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Booklet No.116 Forage Crop, Production: FCPS-13

Contents Preface I. Introduction II. Climate III. Soil IV. Land Preparation V. Sowing Requirements VI. Varieties VII. Manures and Fertilizers VIII. Irrigation IX. eeding X. Crop Rotation and Intercropping XI. !iseases XII. Insect Pests XIII. "ar#esting and $ield XIV. Seed Production XV. %ses and Importance XVI. &conomics of Culti#ation Preface 'erseem is t(e most important fodder crop of India. It is #er) nutriti#e* easil) digesti+le and (ig(l) palata+le to all farm animals. Since it is a leguminous crop* it also enric(es soil fertilit). ,(is +oo-let descri+es t(e detail culti#ation practices of +erseem. r. !. ". C#and$, %gricultural & 'n(ironmental 'ducation ). )ntroduction 'erseem is a nutriti#e* succulent* palata+le and digesti#e winter is fodder w(ic( is called -ing of t(e fodders* especiall) in areas w(ere irrigation water is a#aila+le in plent). ,(e roots of t(e +erseem plant consist of nodules* w(ic( increase aeration in t(e soil and +ecome a source of ma-ing s)m+iotic relations(ip wit( t(e nitrogen +acteria* w(ic( s)nt(esize* a simple nitrogen compound from t(e free nitrogen in t(e atmosp(ere /now a#aila+le in nodules of t(e plant0 as fertilizer to t(e plant. ,(us culti#ation often seem* not onl) gi#es a most wanted fodder* +ut also impro#es p()sical properties of t(e soil* w(ic( results in (ig(er )ields from t(e ne.t crop grown from t(e same piece of land. 'erseem originated in &g)pt and at present it is +eing culti#ated n I in &g)pt* Israel* S)ria* Persia* C)prus* Ital)* Sout( 1frica* Sout( 1merica* 1ustralia* Pa-istan and man) ot(er &uropean countries. In I 2345* its seeds were imported from &g)pt to India and presentl) it is culti#ated in Pun6a+* "ar)ana* !el(i* Ra6ast(an* %ttar Prades(* 7u6arat and some parts of 'i(ar* Ma(aras(tra and 1nd(ra Prades(. )). Climate

'erseem crop is #er) sensiti#e to t(e climatic conditions. It does not grow well w(en t(ere are fluctuations in t(e climatic temperature or in rainfall. 1 region wit( annual rainfall of 844 cm or less rains and assured irrigation* wit( slig(t fluctuations in temperature wit(in t(e range of 29:C is quite suita+le for +erseem culti#ation. ))). Soil 'erseem can grow on all t)pes of soils e.cept #er) lig(t sand) soil. ,(e soil s(ould +e well drained* ric( in p(osp(orus* calcium and potas(. It does not grow well on acid soils +ut grow successfull) on al-aline soils (a#ing good water retaining capacit). ,(e land s(ould +e well le#eled and uniform. ,(e crop does not tolerate water logging. It successfull) grows in soil wit( p" ; to <. )*. +and Preparation Ploug( t(e land 8 to 5 times wit( desi ploug( followed +) one soil in#ersion ploug(ing. =ne or two plan-ings s(ould +e done to +rea- all t(e soil clods. Remo#e t(e grass* stu++les particularl) doo+ grass root* as t(e) cause difficult) later on and le#el t(e land uniforml). Small sized +eds /2>24 or 2>?4 of an acre0 are finall) prepared wit( ridges +efore sowing for eas) irrigation. In lig(t soils* puddling is necessar) to pre#ent e.cessi#e loss of water. *. So,ing -e.uirements Met(od and time of sowing along wit( seed treatment and seed @ rate are important factors w(ic( 6udge t(e )ield of t(e crop to a great e.tent. 1. So,ing time 'erseem is sown from end of Septem+er to t(e end of =cto+er. &arl) sowing ma) affect ad#ersel) due to rains* (ig( temperature and weed pro+lem. (ile late sown crop also suffers due to low temperature. In eastern region it is sown from +eginning of Ao#em+er to tile first wee- of !ecem+er. /. Seed rate ,(e seed rate depends on t(e land preparation* field* sowing* treatment of seed* proportion of (ard coated seeds* fertilit) status@ te.ture* al-alinit) and salinit) of t(e soil* fertilizer application* spacing* time of sowing* temperature* soil moisture* etc. 7ood seeds of ?9B94 -g are sufficient for an area of one (ectare. For +etter growt( of )ield* tetraploid and diploid s(ould +e mi.ed in t(e ratio of 8C2. ,(e seed s(ould +e free from ot(er waste seeds. ,(e seeds +efore sowing s(ould +e dipped in 9D salt solution t(en remo#e t(e floating seeds and sow onl) t(e (ea#) seeds settled at t(e +ottom. Seeds s(ould +e was(ed t(oroug(l) ?B8 times wit( clean water. 3. Seed treatment 'erseem seeds are sometimes mi.ed wit( weed seed i.e. Easani seed / Cichorium intybus0. ,(ese (a#e to +e remo#ed +efore sowing +) putting t(e seeds in a +uc-et containing common saIt9D solution. ,(is ma-es t(e lig(tB-asaniBseeds to float on t(e surface and can +e remo#ed +) s-imming. 1lso mostl) new fanners li-e to grow t(is crop in t(eir fields* w(ic( (a#e ne#er +een culti#ated +) t(e +arseem crop +efore. Suc( field do not contain +acteria Rhizobium trifolli w(ic( li#e in nodules of +erseem crop roots. ,o inoculate tile field wit( t(e +acteria an) of t(e two met(ods descri+ed (ere can +e adopted.

