Grow rabi pulses for crop diversification: PAU V-C advises Punjab farmers

Punjab Agricultural University vice-chancellor Dr Satbir Singh Gosal on Thursday called upon Punjab’s farmers to grow rabi pulses, which he said will ensure crop diversification and nutritional security.

“Gram (chickpea and chhole) and lentil (massar) are important rabi season pulse crops in Punjab. These are a rich sources of protein in the diet of vegetarian people. Productivity of rabi pulses can be maximized by adopting the recommended practices,” he advised.

Efforts were being made to promote pulses cultivation in Punjab, in view of substantial decline in its area due to predominance of rice-wheat cropping system, he said.

Dr Guriqbal Singh, Principal Agronomist (Pulses), informed that the optimum time of sowing of desi and kabuli gram under irrigated conditions was from October 25 to November 10, whereas for lentil, it was from end of October to the first week of November.

In case gram was to be sown on medium to heavy textured soils, particularly after paddy, then the crop should be sown on raised beds (two rows on each 67.5 cm wide raised bed) and irrigation be applied as per need, he advised.

In case gram was sown flat on such soils, the crop could be adversely affected. So it was better to sow the gram crop on raised beds, or not to irrigate it if sown flat on heavy textured soils, particularly after paddy, he stressed.

Dr Inderjit Singh, Principal Pulse Breeder, shared that the varieties of desi gram recommended in Punjab under irrigated conditions were PBG 8 and GPF 2 (for entire state, except humid areas), PBG 7 (entire state), PBG 5 (in humid areas) and kabuli gram variety L552 (for entire state except humid areas). In case of lentil, LL 1373 and LL 931 were recommended, he added. Variety LL 1373 being bold seeded, 18 kg seed per acre should be used; whereas for LL 931 variety, 12-15 kg seed per acre was sufficient. “In case of flat sowing, sow the gram crop in lines 30 cm apart and lentil in lines 22.5 cm apart,” he advised.

Dr Harpreet Kaur Virk, an expert of pulses, stressed upon using optimum seed rate — 15-18 kg per acre — for all the desi gram varieties except PBG 5 (for this use 24 kg seed per acre) and 37 kg per acre for kabuli gram variety. Under late sown conditions, increase the seed rate of desi gram to 27 kg per acre in the second fortnight of November sowing and to 36 kg per acre in case sowing was to be done in the first fortnight of December, she said.

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