on Citrus. Proc. 2nd Int. Drip Irrig. Congr., pp. 58-64. Black, J.D F. (1971). Daily flow irrigation (Third issue ). Publ. Dep. Agric. Vict. H191, p. 23. Bucks, D.A. and Nakayama, F.S. (1980). Injection of fertilizer and other chemicals for drip irrigation. Proc. Agri.-Tif Irr. Conf., Houston, Texas, Irrigation Association, Silver Spring, Maryland, pp. 166-80. Ford, H.W. and Tucker, D.P.H. (1974). Clogging of drip systems from metabolic products of iron and sulfur bacteria. Proc. 2nd Int. Drip Irrig. Congr., pp. 212-14. Marsh, A. W., Branson, R. L., Davbis, S., Gustafson, C. D. and Aljibury, F. K. (1975). Drip irrigation, Univ. Calif., Berkley, Leaflet. 2740, pp. 1-4. Mc Elhoe, B.H. and Gibson, W. (1974). Chemical treatment of filtration drip irrigation. Pap. Annu. Conf. Hawaiian Sugar Tech., 1974.

4. 5. 6.

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7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Mc Elhoe, B.H. and Hilton, H.W.(1974). Chemical treatment of drip irrigation water. Proc. 2nd Int. Drip Irrig. Congr., pp. 215-20. Miller, R. L., Rolston, D. E., Rauschkolb, R. S. and Wolfe, D. W. (1976). Drip application of nitrogen is efficient. Calif. Agric. 30 : 176-78. Morris, I.R. and Black, J.D.F. (1973). Removing sediments from system irrigation laterals. Vict. Hort. Dig., 17 : 14-16. O' Neill, M. K., Gardner, B. R. and Roth, R. L. (1979). Orthophosphoric acid as a phosphorus in trickle irrigation. Soil Sci. Am. J. 43 : 283-96. Peleg, D. (1974). Formation of blockages in drip irrigation systems: their prevention and removal. Proc. 2nd Int. Drip Irrig. Congr., pp. 203-08. Phene, C. J., Fouss, J. L. and Sanders, I. C. (1979). Water nutrient herbicides management of potatoes with trickle irrigation. Am. Potato. J. 56 : 51-59. Rauschkolb, R. S., Rolston, D. E., Miller, R. J., Carlton, A. B. and Burau, R. G. (1976). Phosphorus fertilization with drip irrigation. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 40 : 68-72. Rolston, D. E. and Boradbent, F.E. (1977). Environ. Prof. Agency Bull. EDA-600/2-77-233. Shani, M. (1974). Trickle irrigation. Proc. 2nd Int. Drip Irrig. Congr. Urei, K., Carison, R. M., Henderson, D. W. (1977). Application of potassium fertilizer to prunes through a drip irrigation system. Proc. 7th Int. Agri. Plast. Congr., pp. 211-14.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

16

AUTOMATION IN HI-TECH HORTICULTURE FOR EFFICIENT RESOURCE MANAGEMENT


T.B.S. Rajput1 and Neelam Patel2

Hi-tech horticulture is the deployment of any technology, which is modern, less environment dependent, capital intensive and has the capacity to improve the productivity and quality of horticultural crops. Shortage of manpower, capable of undertaking repetitive tasks effectively and efficiently are forcing many industries to automate many of their processes. This paper presents the status and explore the scope for automation and robotics in different segments of horticulture including nursery mechanization, sowing and transplanting of vegetable crops, irrigation, insect pest management, weed management, harvesting and transportation, grading, packaging, post-harvest, cold storage/ cool chain and precision farming. AUTOMATION IN HI-TECH HORTICULTURE Nursery Mechanization The necessary root media can be pulverized, mixed, pasteurized and filled in pots or trays but required equipment for the purpose needs development. The root media can be mixed in batches by modifying the concrete mixer. The pasteurization can be done by applying steam to rooting media by maintaining the media at 60-82oC for required duration. Portable steam generator should be used to generate steam and aerated steam may be passed through perforated pipes buried below the media beds. The potting media may be filled in seedling trays/pots for transplanting, using screw augur. The seeds can be sown using precision planters, which need development for Indian conditions. A frequency domain sensor with 4 cm long electrodes was calibrated for measurement of volumetric water content and EC for use in growing media for horticultural crops. Linear relations between permittivity epsilon (dielectric constant) and bulk electrical conductivity (Ecb) were found in rockwool, allowing to estimate the EC of medium solution (Ecm) up to at least 6 mS/cm after temperature correction (2).
1Principal

Scientist and 2Scientist, Water Technology Centre, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi 110 012.

Automation in Hi-tech Horticulture for Efficient Resource Management

Sowing and Transplanting Direct sowing of some horticultural and flower crops is inappropriate because of unreliable germination or high cost of seed. Pricking out and replacing seedlings in trays is expensive in terms of experienced manpower, and the requirement is mainly in a relatively short period in spring and early summer. The development of automation in horticulture is briefly considered and a computer controlled machine for the automatic planting of seedlings in boxes was developed by Trentini (8). It lifts the seedlings with a plug of soil from the trays and transplants them at the required spacings. It is of modular construction and can handle a variety of seedlings at the same time. It can transplant 2,000 seedlings in a hectare with a single grip, and 5,800 when the actuator is fitted with 3 grippers. A worker manually picking and transplanting seedlings can handle 900-1,200 plants over an 8 hour shift. The transplanting of nursery in field is labour intensive and seedling transplanters for different crops are required. Crops like onion, which need close spacing need bare root transplanter. Widely-spaced crops like cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal etc. need tray or block type seedlings transplanter. The raising of seedlings in block and transplanting increase the accuracy and efficiency of transplanting. The necessary systems for transporting the seedlings, filling in the transplanter and transplanting system needs development. Soil Moisture Measurement The continuous and precise measurement of soil water content, is often a key for the interpretation of results measured in field, laboratory and greenhouse experiments. This is especially true for studies on water consumption by plants and its role in the scheduling of irrigation. Several moisture-measuring devices are available including resistance block, tensio-meter and neutron moisture probe. The direct measurement of soil moisture matrix content is advantageous over other commonly used methods where the measured matrix potential is transformed into moisture content by soil moisture retention curve. To monitor soil moisture dynamics during and between irrigation time domain reflectometry (TDR) method may be used. A sensor which continuously monitors leaf thickness in field with an accuracy of 1 , was developed and field tested over a period of six growing seasons. The suitability of three different electrical components was investigated as transducers of linear changes in leaf thickness to a measurable electrical signal. A strain gauge based on a miniature printed circuit of a wheat-stone bridge fastened integrally to the face of a spring steel blade was found to be sufficiently accurate, able to withstand all ambient weather phenomena and agro-technical practices, without interrupting normal leaf functions. Concurrent research demonstrated that there 215

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is a linear and significant correlation between leaf thickness and leaf turgor potential (R2 > 0.9), which in turn has been shown to be an accurate and sensitive measure of plant-water status as it affects plant metabolism. Plastic Mulching Use of dry leaves, straw, hay, stones etc. have been in use as mulch materials to cover the soil around the plants to make conditions more conducive for their growth through in-situ moisture conservation and weed control. Introduction of plastic film as mulch increases the efficiency by improved moisture conservation, increased soil temperature and elimination of weed growth and provides for automation. Laying of mulch is a labour intensive job. A small mulch-laying machine has been developed by PDC, IARI Centre, which may be put to extensive field trials and made commercially available to farmers. Irrigation The increase in understanding of soil-plant relationship has given rise to the concept that the best use of available water resources and optimum plant performance can be realized by prevention of moisture stress. Information on soil water potential to be used to automatically control the operation of a microirrigation system. Granular matrix sensors may be used to provide soil-water potential data. A data-logger to be programmed to maintain soil water potential at constant level by high frequency irrigations (up to 8 times/day) using controllers connected to solenoid valves. Soil-water potential measurements would provide the feedback necessary to automatically schedule highfrequency drip irrigation. The feedback allows the maintenance of nearly constant soilwater potential in root zone. Maintenance of constant soil-water potential in root zone could result in optimum crop growth with a low leaching potential. Conventional methods of irrigation such as furrow irrigation, border irrigation, basin irrigation and corrugation irrigation cannot effectively control the water application rate. This could give rise to over irrigation, under irrigation, build-up of salinity, waterlogging etc. Over and above these, appreciable amounts of useful irrigation water could be lost due to percolation beyond the root zone. Automated irrigation equipment certainly appears to be a valid concept, given our shrinking water resources and the surface and groundwater pollution problems that could occur with excess water application. Farmers need to apply water only when it is needed and in the required amount. The concept of applying irrigation water at various rates in pockets of the field would further improve water-use efficiencies. Lowlying areas usually do not require as much water as hilltops but our present technology applies water uniformly which need to be made site-specific. 216

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Use of different sensors to collect data on soil parameters, weather, crop and fertilizer concentrations to assist in automation of microirrigation system was advocated by Ehlert et al. (5). An algorithm for preparing fertilizer solutions based on soil characteristics was suggested by Savvas and Adamidis (6). Benami and Offen (3) suggested some basics for possibility of different levels of automation of sprinkler irrigation. Microirrigation systems have potential to register very high irrigation efficiency up to 97 per cent. To achieve this precision control and automated operation through use of computers are required. Progressive Indian farmers would like to go for commercial cultivation of fruit, vegetable, flower and other horticultural crops in open air and under controlled environmental conditions, using automated microirrigation systems. Further emphasis will be to increase the production by accurate application of nutrients and irrigation water according to physiological growth of crop and prevailing agroclimatic conditions. The know-how of production, operation and maintenance of automated microirrigation systems is almost nil in India. This technology packages are bought at exorbitant costs from countries such as Israel and United States. In all such instances, the technical know-how is not revealed to Indian users. Therefore, efforts need to be made to develop indigenous automated microirrigation system to supply the irrigation and nutrients on the basis of soil moisture distribution and level of nutrients concentration in plant root zone on real time basis. Fertilizer Application The technology for application of fertilizer is reasonably well-developed, at least from a hardware and software viewpoint. Perhaps the main missing link, at this time, is to develop the process for making a fertilizer recommendation based on each soil and crop type. Application of fertilizers through drip irrigation requires special fertilizer applicators so as to maintain specific concentration and application rates with respect to irrigation water and crop needs. Though venturi of inch size and fertilizer tanks are available in the country but there is a strong need to have more precise fertigation pumps for efficiently applying the fertilizers along with irrigation water. Appropriate concentration of nutrients may be mentioned in the root zone soil by way of application of required amount of nutrients through irrigation water. The Handion provides a quick insight into the ion concentration of drain and irrigation water, on the spot and offers a worthwhile addition to your routine laboratory analyses. The Handion enables you to test concentrations of major ions (sodium, potassium, calcium and nitrates) as frequently as you like. Insect Pest Management Mostly spraying on fruit, vegetable and floricultural crops is being done by manual 217

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sprayers. These operations are labour intensive and can be mechanized by using poweroperated sprayers. The efficient orchard sprayers need development. Tall tree sprayers are also required for old plantations of mango and other plantation crops like coconut. The detection and identification of insect pests is often carried out manually using trapping methods. However, recent advances in signal processing and computer technology have introduced the possibility of automatic identification species by several means including image analysis and acoustics. Insects can generate sound either deliberately as a means of communication or as a byproduct of eating, flight or other movement, which may be employed for detection and identification. Scientists at Hull University, Hull, UK, are investigating techniques for automatically identifying Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets) with time domain signal processing and artificial neural networks. Twenty-five species of British Orthoptera have been selected as a test set. The preliminary results indicate very high classification rate approaching 100 with extremely low misclassification rates. The technique is widely applicable to many insect pests and other phyla such as birds (4). Insect infestations in stored agricultural commodities result in annual losses of crores of rupees. Traditional practices for detecting and quantifying infestations in stored grains involve the labour intensive steps of obtaining and visually inspecting grain samples. The electronic grain probe insect counter (EGPIC) system was developed to provide automated real-time monitoring of insects in stored products. Insect counts from an array of electronic grain probes distributed throughout a storage volume are transmitted to a central computer for display and temporal analysis. Thus, by providing early detection of emerging infestations, EGPIC system can allow managers to initiate targeted control measures on need basis but before substantial losses occur (7). Weed Control Environmental as well as economic factors are pushing forward the development of sensors and technologies for precision farming practice. Selective application of herbicide requires information on location of weeds in field. In this work, a sensor for automatic detection of weeds in field was developed and tested. Visual detection of weed requires discrimination between soil and plants, as well as discrimination between crop and weeds. Weed detection was based on spectral reflectance properties of their leaves (1). The intra-row weed patented control device, based on DSP-implemented Fast Fourier Transform of Light Interruption by Plants in a row and rotating hoe actuator has been developed by Van Willegenburg.

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HARVESTING AND POST-HARVEST MANAGEMENT Grading The better quality and grade of fruits or vegetables get a premium price in the market. For export of fruits there are different grades based on weight of individual fruits. The export houses require electronic fruit grader. The size grader for sapota, orange, mango, pineapple etc. is required for local markets. Packaging Around 30 per cent of the produce gets spoiled during the marketing chain from farm to retailer under Indian conditions. The proper packaging of fruits, flowers and vegetables for internal trade and export needs development. Transporting Fruits and vegetables need very careful harvesting and transporting. The high capacity harvesters for mango, guava, sapota, orange, pineapple, etc. need development. Advances have been made in the development of a fruit picking robot. Together with Van-Hentten (IMAG) path planning algorithms, which include collision avoidance, are being developed for the (IMAG) fruit picking robot, design for cucumber harvesting. The harvesters for reduction of labour for onion, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato etc. are required. Indian fruits and vegetables sector is the largest in the world, accounting for over 9 per cent of total world output. It will continue to expand rapidly, its growth being driven by raising income and increasing demand from current low levels of per capita consumption. Today, the sector is dominated by fresh market. However, there is also an opportunity for players in the processed food sector to improve the quality and price performance of their products. Despite, low per capita availability, India is already the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. Cold Storage/Cool Chain The application of refrigeration techniques in preservation and storage of perishables is important in the present context. The bumper production and limited seasons of harvesting of fruits and vegetables have established the impressiveness of refrigerated storage. Cold storages are important vital organs of an efficient marketing system. Indian agriculture is characterized by small-scale and labour-intensive operations. The small farms farmers should concentrate their activities on field based on empirical knowledge. For the management of a farm of several hectare it becomes difficult for the 219

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farmers to evaluate the variability within each cultivated field. Positioning by using GPS technique, automatically sensing systems etc. may enable to generate field maps to analyse the spatial and temporal variability. Sensors based variable control machine can be used for managing such large-scale farms because of the requirement of high speed operations (Table 1). Table 1. Scale dependent technology requirement for horticulture
Management scale (ha) 0 1 1-10 Positioning for operations Empirical determination and intuition Automatic field based survey or machine positioning GPS-oriented + field-based machine positioning Soil and yield Variable rate control mapping in a field Average for each field Manual control with a monitor Variability within a field determined by yield monitor Variability within a field determined by GPS-based sensors + remote sensing Operators skill with monitoring and automated machinery Sensor-based variable rate control with GPS/GIS

10

Varying the rates of crop inputs to meet site-specific needs makes economic and environmental sense. Candidates for variable application include major plant nutrients (P, K and N), lime, seed rate, pesticides, manure, soil amendments, water and tillage. However for each input, a clear strategy must be developed to accurately guide that variable application. With variable-rate input controllers, growers can spontaneously respond to site variation they observe, while traversing a field. An example is the planter tractor operator who manually varies seeding rates in a field based on changes in soil tilth, cloddiness, quantity of crop residue, or landscape position. Unfortunately, varying input rates manually can be very subjective and adversely affected by operator fatigue. Typically, varying crop inputs will be based on some pre-planned strategy that is related to field characteristics. The aim of any variable-rate input strategy is the development of an accurate application map. This is the blueprint that determines the level and location of inputs applied to the field. Grid soil sampling has improved the accuracy of fertilizer application in several ways. First, it represents a large increase in spatial information compared to whole-field composite sampling, or no sampling at all. Second, it has often exposed spatial features previously unknown about a field. Grid soil sampling also has several technical limitations. First, unguided grid soil

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sampling pattern ignore what growers already know about their fields through direct experience or from soil survey maps. Secondly, only the simplest geostatistical methods are considered appropriate for fields containing fewer than 100 geo-referenced samples. Increasingly, agronomists are moving to a 'management zone' concept as the basis for varying crop inputs across variable fields. In this context, a precision farming management zone is defined as 'a portion of a field that expresses a homogeneous combination of yield-limiting factors for which a single rate of a specific crop input is appropriate'. Thus, delineation of management zones is simply a way of classifying the spatial variability within a field. To be successful, the delineation strategy must be based on true cause and effect relationships between site characteristics and crop yield (Table 2). Table 2. Types of site characteristics on which precision farming management zones could be based
Type of site characteristic Quantitative, stable Examples Elevation/topography, soil organic matter, pH, CaCO3, soil electrical conductivity (EC), high-intensity soil survey maps, surface curvature and hydrological properties Yield monitor data, weed density and distribution, crop canopy appearance, temperature, soil moisture and salinity, soil and plant nitrogen status Soil colour, first order NRCS soil survey maps (1:15,800 scale), immobile nutrients (P and K), soil pathogen and pest patterns, depth to subsoil, soil aeration/drainage status Grower knowledge of field characteristics, overall yield patterns and historical practices, soil tilth and quality, past crop rotations, old field boundaries, land leveling and drainage patterns, subsoil characteristics

Quantitative, dynamic

Qualitative, stable

Intuitive/historical

PRECISION FARMING There are two methodologies for implementing precision or site-specific farming. Each method has unique benefits and can even be used in a complementary or combined fashion. Map-based Technologies Currently, majority of available technologies and applications in site-specific farming utilize the map-based method of pre-sampling, map generation and variable-rate application. This method is most popular due to lack of sufficient sensors for monitoring 221

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soil conditions. Also, laboratory analysis is still the trusted and reliable method for determining most soil properties. However, cost of soil testing limits the number of samples that a farmer can afford to test. Detailed mapping of fields is easily performed using a computer programme sometimes a GIS (geographical information system). Some programme can even use algorithms for 'smoothing' or interpolating the data between sampling points. Others use a constant value for the measured property over the entire area. In either case, the mapping facilitates long-term planning and analysis. It provides an opportunity to make decisions regarding the selection and purchase of seed and chemicals well in advance of their time of use. Maps are especially good for collecting data for variables, which do not fluctuate from season to season. Variables such as organic matter, soil texture and possibly yield potential change slowly, if at all. Soil fertility with regard to particular nutrients such as phosphorous, and potassium may change from year to year but one can probably obtain benefits from sampling only every 2-3 years. Other nutrients such as nitrogen, may vary considerably even during the growing season and require measurements and mapping every year. In order to use these computer's generated maps they must be converted to a form, which can be used by the variable-rate applicator. The applicator's controller then calculated the desired amount of chemical to apply at each moment in time. Again, a DGPS system must be used to continuously correlate the location in the field with a coordinate on the map and the desired application rate for that coordinate. Most variable-rate controllers actually attempt to synchronize the application rate with the position in the field by 'looking ahead' on the map for the next change in rate. This takes into account the time required to change the rate coming out of the applicator and the ground speed of the tractor. One system that utilizes this pre-sampling and map-controlled application is called Soilectiontm and is currently prompted by Soil Teq, Inc., Minnetonka, MN. Variable rates of up to 5 liquid chemicals, may be applied by this system based on the computerized map. One benefit of the map-based method is the a prior knowledge of the needed amounts of chemicals, or inputs, for the operations for example a farmer knows exactly how much fertilizer, he will need before he even enters the field (similar to when constant rate application is used). Sensor-based Technologies Some technology is becoming available utilizing the method, which can be described as real-time sensing and variable rate control. One such system is marketed by Crop Technology, Inc., Houston, Texas, USA. Their system the Soil Doctor R, claims to 222

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'examine soil type, organic matter, cation exchange capacity, soil moisture and nitrate nitrogen levels' using a 'rolling electrode'. By sensing these properties on the go the need for a positioning system is eliminated and the data processing is greatly reduced because no maps are required. However, if, the operator desires to record the sensor outputs and use this information for other operations, the system is capable of interfacing with a GPS and generating site-specific maps. This type of system also has a problem with synchronizing the sensor measurements with the desired application rate for the same site. In some instances, the sensor may have to be mounted on the front of the tractor or spreader truck to give the variable-rate applicator's controller enough time to adjust the rate accordingly before it passes the sensed location. In order to effectively accomplish this real time control, the sensors must respond almost instantaneously to changes in the soil. For example, a bulk fertilizer spreader truck may operate at field speeds of 40 km/hr. This means that 11 m will have passed beneath the truck, if, the lag time of the system is one second. Other researchers are also actively developing sensors for real-time measurements of nitrate nitrogen, soil pH, potassium and phosphorous and soil texture. If, these efforts succeed, site-specific farming will become even more economical possibly even automatic. Sensing the future significant current research activities focus on developing more sensors for precision farming. In the future, we may have electronic sensors that detect soil qualities on-the-fly, making it unnecessary to pull soil samples, analyse them, create maps, and then return to the field to distribute the fertilizer. Farming Equipments Controllers Soilection System/Ag-Chem Soil-Teq : The Soilection System components include Falcon controller (with keypad, computer and monitor) and software, product metering controls, ground speed sensor, navigation system, and feedback sensors and the system is used on air spreaders or sprayers. Sprayer Plus (BEE Ag-Electronics) : The Sprayer Plus can be used with most types of sprayer. The system can automatically adjusts the sprayer for changes in speed, flow or pressure. Precision Control System (DICKEY-john) : The PCS is a controller system for application of liquid or granular fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, and anhydrous ammonia. Mechanical Rate Adjustors Kinze Mfg, Inc. Rate Reducing Clutch : The Two Speed Point Row Clutch is for 223

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planters, and allows change from full rate to a reduced rate using an in cab switch. By changing sprockets, the operator can control planting rates in increments of 5 per cent. Air Delivery System (Progressive Farm Products Inc.) : An additional option is the dry fertilizer air delivery system has quick sprockets for rate changes from 75 lbs/ acre to 1,000 lbs/acre. The delivery system is used with the SPRA-KADDY. Sprayers Ag-Chem Liquid Systems : Ag-Chem sprayers feature independent, retractable boom operation, pressure throttling, stainless steel tanks with baffles and an injection system is optional. Automatic Equipment Mfg Co. : Automatic MB and MC series sprayers can be used in a wide variety situations, row crops, vegetables, orchards and range, applying both pesticides and fertilizers. Air Spreaders Ag-Chem Air Spreaders : The Terra-Gator air spreaders may be used independently of the Soilection System. The equipment includes a radar system with a Raven SCS 700 monitor/controller for travel and application readings, with in cab on the go rate adjustments possible. Concord Air System 2400 : The Air system 2400 is a tow between spreader that uses a ground-driven metering cup with spiral fluting. The system also features a loading and unloading auger, electric clutch and a remote on/off switch. Lor-Al Air Max V : The Air-Max spreader is a dry application machine that uses DICKEY-john CMS/CCS 100 for electronic control of rates. The system features 'Quad-Lap' coverage, delivering a four time multiple product overlap for a uniform pattern, potatoes and seed. Application of Remote Sensing and GIS techniques is done to assess the land and water resources and to identify areas suitable for growing different horticultural crops. The advent of remote sensing and space technology has added a new dimension to agriculture. Remotely sensed data have the capability to provide cost-effective and timely synoptic observations with high observational density over relatively large areas. Now through remote sensing it is possible to have real time reporting and repetitive monitoring of temporal and spatial changes in the earth surface characteristics. GIS provides a digital representation of land characteristics used and performs the complex map overlays and spatial analysis to develop input data for the hydrologic and water 224

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quality models. Remote sensing integrated with GIS has been used effectively by many researchers worldwide in crop assessment, agricultural water management, hydrological studies, sediment yield modeling, watershed management and environmental studies. Temporal variation in land use and land cover (LU/LC) study area is a most desirable information for crop growth, biomass assessment and crop disease identification. Conventional methods for LU/LC classification are accurate but expensive, time consuming and difficult for updating and repetition. Remote sensing and GIS have given us the opportunity to merge data sets and to update the LU/LC information by a low cost operation. By analysis of land use and land cover, soil topography, water resources and other ancillary derived information from satellite images, now it is possible to recommend the farmers about suitable areas for the horticultural crops. REFERENCES
1. Alchanatis,V., Hetzroni, A., Edan, Y., Shmulevich, I., Galili, I., Seginer, J., Bailey, B. and Gieling, T. (2001). Multispectral imaging sensor for site specific application of chemicals. Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Sensors in Horticulture, Haifa. Israel, Acta Horticulturae No.562 : 119-25. Baas, R., Straver, N.A., Shmulevich, I., Galili, I., Seginer, J., Bailey, B. and Gieling, T. (2001). Insitu monitoring water content and electrical conductivity in soilless media using a frequencydomain sensor. Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Sensors in Horticulture, Haifa. Israel. Acta-Horticulturae No.562 : 295-303. Benami, A, and Offen, A. (1995). Irrigation Engineering. Published by AGRIPRO- Agricultural Project (AGP), Kfar Galim, 30865, Israel, 257pp. Chesmore, E.D., Nellenbach, C., Shmulevich, I., Galili, I. and Seginer, J. and Bailey, B. and Gieling, T. (2001). Acoustic methods for the automated detection and identification of insects. Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Sensors in Horticulture, Haifa, Israel. Acta Horticulturae No.562 : 223-31. Ehlert, D., Kloepfer, F. and Frisch, J. (2000). The use of sensors to collect soil parameters, plant parameters and yield data. April 2000 in Veitshochheim. KTBL-Schrift. 2000, No. 390, 59-66. Savvas, D. and Adamidis, K. (1999). Automated management of nutrient solutions based on target electrical conductivity, pH, and nutrient concentration ratios. J. Pl. Nutrition 22 : 1415-32. Shuman, D., Arbogast, R.T., Weaver, D., Shmulevich, I., Galili, I., Seginer, J., Bailey, B. and Gieling, T. (2001). A computer-based insect monitoring system for stored-products using infrared sensors. Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Sensors in Horticulture, Haifa. Israel, 17-21 August, 1997. Acta Horticulturae No. 562: 243-55. Trentini, L. (1996). An Italian machine for filling seed trays with horticultural and flower seedlings. Informatore-Agrario-Supplemento 52 : 29, 65-67.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

17

HI-TECH NURSERY WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO FRUIT CROPS


Gorakh Singh1 and Anju Bajpai2

Over the years, productivity and quality of several horticultural crops have continued to remain much below the potential, as demonstrated in research trials. There are various factors, which contribute towards this low productivity. One of the factors is poor quality seed and planting material. Although a large number of nurseries have been established and many seed companies are operative, there is an acute shortage of quality seed and planting material. Mechanism for assessing quality of seeds and plants is weak and farmers are also unaware about the risk in use of poor quality plants. Unlike field crops, a large number of horticultural crops are propagated through vegetative methods. Although vegetative methods of propagation help in multiplying true-to-type plants, there is high risk of transmission of viral diseases from one generation to other. Sometimes unscrupulous nurserymen even sell seedling plants in place of graft when demand is high. Similarly, quality seeds are also in short supply and often do not meet the growing requirements. With the opening of world trade by virtue of WTO, the scene has been changed drastically. The scene of complacency has to be replaced by our endeavour to produce hi- quality products for fulfilling domestic and global commitments. Therefore, in such a scenario, the advent of concept of hi-tech nursery gains momentum and wide acceptability. The need for improved quality produce coupled with high productivity is one such issue, which has to be tackled with priority. A cursory look at the past interventions demonstrates aptly, the enormous dividents horticulture sector has paid to the GDP. Accordingly, as per the rough estimates 7 per cent annual growth has been fixed for the next plan project for the horticulture. This is achievable, if, the potential is tapped and harnessed in a systematic and sustainable manner. The emerging challenges of the WTO and increased consumer awareness make the quality control of the produce absolutely necessary. In such a scenario, where domestic and export markets are highly competitive, hi-tech interventions are emerging trends to meet the challenges.
1 Sr. Scientist (Hort.), 2 Scientist SS (Cytogenetics), Central Institute for Subtropical

Horticulture, Lucknow 227 107

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HI-TECH HORTICULTURE AND PRECISION FARMING The promising gains of horticulture will have to be sustained in coming years to meet the aspirations of growing population. This would be feasible only through deployment of modern hi-tech application and precision farming methods. Hi-tech horticulture has been defined as the interventions in horticulture which deploy modern technologies, viz. microirrigation, fertigation, protected cultivation, micropropagation etc. These technologies may be capital intensive but are less environment dependent and have the capacity to improve the productivity and quality of horticultural produce. The technology is best option for improving land productivity and is beyond doubt the best source for employment generation in rural areas which in turn will improve the economic condition of farmers. Hi-tech Nursery Hi-tech nursery is a place where plants are raised from seeds/other vegetative methods for production of new plants under protected and controlled conditions. All the operations starting from soil preparation to seedling packing are done with the use of technical knowledge and thus they are expected to deliver good success. Since the propagules get appropriate conditions for growth and development and the practical skill of the grower is assured, hence seedlings/plantlets perform well in the field. Therefore, there is an urgent need for strengthening the concept of hi-tech nursery, where propagation is done under protected condition. Protected cultivation is intended to mean some level of control over plant microclimate to alleviate one or more of abiotic stresses for optimum plant growth (3). The microclimatic parameters are temperature, light, air composition and nature of root medium. Success in multiplication under protected conditions increase even in unfavourable agroclimatic conditions than open field conditions. Indeed, plant multiplication particularly in greenhouse started in Indian only during the recent past. Therefore, a vast untapped potential exists to derive benefits on a large scale. Government of India continues to support protected cultivation efforts in the country. There is a large potential for indigenous technology upgradation and appropriate human resource development. Recently, concern about suitable disposal of plastic materials used in protected cultivation has also been expressed (3). There is lack of indigenous information base on relevant technologies for use by the prospective users and entrepreneurs. Due to control over environmental and other factors, it is expected that the clonal propagation would be more successful and profitable. At Samstipur, seeds of papaya Pusa Dwarf sown in a bamboo fram naturally ventilated greenhouse 227

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Table 1. Enhanced seed germination of papaya under bamboo polyhouse


Observation No. of days for germination Germination (per cent) Days taken to attain optimum height Healthy seedlings before transplanting (per cent)) Source: Mishra (9) Germination (per cent) Greenhouse Open field 2000-01 2001-02 Mean 2000-01 2001-02 12 16 14 14 28 78.4 48 90 62.7 63 74 70.55 55.5 82 48.7 61 71 14.6 83 32

Mean 21 31.65 72 51.5

enhanced seed germination rate (14 days verses 21 days) and higher germination percentage (31-55-70.55 per cent) as compared to open field condition (Table 1). Similarly at Bhubaneswar, the grafting period was extended to whole year instead of only monsoon under field conditions. Due to availability of required environment in greenhouse, i.e. with partial shade and misting facilities, good graft union was recorded (8 and 9). High Quality Planting Material Improvement of technology base and other strategies being recommended will not have the desired impact unless high quality of planting material is not made available. By and large in most of the cases the quality of planting material now being supplied is poor both in respect of genetic values and health standards. There are a large number of variations within the cultivar. There is also a degeneration of varieties in certain cases. Variations are also observed in productivity and quality amongst the trees of variety. The plants supplied by nurseryman do not turn out to be true-to-variety, what to talk the best within a variety. It is therefore necessary that the best tree or tree of outstanding merit (TOM) within each variety be selected, earmarked and used as mother tree for future multiplication. Competitions to be organized at village, block and state levels to select the best trees in each commercial variety and developed as mother trees. The growers will get incentive for their maintenance and the Government will have right to purchase bud wood. Each state should establish a varietal foundation for stocking the parent material. The varietal foundation will serve as mother tree resource centre for the supply of limited quantity of scion wood to government and private nurseries for mass multiplication, facilities for which to be created in both public and private sector. 228

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Selection of Mother Plant Selection of mother plant is to be given top priority as it decides the success of propagation including production and productivity. The performance will depend on the source of scion material which should be taken from the tree fulfilling all the scientific criteria for best performance. These are:
! ! !

