Crop Production

Isabgol (Plantago ovata Forsk.):

The crop requires cool and dry climate during the growing season. Sowing of seeds at 4 kg/ha in 0.25-0.50 cm depth during November 20 to December 20 was recommended. In medium black cotton soil of Malwa region, second week of November was reported to be optimum time for sowing. Broadcasting of seeds followed by light sweeping with broom found to give uniform germination. A spacing of 30x 45cm found to be most ideal to get higher seed yield in Isabgol under Madhya Pradesh situation. Response of chemical fertilisers was found low. However, a fertiliser dose of 25 kg/ha each of N and P2O5 as basal dose and 25 kg/ha N as top dressing at 30-42 DAS was recommended for commercial cultivation in Gujarat while 50 kg/ha N reported to increase the seed yield in Madsaur areas of Madhya Pradesh. At Anand three irrigations viz. first at the time of sowing and subsequently at 30 and 70 days after sowing (DAS) proved to be beneficial. Howerer, four irrigations at sowing, 10,25, and 50 DAS at Mandsaur are recommended. Chemical weed control was found to be economical and a pre-sowing or pre-emergence application of Isoproturone (0.5 kg ai/ha) was recommended for weed control. One spray of Metalaxyl + two sprays of Mancozeb were found significantly superior in controlling downy mildew. In Gujarat , Pearl millet in Kharif and Isabgol in Rabi season are advocated as a suitable crop rotation. Groundnut-Isabgol rotation gave higher economic return followed by Soybean-Isabgol and Pigeon pea-Isabgol rotations in Maharashtra

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum Linn.) :

The optimum time for sowing is the first fortnight of November. Delay in sowing causes poor growth. A seed rate of 6-7 kg /ha is recommended in case of broadcasting and 5-6 kg /ha for line sowing. Line sown crop yielded more latex/ha than broadcasting. Seed inoculation with Azotobacter culture (M-4/W-5) reduces the nitrogen requirement up to 40 kg /ha. A fertiliser dose of 90 kg/ha N, 50 kg /ha P2O5 and 40 kg /ha K2O was reported to maximise the latex and seed yield. However, N,P and K at 150:75:45 kg/ha was recommended for higher seed, husk and latex yield and morphine content of opium poppy at Mandsaur. For weed control, and integrated approach with Isoproturon ( 0.37 kg a.i./ha + hand weeding at 30 DAS) showed very good control without any phyto-toxic effects. Ten to fourteen light irrigations are required in sandy soils at an interval of 10 days. Lancing is usually started on developing capsules about 15 days of flowering. Maximum latex yield is harvested in first lancing which decreased at subsequent lancings. Early morning is the best time for collection of latex. Latex yield ranges between 35 and 55 kg/ha and seed yield between 8 and 12 q/ha. Crop rotations, maize-opium poppy; urd-opium poppy and groundnut-opium poppy are profitable. Intercropping with garlic gave higher profit compared to sole crop without affecting the latex yield.

Senna (Cassia angustifolia Vahl) :

The crop prefers sandy loam to laterite soils. However, it is grown in marginal and sub marginal lands also with 7.0-8.5 pH range. The crop is sensitive to water logging condition, therefore, requires well drained soil. Sowing time recommended for rainfed crop in Western India is June-July. Line sowing at 45 x 30 cm gives higher yield under irrigated conditions. About 70-75 thousand/ha plant population is recommended for optimum yield. Application of FYM at 10 t/ha as basal and 60 kg/ha N in 3 split doses are recommeded for better yield. Two hand weedings followed by hoeing at 25-30 and 50 DAS are essential. Harvesting is recommended in dry season to avoid spoilage of leaves due to fungal infection during storage. A well managed irrigated Senna crop yielded about 15-20 q/ha dry leaves and 7-10 q/ha dry pods. Whereas, a rainfed crop recorded on an average about 10 q/ha of dry leaves and 4-5 q /ha dry pods. Sun drying of leaves and pods is advisable. Crop rotation such as Senna-mustard and Senna-coriander were found profitable.

Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus (Linn.) G. Don.) :

Tropical and subtropical climates are found most suitable for its cultivation. However, water logged or highly alkaline soils may be avoided. A plant population of 75,000/ha is recommended to get higher yield. Nutrient dose of 15t/ha FYM + 80 kg N/ha under irrigated and 15t/ha FYM + 40 kg N/ha under rainfed conditions were recommended. Detopping of plants by 2 cm at 50% flowering improves the root yield and alkaloid content. Pre-emergence application of Fluchoraline 0.75 kg ai/ha was found to be very effective as weed control. The crop requires 4-5 irrigations. Intercropping with groundnut in 1:1 ratio was found to give highest monetary benefit. This crop is not suitable as inter-crop under shade condition because plant growth, root yield and alkaloid contents are observed to reduce under such condition. On an average, 1.8 t/ha dried leaves and 0.8 t/ha dried roots are harvested.

Safed musli (Chlorophytum spp Ker.) :

The crop is grown in Kharif season in places having warm and humid climatic conditions and adequate soil moisture throughout the crop growth. Optimum time for its planting is middle of June under irrigated condition and onset of monsoon for rainfed condition. Fleshy roots at 2.5 - 3.0 q /ha are planted in ridges at 30 cm row to row and 15 cm plant to plant distance. High density planting of 3.33 lakh/ha to 4.4 lakh/ha plant population was found the best in increasing root yield. Application of 20 -45 t/ha FYM showed significant yield increase. Fresh root inflorescence (detopping) improved the bulking of fleshy roots and increased root yield significantly. Separation of Safed musli fleshy roots in the month of April reduced the fleshy root damage as compared to March and February. Sprouting percentage and storability were also increased when separated with a major portion of stem disc. Paired fleshy roots used for planting recorded high degree of sprouting and survival in comparison to single root planting.

Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.):

The performance of Liquorice was tested at Hisar condition it grows well in rich fertile sandy loam soil ranging between acidic and slight alkaline soils having pH 5.5-8.2. Best time for planting is in middle of November with a spacing of 90x45 cm. Underground stem cuttings of 15-25 cm having 2-3 buds are most suitable for planting. However, treatment of root cuttings with Seradix-B enhances sprouting. At the time of soil preparation 10 t/ha FYM and 40 kg/ha each of N and P2O5 added as basal dose. Thereafter, 20 kg/ha N as top dressing per year is recommended. The crop is harvested after 2 to 3 years. Root yield of 70-80 q/ha was recorded at Hisar.

Sarpagandha (Rauvolfia serpentina Beth. ex Kurz) :

Frost free tropical to subtropical humid climate with irrigation facilities are found to be the most suitable for its cultivation. Root and stem cuttings have been recommended for vegetative propagation. For transplanting, nursery is raised in the end of April. A fertiliser dose of 30 kg/ha N and 60 kg /ha P2O5 was found to increase the total alkaloid yield. Water requirement is very high in this crop, about 15-16 irrigations are required to get good crop. Inter cropping of soybean (1:1) in kharif and garlic (1:3) in rabi were reported to be most suitable crop combinations.

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea Linn. and D. lanta Ehrh) :

The crop requires 20-300C temperature for seed germination and subsequent plant growth. Well drained loam to clay loam soils rich in organic matter are suitable for the crop. However, requirement of soil pH for higher yield of glycoside differs species to species. It was reported that Digitalis purpurea thrives well in acid soil whereas D. lanta in neutral soil. Most suitable time for transplanting of seedling is in April. Transplanting of seedlings at 45x30 cm proved to be better. Nitrogen requirement of foxglove is high. A fertiliser dose of 100 kg /ha N, 50 kg/ha P2O5 and 25 kg/ha K2O along with 30-40 t/ha FYM was found to be optimum for good crop. Five to six weedings followed by hoeings increased the foliage yield. Three to four irrigations are needed during April to June. One harvesting in first year at rosette stage and three harvestings in second year starting form August were recommended. However, harvest comes in the month of February-March contains almost double the glycoside than in August cutting. About 28 q/ha dry leaf yield is harvested. Sun drying of leaves at 30-400C is recommended to maintain quality.

