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Pigeonpea(Arhar), Green Gram (Mung Bean)), Black Gram (Urd Bean), Cow Pea(Lobia), Moth Bean(Dew Bean), Soy Bean, Ground Nut


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Agronomy – Kharif Crops




Dr. B. Gangaiah Senior Scientist Division of Agronomy

Indian Agricultural Research Institute New Delhi – 110 012



Source: http://toptropicals.com/pics/garden/05/23/3696.jpg



Botanical name; Cajanus cajan L. Milsp.

Family: Fabaceae (Leguminoceae) Chromosome number: 2n=22, 44, 66, 2n=14

Pigeonpea is commonly known as redgram or arhar. Pigeonpea seeds used as dal are rich in protein (21%), iron and iodine. They are also rich in essential amino acids like lycine, tyrocene, cystine and arginine. The green pods are used as vegetable. The pod husk and leaves after threshing serve as a valuable fodder for cattle. Woody plant stems are used as fuel. Pigeonpea being a legume possesses valuable property as restorer of nitrogen in soil.

Pigeonpea plants are also used to culture the lac producing insect in China. It is grown on mountain slopes to arrest soil erosion. The perennial pigeonpea is also useful in agroforestry systems.


India is believed to be center of origin and diversity of pigeonpea. The theory of its African origin has not been accepted owing to lack of diversity in the region. The true wild relatives of pigeonpea are not seen. The closest wild relative of pigeonpea Atylosia canifolia Hairs was found in India and Australia.

Geographic Distribution

Pigeonpea is grown in over 50 tropical countries of the world especially in more arid regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas. In India, it is cultivated as an annual crop, but in other countries, it is grown as perennial crop, where pods are harvested at regular intervals. In some countries, it is mostly grown as a kitchen garden crop for vegetable purpose The major pigeonpea producing countries of world are given in Table 1.

Table 1. The major pigeonpea producing countries of world (2004) Country Area (mha) Production

(m tonnes)

Productivity (kg/ha)

India 3.530 2.430 688

Myanmar 0.540 0.500 926

Kenya 0.195 0.106 541

Malawi 0.123 0.079 642

Uganda 0.084 0.084 1000

Tanzania 0.068 0.049 721

World 4.611 3.306 717

Source: FAO Production Year Book, 2004

Pigeonpea is the second most important pulse crop in the country. India accounts for over ¾ of acreage and production of the globe. The crop is extensively grown in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. Maharashtra has unique distinction of contributing about 30%

of total pigeonpea production in the country (Table 2).


Table 2. Area, production and productivity of pigeonpea important states of India (2004-05) State Area (000 ha) Production (000 t) Productivity (kg/ha)

Andhra Pradesh 480.0 219.0 456

Assam 6.7 4.8 716

Bihar 35.8 44.2 1235

Chattisgarh 60.3 30.8 511

Gujarat 254.4 236.0 928

Haryana 31.0 32.0 1032

Himachal Pradesh 0.3 0.1 333

Jharkhand 90.0 49.0 544

Karnataka 562.0 290.0 516

Madhya Pradesh 327.5 257.0 785

Maharashtra 1074.0 658.0 613

Orissa 130.1 88.9 683

Punjab 8.9 7.7 865

Rajasthan 16.9 12.6 746

Tamil Nadu 40.0 25.0 625

Uttarakhand 1.0 1.0 1000

Uttar Pradesh 387.1 380.2 982

West Bengal 1.5 1.1 733

India 3518.5 2346.9 667

Source: Fertilizer Association of India, 2006 Classification

All the cultivated Cajanus are classified into 2 groups based on maturity, floral and seed characteristics as below.

Cajanus indicus var. bicolor: Also known as arhar comprises most of the perennial types that are late-maturing, tall and bushy. Pods are dark coloured and each pod has 4 to 5 seeds. The standard petal, which is the largest of the 5 petals in the flower, possesses red veins on the dorsal side. Pods are synchronous in maturity.

Cajanus indicus var. flavus: Also known as tur comprises the commonly cultivated varieties, which are relatively short statured, early maturing and bear yellow flowers and plain pods with 2-3 seeds. Pods do not mature at a time and picking is done at an interval of 15-16 days.


Pigeonpea is a crop of arid and semi-arid climates grown between 30oN and 35oS latitudes and thrives well in areas with 500-1000 mm of rainfall. Its drought hardy nature makes it a crop of low rainfall situations; however, it can not withstand waterlogging and frost. Moist and humid conditions during vegetative phase and dry conditions during reproductive phase


are suitable for successful raising of pigeonpea. Low temperature at pod filling stage results in delayed maturity. Pigeonpea is quantitatively a short day plant with critical photoperiod of 13 hours. Low light intensity at pod formation is harmful. For flowering and pod setting 24oC is the optimum.


Pigeonpea can be grown on a wide range of soils, however, sandy loam to clay loams are ideal. The soil should be deep, well drained and free from soluble salts. The electrical conductivity of 1.4 dS/m is critical for pigeonpea. It can be grown on soils with a pH range of 5.5-8.0 successfully. It can not tolerate soil acidity owing to aluminium toxicity.

Land Preparation

Pigeonpea requires a clod free seedbed for proper germination and establishment of seedlings. The seedbed is prepared by a deep ploughing or disking, followed by 2-3 cross harrowings and levelling. In drylands, a deep summer ploughing is necessary for moisture conservation. In case of hard pan in the soil, sub-soiling is done. Pigeonpea with its deep root system (>150 cm) can break hard pans in plough layer, and hence called “biological plough”. Thorough levelling is essential for quick drainage and also to avoid waterlogging.

Contour broad-bed and furrows (2.7 m width) or a ridge and furrow planting is preferred to overcome waterlogging. The former land configuration is promising for vertisols.

Seeds and Sowing Seed rate and spacing

The row spacing in kharif varies from 40-60 cm in short and medium duration varieties to 60-90 cm in long duration varieties. In rabi season, the crop is grown in 30 cm rows. After germination, the seedlings are thinned to maintain an intra-row spacing of 15-20 cm. The optimum population thus varies from 60,000-1, 00,000 in kharif and 1.5-3.0 lakh/ha in rabi.

To achieve this, a seed rate of 8-10 and 10-12 kg/ha is required for long duration and short and medium duration varieties. During rabi season, 15-18 kg/ha of seed is needed.

Seed treatment

Before sowing, seed should be treated with agrosan GN or thiram @ 2.5 g/kg seed. Seed should also be treated with Rhizobium culture, especially when pigeonpea is being taken for the first time in the field or after a long duration. In pigeonpea, seed inoculation with Trichoderma harzianum alone or serial inoculation of T. harzianum, followed by Rhizobium may significantly reduce wilt incidence, enhance nodulation and root/shoot growth, but simultaneous inoculation of T. harzianum + Rhizobium was ineffective.

Time of sowing

Pigeonpea sowing in kharif under rainfed condition varies from June-July, depending on onset of monsoon. For sequential cropping of pigeonpea and wheat under irrigated condition, early sowings are preferred. In this cropping system, the crop is sown after a pre- sowing irrigation from late May to 1st week of June. For summer pigeonpea, early May sowing is followed in north India. Time of sowing should be adjusted in such a way to avoid rains and frost at flowering and reproductive stages. For early rabi planting in Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, September sowing is ideal. The rabi cultivation of pigeonpea in rice fallows is increasingly popular, and is sown immediately after rice harvest in southern India.

Method of sowing

Seed should be sown behind the plough or with the help of seed drill in rows. In north- eastern plains zone and in vertisols, where excess moisture/water stagnation often causes mortality of plants during early stages, ridge planting of pigeonpea has proved superior over


flat planting. This method also minimizes incidence of Phytopthora stem-blight and wilt. In vertisols, broad-bed and furrow system of planting is preferred.