The parent plant must have been tested for its performance over a number of years. It must be free from transmittable diseases and in a healthy condition. The fruit shape, size and quality must conform to the typical specification of the variety.

Quality Control of Planting Material The average productivity of most horticultural crops in India is low. A wide gap exists between obtained and potential yields with improved varieties and technologies. The following strategies are suggested for quality control.
! ! ! !

Production of disease-free and quality planting material of only released and recommended varieties/ hybrids both in public and private sectors. There should be strict quality control in the production of planting material. Registration act should be enforced in all the states. Nursery production and maintenance should be modernized.

Promotion of Hi-tech Nursery in India Considering the immense scope and potential of hi-tech production of planting material, a new scheme on hi-tech horticulture and precision farming has been included during the X plan. A step towards promoting precision farming was taken by redesigning the Plasticulture Development Centre (PDC) as Precision Farming Development Centre (PFDC) with a view to introduce the concept of hi-tech horticulture. Monitoring and implementation of the scheme would be through the National Committee on Plasticulture Application in Horticulture (NCPAH), which is proposed to be renamed as National Council for Precision Farming (NCPF). Presently, NCPAH has set up 18 PFDCs in various State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) and ICAR Research Institutes. Of which one centre is at Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH), Lucknow. The research and developmental work carried out at CISH, Lucknow, included production of quality horticultural produce, also in getting higher extent of success in the production of quality planting material and that too almost throughout the year. 229

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Of late, National Horticulture Board, Gurgaon, has launched a set of innovativeand entrepreneur-driven schemes during 2002 for boosting horticulture sector in the country. The main emphasis has been given for production of seed and quality planting material. Similarly, NABARD has also played a very important role to make the credit available for hi-tech horticulture. Several steps are taken by NABARD to boost the production and productivity level of horticultural crops. These are :
!

The State Horticulture Departments are being advised to supply adequate quality planting material so as to improve the productivity. They are being advised to open more nurseries in potential areas and also increase the production of planting material of existing nurseries. The above issues are being taken up regularly with the State Governments in collaboration with NABARD. To increase the production and productivity level of horticultural crops, NABARD has identified some thrust areas for production of genuine quality planting material, mass production of quality planting material by tissue culture, support transfer of technology and its adoption, identifying crop/ activity-specific thrust areas and working on them to achieve desired targets, and plasticulture.

! !

Mechanization of Hi-tech Nursery Hi-tech needs mechanization in nurseries, their optional use and efficiency. There is a need for developing equipments, which can pulverize, mix and sterilize root media in pot or tray. Screw august need to be developed for filling seedling trays or pots for transplanting. Seed sowing can be assisted by precision planters and drippers/ microsprinklers are needed for irrigation. Therefore, initial support for establishing such nurseries which are equipped with modern facilities for microirrigation, greenhouses, plant health clinics etc. are needed, in both public and private sectors. Plastics in Nursery Management With changing scenario in India, horticulture after liberalization is totally revolutionalized. With this the demand of genuine planting/seed material has increased tremendously. Presently, plant material is being supplied to farmers by private nurserymen and government agencies. The signing of WTO by the Government of India, the importance of planting material would be more pronounced. The most important segment of horticulture that has largely been benefited by use of plastics in nursery management is starting from the use of polybags for raising seedlings/rootstocks, a plastics strip to tie the graft union, a plastic cap for covering the mass multiplication of grafts and mist 230

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chamber for rooting of cuttings to hardening of tissue-cultured plants (Fig. 1). Greenhouse has revolutionized the nursery sector in different PFDCs. It has become an integral part of nursery activities, grafts, rooting of cuttings of fruit, vegetable, ornamental, medicinal and aromatic plants. With all these advantages the Fig. 1. Cleft grafting of mango under greenhouse covered with polytube efficiency of nursery has been improved tremendously. The limitation of seasons has been overcome and enabled mass mutiplication of plants almost throughout the year. In order to take benefits of new opportunities that are emerging in horticultural scenario, comprehensive information about various facets of greenhouse technology especially with regard to their designing, layout and construction as per specification using standard materials and management of temperature/ light/ humidity/drip irrigation (Fig. 2) and nutrition for production and multiplication of various crops, obtained by Fig. 2. Use of drip irrigation system for production of quality planting material (before and after multiplication conducting location-specific research was found to be very under greenhouse) essential. Plant Multiplication Under Greenhouse Conditions Horticultural crop propagation is hampered by weather variations and occasional vagaries like storm, drought, floods etc. These tend to have adverse effect on yield and production of the crop. Greenhouse provides protection to the crop from these exigent situations and gives additional benefit for growing off-season crops. The technology enables growing of crop at a particular location irrespective of prevalent agroclimatic conditions at the time. However, cost of cultivation is proportional to the difference between ambient climatic conditions and crop microclimatic conditions (2). Generally, for commercial propagation only adequate control over plant environmental conditions 231

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is attempted for maximizing the profits. In other words, greenhouse technology is most modern and intensive form of mass multiplication of quality planting material (Fig. 3). The greenhouse technology is widely adopted in western countries. In our country ample scope exists for protected multiplication of horticultural crops in varied Fig. 3. Mass multiplication of mango plants under greenhouse climatic regions due to following advantages. Round the year propagation can be practised for deriving higher financial benefits. At IARI, New Delhi, round the year propagation of fruit tree nurseries was attempted in a greenhouse. During April-June and July-August, kinnow, aonla, ber and lime cuttings were prepared, while during September-November seeds of papaya, mango and jackfruit were germinated. Again in February-March papaya cv. Coorg Honey Dew was germinated fairly well. The germination was 55.5-61.5 per cent in papaya, 65.5 per cent in mango and 68.7 per cent in jackfruit (4). The results of various research studies undertaken at different PFDCs for the last few years is described in Tables 1, 2 and 3. Besides, some results are :
!

Successful crop propagation is possible even in extremely adverse and harsh climatic conditions such as cold arid zone of Leh- Laddakh, arid Rajasthan, high rainfall areas like North-East region of the country etc. Higher return per unit area is expected than open field conditions due to increased survival and less mortality. Hardening and acclimatization of tissue-cultured plants is done in greenhouse before transfer to field. The better quality produce would definitely increase the export and foreign currency generation. Finally protected/greenhouse cultivation opens up employment avenues for rural youth. Thus the problem of rural migration to cities could be checked to some extent. The enterprise is attracting many entrepreneurs because of the advantages in terms 232

! ! ! ! !

Hi-tech Nursery with Special Reference to Fruit Crops

Table 2. Relative performance of mango grafting under greenhouse in comparison to open field condition at various PFDCs.
Success percentage at various places Uttaranchal (Pantnagar) Months of grafting aoperation Apr, 2001 May, 2001 Jun, 2001 Jul, 2001 Aug, 2001 Sep, 2001 Oct, 2001 Nov, 2001 Dec, 2001 Jan, 2002 Feb, 2002 Mar, 2002 Apr, 2002 Green -house Open field condition condition 46.67 64.47 100.00 97.80 93.33 60.00 44.70 51.30 60.00 77.80 75.53 80.00 24.47 33.33 100.00 93.33 51.13 53.33 31.13 8.87 8.87 17.80 28.87 84.47 Orissa (Bhubneswar) Greenhouse condition 60 50 60 100 100 90 80 75 60 60 75 75 Open field condition 30 35 50 100 100 80 70 50 30 30 45 40 Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad) Greenhouse condition 100 100 100 80 80 60 40 Open field condition 80 80 80 70 60 40 10 -

Source : Shukla, (12); Mishra (9); Shankar (10)

of money and other aspects. However, one of the crucial factors is the ability of producer to harness maximum benefit. Conventional vs Greenhouse Propagation The different methods of vegetative propagation need a fair amount of control over irrigation, humidity and temperature, so that physiological and physical activities of propagules is accelerated (11). In case of softwood hardwood cuttings, aftercare is the most critical factor for generation of planting material. Under open field conditions, desiccation and death due to water loss are major causes of mortality before initiation of root formation. Provision of intermittent mist in protected cultivation would prevent desiccation and keep the temperature under control (5 and 13). Under protected conditions at Solan (H.P.), good germination percentage and seedling vigour were recorded in apple as compared to open conditions. The GA3 requirements were also lowered from 50 to 25 ppm (14 and 10). 233

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Table 3. Comparison of propagation of cashewnut, guava and pomegranate under greenhouse and open field conditions att Bhubneswar and Hyderabad.
Crop-year of grafting operations/sources precentage M onth of grafting operation *Cashewnut April 2001 M arch 2002 Greenhouse Apr M ay Jun July Aug 60 50 65 90 90 Open field 35 35 55 90 90 70 60 40 30 25 50 50 *Guava September 2000M arch 2001 Greenhouse 100 90 80 70 70 65 60 Open field 85 85 80 70 70 65 60 **Pomegranate June 2000 M arch 2001 Greenhouse 90 100 100 80 70 65 60 50 40 30 Open field 85 80 80 60 50 50 45 40 20 20

Sep 70 Oct 80 Nov 70 Dec 60 Jan (02) 50 Feb 70 M ar 70 Source: * M ahapatra (8); * M ishra (9)

ADVANTAGES Uniformity and Purity of Propagated Plants The government interventions of the past decade have generated a paradigam shift in farmers' approach from mere production to productivity (quantity/unit area) to recently profitability (productivity/time/man). The solution to address farmers need, as far as horticultural crops are concerned, lies in developing and propagating superior and uniform varieties. The horticultural crops like mango, guava, litchi, papaya etc. are heterozygous and outcrossing. Due to this, conventional seed propagation methodology result in multiplication of a large population of plants which lack the desirable attributes. Ironically the perennial nature and long gestation period of these trees make initial screening difficult and often they become a liability to farmers. Similarly, due to strict control over edaphic and environmental conditions, layering and grafting of plantlets are more successful and losses due to mortality of seedlings can be avoided. The control over temperature of rooting medium and air temperature allows high rate of adventitious root formation thereby increasing number of propagated plantlets. Very high temperatures are detrimental as they tend to indispose the plantlet towards pathogenic invasion and 234

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increased respiration rate (7). High air temperature stimulates shoot development, a head of root formation, thus bringing about water loss and desiccation (6). The movement of cell sap accelerates the callus formation which after fusion forms cambium and intermingling of two cell lines (scion and rootstock). Accelerated vascular connection results in faster growth and bud emergence. Strict control over sanitary conditions allows for good growth of propagules, which are not infested with disease and insects. Genuineness of Planting Material The genuine planting material can be best supplied by the grower himself. Hence, adoption of hi-tech nursery for production of genuine planting material is gaining grounds with passing time. The potential benefits of the planting material tapped in genetic makeup of the mother plant is known by the grower. Therefore, he may use only superior mother plants for production of nursery. Strict supervision and control can be well exercised in the greenhouse structures, which is otherwise not possible in the field. Acclimatization of Micropropagated Plantlets The transfer of micropropagated plants from culture vessel to soil requires a stepwise hardening procedure which requires protected or greenhouse facilities. Due to the control over microclimate, uniformity of planting material is brought about. The plants are protected from unpredictable weather conditions and they are more vigorous than plants grown under open field conditions. Quite understandably, the performance of plants raised in such hi-tech environments is superior throughout their life-cycle (1). Economy The growing commercialization and consumerialistic tendency of society in globalized economy has made impact in traditional areas of nursery and plant propagation. The profitability of technology needs to be demonstrated. In case of hitech nursery high input cost is easily overcome by huge productivity due to minimal mortality. The bulk production also minimizes the provisions for manuring, soil, irrigation etc. At Pantnager, it was found that cleft grafting percentage was higher in polyhouse condition throughout the year in comparison to open field. During normal grafting period, the success was at par in winter months, whereas it was significantly more under polyhouse (51.13-77.8 per cent) as compared to open field (8.87-17.8 per cent). The economic evaluation of plastic house for the year round grafting revealed that a net return of Rs 39,295 from 75 m2 low-cost polyhouse is obtained in four months (12). As far as the grower is concerned large-scale production of crop requires abundant planting material. The loss during transportation and carriage can be avoided by having 235

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a nearby hi-tech nursery. The timely availability of plantlets also circumvents problems arising out of erratic weather condition as witnessed in recent times. Disease and Insect-free Planting Material Under protected cultivation the plants are raised under strict supervision and timely treatments to check the disease and insect infestation. Careful nurturing of plants since very beginning is responsible for availability of vigorous and healthy plants in abundant quantity. CONSTRAINTS Inadequate supply of quality planting material at reasonable rate is a major constraint. Most of the nurseries in private and public sectors do not produce standard plant material, which ultimately affect not only the production potential but also the yield of quality fruits. These nurseries lack of infrastructural facilities such as greenhouse, mistpropagation units, cold storage, modern irrigation systems, and efficient nursery tools, implements and machinery. Therefore, hi-tech nursery needs to be established for the production of quality planting material. The utility of hi-tech nursery under protected conditions has been well established. However, major constraints in a large-scale adoption of greenhouses are involvement of high investments and lack of cost-effective technology for most of the crops for different agroclimatic regions of the country. As the technology is in infancy package of practices is yet to be standardized in most of the cases. The perfection of agro-technology is yet to be studied for hi-tech nursery raising. Thus, there is an urgent need to address the problem of cost-effectiveness and effective control system, so that hi-tech nursery raising has enhanced efficiency. The Government of India has made some interventions during the last 5-year plans. During VIII plan an outlay of Rs 22 crores was earmarked for promoting protected cultivation and greenhouse construction. National Horticulture Board, Gurgaon, has also provided assistance in form of soft loans subject to 40 per cent of term loan with maximum ceiling of Rs 100 lakhs to various cooperative societies, NGOs, corporations and private companies for setting up integrated projects. Subsequently in IX plan it came down to 20 per cent of loans in the form of capital subsidy scheme of grant-in-aid, upper ceiling being 25 lakhs per project. Due to suitability of naturally ventilated greenhouses, assistance was extended up to 40 per cent of total cost of Rs 200/m2 for maximum of 500 m2 per project. All these efforts have created an environment for use of protected cultivation. Due to new concept of nursery raising under protected cultivation the benefits are likely to accrue to entrepreneurs in this area also. 236

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CONCLUSION Improving the availability of hybrid seed and healthy planting material of improved/ recommended varieties, supported by a network of regional nurseries equipped with distribution outfits will go a long way for scientific horticulture. The infusion of latest technologies has become essential for increased productivity. The demand for horticultural produce is accelerating with passing time. Unless uniform planting material of desired type is available, increased productivity levels cannot be achieved. Hence, adoption of frontier technologies like hi-tech nursery for raising plantlets has to be encouraged. The responsibility of providing food and nutritional security to aspiring populace, coupled with projected growth rate of 7 per cent can be met by various hitech inventions of which hi-tech nursery is the stepping stone. Educational and training programmes need to be to strengthened for the development of human resource and sustainable progress. REFERENCES
1. Bajpai, A., Chandra, R. and Singh, G. (2002). Strategic use of acclimatization in micropropagation. In : Souvenir, National Seminar-cum-Workship on Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming, July 26-28, 2002. Chandra, P. (2002). Design and development of greenhouses in India. In : Souvenir, National Seminar-cum-Workshop on Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming, July 26-28, 2002. Chandra, P., Shrivastava, R., Dogra, A.K. and Gupta, M.J. (2001). Strategies for development of protected cultivation in India. In : Approaches for Sustainable Development of Horticulture. Singh, H.P., Negi, J.P. and Sumuel, J.C. (Eds). DAC, MOA, pp. 92-96. Chandra, P. (20001-2002). Annual Progress Report, Precision Farming Development, Division of Agricultural Engineering, IARI, New Delhi. Gardener, E.J. (1941). Propagation under mist. American Nurseryman : 5-7. Hartmann, H.T., Kester, D.E. and Davies, L.T. Jr. (1990). Plant Propagation : Principal and Practices, 5th edn. Prentice Halti Engliwood clffs. Hess, C.E. and Sunder, W.E. (1955). A physiological comparison of the use of mist with other propogation procedures used in rooted cuttings. Rep. 14th Int. Hort. Cong.: 1133-39. Mahapatra, L.N. (2001-2002). Annual Progress Report, Precision Farming Development Centre. Deptt. Hort., OUA&T, Bhubaneswar. Mishra, A.P. (2001-2002). Annual Progress Report, Precision Farming Development Centre, RAU, Pusa, Samastipur. Shankar, S. (2001-2002). Annual Progress Report, Precision Farming Development Centre, Deptt. Agric. Eng., A.N.G., Ranga Agric. Univ., Rajendranagar, Hydrabad.

2. 3.

4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

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11. 12.

Sharma, V.K. (1991). Raising of nursery plants. In : Encyclopedia of Practical Horticulture. I. Fruits. Deep & Deep Publ. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. Shukla, K.N. (2001-2002). Annual Progress Report, Precision Farming Development Centre, Directorate of Experiment Station, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar. Stoutmayer, V.T. and O. Romke, F.L. (1943). Spray humidification and the rooting of greenwood. American Nurseyman 77 : 5-6, 24-25. Thakur, B.C. (2001-2002). Annual Progress Report, Precision Farming Development Centre, Department of Soil Science and Water Management, Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, Solan.

13. 14.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

18

GENETIC ENGINEERING: A STRATEGIC APPROACH FOR HI-TECH HORTICULTURE


Jasdeep Chatrath Padaria1 and Ramesh Chandra2

Horticultural crops constitute a significant component of total agricultural produce in India. Since centuries horticultural crops have played a key role in providing nutritional, economic and environmental security and generating employments to the human society. With the advent of new technologies in various fields of biology, new shape, colour, size and flavour have been obtained by this domain of agriculture. Immense progress has been made in horticulture sector especially since independence with the release of new varieties, intensive use of plant protectants, growth stimulants and improved cultivation practices. The application of new and improved technologies of post-harvest handling of products and jet age transportation have made horticultural crops an international tradable commodity. With increasing population, urbanization and continuous depletion of natural resources there has to be a paradigm shift in farmers perception from production to productivity to profitability. In spite of its prominent position in socio-economic, ecological and nutritional scene of the nation, the progress of horticulture sector is not commensurate with the actual available potential. In fact, Indias horticultural progress is yet to come of its full bloom. To meet this challenge, it becomes imperative to develop improved cultivars having superior genetic make-up with in-built ability to fight abiotic and biotic stresses. Improvement in productivity would mainly rely on advanced cultural practices with gradual replacement with genetically superior material. Plant breeding for crop improvement was mainly by trial and error until the discoveries of Darwin and Mendel. It then became apparent that (i) combinations of genetic traits are favoured among individuals within populations through natural selection and (ii) individual traits (now referred as genes) segregate and individually assort in a predictable manner in offspring of cross bred parents. An understanding of Mendelian genetics at the individual plant level revolutionized plant breeding and resulted in the
1Scientist,

SS(Biotech.) 2Principal Scientist (Econ. Bot.), Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow 227 107, India

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advances of green revolution. It also marked the introduction of applied genetics to agriculture. Classical plant breeding with desirable traits has been attempted for centuries and have led to the development of high-yielding varieties for improved production of most of the horticultural crops. It generally remains a hit or miss technique as it lacks precision. Moreover, classical plant breeding is also constrained by the limits of specific gene pool. It involves the recombining of entire genome of parent plants and thereby needs several cycles of back crossing and selection to eliminate undesirable traits. Genetic manipulation of plants at the cellular level has achieved a great degree of precision only during the last three decades, due to development of recombinant DNA techniques. With the development of recombinant DNA technology, plant breeders have access to a large number of genes that can be integrated into the plant genome. Genetic engineering techniques (GET) compliment plant breeding efforts by increasing the diversity of genes and germplasms available for incorporation into crops and by shortening the time required for the production of new varieties and hybrids. This new branch of biotechnology that makes use of recombinant DNA technology to direct in vitro transfer DNA genes between or within taxononically unrelated species for developing varieties of plant species with novel, useful, agronomic and value-added traits is commonly known as genetic engineering. The term transgenic or genetically modified organisms (GMO) is used to describe new strains of organisms in which DNA has been modified through in vitro insertion of genetic material from foreign organism. Genetic engineering studies are now being conducted in many countries of the world and many genetically engineered plants are already in the farmers field and market. Many more are on trail for large scale transfer to field. Remarkable examples of useful plant biotechnological work already exists and there is no doubt about tremendous potential of genetic engineering (GE). Though, the first transgenic was generated in 1983, while it was only in 1990s that it went in for commercial use. In 1994, commercial cultivation of genetically modified Flavr Saver Tomato from Calgene Inc. company having a delayed ripening gene was allowed in USA. More than 5,600 trials have been conducted in USA alone since 1987. Eighty per cent of all increases in food output in the developing world is due to genetically improved crops, while only 20 per cent is the result of more land being brought under cultivation. Genetic engineering and other agricultural biotechnology are among the most promising developments in modern science. In 1995, 1.5 million ha were under transgenic crops 240

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in USA. The area under transgenic crops is steadily increasing all over the world. Today 12 countries have over 40 million ha under transgenic plants in various stages of testing and releasing and China alone has one million ha under transgenic rice. Some examples of GM crops are discussed below and summarized in Table 1. Table 1. Traits used in genetic transformation of horticultural crops
Trait Herbicide resistance Delayed ripening Insect resistance Virus resistance Crop Strawberry and sugarbeet Tomato Potato, tomato, potato, strawberry cabbage, brinjal, coffee, sweet

Squash, papaya, potato, sugarbeet, cassava, sweet potato, tomato, melon, sweet pepper, chilli Apricot, plum, potato, tomato Carnation Petunia and chrysanthemum Potato Cucumber, squash, tomato, lettuce, potato.

Resistance to bacteria Extended vase-life Flower colour Freeze tolerance Fungal resistance

Genetically modified (GM) crops are superior as they can be tailored to have high productivity, resistance to pests, tolerance to drought and other biotic and abiotic stresses, better nutritional qualities, delayed ripening and thus better keeping quality. Genetically modified (GM) varieties are being deployed in a number of fruit and vegetable crops. Transgenics or genetically engineered plants can be broadly classified under three categories :
! ! !

Crops with resistance to insect, pests and diseases, tolerance to herbicides and other biotic and abiotic stresses. Crop with nutritional and post-harvest taits. Crops for production of human therapeutics like vaccines.

GENETIC ENGINEERING : MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND TISSUE CULTURE STUDIES COME TOGETHER The genetic engineering revolution owes a great deal to many discoveries made in 241

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the field of molecular biology. In fact, early practitioners of molecular biology were microbilogists or biochemists who worked largely with bacteria or animals. However, plant molecular biology started from late sixties. The discovery and description of genetic material, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), was the major breakthrough in our understanding of the plant genome at molecular level. Now we know that, gene is a piece of DNA carrying a specific function. The second major step towards genetic engineering was the discovery of bacterial DNA in the form of free floating rings called plasmids which are exchanged by bacteria. Plasmids are ideal for carrying new genes. The third major building block in the recombinant DNA technology was the discovery of special enzymes, i.e. restriction endonuclease and ligase. Restriction endonuclease cuts DNA molecule at specific sites and ligase seals the cut ends of DNA molecule. It is important to recognise that the present revolution in plant biotechnology owes a great deal to contributions of people like James Bonner, who at Caltech pioneered research on plant genes and their expression (1) and Lawrence Bogorad, of Harvard, who first coned and sequenced chloroplast gene (19). Their efforts as well as of many other investigators in Europe, led to the training of first generation of plant molecular biologists. Thus modern biotechnology or genetic engineering is a fusion of tissue culture and molecular biology techniques. Of course, availability of restriction endonucleases and ligases was crucial for the success obtained by these workers (17 and 24). The discovery of Agrobacterium tumefaciens was very important as with it a delivery system of transfer of gene to plants could be achieved. In 1950, Braun (2) at the Rockefeller Institute (now Rockefeller University) first gave the idea of existence of a tumor inducing principle in Agrobacterium tumefaciens which we know is a segment of DNA. It was long suspected that some kind of genetic engineering, involving DNA, is going on in the plants even before the modern gene cloning revolution began. But it is the work of Robert Schilperoort, Jeff Schell, Marc Van Montagu, Eugene Nester, Milton Gordon, Mary Dell Chilton and their colleagues in Europe and America which unravelled the role of Ti plasmid in transformation of host plant cells (7,30,34 and 31). Their contributions are now already part of the classic history of genetic engineering. Once the close relationship between Agrobacterium strains containing plasmids and tumors was shown, it was natural to look for the presence of T-DNA in host genome. Using the southern hybridization technique it was shown that a segment of DNA from the Ti plasmid did covalently integrate into the host genome (33). This was followed by strategies for using Ti plasmid as a vector to deliver foreign DNA (8,14,9,11,35 and 3). Because Ti plasmids are large and difficult to manipulate, a way was sought of employing the E. coli plasmids for genetic engineering. The work led to development of special 242

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pBR322 derived plasmids which, can be later inserted in Agrobacterium so that transformation by co-cultivation of protoplast desired cells on leaf discs etc. (13). Meanwhile, direct gene transfer methods where Agrobacterium is are also being used dispensed with completely. Thus genetic engineering could be said to have come of age where Timonthy Hall and Coworkers in USA accomplished the remarkable feat of transferring the phascolin gene form beans to cell of the sunflower (1983) (21).

APPLICATION OF PLANT GENETIC ENGINEERING


Resistance to Herbicides Transgenic plants resistant to herbicide glyphosate, bromoxonil, bialaphos and parquet have been produced. Glyphosate is a potent broad spectrum, non-selective herbicide which inhibits EPSP enzyme (5-enolpyruvl-shikimic acid-3-phosphate synthase) involved in aromatic amino acids. Overproduction of glyphosate tolerant 5ESPS into various plants makes them tolerant to herbicide glyphosate. The gene overproducing EPSP synthase has been cloned from a strain of Petunia and introduced into potato. Transgenic potato over-expressing the enzyme to the extent of 40-fold of that of normal plants was demonstrated to be resistant to glyphosate (29). Comai and coworkers (6) too transferred a mutant Salmonella tyhimurium gene from bacterium conferring tolerance to glyphosate. Similarly, resistance to various other herbicides has been introduced in different horticultural crops, e.g. resistance to phosphonithricin in potato, resistance to glyphosate in sugarbeet and strawberry. Field trials with these crops are under evaluation in various countries. However, herbicides resistant commercial cultivars of cotton, soybean and maize have been developed in USA . Resistance to Viral Diseases Viruses are serious problem in production of horticultural crops like banana, papaya, citrus etc. They completely devastate the crops and as a result the farmer is left with nothing in hand. The most popular transgenic strategy to control virus is through coat protein (CP) mediated resistance. The coat protein when expressed constituently in a transgenic plant interferes with the virion disassembly, multiplication, expression and spread of freshly infected virus. Moreover, the range of coat protein mediated resistance specificity is broad and one gene can provide protection against other related viruses having more than 60 per cent homology in their CP gene sequences. A number of horticultural crops with virus resistance trait have been developed, e.g. papaya (CP gene of PRSVHA-51 from Hawaii) developed by Cornell University USA in 1997, 243

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bord potato plants resistant to leaf roll virus-PLRV, squash variety Freedom IITM, a variety of squash resistant to watermelon mosaic virus 2 and Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (4,25 and 28). Besides the coat protein gene, virus resistance is introduced into plants by transformation with a gene for a defective movement protein (MP) gene. A defective movement protein blocks all the sites of the viral genome, minimizing binding of functional MP effectively. As a result, intra and inter cellular movement of virus will be curtailed. This technique is successfully employed in transgenic potato to confer resistance to PVX, PVY and PLRV. Similarly a defective MP helps in conferring resistance to viruses in case of cassava (20). Apart from the CP and MP genes, the technology of antisense RNA is immensely useful in making transgenic plants virus resistant. This technology has been successfully employed in many horticultural crops as tomato (tomato golden mosaic bigemnivirus), tobacco and cassava (5). Resistance to Fungal/Bacterial Diseases Upon fungal infection in response to pathogen attack, plants also accumulate a class of novel proteins known as pathogenesis related proteins or PR proteins. The PR proteins are generally chitinases or glucanases which hydrolyse the fungal cell wall retarding fungal growth and thus provide self defence to plants. In case of Phytophthora, the causal agent of devastating disease, late blight of potato, the cell wall is made up of cellulose, which unfortunately is not hydrolysed by PR proteins. Therefore, to contain this pathogen, the transgenic strategy was utilized wherein a glucose oxidase gene from Aspergillus niger was transferred to potato. This gene in transgenic potato converts glucose to gluconic acid and H2O2. Enhanced H2O2 synthesis confers resistance against Phytophthora (32). Similarly, osmotic gene encoding a class of PR protein has also been transferred in to commercial cultivars of potato. With the help of recombinant DNA technology, the chitinase gene of Serratia marcescens has been introduced into tobacco, potato. Engineered plants synthesise chitinase which breaksdown the fungal cell wall and thus kills the soil borne phytopathogenic fungi, Rhizoctonia solani (27 and 18). Along the same lines, transgenic plants have been developed which confer resistance towards bacterial diseases. Genes have been isolated and transferred conferring resistance to different diseases as bacterial soft rot in potato but this work is yet to go at a commercial level (32).

