Agriculture and Farming Technology Updates

Ragi Cultivation gives good yield in rainfed, drought prone areas

If paddy and ragi are planted in two rows and both the crops are taken together, then both get good yield.


Ragi Cultivation | Ragi i.e. Mandua is a Kharif crop. Ragi is cultivated in many states. Ragi crop is very tolerant to drought and weeds. Ragi has the ability to tolerate moderate water logging. This quality makes it very useful for rain-fed and drought-prone areas. That’s why even in areas with low rainfall like Bundelkhand, the ragi crop gives a good yield. However, Jharkhand is the major producer of Mandua.

It can also be grown as an intercrop with paddy in fertile fields. Thus, ragi has a unique identity as a high-yielding crop even under adverse conditions and with little care.

Ragi can be grown as a contingency crop in case paddy is not available. This nutritious grain is attracting a lot of attention from health-conscious people.

Ragi is naturally rich in calcium. This improves bone development in children and strengthens the bones of adults. Apart from being nutritious, it is also cheap and digestible. Consumption of ragi rich in fibre elements removes the complaint of constipation.

If ragi cultivation is done in a scientific way, farmers can get an excellent yield and income from it. The botanical name of ragi is Eleusine coracana.

Scientific Method of Ragi Cultivation 

According to the experts of the Department of Biotechnology, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, Meerut, experiments on ragi cultivation have concluded that if two rows of paddy are planted together with two rows of ragi, both will get a good yield. Ragi can be planted as a contingency crop in case paddy is not planted in time.

Farm preparation for Ragi Crop

Ragi crops can be grown in all types of soil. But the soil with more organic matter gives more yield. The pH value of the soil for ragi should be between 4.5 to 7.5. For the preparation of the field, plow the field thoroughly three to four times and drive it. Add well-decomposed cow dung or compost to the field at the rate of 2.5 tonnes per hectare.

Ragi Cultivation
Image Credit: ICAR-CCARI

Improved Varieties of Ragi 

The improved varieties of ragi are GPU 45, Shuva (OUAT-2), Chilika (IOB-10), Bhairavi (BM 9-1) and VL-149. These varieties get ready in 105-120 days and give yield up to 22-37 quintals per hectare. The yield potential of ragi depends on the variety and its maturity period. The current minimum support price of ragi is Rs 3377 per quintal.

Ragi Sowing Methods 

The right time for sowing of ragi is the same as that of paddy. That is, the time of onset of monsoon in June-July. Two methods are prevalent for sowing of ragi. Direct sowing and transplanting i.e. transplanting like paddy crop. Transplanted plants should be 25 to 28 days old. If we talk about direct sowing, then it can be sown keeping a distance of 20 cm in the rows. For this, 10 kg per hectare seed will be required, while in transplanting method 7 to 8 kg seed per hectare is sufficient. At the time of transplanting, the distance between row to row should be 20 cm and plant to plant distance should be 10 cm.

Seed Treatment and Fertilization of Ragi 

Ragi seeds must be treated before sowing. For this, sowing should be done only after treating 2 to 2.5 grams of Carbendazim/Carboxin/Chlorothalonil per kg of seed. Soil testing must be done before using fertilizers in ragi cultivation. By the way, for normal fields, it is better to give 2.5 tonnes of farm yard manure or compost per hectare at the time of last ploughing.

Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium should be used at the rate of 20:30:20 kg per hectare if direct sowing of short duration varieties is to be done. For long duration varieties, its quantity should be 40:30:20. At the time of sowing or transplanting, one-fourth quantity of nitrogen and full quantity of phosphorus and potassium should be applied in the fields. After 25 days of sowing or transplanting, two-third quantity of nitrogen and remaining one-fourth quantity should be applied after 35 to 40 days.

Weed Control in Ragi Crop 

To control the weeds, first weeding should be done in ragi crop after 21 to 25 days of sowing and second weeding after 15 days. If weed control is to be done with chemicals, then one litre quantity of Iso Protron should be dissolved in 500 litres of water and sprayed within 48 hours of sowing. In case of excess of broad leaf weeds, one kg of 24-D should be dissolved in 600 litres of water and sprayed after 20-25 days. 

Disease control in Ragi crop 

Like paddy, outbreak of blight is also found in ragi crop. Sometimes it is very harmful. In this, round or oval brown spots are formed on the leaves. Later these spots start to look like ashes. For this disease resistant varieties should be used after seed treatment. Apart from this, 2 grams of a medicine called ‘Saaf’ or 1 gram solution of carbendazim should be sprayed in per litre of water.  

Pest Control in Ragi Cultivation 

Insects sometimes become a problem in ragi crop. This leads to reduction in production.

Biting insects: These insects cause damage by biting the root, stem and leaves. To control them, it is very important to take care of cleanliness. Crop residues and weeds should be destroyed. Control of pests can also be achieved by spraying a solution of beneficial fungus Beauveria bassiana at the rate of 2 grams per litre of water. In chemicals, spraying one litre of Chlorpyriphos mixed with 500 to 600 litres of water also gives good results.

Pink stem borer: The larva of this pest bores into the stem of ragi and makes it hollow from inside. This causes the middle stem to turn brown. Symptoms of dead heart appear at the stage of tillering. For the control of pink stem borer, light trap can be used three to four times per hectare. The trichocard formed from the eggs of the Trichoderma parasite can be stapled to the leaves. The parasites released from these destroy the larvae of pink stem borer. To prevent this, 500 ml of Phosphamidon should be mixed with 500 litres of water and sprayed. This drug has been found capable of controlling this pest. 

Lahi insect: It is a group living insect. These ragi crops weaken the crop by sucking the sap from the leaves, tender stalks and stems. The presence of ants on plants indicates its invasion. For the control of Lahi pest, Dimethoate should be sprayed after making a solution of one ml per liter of water.

Harvesting of Ragi Crop 

Ragi crop gets ready in less days and gives good yield. Ragi ears should be harvested after harvesting and after drying in the sun for three to four days in the threshing floor, the grains should be removed. Then it should be cleaned and stored or sold in the market.

Ragi Cultivation
Image Credit: ICAR-CCARI

Also Read: Bitter Gourd Farming by Pandal Technique

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