The pigeonpea improvement through selection started as early as 1917 at Hebbal in Karnataka. Till date over 80 varieties have been developed, of which about 50% are selections from land races. Some of them include RG 72, SA-1, Type 66K, Hy 5, AL 15, Amar, Narendra Arhar 1, Bahar, LRG 36, etc. Through mutation breeding, 8 varieties have been developed since Co 3 released in 1977. Visakha 1, TT 5, TT 6, TAT 10, Co 5, Pusa 885, Co 6 are other varieties developed through mutation. ICRISAT has been successful in evolving first GMS (Genotypic Male Sterility) based hybrid ICPH 8. Later on, 5 more such hybrids have been developed. The difficulties in seed production (rogueing of female parent) have resulted in its limited success. This has been addressed with the development of first cytoplasmic MS based hybrid GTH 1 in Gujarat.

The important varieties and hybrids suitable for different pigeonpea growing states of India are given in Table 1 and Table 2, respectively.

Pigeonpea is susceptible to wilt, sterility mosaic (NEPZ, CZ, SZ), Phytopthora blight (NPZ) and Alternaria blight (NEPZ) causing 10-15% reduction in yield. Hence selection of resistant varieties is one of the priorities.

The disease resistant varieties of pigeonpea are given in Table 3.

Table 1. Pigeonpea varieties recommended for different states

State Type

Early (120-150 days) Medium (150-180 days)

Late (> 180 days) UP (Central &


PA 3, T 21, Prabhat, UPAS 120, Pusa 84, Pusa 74, Manak, Pusa 33, Pusa 993, Pusa 855, TT 5, ICPL 151

MA 6, Mukta, Paras, Sharda, Pant A 3

T 7, T 17, NP (WR) 15, Pusa 33, Pusa 55, Bahar (1258), MAL 13, KA 32-1 (Amar), Narendra Arhar-1, Pusa 9, Gwalior 3, Azad

Punjab, Haryana, Delhi

PA 1, T 21, Prabhat, UPAS 120, Pusa 84, Pusa 74, Manak, ICPH 8, Sagar (H 77- 208), Pusa 33, Pusa 992, Pusa 855

Mukta, Paras, Sharda NP (WR), Pusa 55

Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern UP

Prabhat, UPAS 120, Pusa Ageti, Pusas 74, Pusa 84

Mukta, ICPL 85063, BR 65, BR 183, MA 6, Birsa Arhar 1

T 7, T 17, NP (WR) 15, AS 71-77, MAL 13, Azad (K91-25), Pusa 9, DA 11 (Sharad), Bahar, Basant

West Bengal, Orissa

& Assam

T 21, Prabhat, Pusa Ageti, Pusa 74, Pusa 84, TT 5, BS 1

BR 65, BR 183, Mukta, ICPL 85063, C 11, WB 20 (105)

Sweta (B7), Chuni (B 517), T 7, T 17, NP (WR) 15, MAL 13, Pusa 9, Bahar


Rajasthan T 21, Prabhat, UPAS 120, Manak, Pusa Ageti, J 9-19, Pant A 1, Pant A 2, Sagar, Pusa 74, Pusa 33,

Sharda, Mukta, Paras NR (WR) 15, Gwalior 3

Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh

T 21, Prabhat, UPAS 120, Pusa Ageti, Vishakha 1, J 9-19, Pusa 33

Sharda (S 8), No. 148, Mukta, MA 3, KM 7, BDN 1, BDN 2, C 11, Paras, ICPL 87119, JA 3, JA 4

T 7, T 17, NP (WR) 15, Kanke-3

Gujarat T 21, Pusa Ageti,

Prabhat, Vishakha 1, TAT 10, J 9-19, Pusa 84, Pusa 74

Sharda, Mukta, ICPL 87119, BDN 1, BDN 2, C 11, ICPL 871, GTH 1

NP (WR) 15, Gwalior 3

Maharashtra T 21, Pusa Ageti, Prabhat, Vishakha 1 (TT 6), TAT 10, J 9- 19, AKT 8811

Sharda, Mukta, No.

148, BDN 1, BDN 2, C 11, ICPL 87119, BSMR 175, BSMR 736, MA 3, Malviya Vikalp, KM 7

NP (WR) 15, Gwalior 3,

Andhra Pradesh Pusa Ageti, Prabhat, CORG 9701, T 21, ICPL 87, ICPL 151, Hy 5, ICPL 84031 (Durga)

Sharda, PDM 1, GS 1, Hy 3A, Hy 3C, Hy 4, ICPL 87119, ICPL 8863, ICPL 85063 (Laxmi), LRG 30 (Palanadu), LRG 36, LRG 38, ICPL 332, C 11, PT 221

SA 1

Tamil Nadu Pusa Ageti, Prabhat, CORG 9701, ICPL 87, Co 1, Co 2, Co 4, Hy 5

Sharda, PDM 1, GS 1, Co 5, Co 6, Hy 3A, Hy 3C, Hy 4, ICPL 87119, BDN 2, PT 221

SA 1

Karnataka Pusa Ageti, Hy 5, ICPL 151 (Jagriti), CORG 9701, ICPL 87 (Pragati)

T 21, Sharda (S 8), Hy 3C, GS 1, KPL 87, ICPL 87119, C 11, TS 3, ICPL 8863 (Maruthi), PT 221

SA 1

Table 2. Hybrids released for different states of India

Hybrid Parentage Year of releast (by) Suitable for GMS based hybrids

ICPH 8 Ms Prabhat (DT) x ICPL 161 1991 (ICRISAT) Central Zone

PPH 4 Ms Prabhat x AL 688 1994 (PAU) Punjab

CoPH 1 Ms21 x ICPL 87109 1994 (TNAU) Tamil Nadu

CoPH 2 Ms Co 5 x ICPL 83027 1997 (TNAU) Tamil Nadu


AKPH 4101 Ms Prabhat NDT x AK 101 1997 (PKV) Central Zone

APKH 2022 AKMS 2 x AK 2 1998 (PKV) Maharashtra

GMS based hybrids

GTH 1 2003 (GAU) Gujarat

Table 3. Disease resistant varieties of pigeonpea

Disease Varieties

Wilt BDN 1, BDN 2, C 11, TT 6 Maruthi, BSM 6736, Sharda

Sterility mosaic Bahar, HY 3C, Pusa 9, Azad, ICPL 366, ICPL 87051, Amar, BSMR 175, BSMR 763

Wilt + sterility (both) Narendra Arhar 1, Asha (ICPL 87119), DA 11, BMSR 853, MA 3

Alternaria blight WB 20 (105), Pusa 9, DA 11

Phytopthora blight KM 7, DA 11, Pusa 9, Narendra Arhar 1

The gram pod borer and pod fly are problematic in all pigeonpea areas resulting in 15-20 and 25-40% yield losses, respectively. the resistant/tolerant varieties for these insects/pests are given below:

Pod borer : ICPL 332, ICPL 87089 Pod fly : AL 15, Gwalior 3 Manures and Fertilizers

The crop with 8-10 t biomass (of which 6 tonnes sticks) removes substantial quantity of nutrients. Being a legume, it can meet 60-80% of its own N requirement from symbiosis. A starter dose of 25 kg N/ha is applied at the time of sowing. At times of waterlogging for quick recovery immediately after drainage, 50 kg N/ha as top-dressing is applied to alleviate adverse effects of waterlogging. Besides N, 60 kg P2O5 is also applied as basal. The response to K fertilization is rarely noticed.

There has been increasing response to S fertilization in pigeonpea grown under intensive cropping systems and in light textured soils. Similarly, the crop responds zinc fertilization in alkali soils. Thus application of 20 kg/ha each of S and zinc sulphate is desirable. Zinc deficiency in the standing crop can be rectified by spraying 5 kg zinc sulphate and 2.5 kg lime dissolved in 800-1000 litres of water/ha.

Use of FYM @ 5-10 t/ha is common under rainfed situation. Inoculation of seed with effective strains of Rhizobium is desirable for symbiotic N fixation. Use of phosphate solubilizing bacteria along with lower doses of phosphorus is promising to higher P doses.

The roots by way of secreting organic acid (piscidic acid) improve solubility of Fe- phosphates. Thus the crop effectively utilizes soil P reserves.