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Resistance to Insect Pests Genetic engineers have two major strategies to impart resistance to insect pest. The most widely practised strategy involves the use of insecticidal protein of Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) and the use of protease inhibitors. The use of cry genes of Bt has been extensively done to obtain transgenics resistant to pest. A transgenic potato resistant to colorado potato beetle has already been made commercially available. In USA, similarly insect resistant cultivars have been developed by recombinant technology in cotton and maize at commercial level. Work is also progressing at an immense pace along these lines in case of cabbage, brinjal, coffee, sweet potato, strawberry, potato etc. A different approach involved introducing the gene for trypsin-inhibiting protein isolated form cowpea and thus incapicitating insect proteases and protecting transgenic tobacco plants (15 and 22). Tolerance to Abiotic Stresses Plants are repeatedly exposed to various abiotic stresses such as water deficiency either due to drought or salinity or freezing etc. In nature, many plants counteract these stresses by an array of changes in their cellular processes. Research studies are being carried out to isolate the genes tolerant to abiotic stress and transferring them to plant system where they do not exist naturally. Working along these lines, transgenic tobacco carrying bacterial mtl D gene that encodes an enzyme for mannitol synthesis showing resistance to high salinity was developed. Similarly better drought tolerance in tobacco was achieved by introduction of a gene that helps in fructans synthesis (26). Transgenic potato synthesising fuctans have been produced but their poor agronomic performance has restricted further work. Quality Improvement Genetic engineering also holds great promise in improving the quality of horticultural crops. The release of transgenic tomato with delayed ripening trait for commercial cultivation is proof of success of this technology. Delayed ripening and keeping quality of fruits and vegetables can be improved substantially by manipulating ethylene biosynthesis pathway. In May 1994, Calgene Inc., USA, commercially released transgenic tomato which was transformed with delayed ripening genespolygalacturonase gene sequence reversed to minimize its expression by anti-sense technology. Later, two more cultivars with delayed ripening traits were developed by DNA Plant Tech and Monsanto Co. by transferring amino cyclopropane carboxylic and deaminase gene from Pseudomonas chloraphis 6G5 strain. Tomatoes with traits of thick skin and altered pectin content for paste consistency were developed by 245

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transferring a fragment of polygalacturonase gene. Similar approach is being used to produce other fruits like mango etc. with increased shelf-life. Genetic engineering approach has also been successful in floriculture where colour variegation was obtained in petunia, chrysanthemum, gerbera and rose by introducing sense and antisense chalcone synthase gene (16). Attempts were also made to create flowers with more petals and indeterminate type of inflorescence by manipulation of homeotic genes. Transgenic carnation with longer shelf-life have been produced by introducing an anti - sense construct of aco gene. Efforts are underway in a great way to get GM plants for improved nutritional qualities, e.g. modified potatoes to produce ultra low fat chips. Production of Human Therapeutics Using genetic engineering , it has been possible to selectively modify the metabolic pathway of plant to produce compounds of value as human therapeutics. This field of science has moved from being an experimental system with significant potential to a commercial viable process ready to place useful products in animal and human clinical trials and viable and widespread use. Innovative efforts for putting gene of cholera resistance in banana and a gene for resistance to rabies in muskmelon are also underway. Thus, in roads has been made not only in more traditional areas of therapeutic development but also in relatively uncharted area such as the production of bioactive pesticides and proteins for therapy, antibody production for passive immunization therapy and edible oral vaccines. APPREHENSIONS ABOUT GM CROPS Despite all the promises that the transgenic technologies hold, a coalition group of environmentalists, dissenting specialists and ordinary consumers are becoming vociferous in its warning of possible dangers from GM crops and the need for caution at least in their introduction. The criticism ranges from challenges to scientific assumptions of technologies through question about the motivation of the biotechnology industry to argument that such meddling with the genetic make-up of plants is immoral or sacrilegious. The anti-biotechnologist group feel that genetic engineers will not be able to deal with their promises because genetic structure of plant is so complicated that scientist cannot yet fully understand and modify it. The critics also feel that GM technologist are to focus on the specific crops they are developing and do not pay sufficient attention to widen environmental context in which the crops will be grown. There are chances of genes of GM being transferred to other weeds via pollen which might make the weeds 246

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resistant to insects/ pests/ pathogens etc. Another area of concern is likely increased loss of biodiversity as a result of introduction of GM crops. As replacing the success of local varieties with vast monocultures of single GM variety would leave the crop vulnerable to attack by pests/diseases. The opponents also fear that GM crops may pose risk to human health. Fears focus on two main issues, i.e. the risk of transplanted genes producing proteins in the plants which may cause allergic reaction in people eating the food and use of genes which could produce resistance to antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance genes are used as marker genes with the desirable trait gene to be transferred. In fact genetic engineers have recognized this danger and the use of antibiotic resistant markers may be phased out. Last but not the least the critics feel that genetic engineering is being developed and promoted primarily by private corporation and that with recent consolidations in the life industry sector, only a few giant corporations will have control over a large proportion of the germplam, agricultural process and distribution system needed to feed the world. The arguments of anti-GM groups are not fully justified. With traditional production system it will be a difficult task to meet food requirement of the world population, which is now, almost 6 billion. For most of the crops, the yield potential has attained a plateau and the over use of fertilizers and chemicals for pest and weed control have only resulted in destroying frail agro-ecological systems. For sustainable farm productivity it is important that efficiency of per unit land, water and capital should be enhanced without ecological harm. Genetic engineering has immense potential for improving productivity, profitability, stability and sustainability of our agriculture /horticulture system. The multiple benefits of transgenic crops include flexibility in terms of efficient, crop management, decreased dependency on conventional insecticides and herbicides, higher yields, cleaner and higher quality grain or end product and eco-friendliness. Transgenic crops ensures higher economic returns along with better consumer acceptability. The benefits to mankind are manifold, e.g. the new golden rice which has carotene gene could cure 2 million children from the deadly malaise of blindness. Transgenic bananas containing hepatitis-B vaccine would be of immense help in the immunization programmes for eradicating hepatitis. Nutritionally improved potatoes containing amaranthus albumin gene (AmA 1) which is non-allergenic and rich in all essential amino acid would be a great boon for developing countries in allieviating the malnutrition problem. In fact for hundreds of years virtually all foods have been improved genetically by plant breeders. Genetically altered antibiotics, vaccines and vitamins have improved our health, while enzyme containing detergents and oil eating bacteria have helped to protect the environment. 247

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GM crops will transform horticulture with enhanced yield potential, wider adaptability, in-built resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses and thereby reducing the over reliance on chemicals. IPR ISSUES IN GENETIC ENGINEERING Biotechnology is a fast emerging technology of the millennium and it is difficult to keep pace with the developments taking place in the field. However, patent laws do not refer to biotechnology per se. The European Patent Convention refers to microbiological inventions. Most of the biotechnological inventions fall within the following broad categories:
! !

Preparation of chemical substances utilizing microorganisms. The substances may be new or known but can be prepared by the use of microorganisms. The process techniques employed for the production of genetically engineered organisms, probes, vectors, and so on, which fall in the areas of genetic engineering, hybridoma technology and cell fusion tissue culture, gene therapy and fermentation technology. Basic studies dealing with various biochemical and physiological processes in living cells to understand the signals for expression. Studies on the role and structure of molecules such as chromosomes, DNA, RNA cytoplasm, specific hormones and their inter and intra-relationships. However, it is not easy to get patents in biotechnology as the distinction between invention and discovery is very thin. The question as to the extent to which different products of biotechnology may be considered as products of nature, and thus falling within the ambient of discovery, is difficult to determine and must be, therefore, decided on a case-to-case basis.

! !

According to TRIPS agreement, naturally occurring microorganisms, genes, gene sequences, cell lines, sub-cellular material howsoever derived or trivially modified, are excluded from patentability. But genetically modified microorganisms (GMOs) are allowed to be patented, if human intervention and value addition creation is substantial and GMOs involve a novel genetic make up. The prominent view is that the GMOs are patentable, because they are creations of humans and they cannot be regarded as preexisting matter. Judicial rulings and patent practices in the US and EU are not on all fours in the field of biotech inventions. In December 1992 report, the British Medical Association has expressed the view that living organisms should not be patented (including the results of the Human Genome Project) and EU should not go as far as the US in the matter of patenting such inventions. 248

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Biotechnology is the technology of future. It will have a pervasive role in agriculture, industry, food, medicine, environment and ecology, human and animal cloning. It is a knowledge-based industry and intellectual, rather than financial capital. India has the talent to develop a strong biotech base in our country and our approach to the question of intellectual property protection in the area should be positive, rather than defensive, taking a long-term view of our strength and the contribution, biotechnology can make to our economic development. However, in view of the complexities involved in patenting biotechnological inventions, we need to build up our knowledge and expertise in this area and evolve our own IPR system over a period of time in the light of experience and after the amendment of Patents Act 1970, and passing of Biodiversity Bill 1999 and Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Bill 1999 which are being considered by the 30-member joint parliament committee for recommendations. Our approach to patenting of microorganisms should be as follows: Firstly, naturally occurring microorganisms, including genes, gene sequences, cell lines, sub-cellular material, etc. however, derived or trivially modified should be excluded from patentability. Secondly, only genetically modified microorganisms (GMOs) should be allowed to be patented, if human intervention and value-addition in their creation is substantial and the GMOs involve a genetic make-up. Thirdly, the GMOs should be allowed to be patented, only, if, we accept the particular claim of trait or use, with the product in which the GMO is incorporated being also allowed patent or plant breeders rights as per the rules applicable to it. This approach is unlikely to violate the provisions of the TRIPS agreement. We need to enact our law in this respect. However, our position in patenting of microorganisms, recombinant DNA products, gene patenting, transgenic plants and animals needs to be clearly defined through appropriate policies and legislation.

CONCLUSION
The development of new cultivars in most of the perennial fruit crops through gene transfer has remained more of an academic exercise with very little success at the field level. A major hurdle in genetic engineering being successful in fruit trees is lack of efficient in vitro regeneration system. Scientist all over the world are facing problems in standardizing an in vitro regeneration protocol for important perennial fruit crops as mango, jamun, aonla, sapota, ber etc. which restricts its application for large-scale production of superior cultivars. In fruits crops such as Malus and Pyrus simplified techniques of micropropagation are standardized yet its commercial application in the developed world remains restricted due to high production cost. Therefore, it is most important and need of the day to develop in vitro regeneration protocols for important 249

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horticultural fruit crops so as to fully exploit the benefits of genetic engineering. Another hurdle in transgenic not being successful in fruit trees is due to the long life span of fruit crops. Generally perennials take 5-6 years to fruit; therefore even, if, the gene is transferred, genetically modified trees would have to go for extensive field trials for years, at least till it fruits to ensure that only the trait of interest is changed and it is not going to affect any other trait. In spite of many hurdles, a number of important genes have been transferred into perennial horticultural crops, such as introduction of toxic protein gene of Bacillus thuringiensis against codling moth in walnut (Juglans regia) and apple (10), Attacin E gene confirming resistance to Erwinia amylovora in apple rootstock (23) and coat protein gene for resistance to tristeza virus in lime, (Citrus aurantifolia) (12). The commercial potential of genetic engineering is being exploited through patenting of improved varieties by transformation techniques. In fact, genetic engineering can help in resolving problems like mango malformation and spongy tissue in mango, virus problems associated with many fruit crops, citrus decline and wilt in guava. Genetic engineering for fruit crops of improved quality, nutrition and regulating fruit development and ripening also needs immediate attention. GM crops with superior traits will be asset for input-efficient, cost-effective and eco-friendly production systems under hi-tech horticulture.

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1. 2. 3. 4. Bonner, J., Huang, R.C. and Maheshwari, N. (1960). Enzymatic synthesis of RNA. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 3 : 689-94. Braun, A.C. (1950). Thermal inactivation studies on the tumor inducing principle in crown gall. Phytopathology 40 : 3. Bevan, M. (1984). Binary Agrobacteirum vector for plant transformation. Nucl. Acid. Res. 12 : 8711-21. Brown, C.R., Smith, O., Damsfegt, V.D., Yang, C.P., Fox, L. and Thomas, P.E. (1995). Suppression of PLRV titer in transgenic Russet Burbank and Ranger Rusert. American Potato Journal 72 : 589-97. Bejarano, E.R. and Lichtenstein, C.P. (1994). Expression of TGMV antisense RNA in transgenic tobacco inhibits replication of BCTV but not ACMV geminivirus. Plant Molecular Biology 24 : 241-98. Comai, L., Facciotti, D., Hiatt, W.R., Thompson, G., Rose, R.E. and Stalker, D.M. (1985). Expression in plants of a mutant aro A gene from Salmonella typhimurium confers tolerance to glyphosate. Nature 317 : 741-44. Chilton, M.D., Farrand, S.K., Eden, F.C., Currier, T.C., Bendich, A.J., Gordon, M.P. and Nester,

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E.W. (1974). Is there foreign DNA in crown gall tumor DNA? In: Modification of the Informaiton Content of Plant Cells, 247 pp. Markham, R., Davies, D.R., Hopwood, D and Horne, R.W. (Eds). Elsevier, New York. 8. 9. 10. Chilton, M.D. (1983). A vector for introducing new genes into plants. Sci. Amer. 248 : 36-45. de Framond, A.J., Barton, K.A. and Chilton, M.D. (1983). Mini-Ti: a new vector strategy for plant genetic engineering. Bio/Technology 1 : 262-69. Dandekar, A.M., Mcgranahan, G.H., Vail, P.V., Uratsu, S.L., Leslie, C., and Tebbets, J.S. (1994). Expression of Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki Cry A (c) sequence in transgenic somatic walnut embryos. J. Cell. Biochem. 18/A:86. Fraley, R., Rogers, S., Horsch, R., Flick, J., Adams, S., Bittner, M., Brand, L., Fink, C., Fry, J., Galluppi, G. Goldtrag, S; Hoffman, N. and Woo, S. (1983). Expression of a bacterial gene in plant cells. Proceedings of National Academy of Science, USA. 50 : 4803-07. Gutierrez, M.A., Luth, E.D. and Moor, G.A. (1997). Factors affecting Agrobacteirum mediated transformation in citrus and production of sour orang (Citrus aurantium) plants expressing the coat protein genes of citurs tristera virus. Plant Cell Reports 16 : 748-53. Horsch, R.B., Fry, J.E., Hoffmann, N.L., Eichholtz, D., Rogers, S.G. and Fraley, R.T. (1985). A simple and general method for transferring genes into plants. Science 227 : 1129-31. Hockema, A., Hirsch, P.R., Hooykaas, P.J.J. and Schilperoort, R.A. (1983). A binary plant vector strategy based on separatiion of vir-and T-region of the Agrobacteirum tumefaciens Ti plasmid. Nature 303 : 179-80. Jansens, S., Cornelissen, M., Clercq, R., Reynaerts, A., Peferoen, M. (1995). Pthorimaea operculella (Lepidoptera : Gelechiidae) resistance in potato by expression of the Bacillus thuringeinsis Cry IA (b) insecticidal crystal protein. Journal of Economic Entomology 88 : 1469-76. Jorgensen, R.A. (1995). Cosuppression, flower colour patterns, and metastable gene expression states. Science 268 : 686-91. Kelly, T.J. and Smith, H.O. (1970). A restriction enzyme from Hemophilus influenzae. II. Base sequence of the recognition site. J. Mol. Biol. 51 : 393-09. Liu, D, Raghothama, K.G, Hasegawa, P.M. and Bressan, R.A. (1994). Osmotin overexpression in potato delay development of disease symptoms. Plant Biology 91 : 1888-92. McIntosh, L., Paulsen, C. and Bogorad, L. (1980). Chloroplast gene sequence for the large submit of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase of maize. Nature 288 : 556-60. Malyshenko, S.I., Kondakova, O.A., Nazarova, J.V., Kaplan, I.B., Talinasky, N.E., Atabekov, J.G. (1993). Reduction of tobacco mosaic virus accumulation in transgenic plants producing nonfunctional viral transport proteins. J. Gen. Virol. 74 : 1149-56. Murai, N., Sutton, D., Murray, M., Slightom, J., Merlo, D., Reichert, N., Sengupta-Gopalan, C., Stock,C., Barker, R., Kemp, J. and Hall, T. (1983). Phaseloin gene from bean is expressed after transfer to sunflower via tumor inducing plasmid vectors. Science 222 : 476-81.

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Newel, C, Lowe, J., Meryweather, A., Rook, L. and Hamilton, W.H.C. (1995). Transformation of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatus (L.) Lam) with Agrobacterium tumefaciens and regeneration of plants expressing cowpea trypsin inhibition and snowdrop lectin. Plant Science 107 : 2. Norelli, J.L., Aldwinkle, H.S., Destefano Beltvan, L. and Jaynes. J.M. (1994). Transgenic Malling 26 apple expressing the attacin E gene has increased reistance to Erewinia amylovara. In: Progress in Temperate Fruit Breeding, pp. 333-38. Schmidt, H. and Kellenhals, M. (Eds). Kluwer Academic. Olivera, B.M., Hall, Z.W. and Lehman, I.R. (1968). Enzymatic joining of polynucleotides. V.A DNA adenylate intermediate in poly nucleotide joining reaction. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., USA. 61 : 237-44. Presting, G.G., Smith, O.P. and Brown, C.R. (1995). Resistance to potato leaf roll virus in potato plants transformed with the coat proteingene or with vector control constructs Phytopathology 85 : 436-42. Rober, M, Geider, K, Mullen-Robber, B. and Wirlmitzer, L. (1996). Synthesis of fructans in tubers of transgenic starch - deficient potato plants does not result in an increased allocation of carbohydrates. Planta 1999 : 528-36. Schell, J. and Vasil, J.K. (1989). Cell Culture and Somatic Cell Genetics of Plants. Academic Press, New York. Stanley, J and Gay, M. R. (1983). Nucleotide sequence of Cassava latent virus DNA. Nature 301 : 260-62. Shah, D., Horsch, R.B., Klu, H.J., Kishori, G.M., Winter, J.A., Tumor, N.E., Hironaka, C.M., Sanders, P.R., Gasser, C.S., Aykent, S., Siegel, N.R., Rogers, S.G. and Fraley, R.T. (1986). Engineering herbicide tolerance in transgenic plants. Science 233 : 478-81. Van Larebeke, N., Engler, G., Holsterns, M., Van den Elracker, S., Zaenen, I., Schilperoot, R.A. and Schell, J. (1974). Large plasmid in Agrobacterium tumefaciens essential for crown gall inducing ability. Nature 252 : 169-70. Waston, B., Currier, T.G., Gordon, M.P., Chilton, M.D. and Nester, E.W. (1975). Plasmid required for virulence of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. J. Bacteriol. 123 : 255-64. Wu, G., Shortt, B.J., Lawrence, E.B., Levine, E.B., Fitzsimmons, K.C. and Shah, D.M. (1995). Disease resistance conferred by expression of a gene encoding H2O2 - generating glucose oxidase in transgenic potato plants. The Plant Cell 7 : 1357-68. Yadav, N.S., Postle, K., Saiki, R.K., Thomashow, M.F. and Chilton, M.D. (1980). T-DNA of a crown gall teratoma is covalently joined to host plant DNA. Nature 287 : 458-61. Zaenen, I., Van Larebeke, N., Teuchy, H., Van Montagu, M. and Schell, J. (1974). Supercoiled circular DNA in crown gall inducing Agrobacterium strains. J. Mol. Biol. 86 : 109-27. Zambryski, P., Joos, H., Genetello, C., Leemans, J., Van montagu, M. and Schell, J. (1983). Ti plasmid vector for the introduction of DNA into plant cells without alteration of their normal regeneration capacity. EMBO J. 2 : 2143-50.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

19

MICROPROPAGATION FOR PRODUCTION OF DISEASE-FREE PLANTING MATERIAL


Ramesh Chandra1 and Maneesh Mishra2

Micropropagation is a proven means of producing millions of identical plants under controlled and aseptic condition independent of seasonal constraint. It does not only provide economy, time and space but also gives greater output and augmentation of elite, disease-free propagules. It facilitates safer quarantined movement of germplasm across the nation. Micropropagation plays a significant role in production of virus-free plants of horticultural crops. Most of the horticultural crops are multiplied asexually and therefore once the plant is infected with viruses, the disease is transmitted from one vegetative generation to other. Probably most of the asexually multiplied crops are infected with one or more viruses, particularly with latent viruses, which are hardly detectable by their symptoms. Viruses are nucleoprotein, living entities, having no independent metabolism but depend on the host for survival and reproduction. This close association of virus and host makes control of virus diseases difficult to achieve. Many methods are being used to recover virus-free plants, viz. meristem tip culture, nucellar embryogenesis, micrografting and even chemo and thermotherapy. MICROPROPAGATION Meristem Tip Culture Morel and Martin (6) gave a hypothesis that it might be possible to isolate the apical meristem of a systemically infected plant in vitro in order to obtain virus-free plants, genetically identical to mother plant. They succeeded in confirming this hypothesis by freeing the dahlia from viruses. Ever since, the technique is being used to cure virusinfected plants in an array of horticultural crops including banana, papaya, strawberry, potato, dahlia, carnation and orchid. The meristem is a dome of about 0.1 mm in diameter and 0.25 mm long and protected by developing leaves and scales. The defoliated stem segments are first surface sterilized using good sterilant, e.g. ethanol, sodium hypochlorite.
1Principal Scientist (Economic Botany), 2Scientist (SS) (Hort.), Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture,

Lucknow 227 107, India.

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Selected parent clones Thermotherapy Meristem-tip excision Chemotherapy Suitable culture media Plant regenerated Plant in pots (isolation room) Virus indexing Virus-free plants Virus indexing Quarantine inspection Virus free plants in vitro Micropropagation Distribution Fig.1. A procedure for obtaining virus-free plants using meristem tip culture in potato

The meristem dome is then dissected under a microscope inside laminar airflow. The exposed meristem tip, which appears as shiny dome, is then severed with the blade and transferred to liquid or solid medium. Murashige and Skoog (8) is most commonly used medium for meristem culture of important horticultural crops due to high concentrations of potassium and ammonium ions and meso-inositol. It has been reported that some viruses are more easily eliminated than others. Potato plants obtained from meristem and one leaf primordium were found free from potato leaf-roll virus, X, Y and A ( Figs 1 and 2). Virus S is difficult to eradicate (11). Similarly it was observed that carnation mottle virus was less readily eradicated than ringspot, carnation vein mottle and latent viruses (Table 1). The pH of the media may be a limiting factor for growth of meristem. The pH should range between 5.5 and 5.8. In most plants, in addition to terminal bud, lateral axillary buds are available which may also be used for meristem culture. The apical meristem of chrysanthemum gives better survival (4). The size of explant does play a major role in success of meristem tip culture. Stone (12) found that carnation tips smaller than 0.2 mm unlikely to root. Tips between 0.2 and 0.5 mm had the best chances of producing virus-free plants. The 254

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Table 1. Influence of source of meristem tip callus in obtaining virus-free plants in potato
Source of callus Roots Meristem tip Shoot tips Regeneration (%) 03 46 40 Virus eliminated PVX PVX PVX References Bajaj and Dionne (1966) Wang and Huang (1975) Wang (1979)

Source: Khurana,S. M .P.,Chandra, R. and Upadhyay, M. D.(1998). Comprehensive Potato Biotechnology, Malhotra Publishing House, New Delhi

Fig. 2. General procedure for clean up of potato Source: Khurana,S. M .P.,Chandra, R. and Upadhyay, M. D.(1998). Comprehensive Potato Biotechnology, Malhotra Publishing House, New Delhi

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technique of meristem culture has successfully been used to obtain virus-free plants of a number of horticultural crops. However, this technique is not successful in most of the woody perennial fruit crops. Nucellar embryogenesis Nucellar embryogenesis is another technique for mass production of virus-free plantlets in crops like citrus and mango, which are highly polyembryonic in nature. The only problem with plants developed through nucellar embryogenesis is that they posses juvenile character which is not desirable. In citrus embryos arise from nucellus or integument adventively which is taken advantage for producing true-to-type plants. In citrus there are some species, which are highly polyembryonic and certain species are monoembryonic. It was found that nucellus taken from fertilized ovules of all monoembryonic cultivars would not develop. Pollination and fertilization are essential for the induction of nucellar embryogenesis even though there are reports of success in induction of embryogenesis using unfertilized ovules. Reports are available on mechanism and formation of nucellar embryo and development of ovule in polyembryonic C. sinensis and monoembryonic Iyo. It was found that nucellar cells containing dense cytoplasm and one large nucleolus were found in ovules of mature flowers of polyembryonic Trovita. These cells began to divide soon after the first division of fertilized egg and develop into nucellar embryo, which was termed primordium cell of nucellar embryo. The primordium cell of nucellar embryo was not observed in the monoembryonic Iyo ovule. Nucellar embryoids were formed only in polyembryonic Trovita ovule in culture. About 8-10 weeks old ovule of Citrus reticulata have been found as best explant for initiating nucellar embryogenesis under in-vitro condition (Fig.3). MS medium fortified with malt extract and/or paclobutrazol was found to be best for induction of nucellar embryogenesis in citrus. The inorganic salts such as ammonium nitrate, calcium chloride, potassium phosphate and potassium iodide showed significant association with embryogenesis Thermotherapy Thermotherapy is especially useful in treating viral and
Fig. 3. Nucellar embryogenesis in citrus

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mycoplasmal infection in fruit trees. This has been found to be extremely useful in case of fruit trees where meristem culture is difficult. The technique involves exposer of a branch to constant or alternating temperature of 37-38 C for 20-40 days. The potential virus-free bud is then excised and grafted on virus-free rootstock. Thermotherapy along with meristem culture is being practised in strawberry at commercial scale. The exact mechanism of virus-free plant production through thermotherapy is not known. However, it has been postulated that heat inactivates the virus present in the system, blocks the viral RNA synthesis and reduces translocation of viruses. Micrografting Meristem tip culture has been employed to eradicate plant viruses in many herbaceous plant species. However, this technique has not shown promise in woody fruit trees (8). Thermotherapy is ineffective to eliminate heat-resistant viruses. Micrografting or in vitro shoot tip grafting is another technique, which is being utilized to eradicate viruses from important woody perennial fruit trees. For the first time it was attempted in citrus. Navarro et al. (9) modified the technique which involves grafting of meristemetic dome from elite mother plant on to in vitro grown, etiolated rootstocks of choice. The micro scions are normally excised from healthy bearing trees. They are then processed in the laboratory using different sterilants. The meristem tip is then excised aseptically. The size of meristem tip should be of 0.2-0.5 mm. The rootstocks are grown under in vitro condition using seed explant. The etiolated and two-week-old rootstocks have been found ideal for micrografting of oranges. The grafting procedure is performed aseptically. The rootstocks are decapitated. The root is cut and the cotyledons and axillary buds removed. Normally inverted T incision is made. The cuts are done through cortex to cambium and the tops of the incision were slightly lifted to expose the cortex. The shoot tips is placed inside the incision of the rootstocks with its cut surface in contact with the cortex exposed by horizontal cut of the incision at top of the decapitated seedling in contact with the vascular ring. Grafted plants are cultured in liquid MS medium using a paper bridge (Fig. 4). In citrus STG has been effective to recover plants free from exocartis, cahexia, tristeza, seedling yellow tristeza, infectious variegation, vein Fig. 4. Micrografting in citrus 257

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enation, yellow vein, psorosis A, psorosis B, concave gum stubborn and greening (9). In Spain, over 16 millions of healthy plants of citrus originally recovered by STG have already planted in the field. The technique for micrografting have been developed in peaches, plum, cherries, apricot, grape, apple, mandarin orange, cashew, tea etc. (2, 9, 13, 14 and 16). Diagnosis of Viral Diseases: A New Paradigm Biotechnology is proving to be cutting edge technology for detection of viruses. The three most commonly used methods are bioassay, electron microscopy and serology. Bioassay is probably the most widely used approach. Electron microscopy is required for detection of a number of viruses but it is expensive. Serological techniques have proved to be valuable diagnostic tool, their use in detecting a broad spectrum of viruses is limited by the availability of antisera. In recent years, cytological techniques have been developed for detection of virus-induced inclusions. These intracellular structures are characteristic of the virus inducing them and have proved to be valuable agents in the diagnosis of plant virus diseases (1). Nucleic acid hybridization method is another useful tool for diagnosis of plant viruses, when virus coat protein is not produced and such infections cannot be identified by serological techniques (3). Tissue print hybridization is a simple and rapid technique for detection of localization of plant viruses. Unlike ELISA, minimal steps are involved and no expensive equipment is needed. PCR technology has revolutionized the field of virus diagnostics. It is an in vitro method in which DNA sequences or transcripts are amplified rapidly with very high specificity and fidelity using oligonucleotide primers and Taq DNA polymerase in a simple automated reaction (7). Another important diagnostic tool is ELISA. There has been a substantial impact of ELISA in the large-scale diagnosis of diseases. ELISA has revolutionized the diagnosis for assessing disease for certification purposes and for control through quarantine or eradication procedures. Tissue blot immunoassay is also very specific and reliable technique for detection of virus infection. CONCLUSION Viruses are nucleo-protein, living entities, having no independent metabolism but depend on the host for survival and reproduction. This close association of virus and host makes control of viral diseases difficult to achieve. Meristem-tip culture has been found effective in eradicating viruses in a number of herbaceous species. However, this technique is not successful in woody tree species. Thermotherapy is ineffective to eradicate heat resistant viruses. Nucellar embryogenesis is a good technique for eradication of viruses. However, plant developed through this technique possess juvenile 258

Micropropagation for Production of Disease-free Planting Material

characters. Micrografting has been successfully employed to eradicate viruses from a large number of fruit crops including citrus, peach, plum, apricot, apple, cherry etc. There is an urgent need to develop virus resistant transgenic crops in order to combat this menace. REFERENCES
1. Christie, R.G.., Edwardson, J.R. and Simone, G.W. 1995. Diagnosing plant virus diseases by light microscopy. In : Molecular Methods in Plant Pathology. Singh, R.P. and Singh, U.S. (Eds ), pp. 31-51. Harrison,B.D. and Robinson, D.J. 1982. Genome reconstitution and nucleic acid hybridization as method of identifying particle-deficient isolates of tobacco rattle virus in potato plants with stem mottle disease. J.Virol.Methods 5 : 255. Hollings, M. and Stone, O. M. 1968. Techniques and problems in the production of virus tested planting material. Sci.Hort. 20 : 57-72. Khurana, S.M.P. 1998. Apical meristem culture a tool for virus eradication. In: Comperehensive Potato Biotechnology, pp. 207-32. Khurana,S.M.P., Chandra, R. and Upadhyay, M.D., (Eds). Malhotra Publishing House, New Delhi. Morel, G. and Martin, C. 1952. Guerison de dahlias attains d'une maladie a virus. Compt.Rend. 235 : 1324-25. Mullis, K.B. (1990). The unusual origin of polymerase chain reaction. Scientific American 4 : 5-6. Murashig, T. and Skoog, F. 1962. A revised medium for rapid growth and bioassay with tobacco tissue culture. Physiol. Plant. 15 : 473-97. Navarro, L., Roistacher, C.N. and Murashige, T. 1975. Improvement of shoot tip grafting in vitro for virus free citrus. J.Am.Soc.Hort.Sci. 100 : 471-79. Navarro, L. 1988. Application of shoot tip grafting in vitro to woody species. Acta Hort. 227 : 43-56. Ouak, F. 1976. Meristem culture and virus free plant. In: Applied and Fundamental Aspect of Plant Cell. Tissue and Organ Culture, pp. 598-600. Reinert, J. and Bajaj,Y.P.S. (Eds). Springer and Verlag, Berlin. Quak, F. 1977. Meristem culture and virus free plant. In : Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture, pp. 597-615. Reinert, J. and Bajaj, YPS. (Eds) Springer Verlag, Berlin. Stone, O.M. 1963. Factors affecting the growth of carnation plants from shoot apices. Ann.Appl.Biol. 52 : 199-209. Deogratias, J.M., Lutz, A.,and Dosba, F. 1968. In vitro shoot tip micrografting from juvenile and adult Prunus avium L. and Prunus persica L. to produce virus free plants. Acta Hort. 193 : 139-45.

