The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) released 20 new crop varieties — 10 each for agricultural and horticultural crops, including cotton, vegetables, greens and millets — during the weekend.

The new releases feature a high-yielding biryani rice and a first-of-its-kind sweet sorghum. The line-up includes two rice varieties, four types of millets, along with one each of pulses (green gram VBN 7), oilseeds (groundnut CO 8), fibre crop (cotton VPT 2), and green manure (Daincha TRY 1). The rice varieties are a two-line hybrid rice (CO RH5) and a non-basmati, long-slender aromatic rice (CO 58). The new millet types include a sweet sorghum variety CO (SS)34.

Indeed, it is a customary practice at TNAU to introduce new crop varieties annually. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the varsity continued this tradition by unveiling new crop varieties and implements.

Higher yield than Pusa

Among the horticultural crops, a Vitamin A-enriched banana variety (Kaveri Kanchan) and a high-yielding grape variety GRS (MH) 1 are noteworthy. Five newly-launched varieties of vegetables include a striped brinjal variety (CO 3) and a perennial moringa variety (PKM 3), besides two varieties in spices and plantation crops (red tamarind PKM 2 and coconut VPM 6).

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The Vice-Chancellor of TNAU, V Geethalakshmi, said in a press release, “The GI-tagged Pusa Basmati is the most popular for cooking biryani. The C0 58 crop, a non-basmati variety, is an alternative to the Pusa Basmati and can be used as biryani rice.” The long, slender and aromatic rice has a higher yield than Pusa Basmati. Its season is late samba and Thaladi. With 17 per cent more crop per hectare compared to Pusa 1121, CO 58’s yield is estimated at 5,858 kg and can be harvested in 120-125 days.

The sweet sorghum CO (SS) 33 is the first such sweet variety of Tamil Nadu compatible with the 20 per cent ethanol mixing policy, she said. This crop variety can yield 1,127 litres of ethanol per hectare.