Cultivation of Pigeon pea 

In recent years the prices of pulses have been steadily rising. Simultaneously, MSP of the pulses have been continuously raised by the government. This has provided an opportune moment for farmers to increase their earning by cultivating pigeon pea. It has been document from the studies of small and marginal farmers that like following SRI method for rice cultivation increased their income by almost two folds, similarly intensification of pigeon pea crops can be doubled up to 15-20 quintal per acre. 

Selection of Land

For cultivation of pigeon pea high lands shall be selected so that rain waters don’t accumulate and stagnate in the field. The lands which are selected for cultivation of corn or black pea during rainy season shall be selected. But it should be ensured that soil shall have higher fertility. 

Sowing Season 

The cropping of pigeon pea is done using various species twice a year, but in north India in the unirrigated lands from last week of June to 15-20 July, would be optimum. 

Hybrid Qualities

Intensification shall be followed for those species which spread laterally and get ready in 7-8 months. Dwarf species or species which only grow in height are not optimum. In Jharkhand for intensified cultivation species such as Narendra Arhar-1, Narendra Arhar-2, LRG-41 are used.  

Seed Treatment

For treating pigeon pea seeds Beejamrita, Rhizobium, and Trichoderma are needed. The treatment method shall include: 1. before treatment the seeds shall be soaked in water for 5-10 hours. 2. The soaked seeds shall be first treated with Beejamrita and then shall be allowed to dry in shade for 2 hours. 3. The Beejamrita treated seeds shall be put in Rhizobium solution for half an hour and dried in shade for an hour. For treating 1kg of seeds, 100g jiggery shall be boiled in 2 litres of water and after cooling 10gram of Rhizobium. 4. Finally they shall be sprayed with Trichoderma and shall be allowed to be dried. For treating 1 kg of seeds 5gm of Trichoderma is used. This prevents Ukatha disease in pigeon pea. 5. The treated seeds shall be tied up in a cotton cloth and shall be left for 24 hours for germination. The germinated seeds can then be used for producing seedlings or direct plantation. 

Quantity of Seeds

For intensified cropping of pigeon peas the quantity of seeds is quite low. In general cropping 10-12kg of seeds is require per acre, while for intensified cropping just 1.5-2kg seeds per acre are sufficient. The distance between two plants shall be 1 meter and between two crop-rows shall be 2 meters. In this manner in an acre nearly 2000 plants are planted or 20 plants in 1 dismile. 

Methods of Sowing Seeds

For intensive cropping 2 methods ae used: 1. In the last week of June, the saplings are readied, and 20-25 days after sowing the saplings are transplanted. For readying the sapling, in a plastic bag 7-0 inches polythene bad equal quantities of nadep, vermi-compost or decayed cow-dung compost and soil are mixed and Trichoderma is mixed in proportion of 1gm per kg. It should be ensured that the polythene is totally filled by soil. In this soil the treated seeds are sowed at a depth of 1-1.5 inches by making holes. In one bag 2 treated seeds shall be planted. After sowing the seeds they shall be covered in mulch and water shall be regularly sprayed. After 20-25 days the bags shall be inspected and only the healthy saplings shall be transplanted into the field. After 15 days, when the sapling’s roots are established, wherever two plants are there, the weaker plant shall be eliminated. And finally just 1 sapling is permitted to grow. 2. The seeds are directly sowed into the field. For this the treated seeds shall be planted one by one at 1 metre apart in mounds where mounds are themselves 2 metres apart. Seeds shall be sowed by 15th July. 

Preparation of the field and Sowing

The field shall be ploughed at least twice and weeds shall be eliminated. If the ploughing for the summer was done earlier then a good plough does the job. The decomposed cow-dung or nadep or vermi-compost shall be properly mixed with Trichoderma and applied to the field before the last plough and after that the field shall be lebelled. Now with the help of soil turning plough or with spade 15-20cm high mounds at 2 metres apart shall be made. If the rains are heavy and it’s not possible to create mounds then pits shall be formed keeping the same distance in mind. 

Inter Cropping 

During crop intensification of pigeon pea intercropping is very important. In the empty space between two plants, raising one more can be a source of additional income. This is also beneficial in removing weeds between the crops. Maize, black gram, Lobia, groundnut etc are some of the crops which require less water and can be used for intercropping. Whatever crop is chosen, it shall be such planted that they keep a distance of 10-12 inches from the mound of the pigeon pea crop. Other crops of intercropping shall be planted during the sowing or transplantation itself. Sowing them too early or too late from pigeon pea sowing shall be avoided. Regular weeding shall be done to remove unwanted weeds. 