Water management

Long duration pigeonpea with deep root system and flushes of flowering can withstand drought. The short duration cultivars, however, are grown with irrigation only. Post-rainy season crop responds better to irrigation. The critical stages for irrigation are branching, flowering and pod filling. The crop requires 20-25 cm water to produce a tonne of grain. The water requirement and consumptive use of pigeonpea varies from 30-50 cm and 40-50 cm, respectively.

At times of prolonged drought, irrigation at flowering and pod filling stages is highly rewarding in kharif. Irrigation of after cessation of rains at 0.4-0.6 IW/CPE ratio has been found ideal in north India. Drainage is equally important in pigeonpea. To overcome ill- effects of waterlogging, ridge and furrow planting (with seeding on ridge) is followed in heavy soils.

Weed management

Pigeonpea is infested by several grassy and broad-leaved weeds. Some of the common weeds associated with pigoenpea are: Cyperus rotundus L., Commelina bengalensis L., Phyllanthus niruri, Euphorbia parviflora L., Celosia argentena L., Amaranthus viridis L., Amaranthus spinosus L., Echinochloa colona (L.) Link, Digitaria sanguinalis, Dactyloctenium aegyptium (L.) Beauv, Ageratum conyzoides L., Eclipta alba L., Portulaca oleracea L., Trianthema portulacastrum L. etc.

The crop plants with initial slow growth are grown in wider rows. Therefore, crop suffers from severe weed infestation leading to drastic reduction in grain yield. The initial 7-8 weeks period of crop i.e. from sowing to branching stage is critical period of crop-weed competition in medium and long duration varieties. In short duration varieties initial 4-6 weeks from sowing is critical. Thus it is important to keep the crop free from weeds during this period.

Two hand-weedings or mechanical interculture at 3-4 and 6-8 weeks after sowing would take care of most of weeds. If the above operations are not possible owing to rains, use of herbicides is essential. Pre-plant incorporation of fluchloralin @ 1 kg/ha or pre-emergence application of pendimethalin or alachlor or nitrofen @ 1 kg/ha are effective in controlling weeds. The above herbicides integrated with one hand-weeding or mechanical hoeing at 6-8 weeks after sowing is more effective to either of the methods alone. The leaf leachates have been found to have allelopathetic effects on weeds. The thick canopy would further suppress weed growth at later stages. Intercropping of pigeonpea with jowar, maize and short duration legumes effectively suppresses the weed growth.

Cropping systems

Pigeonpea can be intercropped or sown mixed with a number of other crops like sorghum, maize, rice, groundnut, sesame, urdbean, greengram, cowpea, ragi, sawan and soybean, and an additional yield may be obtained. These crops do not adversely affect the pigeonpea crop, because by that time pigeonpea starts growing (end of September), the intercrops are ready for harvesting.

There is a possibility of raising early maturing pigeonpea as a summer crop with intercrop of greengram (mung). In this cropping system, pigeonpea may be sown in mid-April keeping a row-to-row distance of 90 cm, intercropped with 2-3 rows of greengram. Greengram becomes ready for harvest by the end of June. Immediately in the space vacated by greengram, interplanting of blackgram can be done between pigeonpea rows. While blackgram will be ready for harvest by the end of September, pigeonpea matures by mid November. The wheat crop may be sown immediately after the harvest of pigeonpea.

Short-duration pigeonpea fits well in the following crop rotations:


Pigeonpea-wheat-greengram Pigeonpea-wheat

Pigeonpea-lentil Pigeonpea-late potato

Pigeonpea-sugarcane Harvesting and Threshing

The best time to harvest is when two third to three-fourths of pods turn brown. The plants are usually cut with ‘gandasa’ or sickle within 7.5-25 cm above the ground. The harvested plants are left in sun for drying and thereafter threshing is done by beating the pods with sticks. Pullman thresher could also be used for this purpose. The proportion of seeds to pod is generally 50-60%. Threshed and cleaned produce should be further sun dried to reduce the moisture content to 10-11%.


By adopting improved technology, pigeonpea (red gram) may yield 2.0-2.5 tonnes (kharif), 3.0-3.5 tonnes (rabi) of grain/ha, 5.0-6.0 tonnes sticks, 0.8-1.0 tonnes of dry leaves and 0.2- 0.3 tonnes of pod husk/ha.

The yield attributes (range) of pigeonpea are given below.

Attribute Value

Pods/plant 43-260

Seeds/pod 2.6-4.7

1, 000 seed weight (g) 45-105


GREENGRAM (Mungbean) Botanical name: Phaseolus raduatus L.

Family: Fabaceae (Leguminoceae)

Source: (UNIP) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mung_bean


GREENGRAM (Mungbean) Botanical name: Phaseolus raduatus L.

Family: Fabaceae (Leguminoceae) Chromosome number: 2n=24

Greengram is an excellent source of high (25%) quality protein. The whole or split grains are used as a dal or made into flour. The straw and husk are used as fodder for cattle. Grains are also used in many Indian dishes.

It is also used as green manuring crop. Being a legume, it has the capacity to fix the atmospheric nitrogen (30-50 kg/ha). It also helps in preventing soil erosion. Greengram can be used as a feed for cattle. After harvesting the pods, green plants are uprooted or cut from ground level and chopped into small pieces and fed to the cattle. The husks of the seed can be soaked in water and used as cattle feed.


Greengram is believed to be native of India and central Asia. From India it spread to China, Japan, Iran, Africa etc. Although numerous varieties are found in different parts of the country, but wild forms are not found. Vigna radiata var. sublobata which grows wild in India and Indonesia is the closest relative of blackgram and believed to be the progenitor of greengram.

Geographic Distribution

Greengram is widely cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan, China, Fiji, Far East, Australia, America and Africa. Country-wise estimates are not available as FAO provides data under dry beans only.

In India, it is grown on 2.76 m ha (2004-05) in almost all the states. Maharashra, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are the leading producers of greengram (Table 1).

Table 1. Area, production and productivity of green gram (mungbean) in different states of India (2004-05)

States Area

(Lakh hectare)

Production (Lakh tones)

Productivity (kg/ha) Kharif Rabi Total Kharif Rabi Total Kharif Rabi Total Andhra


3.040 1.500 4.540 1.105 0.490 1.595 363 327 351

Assam 0.075 0.075 0.038 0.038 - 507 507

Bihar 0.073 1.754* 1.827 0.036 0.968* 1.004 493 552* 550 Chattisgarh 0.104 0.067 0.171 0.027 0.014 0.041 260 209 240

Gujarat 1.731 1.731 0.717 0.717 414 414

Haryana 0.295 0.295 0.113 0.113 383 383

Himachal Pradesh

0.003 0.003 0.001 0.001 333 333

Jammu & 0.019 0.019 0.009 0.009 474 474


States Area

(Lakh hectare)

Production (Lakh tones)

Productivity (kg/ha) Kharif Rabi Total Kharif Rabi Total Kharif Rabi Total Kashmir

Jharkhand 0.116 0.116 0.061 0.061 526 526

Karnataka 5.180 0.050 5.230 0.820 0.020 0.840* 158 400 161

Kerala 0.001 0.001 0.001 0.001 1000 1000

Madhya Pradesh

0.861 0.024 0.885 0.281 0.006 0.287 326 250 324 Maharashtra 6.560 0.076 6.636 2.280 0.019 2.299* 348 250 346 Orissa 1.162 0.791 1.953 0.223 0.213 0.436 192 269 223

Punjab 0.150 0.150 0.120 0.120 800 800

Rajasthan 7.546 7.546 2.049 2.049* 272 272

Tamil Nadu 0.339 0.886 1.225 0.164 0.369 0.533 484 416 435 Tripura 0.008 0.004 0.012 0.005 0.002 0.007 625 500 583 Uttar


0.322 0.539* 0.861 0.089 0.289* 0.378 276 536* 439 West


0.007 0.110 0.117 0.003 0.041 0.044 429 373 376

Pondicherry 0.019 0.019 0.005 0.005 263 263

India 27.517 5.895 33.412 8.104 2.474 10.578 295 420 317

*Summer season

Source: Directorate of Economics and Statistics, 2005 Classification

According to Bose (1932), greengram was classified into 40 different types based on flower colour, pod colour, seed colour and seed surface. The flour colour is either light yellowish- olive or olive yellow. The ripe pod colour varies from iron grey, olive grey or snuff. The seed colour varies from green, black, brown or yellow. The seed surface is either dull or shining.

