Agri Business

‘Adoption of new varieties, technology intervention to boost soyabean yields’

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on August 11, 2021

Nita Khandekar, Acting Director of Indore-based ICAR Indian Institute of Soybean Research

Despite a sluggish start to kharif sowing, farmers across the country have covered about 115 lakh hectares (lh) under soyabean, marginally lower than last year. While the acreage in Madhya Pradesh, the largest producing State, has been reduced by a tenth to 51.62 lh, in neighbouring Maharashtra farmers have brought over six per cent more area than last year under the oilseed at 44.48 lh. The crop seems to be in good condition and the adoption of new varieties and technological interventions would help increase the productivity, says Nita Khandekar, Acting Director of Indore-based ICAR Indian Institute of Soybean Research, told in an interview. Excerpts:

How is the current crop condition in soyabean?

In Madhya Pradesh, the crop faced an initial drought of 15-20 days just post sowing and was on the verge of failure. The farmers who managed irrigation were able to sustain the crop. At present, the crop is at flowering/pod formation stage.

Any impact of recent flooding on soyabean in parts of MP?

Fortunately, there has not been any flooding in the major growing areas. However, in Maharashtra — especially in Marathwada and western Maharashtra — just after sowing, the crop in some areas was affected by flooding. As the weather condition was favourable from mid to late July, the crop is in good condition and is likely to make up the initial stress of drought and water logging.

Do you see any impact of delayed planting on yields this year?

The delayed planting due to the lack of rain, has reduced vegetative vigour and is likely to have further reduced yields. At this stage, we are not sure how much area has been affected.

Are there any reports of pests or disease outbreak?

So far, this year the disease severity is less compared to the last three years. However, there are few reports of initiation of Rhizoctonia aerial blight, anthracnose, soyabean mosaic and soyabean yellow mosaic disease, which farmers can manage by applying fungicide and insecticides.

What could be the reasons for farmers lowering the area in MP this year?

The last two years we have seen drought, excessive rains as well as continuation of the rains till October-November which has affected the crop. In MP, farmers have been relying on an older variety JS 95-60 which is a short-duration crop and rains during the harvest period had affected the crop last year. Additionally, the variety has become susceptible to many diseases. Failure of the crop has led to a deficit of seed with the farmers. There was an unusual market demand for seeds due to these reasons which the National or State seed corporations could not meet.

Having said that, let me also mention that soyabean is not a very easy crop, and the continuous challenges of the weather have made it impossible to produce buffer stocks of seeds. Many new varieties are now available and that need to be multiplied and the extension efforts of state government needs to be strengthened.

Were there any new varieties released this season?

The year 2020-21 has seen a deluge of the varieties with as many as 23 varieties being identified in the year and subsequently notified. These are NRC 128, NRC 130, NRC 132, NRC 147, NRC 142, NRCSL1, NRC 136, AMS 100-39, RVSM 2011-35, KDS 992, MACSNRC 1667, Karune, RVS 76, SL 1028, SL 1074, MACS 1407, AMS MB 5-18, RSC 10-52, AMS 2014-1, RSC 10-46, RSC 11-07, MACS 1520, MACS 1460, DSb 32. With the help of the efforts of the Institute, ICAR headquarters and Agriculture Ministry, most of them have already entered the seed chain.

All these high yielding with the potential yields varying from 2-3 tonnes per ha depending on the area of production. Presently, the average yield is around 1.1 tonnes/ha.

What is the broader trend in soyabean yields across the country?

If we see the trend of yields in the country, the central zone has the maximum production followed by the southern zone and Northern plain zone. We have the capability of producing way more. Soyabean is taken up with minimal inputs and care in Madhya Pradesh. If the farmers start adopting the new varieties and the technological interventions, we can see a tremendous increase in the productivity.

Published on August 12, 2021

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like