2. Soa- t(e seed in water for 2? (ours /o#ernig(t0 and spread t(e seed on t(e floor to drain t(e e.cessi#e water. Meanw(ile prepare t(e +erseemBculture. ,(is is done +) t(e conB tents of t(e culture to 24D sterilized gur solution* at room temperature. Mi.ed t(e wet seed wit( +erseemBcultureBsolution t(oroug(l) and let it dr) under s(ade for atleast one (our. Aow tile seed is read) for sowing. ?. In case t(e +erseemBculture is not a#aila+le in t(e mar-et t(e fanner can spread 94 -g of soil from t(e field in w(ic( +arseem (as +een successfull) culti#ated during pre#ious )ear* in (is own field +efore sowing. 0. So,ing met#ods 'erseem seed can +e sown in an)one of t(e two met(ods descri+ed (ere. 2. Seed is +roadcasted uniforml) o#er t(e field wit( good moisture content and is mi.ed wit( soil +) pulling tinned +arB(arrow o#er t(e field. Irrigation is applied onl) after proper germination (as +een o+ser#ed. ?. Field is watered and seed is +roadcasted in t(e standing puddled water. ,(e soil particles suspended in water co#er t(e seeds on settling. ,(is met(od generall) gi#es good germination and requires dela)ed irrigation. *). *arieties Some of t(e +erseem #arieties +elongs to diploid group* w(ile ot(ers in tetraploid group. ,(e promising diploid +erseem #arieties are 'LBl* Misca#i* E(adara#i* C((indwara* I7FRIB33BI* etc. !iploid #arieties are responsi#e to fluctuations in temperature and perform +etter t(an tetraploid at (ig(er temperature i.e. more t(an ?9:Centigrade. ,etraploid +erseem #arieties are Pusa 7iant and ,B F;<. ,(ese #arieties are sensiti#e to e#en slig(t fluctuation in climatic temperature and loose t(eir regeneration capacit) soon* (owe#er* t(ese #arieties perform +etter t(an diploid under low temperature i.e. +elow 294 Centigrade. ,(e ploid le#el of t(ese #arieties is unsta+le from generation to generation* t(erefore* e#er) )ear* a fres( tetraploid +erseem seed* from t(e uni#ersit) or +reeders (as to +e purc(ased to ma-e ad#antage of its plants* w(ic( are winterB(ard)* quic-Bgrowing* succulent* palata+le and digesti#e to animal taste. 1. Pusa 1iant Pusa 7iant is a winterB(ard) tetraploid #ariet) de#eloped from its diploid parent #ariet) CB24. Its seed is now produced e#er) )ear at I.1.R.I. Aew !el(i and man) licensed +erseemB seedBcompanies. Its plants are dar- green* tall* lea#es are large and succulent. Stem is t(icand flowersG are +igger. It is suita+le for cold regions of "imac(al Prades(* Hammu I Eas(mir and lower (ills of Pun6a+ and %ttar Prades(. It )ields a+out <44 quintals of green fodder per (ectare. /. 2isca(i It is a diploid #ariet) plant w(ic( can grow upt4;9 cm and gi#es profuse tillering. Stem is succulent* lea#es are round at tile tip +rig(t t(e green and slig(tl) (air) on t(e surface. Flower (eads are round and w(ite. Seed size is ?.;g>2444 seeds. Four to si. cutting can +e ta-en from t(e single crop. It )ields ;44 quintals>(ectare. 3. B+- t 3Berseem +ud#ian4