2.

3. 4.

5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

11. 12. 13.

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14. 15. 16.

Parthasarathy, V.A., Nagaraju, V. and Rahman, S.A.S. 1997. In vitro grafting of Citrus reticulata blanco. Folia Hort. 9 : 87-90 Thimmappaiah, Purtha, G.T. and Anil, S.R. (2002). In vitro grafting of cashew. Sci. Hort. 92 : 177-82. Prakash, O., Sood, A., Sharma, M. and Ahuja, P.S. 1999. Grafting micropropagated tea shoots on tea seedlings-a new approach to tea propagation. Plant Cell Rep. 18 : 883-88.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

20

ACCLIMATIZATION OF HORTICULTURAL CROPS : CONCEPT AND APPROACHES


Anju Bajpai1, Gorakh Singh2 and Ramesh Chandra3

The agroclimatic conditions prevailing in India are conducive to grow numerous horticultural crops. Despite enormous opportunities for profitable and sustainable horticultural production, especially for fruit crops, development in this sector has not been up to the mark. One of the major limitations, in matching the productivity level of the developed countries is the dearth of cost effective, uniform and quality planting material. The application of tissue-cultured techniques for commercial production of planting material and subsequent huge profitability (25-30 per cent return on investment) has been well documented. Currently, this rather sophisticated technique for rapid cloning of selected elite genotypes (1 and 21) has become popular among commercial nurserymen the world over. However, in India the overall scenario, is not as rosy as it appears. Two major factors important for success of micropropagation are the input of skilled personnel engaged in micropropagation work and the investment in terms of laboratory facilities. As far as scientific talent and operational skills are concerned, undoubtedly we are at par with others. Additionally, a large number of well-equipped laboratories at various research centres and Government institutions are engaged in tissue culture work. The major obstacle in commercialisation of technology is the hardening and acclimatization of in-vitro raised plantlets for successful field transfer. Ironically, acclimatization of in-vitro plants is one of the least explored avenues.

ACCLIMATIZATION OF HORTICULTURAL CROPS


Acclimatization has been defined as a process of adaptation of an organism to an environmental change (3). This differs from frequently used term "Acclimation" which denotes the adaptation of an organism on its own to an environmental change (8), whereas acclimatization implies the human interception in this adjustmental process. This is supported by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language which describes acclimation as "the adaptation of an organism on its own to its natural climatic
1Scientist SS (Cytogenetics), 2Senior Scientist (Hort.), 3Principal Scientist, (Eco. Bot.), Central Institute for

Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow 227 107, India

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environment" and acclimatization as "the climatic adaptation of an organism, especially a plant, that has been moved to new environment. The first published review mentioning acclimatization was by Conklin (7), who recorded superior quality of foliage plants, which were placed in heavily shaded greenhouses prior to being placed at on interior environment. This was followed by many other reports, which suggested reduced light to be key factor for success of acclimatization. The process of acclimatization is not unique to micropropagation as clonally propagated cuttings also are often acclimatized prior to field transfer. The most common method is to gradually reduce relative humidity (27) and light intensity to 50 per cent before field transfer (48). Thus, studies on acclimatization are required on plant propagation systems, plant physiology, plant development and production, necessitating the control over environment. However, in case of in-vitro raised plantlets, it becomes obligatory because they are not adapted for harsh in-vivo conditions. Generally, invitro conditions which promote rapid growth, shoot proliferation and plantlet development, result in certain abnormal plant characteristics. In fact, ultimate success of micropropagation technology, either for research experiments or for commercial scale, depends largely upon the successful control over transplanting with high survival rate. It may again be emphasised that, little attention has been given to standardize the process of acclimatization (or hardening) of micropropagated plantlets. Quite understandably process of acclimatisation (or hardening) continues to be a major bottlenecks in successful field transfer. The transfer of plants from culture vessel to soil requires a careful step-wise acclimatization procedure. In most cases, in-vitro plantlets require greenhouse facilities to provide an environment between laboratory and field to ensure high survival rate. Thus, development of this technology necessitates evolution of greenhouse environmental control systems, suitable for specific crops grown in different agro-ecological zones of the country. Studies on acclimatization are also required on plant propagation systems, plant physiology, plant development and production, where controlled and replicable environments are needed. Technology and factors involved in acclimatization are discussed below: Greenhouse Technology The importance of greenhouse for acclimatizing the plants was realized when Gentry (20) provided the description of specialized greenhouse. Here, main emphasis was on gradual lowering of light intensity, from 50 to 75 microeinstein and were accompained by lower water and fertilizer levels. However in India, commercial greenhouse technology

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is still in its infancy. The impetus for greenhouse expansion came in the mideighties. In 1982, greenhouse-utilizing polythene as glazing material was constructed for vegetable production and subsequently steel framed greenhouses were developed with UV stabilized LDPE film. Now the advantages of greenhouse production are well appreciated and suitable structures are being made for different agroclimatic regions of the country. Indeed, the most important Fig. 1. Hardening of tissue-cultured raised application for which greenhouses have been banana plantlets in greenhouse. installed is nursery raising, hardening and acclimatization (Fig. 1). As far as micropropagated plantlets are concerned, several, intermediate environments exist between growth room and field. The plantlets have an obligate requirement of light levels well below the maximum level in the field, low temperature and high humidity. Therefore, in greenhouse systems several levels of controlled shading, misting/fogging, photoperiod control, supplemental lighting, carbon dioxide enrichment and microprocessor based control system are needed. These facilities are must in northern subtropics, where extreme climates in summers and winters are witnessed. There exists, ample scope of substantially increasing plant productivity per unit water consumption in greenhouse/ polyhouse, in places where good quality water is in short supply. Greenhouse technology has direct relevance to horticultural production in the country. With our improved knowledge base added with favourable climatic conditions, greenhouse technology has potential for a large-scale adoption. Due to control over microclimate, the uniformity of planting material is brought about. Additionally, protection of plants from unpredictable weather conditions and acclimatization of micropropagated plants is an essential attribute of the technology. Some important factors for effective functioning of greenhouse are:
!

Cooling is needed in all greenhouses, even in coldest climates during the noon. However, in majority of Indian conditions temperature control coupled with adequate air flow is required throughout the year. Generally, polyethylene and glasshouses are ventilated with fan systems and other popular methods for achieving more cooling is evaporative cooling. But, more emphasis is warranted in reducing plant

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stress other than ambient temperature such as direct radiant heat load on plant, water uptake capacity and water vapour deficit in the air. In such cases, controlled shading systems and fog cooling are especially important.
!

Photoperiod control has long being practised to control day length to regulate plant development. The role of supplemental photosynthetic lighting to enhance plant growth is another aspect of great importance. Plant growth can be substantially enhanced by enriching the atmosphere with CO2 level above the ambient. The technology has particular importance in difficult to harden species like mango where CO2 enrichment gives better plant recovery in pots.

In-vitro Culture vis-a-vis Control Over Acclimatization Acclimatization of in-vitro raised plantlets is necessary because they are not adapted for this type of conditions. Generally, in-vitro conditions which promote rapid growth, shoot proliferation and plantlet developed, result in certain abnormal characteristics such as altered leaf morphology and mesophyll structure, poor photosynthesis, sunken and malfunctioning stomata(51). Other inadequacies which have been reported include inoperative stomata and improper waxy cuticle on leaves. This coupled with heterotrophic mode of nutrition and inadequate control over water loss result in making the tissuecultured raised plantlets quite vulnerable to transplanting shocks. In fact, ultimate success of micropropagation technology, either for research experiments or for commercial scale, depends largely upon the successful control over transplanting with high survival rates. It may again be emphasised that , less attention has been given to standardize the process of acclimatization (hardening) of micropropagated plantlets. Quite understandably process of acclimatization (hardening) continues to be a major bottleneck in successful field transfer. Biological Principles Involved in Acclimatization Process Morphology: The leaves of plants grown under high light are reportedly smaller and thicker than shade grown ones (16). The acclimatized indoor plant (Ficus benjamina) had more open appearance than sun grown ones, with leaves space in such a way that the available limited light was intercepted. Cuticle: The cuticle is a membrane composed of cutin matrix with embedded waxes that forms covering of above ground parts of plant tissues and its primary role is to check water loss. Scanty or lack of cuticular wax on the leaf surface has been found to be regular feature of tissue culture raised plantlets. This is the main factor leading to excessive water loss and poor survival rates upon transplantation. The cuticular and epicuticular waxes are the primary centers for controlling water permeability (35). The 264

Acclimatization of Horticultural Crops : Concept and Approaches

epicuticular wax of micropropagated cauliflower, carnation, cabbage etc. differed from typical crystalline structure from that of greenhouse or field grown ones (23, 44 and 45). In general the epidermal surface of in-vitro derived seedlings appeared smooth in texture under the scanning electron microscope. Additionally the amount of wax deposition on in-vitro grown cabbage and cauliflower was only 25 per cent of that in greenhouse grown ones. However, relationship between the waxes formed under glasshouse and test tube was not consistent in foliage plants with naturally glossy surfaces (43). Similarly chemical nature of wax was also found to vary in the two cases. The micropropagated plantlets had greater proportion of ester and polar compounds and significantly less long chain hydrocarbons and offer greater water permeability due to less hydrophobic nature of the polar compounds. Quite understandably the transpiration rates in the cultured plants was higher due to less wax deposition. This was confirmed by removal of epicuticular wax by chloroform (45). Based on the data Grout and Aston (24) hypothesized that lack of epicuticular wax was due to high humidity which was further supported by report that lowering the humidity with use of desiccant reduced RH up to 35 per cent and produced glaucous leaves with structured wax. Wardle et al. (46) and Ziv et al. (51) reported positive role of high sucrose and agar concentrations, whereas other environmental factors like light and temperature were also responsible for wax deposition. Stomata: One of the most important factors which has been implicated in water balance is stomatal structure and functioning. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) studies have indicated that the stomata had raised, rounded guard cells in micropropagated plantlets as compared to normal elliptical and sunken stomata (2,6,12,33 and 50) in non-micropropagated plants. This could be amended by changing the light intensity from 25-80 mol/m2/second and decreasing relative humidity from 100-75 per cent (6). The characteristic inability of raised stomata to close upon removal, could be corrected by acclimatization (4) and the reversion of stomata to functional state was achieved after removal from culture (34). Thus hypothesis put up by Sutter (43) suggests that severe conditions causing extreme, rapid dessication cause collapse of the epidermal cells adjacent to stomatal guard cells. This results in lack of turgor, necessary to maintain closure and ultimately physiological degradation of stomata. Histological configuration and chlorophyll content: The histological analysis of leaf sections revealed the poorly developed palisade layer in micropropagated plantlets (25 and 49). The number of palisade layers was generally reduced, lacked elongatd appearance, had greater mesophyll air space and fewer filiform trichomes (5 and 12). 265

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Generally, the vascular tissue was reduced in midribs and petioles and lacked collenchyma (13 and 42). The ultrastructural studies have indicated that the micropropagated plantlets had lower cytoplasmic content, chloroplasts with flattened and disorganized grana and lacked starch granules. This could be altered to some extent by raising the light level. The acclimatization of in-vitro raised plantlets led to development of new leaves which had multiple palisade layers and with increased time, resulted in development of new leaves which resembled greenhouse/ field growth plants. Similarly, the stems were slender, lacked collenchyma and sclerenchyma. Roots were also slender had root hairs and less peridenrm, the xylem regeneration in case of cauliflower plantlets was incomplete between, root and shoots probably accounting for poor transplanting success (24). Physiological changes in micropropagated plantlets: Photosynthesis and transpiration are two major physiological processes influenced by altered leaf structures. The exogenous sucrose supply leads to inadequate photosynthetic apparatus development. Similarly, tissue-cultured plantlets are poor in chlorophyll a and b, enzymes involved in photosynthesis, poor chloroplast development and low net CO2 uptake. The high transpiration rate and low stomatal closure have been reported. All these lead to enhanced plantlet desiccation (4 and 46). Photosynthesis: Photosynthesis becomes paramount important for survival of invitro derived plantlets when they are shifted from heterotrophic to autotrophic mode. Initial reports in cauliflower and strawberry indicated lack of development of photosynthetic competency. This was markedly improved by acclimatizing to greenhouse, but the persistent leaves lacked this efficiency (25 and 26). However, some species showed higher photosynthetic rates when cultured under higher light irradiance level. Thus the inherent species specific response is well documented. The low photosynthesis rates have been attributed to low Rub Pcase activity (23), low light and inadequate gaseous exchange (30, 31, 18 and 11). Remarked improvement was evidenced during acclimatization by increasing CO2 concentration and maintaining low light level (32). Kozai et al. (31) have postulated that increasing the light irradiance resulted in increased CO2 uptake and subsequently sucrose supplementation was used to compensate the CO2 net negative balance. Thus the increase in light was found to be the critical factor for CO2 uptake efficiency by different groups. Respiration and other physiological changes: Several researchers have reported that plants grown in shade have lower respiration rates than open (sun) grown ones. McCree and Troughton (37) postulated that during acclimatization, dark respiration was decreased. Fails et al. (16) found that carbohydrate reserves were important, but factors such as reduced light compensation points and dark respiration, combined with 266

Acclimatization of Horticultural Crops : Concept and Approaches

morphological modification were of greater importance. Conver and Poole (8) reported that Dracaena plants shifted from sun grown shade net area to interiors, increased in chlorophyll content in 40 per cent shade and decreased in 80 per cent. Similarly, chlorophyll content increase was greater in 63 per cent shade net area grown plants (39). The chlorophyll content of shade grown plants has been found 4-5 times higher than sun-grown ones and this increase in chlorophyll content during acclimatization was reportedly due to increase in chlorophyll b (36). Cultural and Environmental Factors Affecting Acclimatization Acclimatization and successful field transfer of micropropagated fruit trees from in-vitro to in-vivo condition requires a sound knowledge of plant physiology and silvicultural practices adopted in the nursery. Though simple in principle, the factors of success are choice of substrate, humidity, temperature, light requirements, fertigation etc. Light: The major factor considered by growers to influence acclimatization is light intensity. Normally in-vitro raised plantlets have thin leaves and resemble shade plants and shifting to high light levels, causes scorching and burning of plantlets (22). Thus, Welch (48) advocated initial shifting to 50 per cent shade for "cool off" for better survival. Gammel (19) recommended acclimatization for 2-8 weeks under 50 or 87.5 per cent shade. Longer acclimatization periods were needed for plants, which were to be placed under low light intensity like indoor foliage plants. The control of light is determined by the species cultivated for an initial period of two weeks when the plantlets require partial shade (50 per cent). Though several methods have been adopted, one most inexpensive and easy system is to cover the plantlets with clear transparent polyethylene bags (Fig. 2). This allows control over humidity too. Generally, a continuous illumination is provided with lamps having similar spectrum to the solar system. Often, sodium vapour lamps (400 W) which Fig. 2. Acclimatization of aseptically cultured mango plants to low relative provide minimum illumination of 2,000 lux are humidity and light. used. Substrate and containers: The growing medium and containers in which in-vitro rooted plants are transplanted are very important for good survival. Dramatic shifts in 267

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pH of medium adversely affect root growth (29). Therefore, most suitable medium should be well buffered, reproducible and sufficiently porous to allow adequate drainage and aeration (15 and 29). Transplantation of an in-vitro rooted plantlet is generally done by removing from culture vessels and transferring to potting mixture. Ideally, any substrate used in conventional propagation, viz. peat based substrate (two-thirds peat and one-third sand/perlite), vermiculite, soil, sand, coco-pit, rock - wool (or any other inert substance) can be suitable. The prerequisite for the substrate is that it should have physical qualities of water and air retention and hygienic qualities (absence of pathogens) for, e.g. in grape, the substrate frequently used is peat pellets in an enclosed glass tanks, in apple sterilized soil, sand and compost mixture and in plum sterile vermiculite. At CISH, Lucknow, good results were recorded in cocopit in many crops such as mango, papaya, guava and bael. Relative humidity: Relative humidity is one of the important factors for success, when a micropropagated plantlet is shifted from a strictly controlled microclimate to climate of greenhouse polyhouse. Plantlet must be placed immediately in an environment of high relative humidity (80-90 per cent). Thus, use of greenhouse as an intermediary step between culture vessel and field transfer has become most essential for success of a commercial venture into micropropagation. Maintaining high relative humidity for first few days following transplantation are critical for survival and fogging is preferred over misting because it avoid problems of over humidity (22). Temperature: In greenhouse for conventional practices, temperature regimes are maintained as per the species cultivated. However, ambient temperature of around 20250C is maintained. Temperature of root zone (250C) is important to encourage root growth (15). Diseases: An in-vitro plantlet is placed in an environment devoid of pathogenic contaminants, new substrates, containers, disinfected culture supports, washing roots in water containing fungicide and preventive phytosanitary treatments are applied. Sanitation and disease prevention is key to the success of transplantation. Bactericides and fungicides are used as prophylactic measures for overcoming the microbes formed in congenial atmosphere of greenhouse (38) but with mixed results (40 and 47). Fertigation: Mostly plant species show vigorous growth when they are fertigated regularly (10). Fertilizers, macromicro nutrients are frequently used in different laboratories for enhancing the growth of plants. Watering: It is generally done by sprinklers and for small pots manually. Mist or fog 268

Acclimatization of Horticultural Crops : Concept and Approaches

system techniques are frequently used in some cases. In rose and gerbera which are acclimatized in rock wool, fertigation utilizing same nutrient solution used in culture are practised. Anti-transpirants: The use of anti-transpirants has been used for reducing the stomatal transpiration In-vitro Acclimatization Acclimatization process can be started, while plantlets are still in-vitro. This stage is known as preplanting acclimatization / prehardening stage/ acclimatization in-vitro. The main purpose is to prepare plantlets for transplanting from artificial heterotrophic environment to a free living existence in soil (greenhouse) and ultimately to field. Some of the examples of pre-hardening treatments are:
!

In-vitro hardening is achieved by removing closures of culture vessels and leaving plantlets on nutrient medium for additional week or two. The critical factor for success in such case is the prevalent sanitary conditions of culture room and control of contamination. For example in Dianthus plants the cuticular wax deposition rose to over 12 times when relative humidity was reduced to 50 per cent by loosening of culture vessels (51). Similarly in plum plantlets, acclimatization was done by reducing relative humidity which induced wax formation on abaxial leaf surface and reduced water loss(17), whereas in apple stomatal functioning was improved by lowering relative humidity. Exposure of cabbage plants to CaCl2 increased wax deposition (45), whereas in chrysanthemum relative humidity was lowered to 25-30 per cent by placing layer of lanolin over the medium. The increase in lignification and woodiness in plantlets was encouraged by elevated sucrose levels and subsequent higher field acclimatization (14). Tree growth retardants (paclobutrazol, 1 mg/litre) are known to reduce wilting in plantlets due to increased cuticular wax depositions, stomatal closure in response to stress and root thickening(41). Polyethylene glycol (PEG) @ 2 per cent induced water stress in grape shoots which had better survival upon transplanting. Preplanting acclimatization treatment was given in plum rootstock by moving the rooted plantlets to greenhouse under normal light for one week, prior to transplanting in potting mixture (28).

CONCLUSION The transfer of plantlets from in-vitro to field remains problematic in horticultural crops. Since inception of the concepts of acclimatization, to the present time when

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most of the micropropagated plantlets are acclimatized and a lot of progress has been made on understanding of the process. Although the basic biological principles underlying some aspects acclimatization are well understood, specific factors such as light compensation points carbohydrate and respiration need further investigation. The relationship between carbohydrate level on movement to reduced light and its use during acclimatization remain inconclusive. Acclimatization procedures have been attempted to increase ex-vitro survival of plantlets upon transplanting (9) (Fig. 3).The realistic approach would be to optimize the shoot multiplication and proliferation condition
Growing Cultures (under in-vitro conditions)

In-vitro Rooting

Ex-vitro rooting
Treatment with Rooting compound fro 3-7 days in darkness

Wait till sufficient Rhizogenesis is there

Quick dip in liquid or powdered form of rooting compound

Remove from culture/ wash and treatment with fungicide

Place in suitable rooting medium in greenhouse

Acclimatization (high relative humidity, shade, bottom heat) With new growth (1) Gradual reduction of bottom heat (2) Gradual reduction of RH to that of greenhouse

Gradually reduce shade and place under normal greenhouse conditions

Transfer to filed

Fig. 3. Generalized scheme for rooting and acclimatization of micro propagated fruit crops

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coupled with treatments for acclimatization in-vitro. This would help in modifying the response of the cultured plantlets to the stress imposed by the ambient environment during transplanting. This simplification would help in increasing the survival and recovery of micropropagated plantlets. However, feasibility of tissue culture as a propagation system can be evaluated by weighing the expenses incurred against the derived benefits. The homogeneity and true-to-type character of micropropagated plantlets is an essential prerequisite for the success of the technology. An extensive field evaluation/ verification is necessary before proceeding to a large-scale production and planting. Thus, augmentation of this technology would help India to enter in international trade of horticultural crops in a big way. REFERENCES
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Bandarkar, G. and Kalyani, K.N. (1992). Seeds, genes and riches. Business Today, Oct. 7: 8087. Blanke, M. B. and Belcher, A. R. (1989). Stomata of apple leaves cultured in-vitro. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 19: 85-89. Brainerd, K.E. and Fuchigami, L.H. (1981). Acclimatization of aseptically cultured apple plants to low relative humidity. J Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 106: 515-18. Brainerd, K.E. and Fuchigami, L.H. (1982). Stomatal functioning of in-vitro and greenhouse apple leaves in darkness, mannitol, ABA, and CO2. J. Exp. Bot. 33: 388-92. Brainerd, K.E., Fuchigami, L.H., Kwiatkowski, S. and Clark, C.S. (1981). Leaf anatomy and water stress of aseptically cultured 'Pixy' plum grown unde different environments. Hort. Sci. 16: 173-75. Capellades, M., Fontarmau, R.. Carulla, C. and Debergh, P. (1990). Environment influences anatomy of stomata and epidermal cells in tissue-cultured Rosa multiflora. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 115 : 141-45. Conklin, E. (1970). A Guide to Interior Planting . Enverett Conklin and Co., Montvale, New Jersey. Conover ,C.A. and Poole R.T. (1984). Acclimatization of indoor foliage plants. Hort. Rev. 6: 119-54. Dani, I. and Hughes, H.G. (1996). Effects of PEG induced water stress on in-vitro hardening of 'Valiant grape. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 47: 907-1101. Day, J.W., Witte, W.T. and Dickerson, H.L. (1988). The response of Acer rubrum cvs and betula nigra 'Heritage' to fertilizer rate and light regime. Hort. Sci. 23: 820 (Abstr.). Desjardins, Y., Gosselin, A. and Yelle, S. (1987). Acclimatization of ex vitro strawberry plantlets in CO2 enriched environments and supplementary lighting. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 112 : 84651.

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12. 13. 14.

Donnelly, D.J. and Vidaver, W.E. (1984). Leaf anatomy of red raspberry transferred from culture to soil. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 109 : 172-76. Donnelly, D.J., Vidaver, W.E. and Lee, K.Y. (1985). The anatomy of tissue cultured red raspberry prior to and after transfer to soil. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 4 : 43-50. Driver, J.A. and Suttle, G.R.L. (1987). Nursery Handling of Propagules. In : Cell and Tissue Culture in Forestry, vol. 2, pp. 320-35.Bonga, J.M. and Durgan, D.J. (Eds). Martinus Nijhoff, Dordrecht. Dunstan, D.I. (1981). Transplantation and Post-transplantation of Micropropagated TreeFruit Rootstocks. Comb. Proc. Intl. Plant Prop. Soc. 31: 39-45. Fails, B.S., Lewis, A.J. and Barden, J.A. (1982). Anatomy and morphology of sun and shadegrown Ficus benjamina. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 107 : 754-57. Fuchigami, L.H., Cheng, T.Y. and Soeldner, A. (1981). Abaxial transpiration and water loss in aseptically cultured plum. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 106 : 519-22. Fujiwara, K., Kozai, T. and Watanabe, I. (1987). Measurement of carbon dioxide gas concentration in stoppered vessels containing tissue cultured plantlets and estimates of net photosynthetic rates of the plantlets. J. Agr. Met. Japan 43 : 21-30. Gammel, W.A., Jr. (1973). Conditioning Florida foliage. Nursery Bus. 18 : 20-21, 40-53. Gentry, B. (1972). Acclimatizing in flowering plants-grower seeks more rigid specifications in bid jobs. S. Florist and Nurseryman 84 : 39, 59. Ghatekar, S.D. and Ghatekar, A.S. (1990). Biotechnology Development in India. In : Commercialising Biotechnology. Biotech India, Dec 2-13, New Delhi, pp. 1-11. Griffis, J.L. Jr, Hennen, G. and Oglesby, R.P. (1983). Establishing Tissue Cultured Plants In Soil. Comb. Proc. Intl. Plant Prop. Soc. 33 : 618-22. Grout, B.W.W. (1975). Wax development of leaf surfaces of Brassica oleracea var. Currawong regenerated from meristem culture Plant Sci. Lett. 5 : 401-5. Grout, B.W.W. and Aston, M.J. (1977). Transplanting of cauliflower plants regenerated from meristem culture. I. Water loss and water transfer related to changes in leaf wax and to xylem regeneration. Hort. Res. 17 : 1-7. Grout, B.W.W. and Aston, M.J. (1978). Modified leaf anatomy of cauliflowrer plantlets regenerated from meristem culture. Ann. Bot. 42 : 993-95. Grout, B.W.W. and Millam, S. (1985). Photosynthetic development of micropropagated strawberry plantlets following transplanting. Ann. Bot. 55 : 129-31. Hartmann, H.T., Kester, D.E. and Davies, F.T. Jr. (1990). Plant Propagation: Principles and Practices, 5th edn. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs. Howard, B.H. and Oehl, U.H. (1981). Establishment of in-vitro propagated plum micropropagules following treatment with GA3 or prior chilling. J. Hort. Sci. 56 : 1-7.