Mungbean cultivars are classified into two categories (greengram and goldengram) and differ in the following ways (Purseglove, 1991):

Character Greengram Goldengram

Seed colour Bright green Yellow, shining Seed production Prolific Shy producer

Shattering Very low High

Use As dal As hay, silage, pasture, cover crop


Botanical Description

Greengram plant is a small herbaceous annual with a twining habit. Plant grows up to 45-60 cm depending upon the type and nature of crop raised. The stems are ridged and succulent having 6-9 branches on them. The central stem is more or less erect, while side branches are semi-erect. The leaves are trifoliate, ovate, entire and arranged in alternate and opposite position on the stem. Both the stems and leaves are covered with short hair, generally shorter than those of blackgram. The flowers appear in axillary receme in clusters of 10-20 in number. They are self-pollinated and develop into 6-10 cm long hairy pods, which are round, slender and used to bear about 7-11 seeds in them. The seeds are small and nearly globular.

The colour of seed is usually green, but yellow brown or purple brown seeds also occur. The hilum is white, more or less flat. Germination of greengram is epigeal.


Greengram is cultivated all the year round in peninsular India, and during kharif, spring and summer seasons in north-India. During non-kharif seasons, irrigation is necessary for its cultivation. It is grown in the areas having an annual rainfall of 50-75 cm. It can be grown from sea level to an altitude of 2,000 m. waterlogging is very harmful to greengram. The crop can tolerate mild frost and salinity. Temperature beyond 40oC is harmful to the crop, while 30-35oC is the optimum. It is a short day plant requiring 12-13 hours of photoperiod for flowering. Photoperiod above this delays reproductive phase.


Greengram can be raised on a wide array of soils ranging from red laterite soils of south India to heavy black cotton soils of Madhya Pradesh, and sandy soils of Rajasthan. In general, a well drained loamy to sandy loams are ideal for mungbean cultivation. Acidic and saline soils are not suitable. The crop performs best in soils with 6.5 – 7.5 pH.

Land preparation

The crop requires fine seedbed preparation. In kharif, the land preparation involves 2-3 cross ploughings or harrowings followed by planking. A thorough land levelling is must for quick drainage. For spring and summer mungbean, a pre-sowing irrigation is needed for the land preparation. Land levelling is required for uniform distribution of irrigation water. In kharif rice fallows, it is raised without tillage (utera system).

Seeds and Sowing Seed rate and spacing

During kharif season, greengram makes luxuriant vegetative growth with lateral spreading of branches and hence requires wider spacing than other seasons. In kharif, mungbean is sown in rows 30-45 cm apart. The plants are thinned to a distance of 5.0-7.5 cm. Thus the optimum population varies from 3-7 lakh/ha that would require a seed rate of 15-20 kg/ha. In other seasons, the crop is sown in rows 25-30 cm apart with an intra-row spacing of 5 cm. The optimum population thus varies from 6-8 lakh/ha and would require 25-30 kg seed/ha.

Broadcast sown crop in rice fallows requires still higher seed rate.

Before sowing seed should be treated with agrosan GN or thiram @ 2.5 g/kg of seed. It is also desirable to treat the seed with appropriate Rhizobium culture.

Time of sowing

In kharif, greengram sowing depends on onset of monsoon and thus it is sown in the months of June-July. In any case, sowing should not be done beyond July. Rabi mungbean sowing depend on harvest of kharif crops and are spread from October-December in central, southern


and eastern parts of the country. In the states of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, greengram is sown in standing crop of rice, 7-10 days before harvest.

Spring mungbean is sown in the month of February after harvest of early rabi crops of potato, and toria in north India. Similarly after harvest of rabi crops of wheat, rapeseed and mustard etc. in the months of March-April, summer mungbean is sown. In any case, summer sowings should not be delayed beyond April, because reproductive phase will coincide with rains leading to prolonged vegetative growth and delayed maturity.

Method of sowing

The seeds are sown in furrows opened by plough or line sown using seed drill. In utera cropping, seeds are broadcast in standing rice crop from flowering to 2-3 days before its harvest.


A large number of varieties have been developed in greengram since Independence. The earlier varieties were developed through selection. Type 1 is the first variety developed through selection from Muzaffarpur (Bihar) in 1948. Shining mung 1, Amrit, Panna, Co 1, Co 2, Khargone 1, Krishna 11 are some of the important varieties developed through this method. Since 1960’s, hybridization was used to get variability. ‘Type 44’ is the first variety of greengram developed through hybridization (Type 1 x Type 49) in Uttar Pradesh, and was released in 1962. Interspecific hybridization of greengram and blackgram was attempted in 1990’s to develop early maturing, disease resistant varieties. Three such varieties were released in India that include Pang Mung 4 (Type 44 x UPU 2), HUM 1 (PHUM 1 x Pant U 30) and IPM 99-125 (Pant mung 2 x AMP 36). Through mutation breeding, over a dozen greengram varieties have been developed. Dhauli is the first mutant variety of greengram released in 1979 from Orissa Agricultural University and Technology. The other varieties include Co 4, Pant Moong 2, TAP 7, BM 4, MUM 2, LGG 407, LGG 450, TARM 1, TARM 2 and TARM 18 etc.

The important varieties of greengram and their suitability to different agro-climatic zones and seasons are given in Table 1.

Mungbean is highly susceptible to yellow mosaic virus (YMV) in north-west and north-east plain zone, causing a yield loss of about 15-20%. The selection of YMV resistant varieties is must for economical greengram cultivation. Some of the resistant varieties include:

Pant Mung 1, Pant Mung 2, Pant Mung 3, Pang Mung 4, Narendra Mung 1, PDM 11, PDM 54, PDM 139, M 267, ML 337, ML 613, Basant, Samrat, HUM 1, HUM 2, Pusa 9531.

Powdery mildew (PM) also causes significant yield losses in greengram. TARM 1, TARM 2, TARM 18, CoG 4 are some of the PM resistant verities. Pusa 105, Kamdeva, ML 131 are resistant to both PM and YMV.

Table 1. Improved varieties of greengram recommended for various agro-climatic zones of India

Zone Varieties


Plains Zone (Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu &

Type 44 (year round), Pusa Baisakhi (Z), PS 16 (Z), PS 7 (Z), Vamban 1 (spring), K-851 (S,Z), SML 32 (Z), Pusa 9072 (Z), PS 10 (Z), SML-668 (Z)

Pant Moong 2,ML 267 (K), ML 337 (K), Pant Moong-3 (K), S 8 [Mohini (K)], Ganga 8 (K),

Medium & Late : Varsha, Shining moong 1, RS 4, R 288-8, ML 1,


Kashmir ML 5, ML 9, T 51

Early: Pant Moong 1, ML 9, ML 131, Pusa 105 North-Eastern

Plains Zone (Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam)

Basant [PDM 84-143 (K,S], PDM-11 (Z), K 851 (S,Z), HUM-12 [(Z) Malviya Janchetra], Pusa 9531 (S), PDM 54 (K, Z), TARM 1 (S), PS 16 (K,Z), MG 368 (S), PDM 90239 (Z), Pusa Baisakhi (Z), Sunaina (Z), PDM 199 (Z), Panna [B105 (Z)], PS 10 (Z), PS 7 (Z), PDM 84-139 (Samrat (Z)], ML 337 (K), Pant Mung 4 [UPM 92- 1(K)], S 8 (K), Sonali (E), Pant Moong 1 (E), Pant Moong 2 (E), Koperagaon, (M&L), Amrit , BR 2 (M & L), B1 (E)

Central Zone (Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat,


PDM-11 (S), Pant Mung 5 (Z), Pusa 9531 (Z), HUM-1 (S), HUM-2 (Z), Pusa Baisakhi (R), PS 16 (Z), BM4 (K), PS 16 (K), Mohini (K), Gujarat 2, Sabarmati, Gujarat 12, Khargaon 1, Jalgaon 781, Krishna 11