It is an important quic- growing #ariet) to get earl) fodder. It also continues to gi#e cuttings of fodder in late seasons upto Ma). It is one of tile (ig( )ielding #arieties in Pun6a+* "ar)ana* %ttar Prades( and Ra6ast(an. It )ields ;94 quintals>(ectare and e#en more. *)). 2anures and Fertili5ers 1ddition of farm)ard manure (elps in impro#ing tl2e p()sical conditions of t(e soil for +etter wor-ing of R(izo+ium +acteria. ,(erefore* appl) ?4B?9 cartload /tonnes0 of farm)ard manure at t(e last ploug(ing and mi. it wit( t(e soil t(oroug(l). Inorganic fertilizers are also applied to increase t(e rate of growt( and )ield of fodder. Since +erseem crop is a legume crop* dose of nitrogen fertilizer is #er) muc( reduced* it is onl) applied at t(e time of sowing to (elp tile germinating seedlings to pic- up growtl2. In tl2e a+sence of soil test* following doses of c(emical fertilizers are suggested Aitrogen ?9 -g* P(osp(orus F4 -g and Potas( 54 -g per (ectare. ,(ese are applied as +a al dose at tile time of sowing. *))). )rrigation 'erseem is a quic- growing crop and it requires a well +alanced amount of a#aila+le soil moisture. ,o maintain tl2e le#el of a#aila+le and soil moisture. a num+er of lig(t irrigations of 9 cm deep water are required. In some cases it requires more t(an ?4 irrigations. eat(er conditions* rainfall and soil moisture retention capacit) determine t(e need of irrigation. !uring cold season it requires Iess irrigations* w(ile in (ot seasons it requires more irrigation. Irrigation after eac( cutting is also +eneficial to tile crop. )6. 7eeding ,(e crop is infested +) a num+er of weeds li-e Asphodelus, Chenopodium, Convolvulus and Cichorium. ,(e +erseem crop is t(ic-l) populated crop so weeding is a #er) difficult process. ,(e weeds also ser#e as fodder and do not ma-e it necessar) to pull t(em Jout* +ut some weeds li-e Cichorium (as low content of protein* silica and crude fi+re. ,(us w(en fed to animals along wit( +arseem animal>ma) +ecome sic-. For remo#ing suc( weeds* it is suggested t(at +efore sowing t(e seed s(ould +e screened t(roug( 9D to 24D salt solution* w(ere t(e seeds of Cichorium* +eing lig(t. float on t(e surface of salt solution and can +e s-immed off. 6. Crop -otation and )ntercropping Sometime +erseem crop is grown witll ca++age* oats* padd) or maize. ,(e intercrops grow faster t(an +erseem and add to t(e first cutting in quantit) of fodder produced* su+sequentl) +erseem gi#es sufficient fodder to meet t(e requirements. 1ddition of ot(er fodder crops can also impro#e t(e qualit)* nutriti#e #alue and palata+ilit) of t(e fodder. 'erseem grows in rotation wit( man) cereal and forage crops. ,(e most common rotations are /20 MaizeB 'erseemB Cowpea* /?0 Padd)B'erseemBCowpea* /80 CottonB 'erseem* /50 'a6raB'erseemB Cowpea K Maize. 6). iseases 'erseem is mostl) attac-ed +) stem rot disease. 1. Stem rot

It is caused +) fungus -nown as Sclerotinia sclerotiornm in t(e soil. It attacks the plant at ground level portion of the stem and cause it to rot. White mycelium is also produced on the dead organic matter on the surface of the soil.
Control 2. Sow t(e disease free seeds. ?. ,(e affected field s(ould +e (ea#il) flooded during t(e summer mont(s. 8. 1fter cutting* drenc( t(e soil wit( 4.5D solution of 'rassicol /5 g per one litre of water0 a+out 24 litres of solution per square metre of soil is good. 6)). )nsect Pests ,(ere are t(ree ma6or insects w(ic( attac- +erseem crop. ,(ese are 1. Black ants ,(e ants carr) awa) t(e +raodcasted seeds from t(e dr) field and causes poor germination* t(erefore* field (as to +e resown. Control !ust t(e field wit( 9D 1ldrin L 84 -g>(ectare* +efore +roadcasting t(e seed in dr) fields. /. 1rass #opper ,(e grass (opper appears during warm season of t(e crop and eats awa) t(e lea#es and tender twigs of t(e plant and t(us deteriorates t(e qualit) and production of t(e fodder. In case of se#ere infestation* t(e crop ma) +e spra)ed wit( Malat(ion 94 &C for safe use after a mont( in fodder. It will +e +etter if crop is ploug(ed down for green manuring. 3. 1ram caterpillar ,(is insect is serious in t(ose field* w(ic( are grown for seed production. ,(e pest attac-s on t(e de#eloping seed and reduce t(e seed production and deteriorate t(e qualit) of t(e seed. If t(e pest is I. in less intense t(en crop can +e sa#ed +) spra)ing wit( &ndosulfan 89 &C. =t(erwise* crop s(ould +e left to +e used for fodder or green manure. 6))). 8ar(esting and 9ield 'erseem gi#es 5 to 9 cuttings. ,(e first cut is ta-en w(en t(e plant (eig(t is 89 cm and t(ereafter* regular cuts are ta-en after one or one and (alf mont(. 1fter 9 cuttings t(e stem and leaf +ecome fi+rous and poor in nutrient. ,(erefore* t(e) are not used as fodder* +ut ploug(ed in t(e soil for green manuring. ,(e a#erage )ield of t(e fodder is a+out 2444 quintal per (ectare in all cuttings. ,(e seed crop )ields a+out 9 quintals of seed>(ectare and 594 quintal of green fodder at 59 da)s of inter#al. In late cuttings* t(e plants +ecome stemm) and poor in plant nutrient. 6)*. Seed Production 'erseem is a self pollinated crop and dr) weat(er during spring stimulates flowering and seed formation. ,(e plant s(ould not +e too #igorous in growt( to lead to lodging and poor seed production. ,(e fodder crop is left after a few cuts for seed production. ,(e +erseem s(ould +e completel) free from t(e weed seeds. ,(e seed crop s(ould +e gi#en lig(t irrigation until flowering to c(ec- t(e e.cessi#e #egetati#e growt(. Irrigation s(ould +e gi#en at flowering and seed settling stages. ,(e seed crop matures in t(e end of Ma) w(en seed +olls turn )ellow to