Aswagandha (Withania somnifera Danunal) :

It prefers well drained sandy-loam to red soil having pH 7.5-8.0. The crop is sown in late kharif in 2nd or 3rd week of August. On an average, 60 to 75 cm rainfall is best suited for rainfed crop. Broadcasting is practised by the farmers with high seed rate of 20-35 kg/ha. However, line sowing at 25 cm in rows facilitates better inter- cultural practices. One weeding and thinning at 25-30 days after sowing found to be sufficient in sub-marginal lands. Multi location trials showed that Isoproturon at 0.5 kg/ha, Glyphosate at 1.50 kg a.i./ha and Trifluralil (48% EC) @4.1 a.i/ha were found effective in controlling weeds and increasing root yield. Raised bed condition has been reported to yield higher quantity of root. Root size, root and shoot biomass and alkaloid content were found maximum in 180 DAS which should be considered as harvesting time. The whole plant is uprooted and roots are separated. About 3 to 4 q/ha dry root and 50-75 kg /ha seeds are harvested.

Khasi Kateri (Solanum viarum Dunal) :

The crop is grown in various agroclimatic and soil types in India . However, commercial cultivation is confined to the Peninsular India and Diphu hills of Assam . Seeds are sown in nursery bed for raising seedlings for transplanting. Forty five-day old seedlings having 4-6 leaves give high success after transplanting. Although higher yield of dry berries and solasodine per hectare were obtained in close spacing (45x60 cm), a spacing of 90x150 cm is recommended to avoid difficulties in inter-culture and harvesting operations due to spiny stems. However, a less spiny variety, Arka Sanjeevini recorded higher berry yield per hectare under high density planting (10,989 - 13,889/ha). The variety showed about three fold increase in dry berry and solasodine yield. Top dressing of N delayed flowering whereas combination of N and CCC initiated early flowering. Application 250 ppm GA3 increases solasodine content in diploid and 250 and 1000 ppm in tetraploid. Further, foliar spraying with CCC at 1600 ppm was reported to increase solasodine content significantly. Turning yellow stage was found to be the most ideal for berry harvesting. Berry yield varies from 3.0-14.0 t/ha depending upon variety and soil status.

Long pepper (Piper longum Linn.) :

Hot humid climate with 20-25% partial shade is ideal for its cultivation. The performance of long pepper was superior under partial shade of Cassava under Kerala condition. Well drained and nutrient rich soil is recommended. Three- to five-node rooted vine cuttings give cent percent field establishment. The best time for raising nursery is during March to April. Long peper responded to summer irrigation. Integrated water management strategy involve in the application of irrigation water through the sprinkler system at IW/CPE ratio of one in combination with incorporation of coir pith for soil moisture conservation was found to enhance the annual spike yield in Long pepper. High density planting at 30 x30 cm combine with the organic farming technique, mulching and application of vermicompost resulted in higher spike yield under irrigated condition. Harvesting is done eight months after planting and 3-4 pickings are usually done in a year. About 400 kg/ha dried spikes in first year and 1000 kg/ha in second and third years are harvested. Harvested spikes are dried in sun for 4-5 days. Dried spikes are stored in moist proof containers. Besides spike, thicker stem and roots are cut and dried and used in Ayurvedic drug preparations. About 500 kg/ha roots are harvested.

Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger Linn.) :

North western hilly tracts are most suitable for this crop. About 2-3 kg/ha seeds are recommended. Seeds are shown in first week of October 4 to 5 weeks old seedlings are transplanted in a spacing of 35 x 15 cm. A fertiliser dose of 80 kg/ha N, 40 kg/ha K2O and 15-20 t/ha FYM was recommended for optimum crop yield. Two-three weedings and 5-7 irrigations are needed. Crop rotations such as Senna - Henbane and Basil - Henbane were reported to be most profitable. The crop is harvested after 125 to 145 DAS. The older leaves at the base of the plant touching the ground are picked up first which is followed by picking of leaves from the upper portion of twigs and branches at 50% flowering. The bio-mass is thereafter thoroughly sun dried. This procedure of harvesting is quite economical and fetches higher market rate.

Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii var. Motia) :

It is a crop of warm tropical climate. Sowing time for raising nursery is end of April to mid of May. Transplanting is done in the last week of June to mid August at 45x 30 or 60x60 cm spacing, depending upon soil fertility and climatic conditions. Optimum dose of fertilisers was 75 kg/ha N and 40 kg each of P2O5 and K2O to get higher herbage and oil yield. Recently an integrated nutrient management - trial was conducted in Palmarosa. It was found that FYM @ 10 t/ha, N&P @ 20 kg/ha each and Azospirillum or Azotobacter favoured higher productivity and oil yield. Frequent light irrigations are required during rain free period. Inflorescence is ready to harvest at 7-10 days after opening of flowers. Crop is harvested 10-15 cm above the ground level. First year 2-3 harvest and in subsequent years 3-4 harvests are taken. On an average 80 kg/ha oil yield from rainfed crop and upto 220 -250 kg/ha oil yield from irrigated crop were achieved from the second year.

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides (l.) Nash) :

As a commercial crop vetiver flourishes over rich sandy - loam soils having 6-8 pH under warm and humid weather conditions. Earthing up operation increases the root yield. Irrigation at 0.4 IW/CPE ratio showed maximum root yield (14.2 q/ha). However, 8 irrigations are required within 15 months. A fertiliser dose of 80 kg N and 30 kg each of P2O5 and K2O/ha increase the root yield without affecting the oil quality. Combined application of farm yard manure @10 t/ha, N,P @37.5 & 20 kg/ha respectively and Azospirillium or Azotobacter enhanced oil yield. Cowpea, cluster bean and black gram as intercrops added the income of the cropping system. Best time for harvesting of roots is 15 months after planting.

Mints (Mentha spp) :

The crop prefers well drained soil rich in organic matter and 6-7.5 pH. This group of plants needs very high amount of nutrients particularly nitrogen. Application of FYM at 25-30 t/ha at land preparation, 30 kg/ha N and 40-60 kg/ha each of P2O5 and K2O as basal dose followed by 75 kg/ha N at 40 days after sprouting and 75 kg/ha N after first harvest is recommended. Application of 120 kg N/ha and harvesting of spearmint shoots in June showed maximum herbage and oil yield. Zinc deficiency is common in Indo-Gangetic plains. The crop responses maximum at 20 kg/ha Zn application at planting. Iron and Boron deficiencies are also reported. Two to three weedings and hoeings are essential in mint farming. Pre-emergence Terbacil (2.0 kg a.i./ha) application found to be effective in controlling of weeds. Six to nine irrigations are required during dry seasons. First crop is harvested at 105-110 DAS and subsequent harvest takes about 90 days thereafter. On an average 30 t/ha of herbage yield in Japanese mint and 20-25 t/ha of Bergamot mint are harvested which yield about 150 and 100 kg/ha oil respectively.

Babchi (Psoralea corylifolia Linn.):

Maximum seed yield was obtained when 40 kg N, 20 kg P2O5 per ha were applied at 30x30 cm spacing. Psoraline content was also found high in this treatment. Application of 500-750 ppm Maleic Hydrazide increased seed yield significantly when applied either at 30 DAS or 30 and 45 DAS.

Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata Nees):

Optimum transplanting and harvesting time for high herbage yield was obtained in 16th July transplanting and 16th November harvesting at Anand and Indore ; 1st July transplanting and 16th November harvesting at Akola and Udaipur and 1st July transplanting and 1st November harvesting at Faizabad.

Lavender (Lavender officinalis Chaix):

Sowing of lavender seeds during February and harvesting of the flowers for oil extraction at 50% flower initiation stage proved beneficial to get higher oil yield (32.41 kg/ha). The optimum spacing in lavender was found to be 45x60cm for higher foliage yield.

Melisa (Melissa officinalis Linn.):

Fresh herbage yield (141.4 q/ha) and oil recovery (29.60 kg/ha) were found to be maximum with GA3 application at 200 ppm concentration.

Salvia (Salvia scalarea Linn.):

Transplanting of Salvia in February and application of 90+30+30 kg/ha NPK recorded highest oil yield of 35.24 kg/ha.