Peninsular Zone (AP, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala)

PDM 84-143 [Basant (K)], ML 337 (K), OUM-11-5 [Kamdeva (K)], PDM 54 (K), Jawahar 5 (K), PS 16 (K), Jawahar 45 (K), K 851 (K), Mohini (K), LGG 456 (R), Pusa 9072 (R), Pusa Baisakhi (R), TARM-1 (S), Malviya Jyoti [HUM 1(S)]

Koperagaon, Kondaveedu, KM 1, KM 2, PDM 1, PDM 2, ADT 2, Co 2, Co 4, Co 65, Paiyur 1

S : Spring; Z : Zaid; R : Rabi; K : Kharif, E : Early; M & L : Medium & Late Manures and Fertilizers

Greengram is generally raised on the residual fertility of soil. In case of light soils of poor fertility, it needs addition of organic manures like FYM or compost @ 8-10 tonnes/ha. If organic manure is not available, fertilizer application is necessary. Long duration varieties and the crop grown under irrigated conditions respond to higher doses of fertilizer. Mungbean fixes atmospheric nitrogen in association with Rhizobium. The N fixation starts from 2nd week after sowing with its peak at 40-50 DAS. To meet the requirement of N before start of N fixation, 15-20 kg N/ha is applied along with 40-60 kg P2O5/ha as basal at the last ploughing. In general, 100 kg di-ammonium phosphate (DAP)/ha would meet the nutrient needs of the crop. Foliar sprays of 2% DAP at flowering and pod filling stages is promising.

The response of crop to K fertilization is rare. However, in deficient soils, soil test based K fertilization is necessary. In saline soils and intensive cropping systems, crop responds to Zn and S fertilization. Application of 20 kg each of zinc sulphate and elemental sulphur is essential for higher yields. P fertilization through single super phosphate would take care of S needs of the crop. Zinc fertilization is needed once in 3 years.

Water management

Kharif crop is predominantly grown as a rainfed crop, and usually receives no irrigation.

Under prolonged dry spells, the crop requires one to two irrigation at flowering and pod formation stages. In rice fallows, under utera cropping, the crop faces severe moisture stress at reproductive stage. Thus an irrigation at flowering or early podding is highly beneficial.

During other seasons, the crop is grown under irrigated conditions. Besides a pre-sowing irrigation, 3-4 irrigations at 15-20 days interval are required. In summer season (grown after wheat), no irrigation should be given after 40-45 days of sowing. The water requirement varies with soil and climate from 15-30 cm.


Weed management

Initial 30-40 days after sowing is critical period of crop-weed competition. During this period, crop should be kept with minimum competition from weeds. Due to continuous rains in kharif and broadcast sowing in utera cropping, mungbean suffers from intense weed competition than other seasons.

The major weed flora of greengram includes Trianthema monogyna; Portulaca oleracea, Eargrostis riparia, Cyperus rotundus, Cynodon dactylon, Dactyloctenium aegipticum (L.) P.

Beaur, Echinochloa colonum; Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop. etc. The crop requires 2 hand weedings, first at 20-25 days after sowing (DAS) and the later at 40-45 DAS. In summer, one weeding is sufficient. During kharif season, use of herbicides is ideal, as utility of manual weeding is limited by continuous rains.

Pre-plant incorporation of fluchloralin or pre-emergence application of pendimethalin @ 1 kg/ha has been found effective in control of weeds. Its integration with one hand weeding gives best results. Post-emergence herbicides like fluazifop @ 0.5 kg/ha or haloxyfop-methyl

@ 0.24 kg/ha 20 DAS for grasses have proved effective in weed management in utera cropping, where hand weedings are not possible.

Cropping Systems

Greengram is grown mixed with sorghum, pearl millet, maize, pigeonpea and cotton during kharif season. Intercropping of greengram can also be done with spring planted sugarcane. In this way, an additional grain yield of 0.5-0.6 tonnes/ha may be obtained without any adverse effect on the performance of sugarcane. Sugarcane is planted at a distance of 90 cm from row to row. Two rows of greengram 30 cm apart in the center of sugarcane rows leaving 30 cm distance between sugarcane and greengram rows are sown with a seed rate of 7-8 kg/ha.

The important crop rotations with greengram in north India are:

Maize-wheat-greengram Greengram-wheat Potato-wheat-greengram Greengram-potato Rice-wheat-greengram

Harvesting and Threshing

Shattering of pods is a great problem with this crop. Therefore, picking should be done as the pod mature. Harvesting should be completed in 2-3 pickings. Sometimes the whole crop may be harvested by sickle. The pods or whole crop after complete drying should be threshed manually.


A good crop of greengram may yield about 1.2-1.6 tonnes of grain and nearly equal quantity of straw (bhusa)/ha. The yield attributes (range) of greengram are given below.

Attribute Value

Pods/plant 6-53

Seeds/pod 10

1, 000 seed weight (g) 20-70 Additional Reading Material:



BLACKGRAM (URDBEAN) Botanical name: Phaseolus mungo L.

Family: Fabaceae (Leguminoceae)


BLACKGRAM (URDBEAN) Botanical name: Phaseolus mungo L.

Family: Fabaceae (Leguminoceae) Chromosome number: 2n=22 or 24

Blackgram or mash is one of the important kharif pulse crops of India. It is consumed in the form of dal (whole or split, husked or unhusked) or parched. In north India, it is the chief constituent of papad and also bari (spiced balls) which makes a delicious curry. In the south, the husked ‘dal’ is ground into a fine paste, allowed to ferment and is mixed with equal quantity of rice flour to make ‘dosa’ and ‘idli’. Urad dal is also used in preparation of halva and imarti. It is also fried to serve as a savoury dish.

It is also valued as a green manure crop. Its dry stalks along with pod husk forms a nutritive fodder especially for mulch cattle. Blackgram possesses deep root system, which binds soil particles and thus prevents soil erosion. Blackgram contains 60% carbohydrates, 24% of protein, 1.3% fat and is the richest among the various pulses in phosphoric acid (P2O5), being 5-10 times richer than others.

Origin and History

Blackgram is a native to India and is believed to have originated from a wild progenitor of blackgram viz., Phaseolus sublobatus Roxb. or Phaseolus trinervus Heyne. There is a mention of blackgram (urdbean) in Vedic texts such as Kautilya’s “Arthashasthra’ and

Charak Samhita’. From India it spread to many countries of Africa, Europe, America and Asian continents.

Geographic distribution

Blackgram is mainly grown in tropical and sub-tropical climate and has become very popular pulse crop in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and West Indies.

The distribution of crop in different countries of the world is not available separately, as FAO provides data in a group under dry beans.

It is grown all over the country in kharif and summer seasons. In north India, it is grown in kharif and summer season, while in south India, it is raised in rabi season also. It is cultivated over an area of about 3.2 m ha with a production of 1.32 m tonnes. Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are the major producing states of the country (Table 1).

Table 1. Area, production and productivity of black gram (urdbean) in different states of India (2004-05)

States Area

(Lakh hectare)

Production (Lakh tones)

Productivity (kg/ha) Kharif Rabi Total Kharif Rabi Total Khar


Rab i

Tota l Andhra Pradesh 0.765 3.510 4.273 0.351 2.240 2.591 459 638 606

Assam 0.373 0.373 0.201 0.201 539 539

Bihar 0.240 0.240 0.179 0.179 746 746

Chaattissgarh 1.136 0.68 1.204 0.313 0.015 0.328 276 221 272

Gujarat 0.960 0.960 0.486 0 0.486 506 506


States Area

(Lakh hectare)

Production (Lakh tones)

Productivity (kg/ha)

Haryana 0.038 0.038 0.013 0.013 342 342

Himachal Pradesh

0.101 0.101 0.032 0.032 317 317

Jammu &


0.143 0.143 0.059 0.059 413 413

Jharkhand 0.686 0.686 0.405 0.405 590 590

Karnataka 1.220 0.100 1.320 0.140 0.040 0.180 115 400 136

Kerala 0.001 0.001 0.001 0.001 1000 100

0 Madhya Pradesh 5.566 0.068 5.634 2.009 0.028 2.037 361 412 362 Maharashtra 5.300 0.076 5.376 2.160 0.029 2.189 408 382 407 Orissa 1.225 0.021 1.246 0.324 0.007 0.331 264 333 266

Punjab 0.034 0.034 0.018 0.018 529 529

Rajasthan 1.463 1.462 0.527 0.527 360 360

Tamil Nadu 0.469 1.874 2.343 0.219 0.802 1.021 467 428 436 Tripura 0.012 0.004 0.016 0.007 0.002 0.009 583 500 563 Uttar Pradesh 4.763 0.586


5.349 1.774 0.302


2.076 372 515 388 West Bangal 0.475 0.114 0.589 0.320 0.084 0.404 674 737 686

Pondicherry 0.017 0.017 0.005 0.005 294 294

India 24.84


6.850 31.69 3

9.482 3.784 13.26 6

382 552 419

*Summer season

Source: Directorate of Economics and Statistics, 2005 Classification

Blackgram (Vigna mungo) is subdivided into 2 varieties.