Nipping of Pigeon Pea 

A very important process of pigeon pea’s intensive cropping is nipping of the buds. Like farmers growing gram, they nip the gram one or twice from smaller plants, likewise pigeon peas shall also be nipped when the plants have grown to 10-12 inches in height. This condition is reached after 15-20 days of transplantation. If the crop was directly planted then this stage is reached after 25-30 days. Nipping of pigeon pea shall be done with some sharp tool such as sickle. For this the soft part of the topmost section is chopped at least 2 inches from the top. It shall be ensured that while doing this the plant is not damaged in any other way. After nipping, Jeevamrita shall be applied to the plants. 50-100ml of Jeevamrita shall be applied per plant. After nipping, from the nipped space 4-5 new branches emerge out. The second nipping shall be done 1 month after the first nipping. 

Disease Control 

  1. When the plants are 10 days old, from that time onwards, after every 10 days Jeevamrita shall be applied for 5-6 times. 100ml of Jeevamrita shall be applied to plant’s roots after the first and second nipping. If the soil has dried up then water shall be applied to the roots before applying it. Application of Jeevamrita shall be avoided in dry soil. 
  2. Pigeon pea plants can grow but can become sterile and hence don’t fruit. The leaves turn yellow. This is caused by a virus which once affects the plants, it cannot be controlled. Neem or Karanj derived solution’s spray shall be used to prevent disease and pest management. 
  3. Pigeon pea is also impacted by Jhulsa disease. In this the leaves show symptoms of burnt indications. This spreads to the stems as well and the growth of the plant stops, the flower to starts to fall apart. For controlling this disease, soil’s treatment with Trichoderma and fungicide made from cow’s urine shall be applied. 

Pest Control 

  1. As soon as the plant starts to flower, Neem Seed Kernel Extract shall be sprayed fortnightly. The method of making this extract is described as under: 
  1. 500grams of dried Neem’s seed shall be finely grinded. 
  2. This shall be wrapped up in a cotton cloth and shall be soaked in 5 litres of water for 12 hours. 
  3. After this, a solution shall be made of this by mincing the crushed seeds under the water itself. 
  4. This solution shall be strained with a thin cloth and 5 litres of water shall be mixed. Now the solution shall be of 10 litres. 
  5. In this solution 20gm of soap or detergent shall be mixed and this solution can now be used as pesticide. In an acre of land 150 litres of solution is required (10 litre solution would be sufficient for 7 dismile land).  
  6. If the pest infestation has increased then from the time of flowering till ripening at least 5 sprays of this shall be done. 

NPV (Nuclear Poly-hydrosis Virus) 

  • HA/HaNPV virus culture of 0.1gm per litre shall be mixed and sprayed to control pest infestation. This is virus which kills the pests infecting the fruits. The insects dying because of this virus are found hanging upside down underneath the leaves. Now these pests can be used to contain pests in other fields. 
  • At least 400 such pests shall be collected in a bag. 
  • They shall be finely grinded and made into a solution with 5 litres of water, after which the solution shall be strained. 
  • This solution shall be diluted to 100 litres and 100gm indigo shall be mixed (this protects the virus from the ultraviolet rays of the sun). 

Pest Control through Trap Crop

If one month before harvesting of the intercrop, some millets like Jowar or Bajra are planted around the edges then the pest infestation on pigeon pea fruits can be reduced, as the flying insects begin to stay on these millets. They also save the pigeon pea crop from cattle. 

Crop Harvesting and Productivity

The crop sowed in the middle of July is ready to be harvested by February. Timely harvesting of the crop is necessary, as once ripe the seeds begin to fall. If the harvesting is don when crop is 70% ready then as well the seeds get spoiled. Hence, the crop shall be harvest at the right time. 

Intensified cropping method

Being a leguminous plant, pigeon pea does the nitrogen fixation and increases the productivity of the soil. It shall generally be planted in those lands where rice cannot be cultivated or which has been lest fallow. 

Earning – Expenditure List
Description Cost 
Production Material Cost   
Seeds 200gm 30 
Organic fertilizer/ pesticides 70 
Irrigation 100 
Transportation 150 
Total 350 
Productivity- 1.6 quintal *50 8000 
Total income 7650 

By adopting this model 1600 farmers have increased their annual income by Rs5000-10000.


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