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Jones, J.B. (1982). How Can We Get Microcuttings Out of 'Northern Spy' Apple Rootstocks. Com. Proc. Intl. Plant Prop. Soc. 32: 322-27. Kozai, T., Hayashii, M., Hirosawa, Y., Kodama, T and Watanabe, T. (1987). Environmental control for acclimatization of in-vitro cultured plantlets. I. Development of the acclimatization unit for accelerating the plantlet growth and the test cultivation. J. Agr. Met. Japan 42: 34958. Kozai, T., Iwanami, Y. and Fujiwara, K. (1987). Effects of CO2 enrichment of the plantlet growth during the multiplication stage. Plant Tissue Culture Lett. 4: 22-26. Lakso, A.N., Reisch, B.I., Mortensen, J. and Roberts, M.H. (1986). Carbon dioxide enrichment for stimulation of growth of in-vitro propagated grapevines after transfer from culture. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 111: 634-38. Lee, N., Wetzstein, H.Y. and Sommer, H.E. (1985). Quantum flux density effects on the anatomy and surface morphology of in-vitro and in vivo developed sweetgum leaves. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 113: 167-71. Maren, J.A., Jella, R. and Herrero, M. (1988). Stomatal structure and functioning as a response to environmental changes in acclimatized micropropagated Prunus cerasus L. Ann. Bot. 62: 663-70. Martin, J.T. and Juniper, B.E. (1970). The Cuticles of Plants. St. Martin's Press, New York. Mbah, B.N., McWilliams, E.L. and Fong, F. (1983). Changes in ribulose bis-phosphate carboxylase, malate dehydrogenase activities, specific leaf weight and chlorophyll composition of Peperomia obtusifolia leaves during low light acclimatization. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 108 : 538-42. McCree, K.J. and Troughton, J.H. (1966). Prediction of growth rate at different light levels from measured photosynthesis and respiratipn rates.Plant Physiol. 41 : 559-66. Metcalfe, E. (1983). Deflasking and cultivation of tissue-cultured plants. Comb. Proc. Intl. Plant Prop. Soc. 33: 206-7. Milks, R.R. (1977). Effects of shade, fertilizer and media on the production and acclimatization of Ficus benjamina, LKS thesis, University of Florida. Miller, D. (1983). Weaning and growing-on of micropropagated plants. Comb. Proc. Intl. Plant Prop. Soc. 33 : 253-56. Smith, E.F., Robert, A.V., Motley, J. and Devness, S. (1991). The preparation in-vitro of dry saithe mum for transplantation to soil. IV. The effect of eleven growth retradardants on wilting. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 27: 309-13. Smith, M.A.L., Palta, J.P., and McCown, B.H. (1986). Comparative anatomy and physiology of microcultured, seedling, and greenhouse grown Asian white birch. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 111: 437-42. Sutter, E. (1988). Stomatal and cuticular water loss from apple, cheery, and sweetgum plants after removal from in-vitro culture. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 113 : 234-38.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

21

APPROACHES FOR GREEN FOOD PRODUCTION IN HORTICULTURE


R. K. PATHAK1 and R. A. RAM2

Green food production refers to organically grown crops which are not exposed to any chemicals starting from the stage of seed multiplication/propagation, treatment to the final post-harvest handling and processing. It is based on recycling of natural organic matter and crop rotation. These methods sustain the balance of the living organism (bacteria and earthworms) in soil. Green foods are not only free from harmful chemicals but are also safer, healthier and tastier. It is a holistic production management system, which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activities. In fact Indian farmers had been adopting the practice of green good production over ages. It is in last 4-5 decades; the track has been lost and chemical dependant practices created a number of problems such as:
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Compaction of soil structure. Low organic matter content in soil. Poor water-holding capacity of soil. Increase in salinity, sodicity and land submergence. Adverse effect on flora and fauna. Deterioration in quality of produce. Problem associated with residual toxicity. Increased hazards and outbreak of pests and diseases including weeds. Deterioration in productivity. Varying degree of displacement of human settlement.

This has led Government of India (GOI) to consider seriously regarding future of Indian agriculture and a Task Force to suggest alternative of Modern Agriculture was
1Director

and 2Senior Scientist (Hort.), Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow 227 107,

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constituted under chairmanship of Dr. Kunwarji Bhai Jadav of Rajkot and Commissioner Agriculture, GoI as member-secretary. The Task Force came out with following observations:
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The 'Organic farming' is being practised by thousand of farmers and institutions in the country but mostly in unorganized way. The success stories indicate the benefits of organic farming. There is no awareness among people, in general, about the benefits of organic farming, as there is no State or Central Government support. No markets have been developed in the country for the sale/promotion of organic produce. The system of export of organic produce is also presently at a limited level and exact data are not available. Huge subsidy is given for per tonne of production of chemical fertilizers, no subsidy or incentive is given for use of organic manures. The ministry of Commerce in the Government of India have set up standards for organic farming and defined the system of Certification and Accreditation only in April, 2002, which may facilitate further growth of organic farming in the country.

Most of the fruits and vegetables are eaten fresh, hence any contamination (chemical residue) may lead to various kind of health hazards. Therefore, green/ organic food production offers a better possibility in horticultural crops rather than in field crops (2). In green food production, organic/ biodynamic system has immense possibility, which need to be encouraged for horticultural commodities. In order to popularize green food production, following steps need to be looked in:
! ! ! !

Genetic make-up of a variety Balanced nutrition Proper management Effective check on pests, diseases and weeds at various stages.

GREEN FOOD PRODUCTION Genetic Make-Up of a Variety Invariably local stains are more tolerant to most of the hazards than hybrid varieties. 276

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Earlier emphasis was given to develop varieties with high yield potential in horticultural commodities. Nowadays, efforts have been diverted to incorporate abiotic/ biotic stresses along with high yield potential. In vegetables, a number of varieties resistant to several fungal, bacterial and viral diseases have been developed and are available for their commercial exploitation. Such long-term efforts are also required in major fruit crops in the country. The use of transgenic, i.e. genetically-modified varieties/organisms and their products are prohibited in green food production. Besides fruit crop, a few problems related with soil (root/collar saline/sodic soil) can be taken care with use of suitable rootstock. Sincere efforts are required in this direction. Balanced Nutrition Crops require CHO, major, secondary and micronutrients for healthy growth, flowering and quality production. Besides, optimum organic matter content in soil is essential for maintenance of soil biological properties. Green revolution was started on a soil rich in organic carbon and the responses to applied fertilizers were spectacular. With passage of time, green revolution is showing symptoms of fatigue and responses to applied fertilizers have started dwindling. Decline in food production, degeneration in native soil fertility and deterioration in environmental quality are three gigantic problems in the present scenario of agriculture. Excessive use of plant-protection chemicals and imbalanced use of fertilizers have further resulted in escalation of the above problems including exorbitant cost on cultivation. Integrated Plant Nutrient Management (IPNM) was considered as a remedy to above problems and to ameliorate the Indian soils from multinutrient deficiencies. Thus the combined and cogent use of organic has become essential part of agriculture. Unfortunately, limited availability of biomass and cattle dung and farmers apathy for preparation and use of organic manure, IPNM practices are not being adopted as per expectations. Biodynamic agriculture, under the present scenario appears to be a sound alternative. Nowadays, biodynamic farming is becoming popular in several countries such as Germany, Australia, New Zealand, USA etc. Proper Management This includes sowing and transplanting time (agriculture calendar), with appropriate spacing for annual and biennial crops. In case of perennial fruit trees, crop modeling, through training/pruning, crop combination and maintenance of optimum moisture levels are essential components of green food production. 277

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Pest Management It is matter of common experience that, if, soil is fertile and crops are healthy, there is least possibility of pest and disease infection. All precautions need to be taken care, i.e. cultural, varietal, mechanical, and biological to keep the pest/disease infestation below the threshold level. Besides, two sprays of cow horn silica (BD-501) and biodynamic pesticides prepared through fermentation of cowdung, cow urine, neem, Pongamia, Caliotropis or castor leaves along with biodynamic sets (BD 502-507) have showed very effective for the control of most of the pests and diseases. BIODYNAMIC AGRICULTURE Pfeffer (3) has defined "Biodynamic Farming" refers to working with energies, which create and maintain life. The term derives from Greek Words Bios (life) and dynamics (energy). The use of world method indicates that one is not dealing merely with the production of another fertilizer, organic though it is, but rather that certain principle are involved which in the practical application secure a healthy soil and plants which in turn produce healthful food for man and healthy feed for animal (3). Biodynamic agriculture works on the following principles.
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To restore to the soil, the organic matter in the form of humus, which holds its fertility To establish, maintain and increase soil living system Organic matter as the basic factor for the soil life Biodynamic method is not only the fertilizing the soil but skillful application of the factors contributing to soil life and health Establish a system that brings into balance all factors which maintain life In biodynamic way of treating manure and composts, the knowledge of enzymatic, hormone and other factors are also included The biodynamic method puts special emphasis on the importance of crop rotation, green manuring and cover crops The soil is not only a chemical, mineral or organic system, but it also has a physical structure. Maintenance of a crumbly, friable, deep, well-aerated structure is essential feature of fertile soil. Efforts are being made to elaborate the concept and brief account of preparations 278

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used in biodynamic agriculture with a few explanations and experiences with the cultivation practices. COSMIC INTEGRATION Zodiac Principles The ultimate fine tunning of biodynamic principles lies in harnessing cosmic influences for cultivation. Only at particular times of month or year, the cosmic influences are most supportive to growth of a particular part of a plant (4). The cosmic factor that determines a month is the Moon. The movement of the Moon in relation to the Zodiac is more interesting. These Zodiac symbols are Greek in origin. The system has 12 constellations though represented by different archetype figures and animals. Within these 12 signs, there are four groups of these constellations, each of which have same qualities. They are related to basic four elements, i.e. earth, water, fire and air. These four elements can be placed in relation to influencing the four parts of the plant, the root, leaf, flower, and fruit as summarized below: " " " " Root is associated with the earth. There is no root growth without earth, Leaf is associated with water because it contains more than 80 per cent water, Flower corresponds to air and light. There is no light without air (no light on the Moon) because there is no atmosphere, Fruit and seed associated with fire, there is no fruit seed maturity without warmth.

Performing farm operations on specific days means harnessing these cosmic influences for development of a particular plant part. The earth is emerged in the planetary spheres of solar system and these forces stamp themselves for example, morphology of the plants. The earthly forces of Moon, Mercury and Venus soak into the earth from the air above and the cosmic forces of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn moves upward from the rocks below. They interact in the region of clay so that the plants grow out of it. The light of the Sun, Moon, Planets and stars reaches to the plants in regular rhythms. Each contributes to the life, growth and form of the plant. Planets impress effect on metals, rocks, plants, animals and man, so called "astral influences" coined from Greek where astar means, "star". Just as sunshine contributes to the growth of plants and moon affect water content of all organisms, the planet also influences the earth and all who dowell on her. Since olden time, they have been divided as inner planet (Moon, Mercury and Venus between earth and Sun) and outer planets (Mars, Jupiter and Saturn). The inner planets work directly through 279

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atmosphere are indirectly via water, humus or calcium (limestone, potassium and sodium) on growth of plants. The influences of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are channeled through warmth and silica (quartz, feldspar and mica), they stream in through silica contents of soil and on plants being expressed in colours of flower and in fruit and seed production. By understanding the gesture and effect of each rhythm, agricultural activities like soil preparation, sowing, intercultural operations and harvesting need to be programmed accordingly. Biodynamic Calendar Biodynamic farmers use the knowledge practically by choosing time to show on plant, to use various plant husbandry techniques. Agricultural practices, i.e. field preparation, sowing, manuring, harvesting etc. performed as per constellation are more effective and beneficial. Every constellation has dominant elemental influence and affects four specific parts of the plants as enumerated below in Table 1. Table 1. Showing interaction of element and constellation on plant parts.
Element Earth Air Water Fire Plant part Root Flower Leaf Fruit Constellation Virgo, Capricorn, Taurus Gemini, Libra, Aquarius Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

Agricultural practices for better root activity (manuring and rooting), flowering, growth and fruiting/seed is to be done as per constellation. Ascending period of moon: During this period, cosmic forces are active above the earth/ ground. Any agricultural practice (spray, propagation etc.) performed during the period show beneficial effect. Descending period of moon: During this period, cosmic forces are active below the earth. Therefore, agricultural practices (field preparation, sowing, manuring and harvesting of root crops) performed during the period shows better success. Agricultural Operation as per Movement of Moon: The moon moves regularly around earth and it travels monthly through each of the 12 signs of the Zodiac, staying approximately two-and-a-half days in each sign (Fig. 1). As it does so, it forms an

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Earth Apogee Ascending Period New Moon 4 lacs Km 0.40 lac Km

Perigee Descending Period

Poornima (Full Moon)

Fig. 1. Showing movement of earth and moon

angular relationship with the sun that is known as a Phase of the Moon, which means the angle between moon, earth and sun. Moon orbits the earth and the earth orbits the sun. It is the earths orbit that defines the 'ecliptic', which is divided symbolically into the zodiac (Table 2). Table 2. Showing position of earth and moon for harnessing cosmic forces.
Ascending moon The earth is breathing out - the development occurs in upper parts of the plant Cosmic energy works above the rhizosphere Spring and summer season Suitable for Foliar applications Propagation activities Harvesting Sowing Descending moon The earth is breathing in- the development of the plant occurs parts below the ground, eg. root Cosmic energy works below the rhizosphere Autumn and winter season Suitable for Root development Transplanting Manure application Harvesting of tuber crops

Phases occur in two stages - waxing and waning. The moon is "waxing" (ascending period)-growing during these phases stages are: New moon, crescent moon, first quarter moon, gibbous moon. The moon is waning (descending period) - shrinking - during these phases Full moon disseminating second quarter balsamic As a general thumb rule, when moon is waxing plants develop leaves above the ground systems and when moon is waning, plants develop their root system.

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Planting leafy crops that grow above ground are best sown at waxing moon and those that will require strong root system or grow below ground should be sown after full moon, in the waning phase. Perigee (Poornima: full moon) when the moon is nearest to the earth, this occurs after every 29 and half day. In 48 hours, preceeding to full moon, there appears to be distinct increase in the moisture content of the earth and in the atmonsphere. Growth promoting activities of the plants seems to be enhanced and plants are more susceptible to fungal attack because of relatively higher moisture content in the rhizosphere and atmosphere. Apogee (new moon) when the moon is farthest from the earth. This occurs every 27th and 1/2 days. Owing to moisture deficiency, harvesting and seed storage practices show better response. Moon opposite to Saturn this is favourable period, agricultural operation performed during this period show better response. Lunar Node Imaginary point when moon crosses path of sun. It occurs twice in 27.2 days of a month and known as Rahu and Ketu (Fig. 2).

Node Sun path Moon path Node

Fig. 2. Showing sun, moon path and node.

Rahu - Lunar node in ascending period of moon not suitable for agricultural activities. Ketu - Lunar node in descending period, not suitable for agricultural activities. BIODYNAMIC PREPARATIONS Basically there are two types of biodynamic preparations: ! Biodynamic field sprays (BD- 500-501) ! Biodynamic compost preparations (BD- 502-507).

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Biodynamic Field Sprays (BD 500-501) Cow horn manure (BD-500): This is fundamental biodynamic field spray preparation. The cow is an earthy creature with a very strong digestive system. The cow horn has the ability to absorb life energies during decomposition of the dung being incubated in winter months. Steps in preparation
!

Cow horns are cleaned properly with water. While collecting the horn it should be ascertained that only cow horn to the picked which is solid from proximal end and their rings are at distal end (Fig. 3). Cleaned cow horns are filled with fresh cowdung (especially from lactating and indigenous one) and buried at 30 cm Fig. 3. Cow-horn manure (BD 501) depth in the soil in root free zone in descending period of moon during October-November. After 6 months of incubation, horns are taken out in descending period of moon during March-April. If decomposition of dung is not proper, cow horns should not be taken out and should be left for some more period and again is to be taken out during descending period of moon. Properly decomposed compost is to be stored at cool and dry place in earthen pot.

! !

Specially prepared manure is made into a spray to vitalize the soil, enhance seed germination, root formation and primary root development. For spraying, 25g of BD500 is dissolved in 13.5 litres of water in wooden/plastic bucket by making vortex in clock and anti-clockwise for one hour in the evening and the solution is spread either with the help of natural brush or with a tree twig. Spraying of BD-500 is done at the time of field preparation in descending period of the moon. Stirring small quantities of material in large amount of water is called Dynamization. This process transfers the forces and energy from the preparation to the water. Thimmaiah (6) observed the microbial activity of BD-500 during stirring and very interesting response has been obtained (Table 3). 283

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Table 3. Microbial analysis of BD 500


Stirring interval (minutes) 15 30 45 60 Bacteria (cfu/g) 26 x 103 35 x 103 58 x 103 66 x 103 Actinomycetes (cfu/g) 22 x 103 35 x 103 60 x 103 88 x 103 Fungi (cfu/g) 10 x 103 14 x 103 12 x 103 35 x 103

(Source, Thimmaiah, (6)

It is interesting to observe that during stirring period, there was a corresponding increase in number of cfu's of bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi during one hour of stirring. The CISH, Lucknow, has also identified the following microorganisms (fungi) from BD-500 preparation. ! Fusarium semitatum ! F. sporotrichiodes ! Syncephalastrum racemosum Cow horn silica (BD-501): In this, ground mountain quartz (silica) after proper incubation is made in to spray on plants. It helps them to achieve optimum development and maturity and particularly affects taste, colour and aroma. Steps in preparation
! !

After taking out of cow horn manure (BD-500), cow horns are thoroughly cleaned with water. Cow horns are filled with silica with powder paste, and buried in same pit where cow horns were buried for the preparation of BD-500 during ascending period of moon in March-April. After 6 months of incubation, horns are taken out in OctoberNovember during the ascending period of moon (Fig. 4). Fig. 4 Cow horn slice (BD 501)

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Light yellowish silica powder is taken out from the horn and stored in light near the house window in glass jars.

BD 501 works on photosynthetic process in the leaf. Its action is to strenthen the effect of light and warmth on the plant and promotes healthy growth. It strengthens the quality of plant and the plant product and encourages the development of fruit and seeds. For maximum effect, the BD 501 should be applied once at the beginning of a plant's life, at the four-leaf stage and again at the flowering or fruit maturation stage. BD 501 should be applied on the leaves in the form of 'mist ' in the morning at the sunrise and the best constellation is moon in opposite to Saturn. Following fungi are isolated from BD-501 at this Institute:
! ! !

Fusarium monliformae Penicillium chrysogenum Syncephalastrum racemosum

Biodynamic Field Sprays Biodynamic sets (BD 502-507) are prepared from six herbal plants, which have healing properties and influence the fermentation processes in the compost, liquid manure and Cow Pat Pit. These are also associated with particular constellation as summarized in Table 4. All these preparations are made in descending period of the moon, except BD-507, which is best prepared in air/light day. The BD sets are used in the Cow Pat Pit (CPP), BD- compost, Biodynamic liquid manure and Biodynamic liquid pesticides. Table 4. Basic BD sets used in CPP, BD compost, liquid manures and pesticides
Preparation Constellation Substances from which preparation is prepared BD-502 Venus Fermented flower heads of Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) BD-503 Mars Fermented Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) blossom BD-504 Mercury Whole shoot of Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) with flower, fermented in the soil BD-505 Moon Fermented oak (Ouercus robur) bark BD-506 Jupiter Fermented flower heads of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) BD-507 Saturn Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) flower extract Role Rich in S, K and N Rich in S, K and N Rich in Fe Rich in Ca Rich in K and Si Rich in P

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These work to regulate the composting process and enable the different elements (calcium, nitrogen and phosphorus) needed for healthy plant growth to be present in a living way. The specifications of BD sets used in these preparations are described in the Table 5. Table 5. Showing number of sets used for specific preparation
Specific preparation Cow Pat Pit (CPP) Liquid manure Biodynamic compost No. of sets used 2 sets per 60 kg of cow dung 2 sets per 200 litres 1 set per 5 m3

Cowdung and urine are important components of Cow Pat Pit (CPP), BD liquid manure and BD pesticides. Their brief account are summarized below: Cow Pat Pit (CPP) or Barrel Manure It is a biodynamic field preparation also called as soil shampoo. Cow Pat Pit (CPP) is a strong soil conditioner. It enhances seed germination, promotes rooting in cutting and grafting, improvement in soil texture, provides resistance powers to the plants against pests and diseases, replenishes and rectifies the trace element deficiency. CPP is increasingly used for improving soil biological activities in the seed treatment and foliar applications. The CPP may be prepared throughout the year. Steps in preparation
! ! !

Preparation of a pit of 60 cm x 90 cm x 45 cm size in shade and root-free zone. Precaution is to be taken that pit should be 15cm higher than plane surface. Pasting of inner wall of the pit with fresh cowdung paste. Dung of lactating cow (60 kg) mixed thoroughly with 250g each of bentonite and egg shell powder and filled in the pit (Fig. 5). Compost gets ready in 75-90 days depending upon the temperature.

One kg CPP dissolved in 40-45 litres of water overnight and sprinkled in the next morning as field sprays on the plants. This should be applied at the time of field

Fig. 5 Cow Pat Pit prepration

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preparation and on plants. CPP can also be applied in BD compost and with FYM for improving their nutritive value. The preparation is ready for use when it is dark brown, friable and has lost the smell of cowdung. Biodynamic Compost Heap Biodynamic compost is an effective soil conditioner and is an immediate source of nutrient for a crop. Biodynamic Compost Heap can be prepared by using green leaves (nitrogenous material) and dry leaves (carbonaceous material) in 8-12 weeks. Integrating with cowdung slurry is always good in the decomposition process. The composition of air, moisture and warmth is very important in the breakdown and decomposition of material. The enrich compost is ready in 75-100 days depending upon the prevailing temperature. Steps in preparation
! ! ! ! ! !

Five-meter long thick wood is placed on higher elevation where waterlogging does not occur during rainy season. Thick layer (20 cm) of dry grasses is spread on the area of 5 m x 2.5 m on the ground. Water (100-150 litres) mixed with dung sprinkled on the grasses. Again 20 cm thick layer of green grasses are sprayed equally on the heap and 100 to 150 litres of water mixed with dung sprinkled on the heaps. Above process (putting 20 cm thick layers of dry and green grasses alternatively) is repeated to the height of 1.5 m. For enriching the compost with different nutrients as per the need, rock phosphate (P), slacked lime (Ca) wood ash (K) etc. can also be used in between the layers of dry/green grasses. Two B.D sets (502-507) are incorporated and the heap is plastered with mixtures of dung and clay.

The BD compost is said to be more fertile with a stronger ability to improve soil than the conventional compost. When the specially prepared CPP and BD compost have been applied to the soil, the plants become more sensitive to their environment and responsive to the rhythms of the day, seasons and planets. Vermicompost Vermiculture technology is an aspect involving the use of earthworms as versatile 287

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natural bioreactors for effective recycling of non-toxic organic wastes to the soil. They effectively harness the beneficial soil microflora, destroy soil pathogens, and convert organic wastes into valuable products such as biofertilizers, biopesticides, vitamins, enzymes, antibiotics, growth hormones and proteinous biomass (5). Earthworms participate in soil farming system in following ways:
! ! ! ! !

Through their influence on soil pH As agents of physical decomposition of organic wastes Promoting humus formation Improving soil structure Enriching soil and water-holding capacity.

Steps in composting Vermicomposting on plane surface ! Partially decomposed organic wastes are piled up on 2 m x 1 x 0.5 m areas at cool and elevated place (Fig. 6). ! Two to five thousand red worms (Eisenia foetida) are released in the middle of bed by putting 2-4 kg one week-old dung. ! Water (2-5 litres) is sprayed everyday to keep the earthworms active. To Fig. 6 Biodynamic compost prepration protect earthworms from the excessive heat and rain, shade should be provided. ! Depending upon the weather conditions complete heap of the organic waste get converted in to fine compost within 75-120 days. ! Ready compost is sieved to separate the earthworms. ! Separated worms are released in another heap of partially decomposed organic waste. ! As the time passes population of worms and vermicompost production increases very fast. Vermicomposting in pit
! !

Brick structure (3 cm x1.5 cm x 5 cm) is prepared in shade. One brick wall made of cement is preferred. 288

Approaches for Green Food Production in Horticulture ! ! ! ! ! !

After putting 5 cm thick layer of concrete and sand, each 40 cm thick layer of partially decomposed or soften organic waste is spread equally above the sand. One-week-old cowdung (1-2 kg) is kept at 6-8 places on the organic waste and 50-100 earthworms are released in each heap of cowdung. Water (2-5 litres) is sprayed in the bed and covered with 5 cm thick layer of organic waste . The bed is covered with thatch to protect earthworms from excessive heat, rain and cold. To keep the worms active, light spray of water is essential everyday. Worms convert all the organic waste into compost. Again 30 - 40 cm thick layer of partially decomposed organic waste is spread equally in the bed and moistened and it takes another 30-45 days for full conversion of organic waste into compost within 45-60 days. Prepared compost is taken out and sieved to separate earthworms from the compost. Pit is again filled up with organic waste and earthworms are released as discriched earlier. As earthworm's population increases very fast, a few more pits are to be required to increase the vermicompost production.

! ! !

Vermiwash Vermiwash is prepared from the heavy population of earthworms reared in earthen pots or plastic drums. The extract contains major, micronutrients, vitamins (such as B12) and hormones (gibberellins) secreted by the earthworms. Earthworms produce bacteriostatic substances and it was found the vermiwash can protect the bacterial infections. Vermiwash can be sprayed on crops and trees for better growth, yield and quality. Steps in preparation
! !

Big earthen pot/ plastic drum with capacity of 200 litres (provided with tap in the bottom) is placed in shade. Five cm each of concrete and coarse red sand (Morang) is laid in the bottom of the pot for effective drainage.

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Layer of soften kitchen waste or one-week-old dung (30-40 cm) is filled in the pot. Red worms (200-300) are released in the waste/dung. An earthen pot with minute hole in the bottom from where water comes out in the form of drops is hanged over the pot/drum after 30 days of worms inoculation. After 2-3 days, extract collected in earthen pots from the tap provided in the bottom of pot/drum which is called 'Vermiwash'. Extract diluted in the water (1: 5 ratio) can be used as a foliar spray.

Precaution: Continuous pouring of water in the pot/drum having hole in the bottom and the organic waste in the pot/drum should be changed regularly, after its full conversion into the compost. Nadep Compost A farmer at Indore developed this method of aerobic composting. Because of aerobic respiration, composting is very fast and nutritional status of the compost is better than the ordinary compost. In this method of composting, farm wastes (cowdung, green/dry grasses, wheat/paddy straw and weeds and garden soil) are used and the technique has been summarized below. The compost can be enriched through incorporation of rock posphate, wood ash, slacked lime, Azotobacter and Rhizobium. Incorporation of two BD sets (BD 502-507) further improves the nutritive status of NADEP compost, Thimmaiah (7) named it as hybrid compost. Methods of composting
!

Brick aerobic structure (2 m x 3.30 m x 1 m) is constructed at elevated place in farm area. First and the last two rows are provided without any gap to strengthen the structure (Fig. 7). Length of the structure can be altered as per the requirement. Thick layers (18-20 cm) of organic wastes are piled and water 100-150 litres mixed with cowdung is drenched on the waste. Again 18-20 cm thick layer of organic waste pile, covered with 290
Fig. 7. Nadep Compost

! !

Approaches for Green Food Production in Horticulture

thick layer (2-3 cm) of garden soil is sprayed and sprinkled with water (100-150 litres).
! ! !

The above processes are repeated till the piling goes 30-45 cm higher than the structure. Total heap is plastered with mixture of dung and mud. After 10-15 days heap gets settled leaving 15-30 cm gaps from the top. Process of filling and plastering are again repeated.

Incorporation of any of these preparation and the following other associated activities will suffice the nutritive requirement for production of horticultural crops, which can be summarized as below: In green food production nutritional requirement can be taken care through:
! ! ! !

Regular incorporation of organic waste through NADEP, Vermi, Biodynamic Compost (BD) or Microbe Mediated Compost (MM compost). Use of cakes (neem, mahuwa, Pongamia, castor, groundnut etc.) as per availability need to be promoted. Promotion of green manuring and legumes as inter and cover crops whenever and wherever possible. Promotion of mulching with organic wastes which can be further promoted by spread of 5 - 20 kg vermi / BD compost or 100 g CPP and incorporation of 50100 earthworms. In order to encourage soil biological properties, regular use of Cow Pat Pit (CPP), Cow Horn Manure (BD-500) are also helpful.

Need-based use of liquid manure prepared from cowdung, cow urine, leguminous leaves or vermiwash are also effective in promotion of growth and fruiting. Wide variations in nutrient status of composts and CPP have been observed as evident from Table 6. This can be further enriched through incorporation of rock phosphate, bone-meal, slacked lime, blood and fish meal. Various combination of green vs dry leguminous non-leguminous may be helpful. These need to be worked out for meeting the nutritional requirement of various horticultural commodities. Biodynamic Tree Paste In a biodynamic process for the management of orchards and gardens, the "biodynamic tree paste" is prepared by mixing of cowdung, bentonite (clay), BD 500 291

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Table 6. Nutrient status of composts and CPP


Preparation General compost Vermi compost Cow Pat Pit Nadep compost N (%) 0.3 - 0.5 1.12 - 1.75 0.70 - 2.24 1.33 - 2.03 P (%) 0.20 - 0.35 0.214 - 0.285 0.214 - 0.428 0.202 - 0.389 K (%) 0.50 - 1.50 0.506 - 1.72 0.718 - 0.925 0.775 - 2.35

and sand. The tree paste is polished on the tree trunks and cut surfaces (Fig. 8). The important properties of biodynamic tree paste are :
! ! ! !

It nourishes, strengthens and protects the bark and cambium of tree to make it healthy. Seals and heals wounds. Helpful in prevention and control of disease. On application after pruning, stimulates tree growth.

In rejuvenation of mango orchard, copper oxychloride pasting (CoC) is very expensive. Pasting with the above paste on tree trunk and cut surfaces, Fig. 8 Tree paste on mango tree alone has shown better response compared with CoC pasting. Similar to tree paste, cowdung has been found to be rich in actinomycetes. Cowdung paste and actinomycetes isolated from cow dung paste has also shown positive response in control of dieback, stem end rot and anthracnose in mango and guava. Similarly, BD pesticides have shown effective control of bacterial fruit canker and tent caterpillar in mango. These need to be validated for control of pest and diseases of horticultural crops. Steps of green fruit production has been summarized in Fig. 9. Biodynamic system is almost new, but the preliminary observation over 4 years by the authors and overview of world literature including personel communications have shown very encouraging response with number of horticultural and field crops and following interferences can be drawn at this juncture.
! !