+rown in colour. "ar#est t(e crop during morning (ours to a#oid s(edding of ear (eads. ,o get a pure seed* t(e seed plot s(ould +e sown in isolated at least ?44 metres awa) from t(e ot(er +erseem fields. ,(e seeds of tetraploid +erseem are purc(ased from t(e scientific resource e#er) )ear. !ried seed are stored in metallic +ins. 6*. :ses and )mportance 'erseem is a (ig(l) li-ed fodder +) t(e animals. ,(e fodder is ric( in crude protein ?5D* calcium 8D* p(osp(orus 4.5D* and digesti+le dr) matter ;4 percent. It can +e mi.ed wit( w(eat +ran to increase its palata+ilit) and contents. Padd)B'erseem crop rotation is used in reclaiming saline soils. ,(e last cut of t(e +ersecm is generall) not ta-en as fodder* +ut is ploug(ed into t(e soil* w(ic( t acts as green manure to t(e soil and adds appro.imatel) ??5 -g of e nitrogen to t(e soil. 'erseem can +e con#erted into a good (a) during s Marc( and 1pril and is used after ?B 8 mont(s w(en no ot(er fodder is a#aila+le for animals. Powdered +erseem (a) is mi.ed wit( concentrates and is used as feed to poultr) +irds. 1 su+stance -nown as MastrogenonsG is present in +erseem* t(e e.cess of w(ic( ma-es t(e animal sic- and causes +loat disease. ,(e +ad effect of t(is su+stance is reduced if t(e fodder is spra)ed wit( linseed or mustard oil. 6*).'conomics of Culti(ation Following format (elps t(e farmer to find out t(e cost of culti#ation and profit from t(e +erseem culti#ation. %. Fi;ed cost 2. Cost of t(e land Rs ?. Cost of farm +uilding* storage* structure* etc. Rs 8. Cost of fencing Rs 5. Cost of wind+rea-s Rs 9. Cost of clearing* le#elling and +unding of t(e land Rs F. Cost of la)Bout Rs C ;. Cost of digging and filling pits Rs <. Cost of mac(ines* instruments and is ot(er accessories Rs 3. Cost of planting material /including casualities0 Rs 24. Cost of roads and pat(s Rs B. -ecurring cost 2. Cost of manures and fertilizers Rs ?. Cost of insecticides* fungicides and weedicides Rs 8. Cost of ot(er c(emicals used suc( as A11* &t(rel* etc. Rs 5. Cost of farm power Rs 9. Cost of transportation Rs F. Cost of farm la+our /paid and unpaid0 a. Land preparation Rs +. ,raining and pruning Rs c. Irrigation Rs d. eeding Rs e. 1pplication of fertilizers and manures Rs f. 1pplication of pesticides Rs g. =t(er intercultural operations suc( as weeding* t(inning* etc. Rs (. "ar#esting Rs C

i. 7rading and processing Rs 6. Storing and mar-eting Rs -. 1n) ot(er la+our in#ol#ement Rs ;. Interest on fi.ed cost /L 24D0 Rs <. Rent or re#enue on t(e land Rs 3. !epreciation a. Farm structure Rs +. Farm mac(iner) Rs 24. Repairs and maintenance Rs "otal recurring cost -s C. )ncome 2. 7reen fodder Rs ?. 7reen manure Rs 8. Seed production Rs 5. 1n) ot(er Rs 1ross income Aet profit N 7ross income B,otal recurring cost Purc(ase #alue BHun- #alue !epreciation N BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB life span AoteC Hun- #alue is calculated onl) on t(ose articles w(ic( are salea+le after t(eir life span. ,(e life span of farm +uilding and farm mac(iner) is 29 and 24 )ears respecti#el). DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD