Agriculture and Farming Technology Updates

Know advanced technique of Chickpea Farming and how to increase your income

What an irony that India is the world's largest pulses-producer, pulses-consumer and pulses-importer!


India is the world’s largest pulses producer, consumer, and importer. While our share in the global production of pulses is 25%, Indians consume 27% of pulses produced worldwide. Here the difference between production and consumption maybe 2%, but it makes us an importer of 14% of the world trade of pulses. This situation is when pulses are cultivated on 20% of the total land cultivated in the country. But the share of pulses in the total food grain production of the country is only between 7 to 10%. However, pulse crops are grown in India in all three seasons: Rabi, Kharif, and Basant or Summer. Arhar, urad, and moong are mainly cultivated in Kharif, while gram, peas, lentils, and kidney beans are produced in Rabi.

Pulses Consumption is more than Production

Rabi season accounts for 60% of the total production of pulses. The production of pulses is increasing year after year, but consumption has increased more rapidly. Hence the import has also been increasing. The country imports pulses mainly from Myanmar, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Canada. In terms of food, grains, pulses, and oilseeds are essential commodities in which we are not self-sufficient even today. But, our farmers produce so much paddy and wheat that it is more than the national buffer stock several times. In fact, due to the challenges of storage, a huge amount is also wasted every year. That’s why governments also encourage farmers to increase the production of pulses and oilseeds instead of paddy and wheat.

India: Largest Producer of Gram

Gram has a major place in pulses. India is the largest producer of gram. 70% of the world’s gram is produced in India. In the year 2019-20, more than 220 lakh tonnes of pulses were produced in the country. Out of this, 118 lakh tonnes was the gram. Despite this, we had to import 3.71 lakh tonnes of gram. By the way, chickpea farming in India is also done in irrigated and non-irrigated or rainfed areas. Gram contains 21% protein, 61% carbohydrates, and 4.5% fat.

Production and Import of Pulses in India
Pulses Production of Pulses (lakh tonnes) Import of Pulses (lakh tonnes) 
Source: Press Information Bureau, Government of India. ^Estimated, *as on 7.3.2021

No other Multi-colored Grain like Gram

Pulses have a special place in the Indian food tradition. Pulses are an important source of protein for vegetarians in the country. There is no other multi-colored grain like gram. It is eaten by boiling, roasting, soaking and grinding i.e. in every way. While gram flour is made by grinding pulses, sattu is made by grinding roasted gram. Gram flour is available in every household, so innumerable snacks are also made from it. Chana is such a pulse from which dishes like vegetables are also made. Overall, gram is the most diverse colored grain of the Indian food tradition. That’s why its demand and consumption is evergreen and farmers get good price for it.

Chickpea Farming
Image Credit: theland

Yield of Gram is half of the capacity

Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Karnataka are the major gram producing states in India. These four states together produce 78 percent of the country’s gram. Madhya Pradesh has a national share of 41%, but the yield is less than the national average of 10.55 quintals per hectare. This situation is when there are advanced varieties in the country that give 20 to 30 quintals per hectare yield of gram. In terms of per hectare productivity of gram, Telangana is at the top with 14.56 quintals while Karnataka is at the bottom with 6 quintals.

The per hectare productivity of gram cultivation in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Telangana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal is better than the national average, while Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, The yield of gram in Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand is less than the national average. In view of these challenges, the Institute of Agricultural Sciences of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, has described such a scientific method of advanced chickpea farming, so that farmers can get more yield and profit.

Soil and Climate for Chickpea Farming

The gram crop is very sensitive to the movement of air in the soil. Hardening of the soil affects the germination of gram and the plants remain less developed. Therefore, before sowing gram, it is necessary to make the field soft by deep ploughing. There should also be proper arrangement for water drainage in gram field. Because it is a crop of dry and cold climate. For this, such areas with an average rainfall of 60-90 cm annually, where the temperature is 28-30 degree Celsius, are most favorable.

Use of Phosphate Solubilizing Bacteria in Chickpea Farming

Like all other crops, before sowing gram, it is necessary to use Phosphate solubilizing bacteria i.e. PSB (Phosphate solubilising bacteria) culture to give maximum supply of phosphorus present in the soil to the crop in a natural way. This is also the only way to add organic fertilizers to the soil. In this, the land is made fertile by mixing PSB in the soil. To use PSB in one acre, about 200 to 250 ml of PSB should be mixed thoroughly by taking 50 to 100 kg of soil from the field. Then after drying in the shade for some time, this soil should be sprinkled evenly in the entire field. PSB can also be used through irrigation water.