If appears to be sustainable, economic and eco-friendly There is minimum risk of residual toxicity 292

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Nadep compost / vermi compost or BD -compost / MM compost (10 -12.5 tonnes/ha) 520kg/tree

CPP 1.5 -2kg/ha

BD-500 62.50g/ha

Farm activities as per calender

Bumper and quality crop production

Green Food

Field preparation as per constellation

Need-based spraying of liquid manuers and liquid BD-pesticides

Cowdung paste/tree paste (needbased)

Farm activities as per calendar Mulching/ green/ manuring/ Intercrops

BD-501 2.5g/ha at 2 -4 leaf stage and at fruit set

Fig. 9. Schematic presentation of green food production !

There has been continuous improvement in soil fertility and produce quality including self-life. Considering these experiences, following strategies are proposed to be initiated. Various aspects of green food production particularly for horticultural commodities need to be standardized. Promotion of establishment of demonstrations for preparation of biodynamic compost, cow horn manure (BD-500), horn silica (BD-501), Cow Pat Pit (CPP), liquid manures and liquid biodynamic pesticides. Promotion for field demonstrations for organic biodynamic system of cultivation. Organizing intensive training to farmers, NGO representatives, entrepreneurs, and extension personnel of Department of Horticulture for biodynamic preparations and their applications. Scientific explanation for responses of the above materials with reference to soil physical and microbiological properties and their impact. Helping State Agriculture Universities (SAUs) to initiate a few courses on Organic/ Biodynamic Agriculture.

STRATEGIES FOR GREEN FOOD PRODUCTION


! !

! !

! !

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Precision Farming in Horticulture ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Facilitation for certification/demeter for organic/biodynamic production. Establish national standards for covering marketing of certain agricultural products as green produced products. Assure consumers that these meet a consistent standard. Market promotion for 'Green Food' and their processed products. Regular monitoring of nutrients status of the soil. Study on various combination of locally available waste recycling for meeting the nutrient requirement and techniques of compost enrichment. Impact of organic/biodynamic farming on flora and fauna of the area. Impact analysis of organic/biodynamic farming on agro-ecosystem of the region over the years.
Pathak, R.K. and Ram, R.A. (2002). Approaches for green food production. In : Souvenir, National Seminar-cum-Workshop on Hi-Tech Horticulture and Precision Farming, held at Taj Residency, Lucknow, pp. 33-35. Pathak, R.K. and Ram, R.A. (2001). Approaches for biodynamic farming. Approaches for Sustainable Development of Horticulture. Singh, H.P., Negi, J.P. and Samuel, J.C. (Eds), NHB, Gurgaon, pp. 113-19. Pfeffer, E. (1984). Using the bio-dynamic compost preparations and sprays in garden, orchard and farm. Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Inc, Kimberton, PA, 64 pp. Schilthuis, W. (2000). Biodynamic Agriculture, S&H Home Ag. Library Biodynamic Agriculture. Sharma, A.K. (2001). A Hand Book of Organic Farming. Agrobios, India, Jodhpur, pp. 193215. Thimmaiah, A. (2001). Studies on biodynamic system and vermitechnology for sustainable Agriculture. Ph.D thesis, IIT, New Delhi.

REFERENCES
1.

2.

3. 4. 5. 6.

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22

DIVERSIFIED AGRICULTURE SUPPORT PROJECT APPROACHES IN PROMOTING HI-TECH HORTICULTURE


Mahendra Singh1 and Ajit Kumar2

A World Bank aided Diversified Agriculture Support Project (DASP) was launched in September 1998 with the Mission "Farmers Empowerment by Intensification and Diversification of Agriculture Activities" through farmers participation and self-reliant, sustainable process and structures. The main objectives of the project are:
! ! !

To increase the production and productivity through diversification and intensification of agricultural activities. To increase the role of privatization. To develop rural infrastructure.

PROJECT COMPONENTS The project has five main components, which are Technology Development, Technology Dissemination, Increased Private Sector Participation and Public Private Partnership, Development of Rural Infrastructure and Economic Policy and Analysis Activities. Technology Development Enhancing research coordination: The UP Council of Agricultural Research (UPCAR) is being strengthened to provide policy, guidance and developed a longterm strategies for agricultural research and an agricultural information system for the state. Competitive agricultural research programme: Project is financing 44 projects and 2 mega projects under CARP for taking up the problem-oriented programmes. Multidisciplinary research programme especially aimed at addressing key production
1Technical

Coordinator and 2Senior Technical Expert (Hort.), Diversified Agriculture Support Project, U.P.

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and processing constraints. Research fund would be available through open competition. Strengthening of research support technology dissemination activities
!

Improving research extension farmers linkages including validation and demonstration activities at KVK. Enhancing availability of improved genetic stock for higher productivity. Facilities are being developed for elite genetic stock of breeds/crops.

! !

Technology Dissemination Under the system support would be provided to Department of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Directorate of Agriculture Marketing and Mandi Parishad to carry out the new responsibilities through a strengthened technical and management system. Private Sector Development It is aimed to encourage greater private sector participation in input arrangement and post-harvest activities through establishment of Project Development Facility (PDF) and privatization of services which includes promotion of private nurseries, para workers etc. Rural Infrastructure To provide increased mobility of perishable commodities of rural areas and access to markets rural roads are being constructed under the project. In addition village market (Haat Painths) are being constructed under the project for providing the marketing facility nearby the production areas. Economic Policy Analysis It has been established to enhance state's capacity to analyse the impact of agricultural policies on rural development. Monitoring and Evaluation Agriculture Management Centre has been established at Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, for independent monitoring and evaluation of the project. Implementation Strategies Diversification and intensification: Diversification into high-value crops/ commodities, hi-tech agriculture and non-farms sector activities. Holistic vs piecemeal approach: Issues related to productivity, marketing, post296

Diversified Agriculture Support Project Approaches in Promoting Hi-tech Horticulture

harvest, agro-processing, credit, rural infrastructure, research and technology dissemination are being addressed. Bottom up vs top down approach: Planning from bottom to top by beneficiaries and for beneficiaries. Demand driven vs supply driven: Inputs/services/production/output as per demand. Group vs individual approach: Implementation through farmers groups. Participatory planning, management and monitoring: Participation of farmers in identifying needs, planning, implementation and monitoring. Cost sharing/recovery basis: Phased full cost recovery for goods and services. Shift from input delivery to extension services: Thrust is not limited to delivery of goods but towards new methods of technology development and the dissemination. Broad based extension and farming system approach: Sharing of common resources and introducing farming system approach vs individual departmental approach. Policy reforms and institutional restructuring: Necessary changes in policy for achievement of DASP objectives are concurrently addressed. Privatization and commercialization: Privatization of input supply and others services. Capacity building and enabling environment: Capacity building of officials and farmers through training and exposure visits etc. Sustainable development: Creation of self-reliant mechanism and efficient and effective natural resource management. The identified activities are being implemented through Departments of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Dairy, Sericulture, Panchyati Raj, Public Works and Directorate of Agriculture Marketing and Mandi Parishad. HORTICULTURE COMPONENT The main objective of the Horticulture component are:
! !

To disseminate improved horticultural technology/varieties. To increase the availability of improved seed and elite planting material. 297

Precision Farming in Horticulture ! ! !

To enhance and strengthen the technology base. To strengthen the infrastructural facilities. To upgrade the departmental nurseries. Under the Horticulture component major programmes being executed are:

Demonstration Varietal/technological demonstration: Demonstration of improved varieties of various horticultural crops (fruits, vegetables, spices, ornamental, and medicinal and aromatic plants) are being conducted at farmers fields. The field days are being organized on these fields for observing the results of improved varieties and technologies. The introduction of onion sowing in kharif season has been done successfully through demonstration in different districts. Earlier, it was not in practice in the state. The demonstrations of onion variety Agri Found Dark Red developed by NHRDF, Nasik, have been successfully conducted at farmers fields. The farmers have started its production on their own. PHM and food processing demonstration/training: To increase the shelf-life and Post-harvest Management Demonstration-cum-Training Programmes are being organized in the potential pockets. Demonstrations on zero energy cool chambers are also been organized. In addition, for value-addition, the Demonstration-cum-Training Programme on Food Processing, jam, jelly, pickles, beverages, potato and tomato products and solar energy are being organized. NADEP, CPP, vermicompost demonstration: Indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers over the years adversely affected the soil texture and its fertility. Keeping in view the above facts, under the project, the demonstrations of Cow Pat Pit, Nadep, Vermicompost etc. are being organized at farmers fields. It is organized for increasing the use of organic manure in cultivation in different agricultural/horticultural crops for better quality produce and maintenance of soil health and environment. IPM demonstration: Indiscriminate use of chemicals, insecticides and fungicides over the years adversely affected the health of human beings. Many serious ailments are caused due to presence of toxic chemicals in food stuff. Keeping in view, the demonstrations on integrated pest management are being organized for various horticultural crops at farmers' fields. Awareness about the ill effects of indiscriminate use of pesticides is being created among farmers. In this context, it is being emphasized 298

Diversified Agriculture Support Project Approaches in Promoting Hi-tech Horticulture

that the use of banned/restricted pesticides by the Government of India and FAO should be restricted and these pesticides should not be recommended in any technical literature. Rejuvenation of old mango orchards: Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow, standardized the technique for rejuvenation of old mango orchards. By this technique, the unproductive old mango orchards are being converted into productive ones. The demonstrations of this technique have been organized successfully in different districts. The orchardists rejuvenated the orchards on their own after looking the performance of these demonstration. Marketing tie-up: In a few districts of the project the marketing tie-up of different horticultural crops has been made with the Mother Dairy (Fruit and Vegetable Project), New Delhi; HPMC, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh and Nestle Ltd. A few new programmes have also been credit under horticulture component. Onion storage: To reduce the post-harvest losses of onion during storage and better income realization by avoiding the glut in the market, onion storages should be established with the locally available materials. Such types of storages/godowns for onion have been developed by NHRDF, Nasik. The capacity of these storage would be 6 tonnes. Under this programme 50 per cent of the cost would be borne by the concerned farmers/ groups. Polyhouses: To improve the productivity, off-season production and increase the income of farmers the polyhouses would be established. The size of the polyhouses would be 200 m2. Under this programme, 50 per cent of the cost would be borne by the farmers/ groups. Varietal diffusion of garlic: Considering the successful demonstrations of garlic variety G282 developed by NHRDF, Nasik, the potential pockets of garlic would be established in different identified districts. Under this programme 50 per cent of the cost of seed would be borne by the farmers/groups. Low tunnel polyhouse: Considering the successful demonstrations of raising the seedlings under the Low Tunnel Polyhouses, the programme of establishment of Low Tunnel Polyhouses has been taken on large scale to produce disease-free, vigorous healthy seedlings of vegetables to improve the productivity in adverse conditions at farmers fields. Under this programme 2 low tunnel polyhouses would be established at farmers field. Under this programme, 50 per cent of the cost would be borne by the farmers/groups. 299

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Area Expansion Programme Technical guidance is being provided to farmers on cultural practices for various horticultural crops through departmental officials and block level functionaries engaged at block level through NGOs. Establishment of Nursery in Private Sector Under this programme trainings are being imparted at Indian Institute of Vegetable Research, Varanasi; Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi and Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow, to identified/interested farmers in establishment of nursery. Under this programme, 5 sets of low tunnel polyhouses are being provided to the farmers for establishment of vegetable and fruit nurseries. Tools (secateur, prunning/budding knife etc.) are being made available to farmers. With the help of low tunnel polyhouses the farmers are enable to grow the seedlings in adverse condition and off-season. Thus the farmers get vigorous and healthy seedlings earlier than normal condition, therefore the produce comes in the market early and fetch better price. In case of fruit nursery good planting material are being made available to farmers for use as mother plant, from which are able to propagate it further. Strengthening of Government Nurseries To ensure the genuine and quality planting material 3 Departmental nurseries and 2 nurseries at SAUs, Faizabad and Kanpur are being developed with the facility of Polyhouse, Net house, Motherstock Protection house as modern nurseries. In addition, 5 nurseries are being established as post-production and maintenance sale nurseries at Government Farm of Horticulture Department. Strengthening of Infrastructure To create infrastructural facilities, construction/renovation work is being done under the project. Project Implementation Unit, District Horticulture Offices-cum-Training Hall, Post-harvest Technology Centres/Sub Centres and Horticulture Technology Dissemination Centres are being constructed/renovated under the project. In addition, the Departmental offices are being equipped well with the facility of telephone, fax, xerox machine, computers, equipments and materials etc. Food Analysis and Research Centre Under the project, a Food Analysis Research Centre is being established at Lucknow with testing facilities of different processed products, water residues etc. The civil works of the centre is being carried out by the project, whereas the money would 300

Diversified Agriculture Support Project Approaches in Promoting Hi-tech Horticulture

be made available for purchasing of required equipments and materials by Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India. Capacity Building Under the project to enhance and strengthen the technology base particularly upgradation of technical knowledge of the staff and farmers in respect of production, post-harvest techniques and marketing of the produce, the training programmes and exposure visit are being organized at SAUs and Institutes and other relevant places. Privatization of Extension Services As a part of the privatization of extension services, one NGO of one block of district Allahabad and another NGO for one block of Jaunpur have been engaged to take up the extension activities apart from community participation. Modern Horticulture Markets Establishment of two modern horticulture markets at Lucknow and Noida are being planned to demonstrate modern storage handling and marketing facilities for perishable commodities. The techno-economic feasibility study report have also been submitted by the consultant Market Information Directorate of Agriculture Marketing is being strengthened under this programme. The project is being assisted through technical assistance, training and equipment at its headquarters and identified centres to improve its programme of price data collection and dissemination. A market information unit is also being established at Project Implementation Unit (Horticulture), Lucknow, for access of market information of different horticultural commodities and its dissemination. Credit Linkage The project activities are being implemented through group approach. These group of farmers are also been linked with banks for credit purpose. Number of groups are availing the facility of Cash Credit Limit(CCL). Project Development Facility(PDF) A Project Development Facility has been set up under the project to assist, potential private sector investors in exploiting market led opportunities for agro-industrial development in the state. The information about project profiles, means of finance,

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marketing opportunities etc. would be made available to the concerned. The PDF would focus promotional and developmental functions for encouraging and facilitating Private Investment in Agro-Industrial Ventures through dissemination of information and guidance. Integrated Farming System One of the major activities of DASP is to recommend and suggest an appropriate farming system to farmers to help them utilize their resources to the optimum level and assure the maximum return of their investment, considering the soil health and environmental aspects. An attempt is, therefore, made in the project to select 20 farmer families in each village of every project block, which may be a representative segment of various categories of farmers. An Annual Action Plan is to be prepared to observe and analyse the results. Agricultural HelpLine Despite latest breakthrough information technologies, the farmers in villages still languish for timely guidance relating to various agricultural issues. In this context, agricultural helpline is the solution for their problems. Scientist of SAUs, KVKs, officers from agriculture related departments sit on a particular day at a particular place to advise farmers to solve their problems over telephone. In some of the project districts, this telephone facility is available free of cost to farmers and the charges of telephone are being reimbursed from the project. Farmers Field School Technology dissemination through farmers is the basic idea behind the concept of this programme. New technologies developed and invented at various institutions should reach the farmers to yield results. State extension services are inadequate to deliver the requisite goods/services to farmers. Therefore, the progressive farmers as specialists in different fields are being updated through trainings. These progressive farmers will serve as Master Trainers and be facilitated to disseminate the latest technologies among other farmers. Seed Production Seed multiplication concept has been introduced in the project to meet the requirement of seed of improved varieties. It is popular and has a proven record in a particular area. Under this programme the groups of farmers are encouraged to produce genuine quality reliable seed of different crops. The farmers are being trained on seed

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production technologies through training and exposure visits. These are being organized at different SAUs/Agricultural Institutes, to enable them to get the quality and improve variety seed for multiplication purpose. In the initial stage they will multiply the seed keeping in view the requirement of a particular variety seed in a village and neighbouring areas. Virtually, it may be viewed as a scheme to make villages self sufficient in terms of availability of quality seed in time.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

23

PROCEEDINGS OF NATIONAL SEMINAR-CUMWORKSHOP ON HI-TECH HORTICULTURE AND PRECISION FARMING, LUCKNOW, 26 - 28 JULY 2002
Growing demand for horticultural produce for internal consumption as well as for exports has increased the need for improving the production, productivity and quality of produce. Since horticulture is technology-driven, technological infusion directed towards use of right inputs at the right time and at right place is essential to have better output, and be competitive. Precision farming, recognized as one of the new technological areas, has to play a significant role in future of sustainable agriculture. There has been technological advancement in increasing the efficiency of water and nutrients and use of high-yielding cultivars. These aspects need emphasis. The need and appropriateness of technology depend on field conditions and management ability of the farmers. Precision farming technology is emerging as a promising tool for application in horticultural crops in future. Therefore, this National Seminar-cumWorkshop on Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming was organised by National Committee on Plasticulture Application in Horticulture (NCPAH) at Precision Farming Development Center, Lucknow, during 26-28 July, 2002. The Seminar-cum-Workshop was attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, NCPAH, Secretaries of Agriculture/Horticulture of different States, Directorate of Horticulture/Agriculture, Vice-Chancellors of State Agriculture Universities, National Horticulture Board, Uttar Pradesh Diversified Agriculture Support Project, progressive farmers and private sector representatives. A number of invited speakers and members of NGOs also attended. The Resource Speakers were invited from the public as well as private sectors who had the experience and expertise on relevant topics related to the theme of the Seminar. The inaugural session was started with lighting of inaugural lamp by Dr. G. B. Singh, Director General, Uttar Pradesh Council for Agriculture Research (UPCAR), Lucknow and other dignitaries. Dr. R.K. Pathak, Director, CISH, Lucknow, welcomed Dr. G.B. Singh, Director-General, UPCAR; Dr. H.P. Singh, Horticulture Commissioner,

Proceedings

Dr. G.B. Singh, Director-General, Uttar Pradesh Council for Agriculture Research, inaugurating the Seminarcum-Workshop on Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming. Other dignitaries (Left to Right) : Dr. G. Kalloo, DDG (Horticulture) ICAR, New Delhi, Sri Anand Mohan, Horticulture Secretary, Govt. of UP; Dr. R.K. Pathak, Director, CISH, Lucknow and Dr. H.P. Singh, Horticulture Commissioner, GoI.

Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India; Dr. G. Kalloo, Deputy Director-General (Horticulture), ICAR; Vice-Chancellor, NDUA&T, Kumarganj, Faizabad; Secretaries, Horticulture/ Agriculture from different states and all distinguished delegates including farmers and media representatives to this important Seminar-cum-Workshop. He briefly outlined the background of the Seminar and said that it has been a vision of Dr. H.P. Singh that we are here today to discuss the issues of Precision Farming and said that there is a need to have short, medium and long-term strategies for the horticultural development. He emphasized that an efficient planning mechanism and adequate resource mobilization would help in achieving the goal of quality horticultural produce. Delivering the special lecture, Deputy Director-General (Horticulture), ICAR, Dr. G. Kalloo said that promotion of Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming is a necessity to improve the productivity and competitiveness of horticultural crops. He emphasized upon conservation of biodiversity and said that it is necessary to characterize plant genetic resources through molecular indexing and latest available techniques for 305

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Dr. G. Kalloo, Deputy Director General (Horticulture), ICAR, delivering a special lecture on Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming. Other dignitaries sitting on the dais (Left to Right) Dr. R.K. Pathak, Director, CISH, Sri Anand Mohan, Hort. Secretary, Govt. of UP, Dr. G.B. Singh, DG, UPCAR, Dr. H.P. Singh, Horticulture Commissioner, GoI, Shri Naseem Zaidi, Secretary, Agriculture, Govt. of UP, Dr. B.B. Singh, VC, NDUAT and Mr. A.K. Sood, Joint Secretary, NCPAH.

having the efficient genetic pool. Ensuring the quality of the produce, which includes enriched nutrition availability, is necessary for exports in the highly competitive environment. Precision Farming, a new concept, which involves application of right doses of inputs at right time for maximizing the production is essential to stimulate the development involving all the aspects of production. He also emphasized upon the development of organic horticulture, keeping in view the sustainability. Need for development of efficient post-harvest handling system for improved shelf-life, reduced losses and better quality was also emphasized. He stressed upon the mass production of bioagents, trap crops and barrier crops to reduce dependence on pesticides. He said that tree architecture modification could play a great role in boosting the production of fruit crops. The technique for training/ non-selective pruning for various fruit crops must be developed. Efficient transfer of technology through modern information technology techniques is the need of the hour, he added. Dr. H.P. Singh, Horticulture Commissioner, in his keynote address outlined the 306

Proceedings

Dr. H.P. Singh, Horticulture Commissioner delivering the Keynote Address on Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming during inaugural session of the Seminar.

development of horticulture, initiative taken by the Government of India and the expectations and said that there has been a growth rate of 6.9 per cent during last decade, and the horticulture sector is expected to play a pivotal role in the diversification of agriculture aimed at employment led growth. Past investments have been rewarding and the experiences suggest that horticulture would be an option for improving productivity of land, generating employment, improving the economic condition of farmers and above all providing nutritional security. In the pursuit for achieving 4 per cent growth rate in agriculture, horticulture sector has to grow at the rate of about 7 per cent annually during the Tenth Plan, he added. The Government has given focused attention to this sector in the Tenth Plan with an enhanced allocation. Achieving the targeted production of about 265 million tonnes, in the environment of dwindling land and water resources, is a big challenge, and in this context, Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming have assumed greater significance. Precision farming is concerned with the management of variability in the dimensions of both space and time. Variability 307

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of resources, therefore, is a key factor of precision farming. Any component of production, system ranging from natural resources to plants, production inputs, farm machinery and farm operators that is variable in some way, is included in the realm of precision farming. Aspects of precision farming, therefore, encompass a broad array of topics, including variability of the soil resource base, weather, plant genetics, crop diversity, machinery performance, and most of the physical, chemical and biological inputs used in the production of a crop. These are closely linked to the socio-economic aspects of production system. To be successful in precision agriculture, orchestrating of efforts together would be a key factor. Although there have been successful attempts in enhancing the efficiency of inputs, the application of precision farming, as a package in the farmers fields has received little attention. Some aspects of precision farming have, however, been practised. This has been primarily due to the lack of awareness about the potential for increasing productivity and improving the quality of produce with minimum use of inputs. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop a package based on knowledge of soil environment and crop needs to enhance the efficiency of inputs to get higher output in given time frame. Hi-tech horticulture would play a major role in horticulture sector in the coming years to improve production and productivity. Hi-tech interventions like microirrigation, fertigation, protected/greenhouse cultivation, hi-tech nursery, soil and leaf nutrient based fertilizer management, mulching for insitu moisture conservation, micropropagation, use of biofertilizers, vermiculture, high-density planting, hi-tech mechanisation, green food, soil-less culture, recycling of horticultural wastes, biological control etc. have been promoted in past. What is needed now is to orchestrate these together having aim of achieving higher output in given time period, which leads to precision farming. He also mentioned about the efforts being made by the Government for the promotion of Hitech Horticulture and precision farming. Integration of efforts together shall be a key to the success of precision farming. Dr. G.B. Singh, Director-General, UPCAR in his opening remarks said that organization of this Seminar-cum-Workshop is timely to address the issues emerging in the context of globalization, leading to highly competitive environment. He said that precision farming has been defined differently in different context under different socioeconomic environments. In the Indian context, it should aim at achieving higher output from given input where knowledge-based management shall be a key factor. He also emphasized upon institutional support mechanism needed for achieving success in precision farming and added that organisation of this Seminar will prove to be land

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mark for precision farming as representatives of all the stakeholders are attending the Seminar with their keenness to develop strategies. He also complimented the organisers for their efforts. Due to emergent pressing needs, Shri J.N.L. Srivastava, Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India, could not be present in person. However, his written inaugural address was read by Dr. H.P. Singh. He highlighted that hi-tech interventions are highly desirable to be competitive in the emerging scenario. It would be appropriate to identify the nodal agencies which have the necessary infrastructure and manpower for executing hi-tech programmes in the States. Central Government shall play the role in facilitating the adoption of precision farming so that the benefits of hi-tech horticulture and precision agriculture could reach to farmers without losing much time. Since hi-tech agriculture and precision farming would involve high investments on data generation, it would be necessary to devise appropriate strategies to provide common facilities to cater to the needs of a group of farmers and in contiguous blocks. Information about land and other material resources and their deficiencies need to be addressed through precision farming technology. He said that the Ministry of Agriculture, has established 17 Precision Farming Development Centres (PFDCs) which have been providing support in the field of plasticulture application. These centres have reoriented their programme towards the aspects of precision farming. He also said that the basic research have to be conducted through the ICAR institutes in evolving equipment and technology, which are adaptable to Indian conditions. He thanked the organisers for their excellent arrangement and wished a fruitful deliberation. The Seminar-cumWorkshop was declared open for deliberation with a note that recommendations emanating from the discussion will provide guidance in successful adoption of hi-tech horticulture and precision farming. On the occasion, three books including the publication on Approaches for Sustainable Development of Horticulture (Editors: H.P. Singh, J.P. Negi and J.C. Samuel) were released which was followed by a vote of thanks by Shri A.K. Sood, Joint Secretary, NCPAH, Ministry of Agriculture, and Government of India. PRECISION FARMING IN HORTICULTURE Dr. G B Singh, Director-General, UPCAR, chaired the first technical session. Dr. J. S. Parihar, Group Director, Agricultural Resource Group, Space Application Centre ISRO and Dr. S.N.L. Srivastava, ADG (Engg.) ICAR, were on the panel of discussion. Six invited papers addressing issues of Precision Farming in Horticulture were presented. Dr. Jose C. Samuel, Deputy Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India, 309

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Dr. G. Kalloo, Deputy Director General (Horticulture), ICAR, releasing a book entitled Approaches for Sustainable Development of Horticulture (Eds: H.P. Singh, J.P. Negi and Jose C. Samuel) during the Seminar.

in his paper entitled Perspective of Hi-Tech Horticulture and Precision Farming, briefly gave an account of the current scenario of hi-tech horticulture and precision farming technology and highlighted the concepts of the scheme on Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming to be implemented during the Tenth Plan. Hi-tech horticultural interventions like fertigation, use of biofertilizer, vermiculture, organic farming, hi-tech mechanisation, soil-less culture and biological control would be necessary to enhance the productivity duly ensuring the quality of produce. Besides, precision farming has been identified as a tool for increasing the productivity through judicious use of available resources. These interventions are proposed to be introduced in the farmers fields by launching a new Scheme during the Tenth Plan. The major focus would be on technology development, technology adoption and technology dissemination for all elements of the programme. In overall perspective, with the introduction of innovative technologies, horticulture sector is expected to achieve a vertical growth. 310

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Dr. H.P. Singh, Horticulture Commissioner releasing publication Udyan Rashmi during the Seminar.

Dr. H.S. Chauhan, Ex Dean, GBPUA&T, Pantnagar, presented a paper on Land and Nutrient Management in Precision Farming. He emphasized on management of degraded land, microirrigation, fertigation, rootstocks, high-density orcharding, environmental consideration etc. He also pointed out that the canvas of precision farming is too large and we should restrict to a few important issues, which can be addressed in focussed manner. Dr. S. Panigrahy from Space Applications Centre, (ISRO) presented a paper on remote sensing and GIS As a Tool for Precision Farming in Horticulture Sector in India. She explained that precision farming is essential for serving dual purpose of enhancing productivity and reducing ecological degradation. Though it is widely practised for commercial crops in developed countries, it is still at a nascent stage in most of the developing countries. Remote sensing can provide a key input (variability map) for the implementation of precision farming. Developing countries have scope for precision agriculture, though it needs an integrated and sustainable effort. Many studies, which

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have started in India on precision farming, are expected to bear results and transform the Indian agriculture from subsistence livelihood to a commercial enterprise. Dr. Pitam Chandra, PI & Head, NPF, IARI, New Delhi, presented a paper on Cultivation in Hi-Tech Greenhouses for Enhanced Productivity of Natural Resources to Achieve the Objective of Precision Farming. He spoke about the work done at IARI, New Delhi, and emphasized on management of inputs to maximize the output. He said that the hi-tech greenhouse cultivation is essentially a form of precision farming as the crop input requirements are precisely met. The land use, photosynthetic and total energy-use efficiencies of open field and greenhouse cultivation was compared. Crop productivity in greenhouses was reported to increase manifold in comparison to that in open fields. Photosynthetic efficiency of greenhouse cultivated crops is 1.5-5 times that of open field cultivated crops. The total energy use per kg of tomato produced in open field is 2.5-3 times more than that in greenhouse cultivation. Dr. Balasubramanayam from Jain Irrigation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, presented a paper on Precision Farming in Banana giving examples of the work done by the farmers. Adoption of high-yielding cultivars has changed the scenario of banana. Grand Naine cultivar coupled with in-vitro propagated plants and allocation of nutrients and water as per the requirement of plants through fertigation has increased the productivity manifold. He also said that 3 million micropropagated bananas have been produced and there is a growing demand for the same in Jalgaon region. Increased yield and better quality banana can be obtained through judicious fertigation employing drip irrigation. The quality of produce is also superior under this system of management. Dr. K. N. Tiwari, Director, Potash Phosphate Institute of Canada-India Programme, presented a paper on Site-Specific Management of Nutrients for Precision Farming in Horticulture. He emphasised on application of nutrient based on soil guided by leaf nutrient status to achieve higher efficiency in nutrient use. He said the future strategy in terms of precision farming should include soil fertility status analysis, DRIS, nutrient interaction analysis, site-specific nutrient management, INM and mulching. HI-TECH HORTICULUTRE INTERVENTIONS Dr. G Kalloo, DDG (Hort.), ICAR, chaired the second technical session. Dr. R. K. Pathak, Director, CISH, Lucknow, Dr. B.B. Singh, VC, NDUA&T., Kumarganj, Faizabad, Dr. M. M. Sinha, Director Horticulture & Food Processing, Govt. of UP and Dr. A. K. Gupta, NHB., were the panelist for discussion. Under this technical session, seven papers were presented on Hi-tech Horticulture Interventions.