Vigna mungo var. niger: This species has early maturating varieties with bold seeds of black colour.

Vigna mungo var. viridis: This species includes late-maturing varieties. Seeds are of small size and green in colour.

Botanical Description

Blackgram is an annual trailing or erect plant with a height of 30-90 cm with profuse branching. The stem is slightly ridged and covered with brown hair. The leaves are large, trifoliate, hairy and generally with a purplish tinge. The colour of leaves is green to dark green. The leaflets are 5-10 cm long, broad, ovate and entire. The flowers are axillary, recemose, complete, self-pollinated and yellow in colour. The inflorescence consists of cluster of 5-6 flowers at the top of a long hairy peduncle. There are 5 sepals and 5 petals.


There are 9 stamens and 1 hairy and spirally twisted style. The pods are 4-6 cm long. There are 8-15 seeds in a pod. The seeds are generally black or dark brown with smooth seed coat and protruding hilum.


Blackgram is a tropical crop with tolerance to high temperature. It is cultivated in areas receiving rainfall of 500 to 700 mm in kharif and on residual moisture in rice fallows or under irrigated conditions during rabi. It is also cultivated in summer season. It is grown all the year round in peninsular India and during kharif and summer seasons in the north. It prefers humid conditions. The crop is susceptible to frost and waterlogging. The optimum temperature for growth ranges from 25-35oC. However, it can tolerate temperature up to 42oC. It is grown from sea level to an altitude of 1,800 m above mean sea level. It has drought resistance and can tolerate moisture stress. Heavy rains and cloudy weather during flowering stage are harmful to its successful cropping. Short days are conducive for higher productivity.


Blackgram is cultivated on a variety of soils, but well drained loams are best for its cultivation. In scanty rainfall areas, heavy soils are preferred. Owing to its salt tolerance, it can be grown in moderate saline and alkali soils. The crop can be successfully grown in soils with pH 5 to 8.

Land preparation

The crop does not require fine filth. The land preparation involves 1-2 deep ploughings followed by 2-3 harrowings and planking in both kharif as well as in irrigated conditions of rabi. Its utera cropping in rice involves no land preparation, as seeds are broadcast in standing crop of rice. In kharif season, levelling is important to provide quick damage of excess water accumulated from heavy rainfall.

Seed and Sowing Seed rate and spacing

During kharif season, the crop attains vigorous vegetative growth than other seasons, and hence requires wider spacing. Accordingly, in kharif the crop is sown in rows 30-45 cm apart, while in other seasons, a narrow rows of 20-30 cm are recommended. The plants are thinned to a spacing of 5-10 cm after germination and establishment. Thus, a seed rate of 12- 15 kg/ha in kharif is the optimum, while in other seasons, double the seed rate of kharif is required. For utera cropping, the highest seed rates are used, ranging from 30-50 kg/ha. The optimum population is 4 lakh/ha in kharif, and 10 lakh/ha in spring and summer seasons. The optimum depth of sowing is 4-6 cm.

Before sowing seed should be treated with agrosan GN or thiram @ 2.5 g/kg of seed. Seed should also be inoculated with suitable Rhizobiumm culture.

Time and method of sowing

The time of sowing depends on onset of monsoon in kharif and harvest of previous crops in other seasons. In kharif, the crop is sown between mid June to mid July. Rabi crop is sown in the months of October-November. Spring and summer blackgram are sown in February and mid March – early April, respectively.

The seeds are planted in lines using seed drill. However, in utera cropping it is broadcast in standing rice crop.



Since independence, over 60 improved varieties have been evolved in blackgram. Selection from local material has contributed over 50% of the improved varieties. T 9 is the first variety developed from Bareilly local in Uttar Pradesh (1948). Some other varieties developed through selection include T 27, T 65, T 77, Khargone 3, Mash 1-1, Mash 2, Naveen, ADT 1, D-6-7, D 75, Co 2, Co 3 etc. These varieties were later used in hybridization to develop high yielding and disease resistant varieties. KM 1 (G 31 x Khargone 3) and ADT 2 (AB 1-33 x ADT 1) are the first hybrid developed in blackgram.

Mutation breeding has also been used to develop six varieties in blackgram till date. Co 4 is the first mutant blackgram developed at Coimbatore in 1978. Other blackgram varieties evolved through mutation include Manikya, TAU-1, TAU-2, TAU-4, TAU-94-2. The important and improved varieties recommended for different agro-climatic zones of India are given in Table 2.

Table 2. Improved varieties of blackgram recommended for various agro-climatic zones of India

Zone Varieties Rabi Spring

North-western Zone (Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Western Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir

T 9, T 65, PS 1, Pant U 35, Pant U 19, UG 218, Mash 48, Kulu 4, HPU-6, Pusa 1, WBU 108 (Sharda), IPU 94-1 (Uttar), Krishna

PDU-1, KU-300

North-eastern Zone (Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam)

T 9, T 65, PS 1, T 27, T 77, T 22, T 127, Pant U-19, Pant U-30, BR 68, Kalindi (B76), Naveen, Azad Urad 2, Uttar, DPU-88-31(Neelam)

Azad urd 1, UG 606, PDU 1 (Basant Bahar) Central Zone (Madhya

Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra)

T 9,Pusa 1, Khargone 3, Gwalior 2, D 6-7, D 75, Mash 48, Pusa U 30, Ujjain-4, Barka (RBU 38), TPU-4, TU 94-2, VB 3


Peninsular Zone (Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka)

T9. WBG 26. Pusa 1, ADT 1, Khargone-3. ADT 2, PDM 2, Co 2 CO 3, Co 4, Co 5, Pant U 30, Mash 35-5, KM 2, Sharda, VB 3, Warangal 26

LBG 17 (Krishnayya), LBG 685, LBG 402, Prabhava), LBG 623, LBG 645

Yellow mosaic virus (YMV) in north east plain zone and powdery mildew (PM) and Cercospora leaf spot in southern zone cause enormous loss in productivity. Selection of resistant varieties is essential in blackgram. The important resistant varieties for these diseases are given below:


Yellow mosaic virus Pant U 19, Pant U 30, PDU-1, KU 300, UG 218, Vamban 2, Neelam, Uttar, Narendra Urd 1, Mash 338, Gwalior 2.

Powdery mildew Krishnayya, LBG 402, CoBG 5, TAU 1, Co 4, WBU 108

Cercospora leaf spot Pant U 19, Neelam Manures and Fertilizers

Being a legume, it meets most of its N requirement from biological fixation. To meet the initial N requirement before start of N fixation, 15-20 kg N/ha is applied along with 30-50 kg P2O5/ha at the time of sowing. Response to P application is the highest in red soils followed by lateritic soils. Potassic fertilizers should be applied as per soil test value. In case, soil test facilities are not available, apply 30-40 kg K2O/ha. The fertilizers should be drilled at the time of sowing in such a way that they are placed about 5-7 cm below the seed. When the crop is raised as intercrop, the fertilizer applied to main crop may also meet its requirement.

Application of S @ 20 kg/ha and 0.5 kg Mo/ha is also beneficial. Gypsum was more efficient source of S, followed by single superphosphate.

Soil mulch and 2% KCl spray have been recommended for mid-season drought management in blackgram.

Water management

It is grown under rainfed conditions in kharif. However, under prolonged moisture stress due to dry spells in monsoon, it requires irrigation. Blackgram grown on residual moisture in rice fallows, however, experiences moisture stress at reproductive stage. Under these situations, provision of one irrigation at pod filling stage is promising. Under irrigated conditions of rabi, spring and summer seasons, the crop requires 3-5 irrigations at 15-20 days interval.

Summer crop requires irrigation at less frequent interval than rabi/spring blackgram.

Depending on soil and climate, the water requirement of blackgram varies from 15-20 cm.

No irrigations should be applied after pod filling, and should be stopped 2 weeks prior to maturity.

Weed management

The short stature of crop in sole stands provides scope for intense weed competition. The weed menace is the highest in kharif owing to intermittent rains. Initial 30-40 DAS is critical period of crop-weed competition. In an unweeded crop, the extent of yield losses may vary from 40-60%.

The major weed flora of blackgram includes grasses: Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers, Cyperus rotundus L., Setaria glauca (L) Bear; dicot weeds: Trianthema portulocastrum L., Digeria arvensis Forsk, Commelina benghalensis L., Boerhavia diffusa L., Phyllanthus niruri Hook.

F., Cuscuta sp. menace is seen in coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh.

When blackgram is grown as an intercrop with sorghum, pigeonpea, pearl millet etc., the interculture given to the main crop is adequate. When sown as a sole crop, 1 or 2 weedings are required in the initial stages to keep the crop free from weeds.

Two manual weedings or mechanical harrowings 3 and 6 weeks after sowing are sufficient to take care of weed menace. When conditions are not favourable for the above operations owing to rains in kharif and labour cost in other seasons, herbicides usage is necessary.


Pre-plant incorporation of fluchloralin or pre-emergence application of pendimethalin or alachlor @ 1 kg/ha are recommended for weed control. Post-emergence application of sethoxydim @ 1 kg/ha 10 DAS or haloxyfop-methyl @ 0.24 kg/ha 20 DAS or fenoxoprop- ethyl @ 50 g/ha 28 DAS have been recommended. In utera cropping, the post-emergence herbicide application is the only option available.

Cropping Systems

Blackgram is grown mixed with sorghum, maize, pearl millet and cotton crops during kharif season. It is intercropped with pigeonpea and spring sugarcane in 2:1 row ratio. In peninsular India, it is sometimes grown alone for manuring rice or as second crop after the cereal. In Kangra valley (Himachal Pradesh), it is often grown on bunds around terraced rice fields. The important rotations involving blackgram in north India are as given below:

Maize-wheat-blackgram Maize-toria-blackgram

Paddy-wheat-blackgram Blackgram-wheat-blackgram Maize-potato-blackgram

Harvesting and Threshing

Blackgram should be harvested when most of the pods turn black. Over maturity may result in shattering of pods. In general, the crop takes about 100-115 days in kharif and 75-80 days in summer for maturity. Harvested crop should be dried properly on threshing floor for a few days and then threshed. Threshing can be done either manually or by trampling by bullocks.


A good crop of blackgram may yield 1.0-1.5 tonnes grain/ha and 2.0-2.5 tonnes/ha of straw.

The yield attributes (range) of blackgram are given below.

Attribute Value

Pods/plant 25-120

Seeds/pod 4-8

1, 000 seed weight (g) 36-49



Botanical name: Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.

Source: http://www.cowpea.org/

Source : http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/Vigna_unguiculata.htm


Source : http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/Vigna_unguiculata.htm

Additional Reading Material:





Botanical name: Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.

Family: Fabaceae (Leguminoceae) Chromosome number: 2n=22 or 24

Cowpea commonly known as lobia is valued for its protein rich grain (25%) in human consumption. It forms major staple food in many parts of Africa. The scorched seeds are also used as coffee substitute. It is also extensively grown for forage purposes and in terms of quality, it is comparable to lucerne. It is used for both human consumption and as a concentrate feed for cattle. Cowpea grains also contain 60.3% carbohydrates and 1.8% fat. Its pods are eaten as vegetable and tender leaves form important food in Africa. In Sudan and Ethiopia, the roots are roasted and eaten. The thick canopy aids in checking the soil erosion and weeds. Cowpea with drought tolerance and ability to grow in poor soils, forms an important crop in Savanna regions that are not suitable for raising any other crop.


One school of thought believes that cowpea has originated in southern Sahel (north-central Africa) or in Ethiopia and later spread from these places to Asia and the Mediterranean through Egypt. Other school opines that cowpea has originated in India, and from there it was introduced into Africa in around 1500 BC. From West Africa, cowpeas entered into Carribean and then to North America through slave trade.

Geographic Distribution

It is most widely raised crop of west and central African countries (Table 1). In the Indian sub-continent, it is mainly raised in central and peninsular regions. In north India, it is grown in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi and Haryana.

Table 1. The major cowpea producing countries of world (2004)

Country Area


Production (m.t)

Productivity (kg/ha)

Nigeria 5.34 2.32 434.2

Niger 3.50 0.55 157.1

Burkinafas 0.59 0.28 470.0

Myanmar 0.14 01.3 928.6

Cameroon 0.04 0.087 2175.0

Tanzania 0.15 0.052 346.7

Uganda 0.064 0.064 1000.0

Congo 0.085 0.053 623.5

World 10.73 3.84 357.6

Source: FAO Production Year Book, 2004 Classification

The cultivated types of cowpea have been classified into 3 groups:

Vigna sinensis (cowpea): These are erect/trailing, early maturing and annual types. Pods are 20-30 cm long containing 0.6-0.9 cm long seed. On drying, seeds are neither flabby nor inflated. Mainly grown for fodder purposes.


Vigna sinensis sub. sp. catjang (Indian cowpea): The pods are 7.5-12.5 cm long, erect ascending when green, spreading or deflexed when dry. Seeds are 0.5-0.6 cm long and nearly as thick as broad. Mainly grown for fodder purpose.

Vigna sinensis sub. sp. sesquipedalis (Yardlong or asparagus bean): They are spreading annual types with 30-60 cm long and pendent pods. Seeds are 0.8-1.2 cm long and are mainly used as vegetable.

Botanical Description

The common cowpea is a twining annual herbaceous plant. It has well developed root system. It has a tap root with a considerable number of lateral roots. Most of the roots are existed in the upper 40 cm of soil. The stem is almost glabrous and slightly ridged. The leaves are trifoliate, alternate and with scattered short hair. The flowers are white, yellow or pink in colour and are usually self-pollinated. Pods are long, cylindrical and constricted between the seeds. The seeds are bean shaped and many times spotted with various colours such as brown, green, yellow, white and mottled.


Cowpea is a tropical and sub-tropical crop preferring warm and humid season. Being a warm weather crop, it can withstand drought and moderate levels of shade. However, under very dry conditions, the plants produce a poor crop. Germination of cowpea is better between 12 and 15oC temperature. The crop thrives best between 27 and 35oC temperature. It can not tolerate cold and is completely killed by frost. It is a short day plant requiring a minimum of 12.5 hour light. It is grown from sea level to an elevation of 2,000 m.


Cowpea grows well on a wide range of soils including low fertile and acidic soils. Saline and alkaline soils are, however, not suitable for its cultivation. The crop performs best in well drained sandy loams with a pH of 5.5-6.5.

Land preparation

Clod free seedbed that can be obtained with moderate land preparation is sufficient for cowpea cultivation. Under kharif rainfed conditions, a deep summer ploughing would be useful for conservation of moisture. The land preparation involves 2-3 ploughings followed by harrowing and levelling in kharif after onset of monsoon or early showers. As an irrigated crop of rabi, spring and summer seasons, land is prepared after an irrigation.