Seed Quantity and Treatment for Chickpea Farming

While 30-32 kg of seed per acre is sufficient for small grained varieties, it is 36-40 kg for large grained varieties. While choosing the variety of seed, the climate of your area should also be kept in mind, because while many advanced varieties are suitable for irrigated and non-irrigated land, there are also many which give good yields in late sowing.

Chickpea Farming
Image Credit: bakhabarkissan

Treatment of Gram Seeds with Rhizobium Culture

All pulse crops have different Rhizobium culture. This is such an organic fertilizer that shows which beneficial bacteria will work to increase the supply of nitrogen in the soil for which pulses? For example, ‘Mezorrhizobium siceri’ culture is used for gram. Its 200 ml quantity is sufficient to treat 10 kg of seeds. Its price is around Rs 200 per litre. This culture material should be mixed well with the seeds before sowing and should be used only after drying in shade for some time.

Take special care in PSB and Rhizobium

The bacteria that reach the soil of the field from PSB and Rhizobium culture, multiply rapidly there and get involved in the work of giving full nutrition to the crop. While choosing the option of bacterial treatment, it is necessary for the farmers to take special care that after this they will not use any kind of chemical fertilizers or pesticides in the field. Because doing so causes serious damage to the bacteria that produce nutrition from phosphate and nitrogen. By the way, before treating the seeds with culture material, they must be protected from seed borne diseases. For seed treatment, 2.5 grams Thiram or 4 grams Trichoderma or a mixture of 2.5 grams Thiram and 2 grams Cabendazim should be used per kg.

Use of Manure in Chickpea Farming

Like Ne, such glands are found in the roots of all pulses, which have the property of nitrogen fixation. These glands provide a very favorable environment for nitrogen-fixing bacteria, that is, the ability to draw nitrogen directly from the air and then absorb it. That is why cultivation of pulses not only fulfills the nitrogen requirement of the crop, but nitrogen seeps through the roots of the plants and dissolves in the surrounding soil. Therefore, cultivation of pulses also provides natural nutrition to the soil.

Pulses are the Life of the Soil

Pulses crops have been called soil tonic. Before the kharif crops, there was a lot of emphasis on the cultivation of moong, urad, dhencha, cowpea and lentils, arhar and gram before the rabi crops, because the roots of these crops have bacteria that pull nitrogen from the atmosphere and plant it in the soil. Let’s mix. That’s why the residues of these crops are also plowed and irrigated in the fields after 45-50 days so that they can be converted into manure soon. This process is also called ‘green manure cultivation’.

Because of these facts, gram crop needs nitrogen as top dressing only when the soil test shows that it is deficient in nitrogen. However, for good yield in chickpea farming, while preparing the field before sowing, dung and compost manure at the rate of one ton per acre and 8-8 kg of nitrogen, potash and sulfur (sulfur) and 24 kg of phosphorus should be used. . Now if we talk about green manure, then Dhencha is a grass whose cultivation gives good quantity of green manure at low cost. This makes up for 22-30 kg of nitrogen fertilizers per acre.

Green manure: Economical and Unique

Due to green manure, apart from making the soil friable, allowing air movement, increasing water holding capacity, its acidic or alkaline elements also improve and it becomes more fertile. Green manure increases soil nourishing bacteria, which also increases its disease resistance. Therefore, the need for fertilizers and pesticides in the main crop is greatly reduced. The second aspect of green manure is that if nitrogenous manure is bought from the market and applied in the field, then other fertilizer elements are not compensated, whereas natural green manure contains all those nutrients in a very balanced quantity which the soil needs. That is why green manure is considered unique.

Improved varieties of Gram and their Characteristics
Variety Name Yield (quintal per hectare) Maturity Period (Days) Other Features
Gujarat Gram-4 20-25120-130Wilt resistant, Suitable for irrigated and non-irrigated land
Resistant25-30145-150Wilt resistant and Brown Spot
Pusa-25625-30135-140Resistant of Ascochyta blight caused by high moisture; Broad leaf, Brown grains
Late Sowing Varieties of Gram and their Characteristics
Pusa-37225-30130-140Resistant to diseases like Wilt, Blight and Root Rot
Uday20-25130-140Raised Bumps and Brown Spots
Pant G.-18620-25120-130Wilt resistant
Source: Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Banaras Hindu University

Green Manure Crops for Pulses

For green manure in pulse crops, Sanai (sunhemp), dhaincha, cowpea, urad, moong, guar etc. are cultivated. Because their roots contain bacteria that extract nitrogen from the atmosphere. These crops with more leaves grow faster in less time. They require very little fertilizer and water. In this way, from green manure crops, the fields get more organic matter at less cost. In areas with high rainfall, flax is used, while in dry areas, dhaincha has been found to be good. Guar is considered suitable for low rainfall, sandy and less fertile fields. If cowpea is considered suitable for well-drained alkaline soil, then moong and urad should be sown in summer before kharif on such a land which does not get waterlogged. There is also a good income from their pods and the rest of the plant works as green manure.

Sowing time in Chickpea Farming

In non-irrigated fields, sowing of gram should be done in second to third week of October whereas in irrigated fields, it should be done by second week of November. Sowing of late varieties of gram should be done by the first week of December. Sowing of gram seeds should be two and a half to three inches below the ground surface. In case of non-irrigated fields and late varieties, there should be a distance of about one foot between the rows at the time of sowing while in irrigated fields it should be kept about one and a half feet.

Irrigation in Chickpea Farming

Generally farmers prefer to cultivate gram in non-irrigated fields. But if there is facility of irrigation, it is beneficial to do light irrigation with sprinkler method at the time of formation of gram pods. In irrigated fields, the first irrigation should be done 45-60 days after sowing when the gram plants are forming branches. Second irrigation should be done at the time of pod formation. This irrigation should be light. Irrigation should not be done in gram plants during flowering period, as it may cause flower drop. Due to excessive irrigation, the plants grow more but the grains become lighter and the total yield decreases.

Also Read: Chickpea Variety gives good yield in drought affected areas

Major Diseases and Treatment of Gram Crop

Common diseases in gram crop are wilt, leaf spot and root rot. Apart from this, if there is a possibility of outbreak of Katua and Semilooper fruit borer in the field, then deep plowing of the field should be done in the summer of May-June. At the same time, by making small heaps of dry grass at different places in the field, the caterpillars of the cutworm will hide in them during the day. This pile should be burnt the next morning. Treating the soil with this remedy is also very beneficial in the prevention of wilt disease. The best way to avoid wilt is to use only the seeds of wilt resistant varieties at the time of sowing. By the way, gram crop should not be taken for 3-4 years in the field where there is an outbreak of wilt disease.

Pest control through Intercropping

Cultivation of linseed, mustard or coriander as a joint crop with gram also helps in prevention of fruit borer pests. Apart from this, planting marigold flowers around the field as a trap crop is also beneficial. It is also useful to make a bird percher, i.e a platform for birds to sit in the field, because birds sit on these and eat the caterpillars with gusto.

Chickpea Farming
Image Credit: ICAR

Weed control in Chickpea Farming

If weed control is to be done with chemicals, then before sowing gram, one liter Fluchloralin 45% EC dissolved in about 400 liters of water should be sprinkled in the soil per acre. Narrow-leaved weeds can also be controlled by using Pendimethalin 2-3 days after sowing and Quezalofop-ethyl 20 to 30 days later. If chemicals are not to be used, then weeding should be done with traditional spade and the weeds should be cleaned.

Harvesting, Threshing and Storage of Gram

At the time of ripening of gram crop, its leaves turn light yellow or brown and start falling. At this time, if a grain of gram is taken out from the pod and cut with the teeth and a sound of crackling is heard, then it should be understood that the crop is ready for harvesting. After harvesting, threshing is done by thresher or by bullocks or tractor to get gram from the pods. Separate the broken or shriveled or diseased grains from the chaff with the help of fans or natural wind. The gram grains should be dried thoroughly before storage. If there is even 10-12 percent moisture in the grains, then the risk of weevil attack on them is very high.

Dry gram should be kept in a clean and moisture-free storage room in jute bags or iron drums. Treating and using jute sacks also proves to be very beneficial. For this, jute bags should be soaked and dried in the extract prepared by boiling 10 kg neem leaves in 100 liters of water before storage. When compared to whole grains of gram, the damage caused by weevil is prevented by making pulses and storing them.

Also Read: Improved variety selected for chickpea cultivation

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