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Dr. Ashwani Kumar, PC, AICRP on APA, CIPHET, Ludhiana, presented the paper on Scope of Fertigation in Hi-Tech Horticulture. He said that application of fertilizer along with irrigation water in plant root zone, as per their requirements during different period of growth is referred as fertigation. It is getting favour worldwide due to enhancement in quality of produce. The research conducted in India has demonstrated that fertigation reduced the requirement of fertilizer by 40-60 per cent, at the same time enhanced the yield, and quality of produce. However, crop response depends on their species and level of technology adoption. In the promotion of fertigation, liquid fertilizer or water-soluble fertilizers are advocated, which are available in different grades. However, currently indigenously manufactured liquid fertilizer or water-soluble fertilizers are not available in the required quantity. Although, there is a saving in fertilizer but there is no commensurative savings on input as these fertilizers are costly. The R & D efforts are required to develop package of practices for different agroclimatic conditions and efforts of Government are required to encourage fertilizer manufactures to develop desired fertigation material at competitive market rates. The farmers should be trained to adopt these technologies as per scientific recommendations to produce quality product. The governments effort in these directions will help in enhancing the overall GDP of the country and in turn, its prosperity. Dr. S.N.L. Srivastava, ADG (Engg.), ICAR, presented a paper on Hi-Tech Mechanization in Horticulture. He emphasized the need for introduction and subsequently modification of precision instrument developed elsewhere. He highlighted the precision instruments developed in India and abroad and emphasized upon promoting mechanization to improve efficiency. Dr. T.B.S. Rajput, WTC, IARI, presented a paper on Automation in Hi-tech Horticulture for Efficient Resource Management. He highlighted the available technology on automation in different countries. On nursery mechanization of vegetable crops (which includes sowing and transplanting, soil moisture measurement, plastic mulching, irrigation, fertilization, insect pest management and weed control), harvesting, transportation, grading, packaging, post-harvest technology and cold storage/ cool chain. He also spoke on methods of precision farming, map and sensor-based technologies and important precision farming equipment. Dr. R.K. Pathak, Director, CISH, Lucknow presented a paper on Approaches for Green Food Production in Horticulture. He explained that the chemical based farming has been a cause of concern for human, environment and soil health. Impact is seen on degradation of soil resulting in reduced productivity and increased residual toxicity.

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The organic farming if done biodynamic way, can take care of some of these problems. Details of different steps involved in preparation of different biodynamic products like BD 501, 502, CPP, Vermiwash etc. were explained. To achieve green food production, it would be necessary to promote demonstration of biodynamic farming and training of resource personnel and take up market promotion of green food. Emphasis is also needed on scientific explanation of all the processes involved with biodynamic farming. Dr. Ramesh Chandra, Principal Scientist, CISH, Lucknow, presented a paper on Micropropagation for Production of Disease-free Planting Material. He explained various methods of virus eradication including micrografting, nucellar embryogenesis, chemo and thermotherapy. Micropropagation using tissue culture is essential for mass multiplication of virus-free plants in banana, and strawberry, flowers like carnation and dahlia. Commercial success has been achieved in these and there is a need to exploit in other crops for economic benefit. Sri Ajit Kumar, UPDASP, talked about UPDASP in promotion of Hi-Tech Horticulture. Many interventions including development of rural infrastructure have been taken up and the project has laid emphasis on facilitation of private initiative. He highlighted that the impact of project has been excellent in terms of improving the household income of people through adoption of horticulture. Dr. U.B. Pandey, Director NHRDF, presented a paper on Precision Farming in Onion. He suggested that in a crop planted in row, operation, i.e. selection of variety/ seed, fertilizer application rate and time for application, date of planting, population and depth, cultural practices, irrigation scheduling, pesticide application, harvesting and curing, and further operations require to be done precisely keeping in view time and place. This precise operation based on the knowledge gives higher income per unit of investment hence there is a scope for adoption of precision farming in onion. REVIEW WORKSHOP OF PFDC A National Committee on Use of Plastics in Agriculture (NCPA) was initially constituted in the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals (DCPC) in March, 1981 which contributed significantly to the promotion of plasticulture applications in agriculture sector by initiating various programmes. During the course of development it was realised that the agriculture sector was one of the largest consumers of plastics. Hence, NCPA was transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture in the year 1993. Thereafter, the Committee was reconstituted in 1996. After transfer of NCPA to the Ministry of Agriculture in 1993, it functioned till 1996 under the Chairmanship of Secretary (A&C).

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However, with a view to give greater thrust to the plasticulture applications and improve the productivity of horticultural crops through plasticulture interventions, the Committee was reconstituted in 1996 under the Chairmanship of Union Minister of Agriculture. Further, with a view to give focused thrust to plasticulture applications in horticulture, the Committee was reconstituted in 2001 as the National Committee on Plasticulture Applications in Horticulture (NCPAH). The Terms of Reference of the NCPAH are as follows:
!

To prepare plans for promoting horticultural development through plasticulture applications with special reference to optimizing the use of available water resources and improving quality of the product. To recommend suitable policy measures such as fiscal policy, subsidy assistance to farmers etc. for promotion of use of plastics in agriculture. To suggest strategies for propagation and increased adoption of various plasticulture applications like drip irrigation systems, greenhouses, mulching, packaging, etc. To arrange promotion of Research and Development, to build database, to assist in prescribing quality standards for plastics used in agriculture, water management etc. To supervise and monitor effectively the performance of Plasticulture Development Centres (PDCs) in particular and overall development of plasticulture in general in the country. Any other matter connected with promotion of plasticulture in the country.

! ! !

The Coordination Cell of NCPAH, located at Delhi is providing secretarial support for various activities related to plasticulture application in general and implementing components like promoting research and training through Plasticulture Development Centre (PDCs). Applied research on Plasticulture applications in agriculture were initiated through the PDCs located in different parts of the country. Keeping in view the need for taking up focused research on precision farming, the PDCs were re-designated as Precision Farming Development Centres (PFDCs) during 2001-02. One new PFDC was added during the same year at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, and another one is in the process of establishment at Ranchi, Jharkhand. The PFDCs have been carrying out applied research on various aspects of plasticulture applications involving microirrigation, greenhouse design and development, plastic mulching besides conducting field surveys as well as

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imparting training to beneficiaries and field functionaries. Dr. H. P. Singh, Horticulture Commissioner, chaired the Review Workshop of PFDC on 27 July 2002. He briefed the participants about the importance of Hi-tech Horticulture and precision farming for increasing the productivity of horticultural crops. Precision farming is emerging as a means of achieving high productivity with optimum utilization of resources. He emphasized that the success of any programme depends upon refinement of technology in a regionally differentiated manners as per the local needs. In this context, the Precision Farming Development Centres (PFDCs) located in 17 agroclimatic conditions have to play a pivotal role. In past, these centres have addressed the issues of microirrigation, protected cultivation imparting training etc. and now these centres have to address system management to get maximum inputs from given output. The task is challenging but with commitment and sincerity, it may not be difficult to achieve the goal. He complimented all the concerned scientists for their efforts which has paved the way for introducing precision farming. With brief introduction, the Chairman requested Mr. A.K. Sood, Joint Secretary, NCPAH, to present the progress report of centres. Shri A.K. Sood, Joint Secretary, NCPAH, gave a brief account of the progress achieved and said that the centres have succeeded in developing regionally differentiated technologies on drip irrigation, protected cultivation and have imparted training of farmers. He further indicated that action on all the recommendations of last review meeting of the PFDC held at Solan and meeting held at Delhi on 25 January 2001 has been taken. Some action points pertaining to PFDCs needed immediate attention. The Chairman directed JS, NCPAH to consolidate the recommendations and the action taken thereof. Thereafter, the Chairman requested Dr. Pitam Chandra and Dr. T.B.S. Rajput to present the summary of progress achieved on various research studies conductied by the PFDCs. Dr. Pitam Chandra presented the summary of annual progress reports of Precision Farming Development Centre (PFDC) on Protected Cultivation and Post-Harvest Technology. He said that most of the centres have carried out the allotted work and mentioned that overall yield increase was found in greenhouse as compared to open field cultivation. Propagation success was also enhanced under greenhouse than in open. The Chairman complimented Dr. Pritam Chandra for an excellent compilation and presentation of report and desired that the technology developed through the centre should be adopted for commercial production. He also emphasized on working out the economics of the technology. A modality should be worked out to integrate with other schemes so that farmer can take advantage, by demonstration.

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Dr. T.B.S. Rajput presented the summery of annual progress reports on water management describing the work done at different centres. He also highlighted the work done at IARI, New Delhi, for automation and modeling. The Chairman appreciated the presentation and work on automation and desired that CD on modeling of drip irrigation should be distributed to all the centres. After the presentation of report, Chairman wanted the comments of State Government representatives and farmers. During the discussion need for training of staff of Directorate of Horticulture was emphasized. The Chairman also desired to know that how the PFDC at Jorhat can help the North-Eastern states and integrate the programmes under Technology Mission. The PFDC, Jorhat, should interact with Directors of NE States and workout the modalities. A training programme should be organised at Jalgaon for Directors of the States and trainers immediately. The training manuals should be reviewed and revised, keeping in view the technological advancements. After the discussion, the Chairman requested Dr. Raman and Pitam Chandra and Dr. T.B.S. Rajput to continue the review of individual centres and also discuss the technical programes. Review meeting continued under the Chairmanship of Dr. Raman to discuss technical programmes. All the PFDC presented the progress reports and technical programme. During the discussion, it was pointed out that in many of the states, greenhouses have been constructed by farmers. Evaluation of such greenhouse would provide good feedback for refinement of technology. The PFDC, Rahuri, may evaluate such greenhouses scientifically in the region and submit a report. Similarly, in drip irrigation also evaluation should be done by all the centres. Thereafter, programme of demonstration should be integrated with state Government, which has enough funds for demonstration. State Government and PFDC should work closely for effective implementation of the programme. FIELD VISIT On-Farm Interactive Workshop was organisd for all the participants who visited the experimental farm of CISH, Lucknow. Dr. H.P. Singh, Horticulture Commissioner, DAC and Dr. G. Kalloo, DDG (Hort.), ICAR, visited rejuvenated mango plots in farmers fields. During the visit, noting the differences in revival of pruned stem, Horticulture Commissioner suggested to have information on emergence of shoots on vertical and horizontal stem and also suggested that after rejuvenation, new planting with improved cultivar should be taken up. He appreciated the work on high-density

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Dr. H.P. Singh, Horticulture Commissioner, giving some suggestions at farmers fields

Field visit of rejuvenated mango plots in Kakori, Lucknow

Visit to Expiremental field of high-density planting of Dr. H.P. Singh, Horticulture Commissioner, guava at CISH, Lucknow. (Left to Right) : Dr.Gorakh being shown altered canopy architecture in Singh, Dr. M.M.Sinha, Dr. G. Kalloo and Dr. H.P. Singh guava under high-density orcharding by Dr. Gorakh Singh, Sr. Scientist (Hort.)

planting in guava coupled with topping and hedging particularly at the early stage of the tree. He also suggested large field demonstrations of this technology must taken up so as to popularize it among the farmers. The delegates who visited the farm were also impressed by the work done at CISH, Lucknow. Horticulture Commissioner also apprecicated the work on guava Delegates visiting CISH Experimental Farm. Director, CISH, Lucknow, explaining the ongoing rejuvenation and initiative taken for activities/programme under PFDC. precision farming by CISH, Lucknow. 318

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PLENARY SESSION The Plenary Session was chaired by Shri Hemendra Kumar, Special Secretary (A&C), MOA. Dr. H.P. Singh, Horticulture Commissioner, Govt. of India, convened the session. Dr. R.K. Pathak, Director, CISH, Lucknow, participated in discussion as panelist. The Session started with welcome to Chairman and dignitaries on the dais and other delegates. Dr. H.P. Singh gave a brief account of discussion during two days of deliberation and requested the Chairmen of different technical sessions to present the recommendations. Dr. G.B. Singh, Director-General, UPCAR and Chairman of technical session on precision farming presented the recommendations and said that the group recognizes the need for precision farming to achieve improvement in productivity of land and suggested that research and developmental efforts on this aspect should be given priority. Dr. R.K. Pathak presented the report on behalf of Dr. Kalloo, Chairman of the session on hi-tech horticulture. The group recognised the importance of hi-tech horticulture for achieving improved productivity and quality of produce. Site-specific management of nutrients and in-vitro propagated plants are needed to be essentially adopted. Dr. Raman presented the observations and recommendations of PFDC review meeting and said that regionally differentiated strategies are essential to make the technology farmers-friendly and stressed the need for strengthening of the centres to achieve the objectives of precision farming, an emerging technology. There is a need for the PFDCs to switch over from hi-tech mode to precision farming research studies. He also said that group recognizes the need for faster adoption of precision farming which cannot be accomplished without appropriate institutional support mechanism. In the valedictory address, Chairman, Shri Hemendra Kumar appreciated the efforts made by the organisers and complimented Dr. H.P. Singh and his team for addressing this emerging issues of precision farming systematically. He called the attention to various programmes and policies of Government, which addressed the issues of improved productivity and high economic returns to the farmers, and said that Government is committed to achieve the excellence in agriculture which calls for coordinated efforts involving all the stakeholders. Dwelling upon the precision farming and hi-tech horticulture, the Chairman said that priority attention has been given to this programme. He also briefed about the genesis of NCPAH and programmes intended to be taken up and stressed the need for more concerted efforts on research and development of hi-tech horticulture and precision farming. After brief deliberations, Chairman called for discussion on various recommendations. Various issues on definition of precision farming, viz. how precisely it could be applied, what kind of training would be needed, how green food production could be 319

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encouraged and how results of research could be effectively used were discussed. RECOMMENDATIONS The following recommendations emerged from the deliberation.
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Recognizing the importance of the horticulture, target of production and expected growth rate of 7 per cent, Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming were observed to be inevitable to enhance the productivity of land and improve the quality of produce to be competitive in changing scenario. Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming interventions require to be pursued more vigorously so that advantage of technological advancements can reach to the users, especially the farmers. The programme for Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming proposed and presented was considered to be highly comprehensive and requires to be pursued duly ensuring effective mechanism, which ensures its implementation in the field. Since the Precision Farming is an emerging technology, R&D support and institutional mechanism for the coordination of efforts orchestrating all the technologies would be essential. The Seminar also recognized the definition of hi-tech horticulture as Deployment of modern technology, which is capital intensive, based on technologies having capacity to improve the productivity and quality of produce. Hi-tech horticulture interventions include efficient utilisation of water through pressurized water and irrigation system, utilisation of hybrids and high-yielding varieties, canopy architectural management, micropropagation and biotechnological tools, green food production, protected cultivation, water conservation, hi-tech nurseries, hi-tech mechanisation, on-farm handling etc. Precision farming, involves application of technologies and principles to manage spatial and temporal variability associated with all the aspects of horticulture production for improving crop performance and environment quality. Precision farming is also termed as site-specific application, precision agriculture, farming to the foot etc. However, in simple words, precision farming can be referred to application of right amount of inputs at right time and right place based on the knowledge base either through traditional means or through use of advanced technologies like Remote Sensing, GIS, Sensors etc. Precision farming encompasses all the disciplines to make the maximum utilisation of natural resources and brings about higher output in relation to input. 320

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In hi-tech horticulture, resource economy must be ensured and indigenous technological knowledge must lead to precision farming. While working out the technological package, economical examination should become its part and the benefit, in terms of improvement in the soil health and environment should be duly accounted for. The green food production must get due attention by utilisation of knowledge generated including the biodynamic farming, vermicomposting, integrated management of pests and these technologies orchestrated together may be tested at large scale for its adoption by the farmers. Since water and nutrients are most important inputs, as it constitute a major part of production inputs, they require to be managed efficiently. Site-specific utilisation of nutrients and water based on the water and nutrient status of soil and plants has to be the strategy to achieve the productivity per unit of nutrients and water for the specific crops in the given environment and also to reduce the pollution of water which occurs due to excessive use of nutrients especially in high-value crops. Excessive use of water also leads to degradation of soil. The Seminar recognises the benefit of fertigation and also the issues, which have become a hindrance in the large-scale adoption of fertigation. Although the benefits in terms of fertilizer efficiency are recognised due to reduction in fertilizer used by 40-60 per cent through fertigation, but due to higher cost of water-soluble fertilizer, the benefit does not get translated because commensurating benefit with reduction in the fertilizer requirement do not occur due to high price of water-soluble fertilizer. Therefore, there is a need to examine the policy issues to promote the production of water-soluble organic fertilizer, which should be cost-effective and can be adopted. Since Hi-tech Horticulture and Precision Farming are highly technology oriented, regular training has to be provided to farmers as well as the trainers including the extension personnel to keep them abreast of technical advancements and techniques. There is also an urgent need to develop a mechanism which ensures the servicing of hi-tech equipment. There is a need for promoting mechanization in horticulture to achieve increased output and also introduce the precision instruments developed elsewhere. ICAR would provide a list of such equipment which can be tested and further developed for large-scale application.

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Through the application of hi-tech horticulture and precision farming, the quality of produce is expected to improve which has to be appropriately handled and valueadded to bring the better remuneration to farmers. Therefore, integration of the production with post-harvest management and value-addition should be the approach. The commercial exploitation of micropropagation has been limited to banana and a few ornamental crops and there exists an immense potential to utilise these technologies. Failure of many of the production units is associated with poor market base initiated and coupled with poor quality of produce and high cost of production. The expertise has, however, improved and there is a vast market for in vitro plant propagation. Therefore, this technology requires to be promoted in all the regions through demonstration and assistance and also by creation of awareness for achieving higher productivity level. Recognizing the Remote Sensing as tools for precision farming in horticulture sector, there is a need to have enhanced information base which can be utilised for decision-making process for improving the effectiveness of precision farming. Since precision farming is an emerging technology, there is a need for concerted efforts for taking up research which can be translated into the technologies adoptable by the farmers. ICAR may include the precision farming as priority research activities in horticulture. Recognising the importance of Precision Farming Development Centres (PFDCs), the workshop observed that there is a need to strengthen the centre having specific focus in different regions so that the regionally differentiated technologies can be developed and demonstrated for large-scale adoption. The PFDC at Jorhat shall coordinate with the Directors of North-Eastern States, identify the need for the training and provide all the technical support. Wherever there is a need for the training from other States / Centers, it shall also be organised under Technology Mission on Horticulture, coordinated by NCPAH. While presenting the report on the greenhouse technologies and suitability of the crop under greenhouse, there is a need to provide economics both for greenhouse crop and traditional cultivation so that choice to adopt technology can be left to the farmers. However, quality of produce and its consumer acceptance shall also be kept in mind while calculating the economics. Recognising the benefits of the training provided by different centres and also the training organised for the trainers in Jalgaon, the need for follow up training both 322

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for Directors and trainers was also essential. Accordingly, it was decided that the training for the Directors of Horticulture or his representative and the trainers at different PFDC centers shall be organised at Jalgaon. NCPAH should take immediate action for organising the training. ! Since the focus is on precision farming, there is a need for re-orientation in the technical programme of address the emerging issues. Accordingly, a separate meeting may be organised at Delhi with the Principal Investigator of PFDCs at the earliest to finalise the programme. The NCPAH may make arrangements for organising the programme early. ! It was also decided that all the PFDC shall submit a manual which has been used for the training for its upgradation in the light of further advances made and the focus on the training on Precision Farming. The meeting ended with the Vote of Thanks by Dr. Gorakh Singh, Principal Investigator and Coordinator, Precision Farming Development Centre, CISH, Lucknow, to the Chair, delegates and all the concerned.

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Eds: H.P. Singh, Gorakh Singh, Jose C. Samuel and R.K. Pathak 2003

24
APPENDIX 1

REVIEW REPORT OF PROTECTED CULTIVATION AND POSTHARVEST TECHNOLOGY A. Greenhouse Studies Bangalore ! Studies on cultivation of tuberose, limonium, cucumber and mass multiplication of medicinal and aromatic plants under naturally ventilated greenhouse conditions have been conducted. The results indicate that productivities of tuberose, limonium and cucumber are higher under greenhouse conditions and are capable of giving higher economic returns. ! In tuberose (Sringar and Shuvasini hybrids) studies were undertaken on different levels of planting densities and fertigation. The Shuvasini hybrid gave an annual production of 143 spikes/m2 with a benefit : cost ratio of 2.03 when planted at a density of 34 bulbs/m2 and provided with 250 per cent out of the recommended dose of fertilizer through fertigation. In limonium variety Blue Diamond gave a spike yield of 90/m2/year at a spacing of 30 cm x 45 cm. ! In case of cucumber Poinsett variety was found to give maximum yield and net profit (Rs. 11,175.00/100 m2/year) at a spacing of 45 cm X 60 cm maintaining only two main branches/plant. ! The effect of polybags size, root media composition, type of greenhouse and economics for mass multiplication of long pepper, Coleus, Patcholi, rosemary, geranium, thyme and mint have been studied. The temperature range in the naturally ventilated greenhouse was 26-310C and relative humidity 85-90 per cent. The number of polybags which could be accommodated in 1 m2 160. The results have
Crop Remarks Advancement Yield Yield 2 of harvesting (kg/m ) (kg/ plant) (days) Green- Open Green- Open house field house field -3 1.89 0.61 7.0 2.28 13 days increase in total harvesting periods in the greenhouse. +16 0.38 0.13 2.8 0.96 Fruit quality and number of harvesting higher in greenhouse +4 2.06 0.72 Number of harvesting and fruit quality are more under greenhouse conditions.

Tomato (Rupali) Okra (Vijaya) Cucumber

Appendices

shown that substantial income could be generated through the propagation of these medicinal and aromatic plants. Bhubaneswar The studies were conducted on tomato, okra and cucumber. The results are summarized in the following table:
!

Grafting of mango and cashewnut during September-March had a higher survival percentage in the greenhouse as compared to that under open field conditions. The cultivation of cauliflower (cv. NS 60) was studied in naturally ventilated greenhouses with 3m, 3.7m and 4.5 m height. The yield of cauliflower was observed to be maximum under greenhouse of 4.5m height. The yield of cabbage under naturally ventilated greenhouse was observed to be 40-50 per cent higher compared to open field condition. Tomato (cv. S 41) in the naturally ventilated greenhouse gave a yield of 106.4 tonnes/ha as compared to 54.6 tonnes/ha under open field conditions.
Leafy Vegetables Green-house yield (kg/m2) Open field (kg/m2)

Coimbatore
!

Crop

Spinach Amaranth Fenugreek

19.30 10.50 2.50

6.80 4.80 1.40 0.72 2.4 3.0 30-90% 25-93% 25-87% 60-80 40-60 60-85

Vegetable Crops Okra (var. Indam-62) (Summer 2001) 2.1 Cabbage(cv.Golden Acre) (Rabi 2001-2002) 5.0 Tomato(cv.Naveen) (Rabi 2001-2002) 8.8 Vegetable Nurseries Tomato 40-95% Capsicum 35-97% Chilli 42-96% Grafting, Cutting and Layering Mango 70-90 Pomegranate 60-100 Guava 70-90

Hyderabad
!

The APAU Hyderabad centre, has conducted studies on raising of vegetable nursery of tomato, chilli, capsicum, tomato, okra, cabbage, spinach, amaranth and fenugreek 325

Precision Farming in Horticulture

and the propagation of nurseries of mango, guava and pomegranate. The results are summarized in the following table: Jorhat
! !

The tomato variety VC 48-1 cultivated under plastics rain shelters during summer produced 5.7 kg/m2. Early Nentis and Pusa Yamdagni varieties of carrot sown during June-July under plastic rain shelter gave early yield, i.e. in November. The cultivation of coriander, palak, laisaak and amaranth has been found to be profitable under plastic rain shelters as well as low tunnels during off- season. Crops of onion, cauliflower and radish were raised under naturally ventilated greenhouse. The yield of onion was 15.6 tonnes/ha in greenhouse as compared to 11.1 tonnes/ha in the open. The average bulb diameter in greenhouse was 64.3 mm as compared to 47.7 mm in open field conditions. The yield of cauliflower and radish were 15.2 and 55.3 tonnes/ha, respectively. A greenhouse with fan and pad cooling system has been established at the PFDC for demonstration as well as crop cultivation studies. The crops of capsicum, tomato, onion, coriander and rose have been grown. In case of rose, average number of flowers/plant/month was 36. Performance of a Naturally Ventilated Greenhouse: A naturally ventilated greenhouse has been designed for use in the North Indian plains. This greenhouse does not have dependence on electric supply for crop cultivation round the year. The average solar transmissivity of greenhouse is about 62 per cent. During winters, the day time temperature rise in the greenhouse was 11.8oC above the ambient. With the side covers open, the temperature rise in greenhouse was restricted to only 4.90C above the ambient. During summers the temperature in greenhouse with overhead misting system and side ventilation was about 100C lower than the ambient temperature. Several vegetables have been successfully raised in the greenhouse. The multispan greenhouse, developed for the north Indian plains, has been used for the cultivation of tomato and capsicum. The maximum yield of 9.9 kg/m2 was obtained for Avinash 2 variety of tomato. The yield of capsicum (variety Bharat) obtained was 13.1 kg/m2. 326

Kharagpur
!

New Delhi
!

Appendices

Pantnagar
!

A 75 m2 naturally ventilated greenhouse used for year round grafting of mango was found to yield an annual net return of Rs. 39,295. The mango graft survival out of 4,000 grafts made during the year 2001-2002 was more than 80 per cent. For tomato, NS 812 in a naturally ventilated greenhouse the maximum yield of 16.44 kg/m2 was obtained when the plants at 50 cm X10 cm spacing were pruned to have only single shoot. Planting of cabbage hybrid (Variety T 621) on 10 October resulted in maximum yield of 4.17 kg/m2 although the planting on 10 August was more remunerative. Bitter gourd sown on 16 September in naturally ventilated greenhouse required minimum time for seed germination as compared to later sowing dates and resulted in a yield of 6.62 kg/m2. The coriander in a naturally ventilated greenhouse sown on 15 January (Ist date) resulted in a yield of 7.05 tonnes leaves/ha. Chilli and capsicum transplanted on July 1 in a naturally ventilated greenhouse yielded 2.71 kg/m2 and 6.48 kg/m2,respectively. The success of cleft grafting in greenhouses for different months in a year ranged from 44.47 to 100 per cent, whereas the success was as low as 8.87 per cent under open field condition in certain months. Seeds of Papaya (Pusa Dwarf) sown on 22 October 2001 in a bamboo frame naturally ventilated greenhouse required only 16 days for germination as compared to 28 days under open field conditions. The germination percentage was 63-74 per cent as compared to 15-32 per cent in open field. The germination percentage for brinjal seeds in greenhouse was 76 per cent as compared to 48 per cent for the open field. Capsicum grown in greenhouse gave a yield of about 15 tonnes/ha, whereas the yield of tomato (cv. Rupali) per plant in greenhouse was found to be 2.91 kg as compared to 2.2 kg in open field. Cultivation of tomato, china aster and gerbera have been studied under rain shelters with favourable results as compared to those under open field conditions. 327

! !

! ! !

Samastipur
!

Tavanur
!

Precision Farming in Horticulture

B. Studies on Low Tunnels


!

Vegetable seedlings of brinjal, chilli and tomato were raised under low tunnels and in the open nurseries at Bhubaneswar center. The seed germination under the low tunnel was advanced by two days and seedlings were ready for transplanting 5-6 days earlier as compared to open nursery. Paddy straw mushroom under the low tunnel yielded an average of 1.25 kg mushroom/bed as compared to no production in the open field condition during winter.

C. Studies on Mulching Bhubansewar


!

The crop of ginger ( Suparva) mulched with LDPE film recorded a yield of 29.3 tonnes/ha as compared to 20.2 tonnes/ha for unmulched crop. The weed control was to the extent of 98.5 per cent and the number of irrigation saved was 4 as compared to the control treatment. In case of turmeric (variety Roma) the LDPE mulched crop gave a yield of 24.7 tonnes/ha as compared to 20.3 tonnes/ha for the control treatment. The weed control was up to 90 per cent and number of irrigation saved was 5 for the LDPE mulched crops as compared to control. Mulching of summer groundnut with 7 micron thick LLDPE film at Navasari campus applied with pre-emergence weedicide application of Pendimethylene @ 3.0 litres/ ha resulted in to about 50 per cent higher yield and about 72 per cent higher net income. Mulching of ber in the unreclimed costal salt affected soil of South Gujrat with 100 micron thick black PE film was found to increase the yield by 97 per cent. The mulching film should cover 1mX1m area around the stand in the first year and 2mX2m area from second year onwards. Tomato with red plastics mulch of 25 micron thickness with drip irrigation system gave better yield as compared to mulches of other coloures. In case of okra 33 per cent yield increase was observed in plastics mulched plots as compared to the unmulched crops. 328

Navasari
!

Raipur
!

Tavanur
!

Appendices

D. Post-Harvest Technology
!

Tomato fruits packed in 100 gauge polyethylene bags with 3% ventilation under ambient conditions could be stored for 27 days as compared to 14 days without packing. Studies on greenhouse type solar dryer: With a view to generalise the performance of the greenhouse type solar dryer, temperature, humidity and solar radiation inside and outside greenhouse have been collected. The crops dried in greenhouse type dryer have been aonla, sapota, mango and plums. It is proposed to develop empirical relationships for predicting the drying time in the greenhouse type dryer for a given crop at a given location.

329

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APPENDIX 2 REVIEW REPORT OF DRIP IRRIGATION, MULCHING AND FERTIGATION A. Drip Irrigation Jorhat
!

Drip irrigation resulted in better plant height, canopy area and stem girth of citrus crop, Khasi Mandarin as compared to rainfed treatment. The highest value of physiological parameters were recorded when plants were drip irrigated with 101.08 , 91.48, 45.34, 99.20, and 65.69 litres of water during November, December, January, February and March and mulched with black plastic film. Drip irrigation did not significantly influence growth and yield of pineapple crop. Only mulching with black plastic film (50 thick) influenced growth and yield and mulched plants showed significantly better growth and yield. Drip irrigation resulted in significantly better quality of broccoli as compared with that of furrow irrigation and highest return on investment was observed for dripirrigated crop with 39.91 mm water per year (full irrigation) and without plastic mulch. Significantly better yield was recorded in all drip-irrigated treatments irrespective of plastic mulching.