Seeds and Sowing Seed rate and spacing

Spreading cultivars of cowpea are sown in rows 45 cm apart with a plant to plant spacing of 10-15 cm, and thus 1, 50,000 to 2, 50,000 plants/ha is the optimum plant density. Compact types are sown in 30 cm rows with a plant to plant spacing of 5-10 cm. Generally, a seed rate of 25-35 kg/ha is used to get desired plant density. In mixed and intercropping systems, the seed rate varies with row proportions.

Before sowing seed should be treated with cerasan or agrosan GN @ 2.5 g or carbendazim @ 2 g/kg seed. The later is effective for arresting root rot disease. Seed should also be treated with Rhizobium culture.

Time of method of sowing

As a kharif rainfed crop, cowpea is sown immediately with the onset of monsoon. Its sowing is thus spread from mid June to end of July. With delayed sowing beyond July, rust incidence increases. In hills, the crop is sown in April-May. As a rabi crop, in the south, it is sown in


the months of October and November. Summer crop is sown during March-April in the north.

Seed should be sown behind the plough or with the help of a seed drill.


The original shy bearing, photosensitive, long duration and pest susceptible varieties have been improved to remove these bottlenecks and to fit them into various intensive cropping systems. A number of varieties have been developed through selection from local or improved germplasm (C 152, Pusa Phalguni, T 2 etc.). New varieties have also been evolved through hybridization (Pusas Dofasli, RC 19). Mutation breeding has also been adopted since early eighties, that resulted in evolving five varieties of cowpea in India, of which 4 [Amba, Shreshtha (V 37), Swarna (V3 8) (All in 1981) and V 240 (1984)] are developed through irradiation of Pusa Phalguni with Dimethyl sulphonate (DMS) at IARI, New Delhi. Cowpea 88 was developed at Ludhiana (Punjab) in 1990 by irradiation of F1 seed of cross of cowpea 74 x No. H 2.

The important varieties recommended for different agro-climatic zones and purposes are given in Table 2.

Table 2. Cowpea varieties recommended for various agro-climatic zones of India Varieties


Grain types Vegetable


Dual types North-western zone

(Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand,

Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu &


T2, JC 5, JC 10, RS 9, RC 29, V 16, Cowpea 74, Pusa 152, Pusa Sawani (TS 269), Pusa Sampada, Rambha

Pusa Rituraj, Pusa

Phalguni, Pusa Dofasli, Pusa Barsati

FS 68, Swarna (V 38), Gomti, Pusa Komal, Arka Garima North-eastern zone (Eastern

Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam)

FGC 1, T2, V 16, RC 19, Pusa 152, Pusa Sawani, Cowpea 74

Central zone (Madhya

Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra)

Pusa 152, V 240, V 16, Gujarat cowpea 1, Gujarat cowpea 2, K 11, K 14, GC 3

Peninsular zone (Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala)

Pusa 152*, Krishnamani (PTB 2), Kanakmani (PTB 1), Co 1, Co 2, Co 3, Co 4*, V16 (Amba), V 240, S 228, S 448, JC 5, SU 88, Km 1

*Suitable for Rabi

Manures and Fertilizers

Being a leguminous crop, it can fix 70-350 kg/ha of N through biological N fixation.

However, it needs a small amount of N for early growth period on those soils which are poor in organic matter. Such soils should receive 15-20 kg N/ha as a starter dose. Application of phosphorus is essential for proper root development and functioning of Rhizobium. Apply 40-


50 kg P2O5/ha at the time of sowing. Phosphatic fertilizer is placed 5 cm below and away from the seed. It is advisable to apply potassic fertilizer based on soil test recommendations.

Water management

The crop is raised on rainfall in kharif. However, at time of moisture stress owing to long breaks in monsoon, irrigation is essential. In cowpea, flowering and pod filling stages are identified as critical stages for irrigation. As an irrigated crop, cowpea requires 3-4 irrigations. After a pre-sowing irrigation, irrigations are provided at seedling, flowering and pod filling stages. Cowpea requires 300-400 mm water depending on soil and climate.

Summer crop may require 5-6 irrigations due to high temperature and low humidity. The number and frequency of irrigation depend upon the soil type and weather prevailing during the growth period. Generally, the summer season crop should get irrigation at an interval of 10-15 days.

Weed management

Cowpea suffers from heavy weed infestation at initial growth phases. The critical period of crop weed competition is 25-30 days after sowing. Effective control of weeds during this period is essential. The crop is known to have weed suppressing ability in later stages owing to its thick canopy and fast growth. At least, 2 hoeing and weeding are needed to check the growth of weeds. Summer season crop is less infested by weed in comparison to kharif crop.

Pre-plant incorporation of fluchloralin @ 1 kg/ha or pre-emergence application of pendimethalin @ 1.0 kg/ha may effectively take care of initial weed growth. Of the 30 species of Striga (witch weed) a semi root parasite, Striga asiatica and S. gesneriodes (Willd.) Vatke. are prominent in India and Africa. Pre-emergence application of dicamba or metalachlor is promising for its control. Trap cropping and use of Striga resistant varieties are other effective ways of its management.

Harvesting and Threshing

Green pods can be harvested 45-90 days after sowing depending on the variety. Pods should be harvested at tender stage; otherwise pods may develop fibres due to longer retention on the plant. For grains, the crop may be harvested in about 90-125 days after sowing, when pods are fully matured. The crop should be dried properly and threshed. The grain should be dried in sun before storage.

For fodder, the cutting of the crop depends upon the need and the stage of growth of the component crop sown with it. In general, the crop should be cut with sickle when it attains the age of 40-45 days.


A good crop of cowpea may yield about 1.2-1.5 tonnes grain and 5.0-6.0 tonnes straw/ha.

The yield attributes (range) of cowpea are given below

Attributes Value

Pods/plant 1-230

Seeds/pod 4-24

1, 000 seed weight (g) 35-197



Botanical name: Phaseolus aconitifolius (Jacq.) Marechal

Source: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/MV021



Botanical name: Phaseolus aconitifolius (Jacq.) Marechal Family: Fabaceae (Leguminoceae)

Chromosome number: 2n=22

Mothbean is an important kharif pulse crop of the arid and semi-arid regions. Besides use of mature dry seeds as dal, popular Indian preparations like kheech, papad, dalmoth and bhujia are also prepared from its seeds. The seeds are rich in protein (23-25%). The green pods are relished as vegetable. It is also grown for fodder (green and dry) and green manuring purposes. The spreading habit makes it a soil conserving crop. It is the most drought tolerant crop among the pulses and enriches the soil by its biological N fixation.


It is considered to be native of India owing to wide spread wild and cultivated forms.

Mothbean grows wild in India, Pakistan and Myanmar and from the Himalayas in the north to Sri Lanka in the south.

Geographic distribution

India is the major producer of mothbean in the world. It is widely grown in the Indian subcontinent and the Far East, particularly Thailand. It has also reached China, Africa and southern USA, where it is confined mainly to the drier areas. In India, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat are the major mothbean producing states (Table 1).

Table 1. Area, production and productivity of mothbean in different states of India (2004-05)

State Area

(lakh ha)

Production (Lakh tonnes)

Productivity (kg/ha)

Gujarat 0.410 0.147 359

Haryana 0.024 0.003 125

Himachal Pradesh 0.001 0.001 1000

Jammu & Kashmir 0.027 0.017 630

Maharashtra 0.510 0.152 298

Punjab 0.003 0.002 667

Rajasthan 14.363 1.883 131

Uttar Pradesh 0.003 0.001 333

India 15.341 2.206 144

Source: Directorate of Economics and Statistics, 2005


Mothbean needs warm weather; hence the crop is grown during monsoon season. The cultivation is spread in plains between 30oN to 30oS. It is a drought tolerant crop and can be grown in areas with rainfall of 200-500 mm. High rainfall is detrimental to its cultivation.


Table 1. The major pigeonpea producing countries of world (2004)  Country  Area (mha)  Production
Table 2. Area, production and productivity of pigeonpea important states of India (2004-05)  State  Area (000 ha)  Production (000 t)  Productivity (kg/ha)
Table 1. Pigeonpea varieties recommended for different states
Table 2. Hybrids released for different states of India


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