Navsari
!

Sugarcane (var. Co 91132) planted in paired row 1.2 m X 0.6 m can be grown within line drip irrigation system with 2 or 3 or 4 lph drippers and place the system either as surface or sub-surface (at 15 cm depth).

New Delhi
!

Cauliflower grown with low head drip irrigation system resulted in 56 tonnes/ha yield with the spacing of 50 cm X 50 cm and also in better quality as compared to flood irrigation. The cabbage F1 hybrid variety INDAM 296 grown with drip irrigation resulted in a yield (88 tonnes/ha) as compared to 32 tonnes/ha under flood irrigation.

330

Appendices

Performance evaluation of drip irrigation system


Centre Crop Curry leaf Hyderabad Guava Samastipur Bottle gourd INDAM 140) (var. 0.8 V 1.0 V 5.56 27.70 0.24 Treatment recommended 1.0 V Yield (tonnes/ha) 22.00 Water-use efficiency (tonnes/ha/cm) 0.72

B. Mulching Navsari
!

Summer groundnut crop with 7 LLDP up to harvesting along with preemergence weedicide application of Pendimethalin @ 3.33 litres/ha resulted in about 50 per cent higher yield and about 72 per cent more net income. In the absence of mulch only application of Pendimethalin can increase the yield by 28 per cent and the net return by 63 per cent. Groundnut after kharif paddy should be sown in raised bed condition during first fortnight of December and mulch with 7 transparent plastic film with hole at the point of seedling which increases the net return by 44 per cent over unmulched condition. The plot should be treated with Pendimethalin @ 3.33 tonnes/ha and sowing must be done at 4 cm depth. Ber in unreclaimed coastal salt affected soils, mulched with 100 thick black polyethylene film right from the first year resulted in 97 per cent more yield and 84 per cent more income even during the initial growth period. The 100 thick black polyethylene film should be kept around the trees (1m X 1m in the first year and 2m X 2m from second to fourth year) immediately after the cessation of the monsoon.

Tavanur
!

In case of of okra with black plastic film of 100 gauge thickness gave 33 per cent higher yield than that with non-mulched plots.

Navsari
!

Bitter gourd (var. Namadhari) as summer crop can be grown with black plastic mulch (25 thick), which results in 18 per cent more yield and net return. Bitter 331

Precision Farming in Horticulture

Saving in irrigation as a result of mulching


Centre Crop Ginger (var. Sup.) Turmeric (var. Roma) Best mulching Yield practice (tonnes/ha) LDPE LDPE 29.33 24.66 Saving in irri-gation Weed as com-pared to control normal (per cent 4 5 98.5 90.0

Bhubneshwar

C. Drip + Mulch
Centre Crop Treatment recommended 0.6 V + mulch 0.6 V + mulch 0.6 V + mulch 0.6 V + mulch var. 1.0 V + mulch 1.0 V + mulch 1.0 V + mulch T6 1.0 V + mulch 0.8 V + mulch 0.8 V + black plastic mulch (100 thick) 0.6 V + black plastic mulch (100 thick) 0.85 PE + black plastic mulch (100 thick) Drip + mulch T5 T6 T6 0.6V without mulch (Pusa Average yield (tonnes/ ha) 12.625 1.425 62.667 23.300 22.40 61.880 35.26 Increase over surface irrigation (per cent) 41.45 21.27 33.14 17.08 25.40 32.38 38.38 25.00 54.24 4.54 lakh/ha. 45.01 16.25 20.90 2.52 3.28 0.93 Water-use efficiency (tonnes/ha/cm) -

Ber Bikaner Pomegranate Brinjal Cabbage Okra (F1 Vijay) Tomato Samastipur Brinjal Litchi (Shahi) Papaya Dwarf) Pantnagar Litchi Lemon (Pant Lemon I) Mango Rose (cv. Gladiator) Groundnut Hyderabad Tomato Cabbage Chilli Tavanur Arecanut

Rahuri

332

Appendices

Effect of the drip irrigation and mulching on biometric properties


Centre Crop Mango (var. Amrapalli) Bhubneshwar Cashewnut (var. Vengrula 2) Banana (Basrai) Samastipur Banana (Basrai) 0.8 V + mulch 45.8 Treatment recommended 0.8 V + mulch 0.8 V + mulch 1.0 V + mulch Plant height Stem girth (cm) (cm) 147.8 169.1 146.2 11.5 17.1 -

Performance evaluation of different types of mulches


Centre Crop Treatment recommended VD + HM Cauliflower VF 0.6 VD Brinjal VD + PM VD + HM Kharagpur 0.6 VD + PM Guava 0.8 VD + PM 0.8 VD Citrus VD + PM VD + PM Mango VD + PM VD + PM Rs. 203.71/233.33 cm 34.66 cm 262.66 cm 29.66 cm 291.66 cm 37.00 cm Net profit per mm of water Average height Average girth Average height Average girth Average height Average girth Highest value 19.81 tonnes/ha 2.51 Rs. 168.08/49.77 tonnes/ha 4.87 Criteria Yield Benefit : cost ratio Net profit per mm of water Yield Benefit : cost ratio

VD, 1.0 V of drip; VF, 1.0 V of flood PM, Black plastic mulch; HM, rice husk mulch; SM, paddy straw mulch

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gourd grown with drip irrigation and black plastic mulch results in 40 per cent saving of irrigation water and bring about 0.67 additional hectares under irrigation with this crop. In the paired row (50 cm x 50 cm x 150 cm) sown crop the system should be laid out at a lateral distance of 200 cm (middle of paired row) with 8 lph discharge dripper in the middle of 4 plants and operated at 1.2 kg/cm2 pressure for 100 minutes on alternate day.
!

Cotton can be grown with paired row system and mulch with grass @ 5 tonnes/ha or black plastic (50 thick) to increase the yield by 54 per cent. Use of grass mulch can increase the net income by 162 per cent while plastic mulch can increase the net return by 30 per cent.

D. Microsprinkler Rahuri
!

The micro sprinkler method of irrigation was found the most effective method and contributed for higher flower yield of tuberose with better quality than drip and surface irrigation method. Bulb and bulblet yield (6.77 lakh spikes/ha) was also highest in microsprinkler irrigation.

Samastipur
!

Sprinkler irrigation on the top of the canopy of litchi (var. Shahi) improved excellently not only the number of fruits but also the physical quality of the fruit. Four sprinklers per tree resulted in the maximum average weight of fruit i.e. 21.83 g as well as pulp or aril i.e. 12.34 g/fruit and it also resulted in highest yield, i.e. 38.53 q/ha and pulp percentage and minimum fruit cracking (2.04 per cent).

334

Appendices

E.

Experiment on crop geometry


Crop Treatment recommended 40 cm x 40 cm (2 rows per lateral) 30 cm x 15 cm (2 rows per lateral) T1 T1 20 cm x 72 cm (1.5 m lateral spacing) 30 cm x 40 cm (2.4 m lateral spacing) Yield (tonnes/ ha) 51.12 30.51 16.30 20.20 14.10 Increase over surface irrigation (per cent) 76 67 5 Water-use efficiency (tonnes/ha/ cm) 11.97 10.24 5 1.08 -

Centre

Tomato Delhi Okra Hyderabad Raipur Coimbatore Cabbage Chilli Cabbage Okra

F. Intercropping Pantnagar ! One year of experimental result of intercropping of okra pea bottle gourd in litchi shows that there is a net saving of water and corresponding yield increase up to 38.25 per cent and 26.85 per cent in okra grown under microsprinkler irrigation as compared to surface irrigation method. Similarly the water saving and yield increase for pea was observed to be 51.13 per cent and 22.73 per cent respectively. The bottle gourd was grown in the monsoon season and hence no yield difference was observed. The total income (Rs. / ha) from okra, bottle gourd and pea intercropping were 34,640, 75,000 and 31,560 grown under surface irrigation as compared to 43,940, 75000 and 37,080 from microsprinkler irrigation treatments. Samastipur ! Maximum yield of ginger (23.96 tonnes/ha) in intercropping with lime was found under treatment T1 while minimum (19.97 tonnes/ha) was under treatment T3. ! Maximum yield of guava var. Allahabad Safeda (5.11 tonnes/ha) irrigated by drip irrigation and ginger var. Rajendra Sonia (19.36 tonnes/ha) irrigated by mini sprinklers was obtained under treatment T1 (1.0 V). Ginger was sown in 2/3rd interspaces between 4 years old plantations of Guava. G. Fertigation New Delhi
!

Tomato crop grown under fertigation using same amount of fertilizer as in control 335

Precision Farming in Horticulture

treatment resulted in 18 per cent higher yield. It also resulted in 40 per cent saving of fertilizer when applied through fertigation to get the same yield as that in conventional method of fertilizer application i.e. broadcasting.
!

Okra crop can be grown with fertigation. If the same amount of fertilizer was used then adoption of fertigation resulted in approximately 21 per cent higher yield than control. It also shows that to get the same yield in fertigation only 60 per cent fertilizer was required then that in broadcasting method. Lemon resulted in best yield with 80 per cent of the recommended dose of the fertilizer application under fertigation as compared to the other fertigation and conventional treatments. The effect of fertigation was not significant and conventional fertilizers (300: 200: 200 kg/ha NPK) work equally effective in gladiolus var. White Prosperity. Fertigation not only increase the yield of litchi but also lowered slightly cracking percentage. Litchi grown with treatment T1 resulted in 20.86 per cent yield over control. Papaya grown with treatment T1 i.e. 1.0 V and 100 per cent recommended dose of the fertilizer resulted in 27.34 kg fruits/plant, which was 55.69 per cent more that of control.

Pantnagar
!

Rahuri
!

Samastipur
!

Tavanur
!

The organic carbon, available nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium content are more in mulched plots after planting than that before planting. Recommended dose of fertilizers for fertigation
Centre Crop Mango (Dashehari) Raipur Pomegranate Tomato Treatment recommended Drip + black plastic mulch (25 ) Drip irrigation Drip + red plastic mulch (25 ) Recommended dose of fertilizer 60 per cent of recommended dose of fertilizer 60 per cent of recommended dose of fertilizer -

336

Appendices

H. Miscellaneous Coimbatore
!

In case of papaya treatment T6 (8 lpd) has recorded maximum number of fruits apart from registering higher fruit weight (1.8-3.2 kg/fruit), TSS (13.7 15.3) and latex yield (32.7 g/ fruit). One dimensional numerical modal was developed by using Finite Difference Scheme (FDS) to study the water distribution under the drip emitter for variable discharge conditions. Model is capable of providing the ideal wetting depth of soil for a particular discharge rate operation for variable duration of operation. An optical sensor based automated irrigation controller has been designed, developed and tested in the field condition. The calibration curves (i.e. moisture content in % vs. resistance in K ohm) for available sensors like granular matrix and nylon sensors have been developed. The water level sensors have been designed to switch on or switch off the motor based on the rise or fall of water tank supplying water to the cooling pad of green house. A hydro cyclone filter of length 81 cm and cone angle of 300 was fabricated locally and the calibration curve (turbidity in N.T.U. vs. sediment load in gm/l) have been developed. The observations on water front advance for three emitters placed at the vertices of the equilateral triangle shows that after overlapping of the water front of all three emitters, the waterfront advance at a faster rate in vertical direction than that in the horizontal direction. After the front join each other, they tend to form a unified bulb. A computer software DRIPD an interactive user friendly software was developed using C++ computer language. This software is also capable of providing default values to most parameters in the design of drip irrigation system if the user is uncertain about the actual values at the time of design.

Kharagpur
!

! ! !

New Delhi
!

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Precision Farming in Horticulture

APPENDIX 3 PARAMETERS FOR EVALUATING A TISSUE CULTURE LAB (SUGGESTED COMMITTEE ON TISSUE CULTURE, DAC, NEW DELHI)
S.No. Particulars 1. Infrastructure A. Lab facilities Washing room Facilities for washing, drying and storing of glassware Quality of washing Overall cleanliness Depending on the volumes, washing may be done manually or through a machine but the quality of washing must be good. Contaminated cultures should not be stored. They should be washed as soon as possible. All the contaminated cultures must be autoclaved before washing with a detergent. If the contamination levels are very high then the glassware (infected cultures only) after autoclaving should be left overnight in the chromic acid before washing with detergent the following day. The glassware must be washed under running tap water to ensure that no traces of media or detergent is left behind After washing with ordinary water, the culture vessels should be rinsed with deionized water before drying. Drying may be done by leaving the jars in an inverted position, overnight. Petriplates and other glassware may be dried in an oven. There should be a proper mechanism for disposal of used agar Overall cleanliness must be maintained. 5 Requirement Marks

338

Appendices

Media preparation Availability of equipment for media preparation and autoclaving Quality of chemicals Quality of culture vessels The media preparation lab must nave all the basic equipment such as weighing balance (electronic). PH meter, conductivity meter, microwave oven, de-ionizer / distillation unit/ RO water facility, autoclave, etc. The chemicals should be of AR grade from a reputed company such as MERCK or QULAIGENS. The details of the media must be recorded and the trays/racks containing media should be properly labelled. All the parameters pertaining to autoclaving such as the time when the autoclave was switched on, when the desired pressure was obtained, autoclaving time, etc. must be recorded. As much as possible, high operational efficiency should be maintained to save on manpower. After autoclaving, the medium should ideally be stored for 2-3 days so that if something goes wrong with autoclaving, microbial contamination is detected before the medium is put to use. The medium must be stored in clean area where very high level of sterility (at least Class 1,000) is maintained 10

Maintains of records Operational efficiency of media preparation (amount of media prepared everyday, proper labelling of media, etc.) Cleanliness

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Precision Farming in Horticulture

Inoculation room Equipment Sterility levels Technical competence of the operators Operational efficiency (number of cultures handled by each operator, labelling of cultures, contamination losses, etc. The inoculation room should have at least sterility level of Class 1,000. The room must be fumigated periodically with sterilant The airflow of the laminar airflow cabinet should be checked periodically. Besides flaming, the tools (forceps, scalpels, etc.) should also be autoclaved periodically Instead of rectified spirit, use of glass bead sterilizers should be favoured as the former is a potential fire hazard Regular monitoring of air-borne microbes in the lab is must Operators working in the lab must remove their footwears outside the room and wear clean (preferably autoclaved) lab coats Entry to the lab must be trained/technically sound during subculturing at a time only one clone/genotype should be handled to avoid any mixing Due emphasis should be given to 10

the efficiency of operators (the number of jars handled, multiplication rates, contamination losses, etc.). Proper record of species, clone, passage number, media, operator name, etc. should be maintained

340

Appendices

Growth room Availability of equipment such as BOD, shakers, etc Adequate facility to maintain stringent conditions for temperature and RH Sterility levels The growth room should be equipped with racks, AC, heat convector, temperature and humidity controller, photoperiod stimulator, shakers High sterility levels (Class 10,000) should be maintained with periodic check on airborne contaminants The room must be fitted with UV lights. It should also be fumigated periodically especially during the monsoon to keep the contamination under control Restricted entry 10

B. Hardening facilities Transfer area Ex agar management Selection of proper container and potting mix

Only one clone to be washed at a time Hardening trays should be properly labeled Selection of the hardening container and potting mix to be done as per the requirement of the species Drying of plants should be avoided by transferring them to the mist room/greenhouse immediately after transfer to the potting mix Water used for irrigation must not be hardy (rich in salts) Excessive watering of plants to be avoided Due consideration should be given to the texture and pH of the soil used for hardening All records pertaining to number of plants transferred, date of transfer, etc should be maintained for future reference

10

341

Precision Farming in Horticulture

Greenhouse/ polyhouse/ shade area Necessary facilities for proper hardening of plants through adequate control on temperature and RH

Stringent control on temperature and RH There shouldn't be any leakage for the inside air to escape Facility for ventilation to control excess of RH during monsoon Excessive watering of plants to be avoided It must be ensured that direct sunlight does fall on the plants but at same time there should be sufficient natural light in the GH Adequate provision for artificial light for those species that are high light demander Plants should be monitored regularly for their growth and presence of any disease or pest Dead plants should be removed immediately to avoid any possible attack of saprophytic fungi Fungal infestation in GH particularly during monsoon season is very common. If present, the plants should be sprayed with suitable fungicides Wherever possible, use of compost at the GH stage should be avoided because that may invite contamination Any kind of treatment given to the plant such as fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides, etc. must be recorded for reference just in case something goes wrong with the plants All moralities taking place in the GI / polyhouse should be recorded to arrive at the transplantation losses

10

342

Appendices

Nursery Adequate space and facilities for irrigation Proper management

Nursery should have some shade area where the plants could be kept till they are harden enough to be kept under direct sunlight Only fully decomposed organic manure to be used. Partially decomposed manure will do more harm than any good to the plant There should adequate facilities for irrigation Nursery beds should be properly leveled so as to avoid any water-logging Regular weeding Regular shifting of plants to prevent the roots from entering the ground

Quality control Selection of clones and maintenance of germplasm Selection of high yielding clones Maintaining the germplasm in proper disease-free conditions

Following points must be recorded while selecting the mother plant Geographical location of the mother plant or the area where mother plant is growing Microclimatic conditions prevailing in that area Various growth attributes of the mother plant (height, diameter of the stem, yield, etc.) Origin of the mother plant (seedling raised or vegetatively raised) Age

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Precision Farming in Horticulture

High- yielding clones should only be used for micropropagation work The mother plants should be maintained in disease-free environment so the chances of getting aseptic cultures remain high

Explant Apical or axillary bud Choice of the explant is a critical factor in the success of the micropropagation protocol. Since axillary branching method is the most favoured method for in vitro clonal propagation, only apical or axillary bud should be used as the explant for micropropagation work. While excising the explant from the mother plant, following points must be properly recorded: Location of the explant on the mother plant (branches/coppice shoots) Season (month) in which the explants have been derived Any pre-treatment given to the mother plant before excising the explant 5

344

Appendices

Virus indexing Testing the plants for known viruses and ensuring their climination before micropropaqation
!

Before starting with the micropropagation work, the material should be tested for the presence of the known viruses (this facility may be developed in house or it may be done at other established centers) If the presence of virus is established then these must be removed off through meristem culture or chemo/heat therapy or a combination of techniques Only virus-free tissue should be used for further micropropagation work In general the multiplication cycles should not exceed 10 passages. However, this number is not fixed and would vary with the species under consideration. Operators should be thoroughly trained so that they can draw a distention between the adventitious and axillary shoots. Only axillary shoots should be used for micropropatation work The plant tissue should be tested for the presence of systemic bacterial contamination by culturing the tissue after every 3-4 passages on LB medium

Number of multiplication cycles and clonal uniformity Number of multiplication cycles Ensuring that multiplication is only through axillary shoots and not adventitious Ensuring clonal uniformity of plants by molecular methods

10

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Precision Farming in Horticulture

Carrying out field trials and confirming the yield before undertaking mass distribution of TC plants

Clonal uniformity may be established morphologically through field trials and with the help of molecular techniques. Before wide scale distribution to the farmers or growers, it would be good to reconfirm the superiority of tissue cultured plants. However, this would be valid only for short rotation crops because in perennial crops it will take several years to confirm the superiority of TC plants Proper field data must be collected and analysis be done At the time of dispatch it must be ensured that the plants are fully hardened and are of transplantable size A small hand out giving all necessary information about after-care of the tissue cultured plant of that particular species should be provided to all growers for reference 5

Overall quality of plants

3.

Technical supervision and monitoring Monitoring of the production process and the staff involved therein

Strict monitoring of the entire production process covering all the activities that are performed in media lab, inoculation lab, growth room and hardening area is a must

10

346

Appendices

Technical competence of the production supervisory staff

The managers, scientists and the supervisory staff involved in production must have very sound technical knowledge of the subject so that they could deal with any eventuality that may arise during course of production. There should be at least two supervisors (one in the clean area to monitor lab activities and one in the hardening area for after care and for monitoring field activities) in the production facility The operators mayor may not have very sound scientific background but they must be thoroughly trained by the supervisors and the professional staff before they undertake any skilled job such as media preparation or inoculations

Operators

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Addresses of Authors
Precision Farming in Horticulture

ADDRESSES OF AUTHORS
Bajpai Anju Scientist, SS Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107 Balasubrahmanyam V.R. Research and Development Farm, Jain Irrigation System Ltd. Jalgaon, Maharashtra Chandra Pitam Principal Scientist, Division of Agricultural Engineering, IARI, New Delhi 110 012 Chandra Ramesh Principal Scientist,Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107 Chauhan H.S. Ex. Prof. Irrigation and Drainage Engg. G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pant Nagar 2/156, Vishal Khand, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow, U.P. Daryapurkar S. Research and Development Farm Jain Irrigation System Ltd. Jalgaon, Maharastra Dhake A.V. Research and Development Farm Jain Irrigation System Ltd. Jalgaon, Maharashtra Gupta M.J. Division of Agricultural Engineering, IARI, New Delhi 110 012 Jose C. Samuel Deputy Commissioner (SWC-E), Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi 110 001 Kumar Ajit Sr. Technical Expert (Hort.), Diversified Agriculture Support Project, U.P. Lucknow 226 010 Kumar Ashwani Project Coordinator, AICRP on Application of Plastics in Agriculture, Central Institute of PostHarvest Engg. and Technology, PAU, Ludhiana 141 004 Mishra Dushyant Scientist, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107

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Addresses of Authors

Mishra Maneesh Scientist, SS Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107 Moitra P. Research and Development Farm Jain Irrigation System Ltd. Jalgaon, Maharastra Om Prakash Principal Scientist,Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107 Padaria J.C. Scientist, SS Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107 Pandey D. Sr. Scientist,Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107 Pandey U.B. Director, National Horticulture Research Development Foundation, 2954 - E Kanadu Butata Bhavan, Nasik, Maharashtra 442 001 Panigrahy S. Space Application Centre (ISRO) Ahmedabad 380 015

Parihar J.S. Mission Director, RSAM & Group, Director, ARG, Space Application Centre (ISRO) Ahmedabad 380 015 Patahk R.K. Director, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107 Patel Neelam, Scientist,Water Technology Centre IARI, New Delhi 110 001 Patil K.B. Jain Irrigation System Ltd. Jalgaon, Maharastra Rajan Shailendra Sr. Scientist, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107 Rajput T.B.S. Principal Scientist Water Technology Centre IARI, New Delhi 110 001 Ram R.A. Sr. Scientist, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107 Singh A.K. Sr. Scientist, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107

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Precision Farming in Horticulture

Singh Ashvir Space Application Centre (ISRO) Ahmedabad 380 015 Singh Gorakh Sr. Scientist,PI & Coordinator, Precision Farming Development Centre, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107 Singh H.P. Horticulture Commissioner, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi 110 01

Singh Mahendra Technical Coordinator, Diversified Agriculture Support Project, U.P., Lucknow 226 010 Singh V.K. Sr. Scientist, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Lucknow 227 107 Tiwari K.N. Director, Potash & Phosphate Institute of Canada, Indian Programme, Sector-19, Dundahera, Gurgaon 122 016 (Haryana)

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Author Index
A A.K. Singh 92, 164 A.V. Dhake 114 Ajit Kumar 295 Anju Bajpai 226, 261 Ashvir Singh 35 Ashwani Kumar 198 D D. Pandey 176 Dushyant Mishra 176 G Gorakh Singh 75, 92, 124, 164, 176, 226, 261 H H.P Singh 1, 21, 198 . H.S. Chauhan 55 J J.S. Parihar 35 Jasdeep Chatrath Padaria 239 Jose C. Samuel 21 K K.B. Patil 114 K.N. Tiwari 45 M M.J. Gupta 64 Mahendra Singh 295 Maneesh Mishra 253 N Neelam Patel 214 O Om Prakash 145 P Pitam Chandra 64 Prosenjit Moitra 114 R R. A. Ram 275 R. K. Pathak 176, 275 Ramesh Chandra 239, 253, 261 S S. Daryapurkar 114 S. Panigrahy 35 Shailendra Rajan 92, 124 T T.B.S. Rajput 214 U U.B. Pandey 192 V V. K. Singh 75 V.R. Balasubrahmanyam 114

About the Editors


Dr. H.P. Singh born on 2nd July, 1950, obtained his Doctorate in Horticulture from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. He graduated from Banaras Hindu University and earned his Postgraduate degree with Gold Medal from Rajendra Agriculture University, Bihar, in 1971. Starting his career as a Scientist at Central Horticulture Experiment Station, Chethalli (Kodaju), Karnataka, in 1972, Dr. Singh has contributed significantly to Horticultural Research and Development, and has set an example as Researcher Dr. H.P Singh and Research Manager, which has brought his National and . International Recognition. He is a recipient of International Award Kalpvriksha Awards 2001, APCC, Jakarta, Indonesia and Pisang Raja 1996 ASPNET (INIBAP), and many National Awards, which includes Recognition award from, CIH and AIBGA, 2002. All India Kitchen Garden Gold Medal 2002; Recognition Award, 2002; Dr. M.H. Marigowda National Award 2001; Ranade Memorial Senior Scientist Award 1988; G.L. Chadha Memorial Gold Medal 1996; Kadali Puraskar 1996; Sheveroy Foundation Awards 1995 etc. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), 1998 and AIPUB, 2002. In a distinguished career spanning 30 years, he served in various capacities as Scientist, Project Coordinator (Tropical Fruits), Director of National Research Centre on Banana (NRCB), Trichy and Horticulture Commissioner in Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. He also served as Chairman, Coconut Development Board and is responsible for the promotion of efficient use of water as Member-Secretary, NCPAH. National Repository of Banana Biodiversity at National Research Centre on Banana, Trichy, was established by him. His outstanding contributions are in genetic resource management of fruits, development of cultivars and production system based technologies. He is credited to have developed 11 cultivars of fruits (passionfruit, litchi, banana, papaya and sapota). The production technology developed by him is widely adopted which includes high-density planting, nutritional management, flower regulation etc. and his efforts starting since 1983 have given a direction for water management in horticultural crops. He is instrumental in promotion of efficient water management using microirrigation. He has conceptualized hi-tech horticulture and precision farming. He has also contributed significantly for the promotion of organic farming. Dr. Singh has widely travelled in India and abroad, and is credited to have authored 352

more than 250 research papers and book chapters. He has edited 18 bulletins and 21 books. Microirrigation, a book edited by him, is well acclaimed. He has distinctly proved his leadership in Horticulture and is associated with many academic and professional societies which have the mandate of catalysing the growth of Horticulture. He has been resource speaker at National and International Conferences on Horticulture. Dr. Singh has an excellent organising ability and is creditor to have organise 7 International Conferences and more than 30 National Conferences and Workshops. He is Chairman of several International Committees and a large number of National Committees. As a Horticulture Commissioner, he has contributed for the development of horticulture, including the efficient utilisation of resources through effective planning and diffusion of technologies. The efforts have resulted in increased production, productivity and availability of horticultural produce, a step in heralding Golden Revolution. He is credited to have given a major boost for the widespread adoption of improved technologies like microirrigation, protected cultivation, use of in-vitro propagated plants, fertigation, organic farming, etc. Currently he is engaged in providing direction for horticultural development having focussed attention. Dr. Gorakh Singh born at Mohanpur in Rohtas District of Bihar on 5th February 1958, obtained his doctorate in horticulture from Banaras Hindu University. Starting his career as a scientist at Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore in 1986, engaged in production system research on guava, papaya and mango. In a distinguished career spanning 17 years, he made significant contributions in various fields of horticultural science like clonal selection, propagation, crop regulation, pruning techniques, canopy Dr. Gorakh Singh management, cropping pattern, high-density orcharding, fertilization, microirrigation etc. He is credited with new technique of crop regulation in guava, for manifold increase in its productivity. He has conceptualized pruning techniques under high-density planting in guava and is credited with selection of two clones of 'Langra' mango from Varanasi which are recommended for commercial plantation. Dr. Singh has attended many training courses, the recent being International Course on Tropical and Subtropical Fruit Production in Shefayim, Israel. He is associated with many academic and professional societies and has more than 125 scientific publications including research papers, popular articles, book chapters, technical and extension bulletins.

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Dr. Singh has proven his mettle as a researcher and his organising capabilities have won him high accolades. Presently working as Senior scientist in Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow, he is also involved in monitoring, research and developmental programme under Precision Farming Development Centre as a Coordinator and Principal Investigator at Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow. Dr. Jose C. Samuel, born on 22nd April, 1948, obtained his Doctoral Degree from the University of Roorkee. In a career spanning over 30 years, he has contributed significantly in the field of soil and water conservation, watershed management and horticulture. Presently working as Deputy Commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture, he has been involved in monitoring and development of programme on horticulture, i.e. fruits, microirrigation, apiculture and medicinal and aromatic plants. He has played a key role in the development of programme on human resource development. He has published 54 articles and has edited three books.

Dr. Jose C. Samuel

Dr. R.K. Pathak is currently Director, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow. He served the cause of Horticulture in various capacities after receiving Ph. D. degree from IARI, New Delhi in 1970. He started his career on temperate fruits at Govt. Hill Fruit Research Station now Horticultural Experiments and Training and Centre, Chaubattia, Almora, and shifted to education at N.D. University of Agriculture ad Technology, Kumarganj, Faizabad. He established the Department and Main Experiment Station Horticulture (MES), Dr. R.K. Pathak guided 15 M.Sc. Agriculture and 9 Ph. D. students. His main field of research has been on aonla based cropping. Dr. Pathak had been instrumental in preparation, launching and monitoring of U.P. Diversified Agricultural Support Project (UPDASP) in the Uttar Pradesh. He is credited to have published more than 125 scientific publications including research papers and popular articles. He has about two original and five contributory books to his credit. For the last 5 years, Dr. Pathak has been engaged in standardizing and popularizing organic production of horticultural commodities. Dr. Pathak is recipient of Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Shri Girdhari Lal Chadha Memorial Gold Medal for writing a book and wasteland utilization, respectively. 354