Precision Farming in Bitter Gourd

by on in Farms, Precision Farming

Precision Farming in Bitter Gourd

Author:Dr M.Prabhakar (IIHR retd)

Precision agriculture, as the name implies, means application of precise and correct amount of inputs like water, fertilizer, pesticides etc. at the correct time to the crop for increasing its productivity and maximizing its yields. Precision agriculture management practices can significantly reduce the amount of nutrient and other crop inputs used while boosting yields. Farmers thus obtain a return on their investment by saving on water, pesticide, and fertilizer costs. Applying the right amount of inputs in the right place and at the right time benefits crops, soils and groundwater, and thus the entire crop cycle. Consequently, precision agriculture has become a cornerstone of sustainable agriculture, since it respects crops, soils and farmers.

Seed Variety, Season etc.

Variety

Palee, Chaya, Maina, Prinitha, Coimbatore long and any popular commercial hybrids

Soil type

Well drained soils with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0

Season

June-July, February-March

Seed rate/ seedling requirement

500g or 3700 seedlings raised in pro-tray (for more details on pro-tray : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZTs6kajCFc)

Land Preparation.

Land preparation

Raised bed method: 10-15cm height, 90cm width, convenient length, 90 cm inter-bed spacing.

FYM application

Apply 10 tones enriched FYM.

Neem cake application

Apply neem cake @ 250 kg.

Fertilizer  Dose

30:25:30 kg N:P:K

Basal fertilizer application

Apply 8-6-8 kg N:P:K (17 kg Urea + 40 kg Single super phosphate + 13 kg Muriate of potash). Mix well and level the beds properly.

Laying of drip line

Place one  in-line drip lateral at the center of the bed for which 2200 meter length of lateral pipe is required.

Polyethylene mulching

2200 meter length of mulch film of 1.2m width and 30micron thickness  is required (75 kg)

Spacing, plant population and sowing

Single crop row at the center of the bed. Make holes of 5cm diameter at a distance of 60cm. 3700 seeds can be sown in one acre.

Irrigation

Run the drip irrigation daily for a duration of 20 to 40 minutes depending on the crop stage, season and emitter discharge.

Training

Plants are supported with plastic tapes and trained on trellis.

Fertigation

Schedule fertigation once in 3 days starting from 21 days after sowing and ending at 90 days after sowing for a 3½  month duration crop, thus requiring 26 fertigation.

Water soluble Fertilizers per fertigation (Once in 3 days)

0-14 days: No fertigation

15-30 days: 2.0 kg 19-19-19 /fertigation (6 fertigations)

33-51 days: 3.0 kg 19-19-19 +1.0 kg KNO3+1.0 kg  CaNO3/fertigations (7 fertigations)

54-90 days: 4.0 kg 19-19-19 +1.0 kg KNO3+1.0 kg CaNO3/fertigation  (13 fertigations)

(85 kg 19-all + 20 kg KNO3+ 20 kg CaNO3)

Foliar nutrition

Give foliar sprays @5g/litre using foliar spray grade fertilizers containing Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, B, Cu, Zn three times starting from 30 days after transplanting at an interval of 15 days

Insect Pest management

Red pumpkin beetle

Symptoms: Adult beetles feed voraciously on the leaf lamina by making irregular holes. The maximum damage is done when the crop is in the cotyledon stage. The first generation is therefore more injurious than the subsequent generations. The adult insect also feed on the leaves of grown up plant by scrapping off their chlorophyll and make the leaves net like appearance.

Collect & destroy the pest daily if the pest is observed .  Spray Dichlorvos 76 EC  (1.2 ml/l)

Leaf miner

Symptoms: Vegetable leafminer damage is primarily caused by larvae feeding under the surface of leaves and petioles. This feeding causes long, narrow ‘mines’ which appear as white or grey lines on leaves. Higher levels of infestation affect the plant’s ability to photosynthesize, reducing plant growth and crop yields.

In addition to the basal dose of neem cake application, Give neem cake (containing 8-10% oil) @100 kg/acre in 8-10 heaps 25 days after transplanting

Remove cotyledon leaves with leaf mining at 7 days after germination.

Remove leaf miner infected leaves at the time of planting. Repeat at weekly interval 3-4 times.

Spray Neem seed powder extract (4%) or neem/pongamia soap (1%), if required

Fruit fly

Symptoms: The fly attack is severe, especially after summer rains when the humidity is high. Maggots of this fly causes severe damage to young developing fruits. The adult fly lays eggs in the flowers. The eggs hatch into maggots, which feed inside the fruits and causes rotting.

Soil application of neem cake @100  kg  immediately after germination and at flowering followed by sprays of neem soap (1 %) or PNSPE (4%)  at 10 days interval after flowering

Crush pumpkin 1.0 kg and add 100 gm jaggery and 10 ml Malathion or 10ml Deltamethrin and keep in the plot (4-6 per acre)

Bait splash, 40 splashes/acre; 10g jaggary + Deltamethrin (1.0 ml /l)

Remove all the infested fruits and destroy. Set up Cuelure (para pheromone) traps @12/acre

Red spider mite

Symptoms: They feed on the cell sap and cause yellowish white symptoms on leaves leading to wilting, burning and shedding.

Spray PNSPE (4%) or Wettable Sulphur 80WP (3.0 g/l) or Dicofol 18.5 EC (2.5 ml/l) or Quinalphos 25 EC (1.5ml/l) or Fenazaquin 10 EC (2.5 ml/l) or Fenpropathrin 30 EC (0.3 ml/l). Spray lower surface of the leaves where mites are generally found

Thrips

Symptoms: They suck the juice of the plant and damage the plant’s flowering ability. Leaves are also affected. The yield of a crop infested with thrips will be diminished.

Apply neem cake@ 100 kg at planting and after 30 days. Give neem cake (containing 8-10% oil) @100 kg/acre in 8-10 heaps 25 days after transplanting.

Spray PNSPE (4%) or neem/pongamia soap ( 8-10 g/l) at 10 days interval

Spray Fipronil 5 SC (1.0ml/l) or Emamectin benzoate 5 SG (0.125 g/l)  or Dimethoate 30 EC (2.0 ml/l)  

Leaf eating caterpillar

Soil application of neem cake @ 250 kg/ha  immediately after germination and at flowering followed by sprays of neem soap (1 %) or NSPE (4%) at  7-10 days interval according to requirement

 

Disease management

Powdery mildew

Symptoms: first appear as white powdery residue primarily on the upper leaf surface. On the lower surface of the leaves circular patches or spots appear. In severe cases, these spread, coalesce and cover both the surfaces of the leaves and spread also to the petioles, stem, etc. Severely attacked leaves become brown and shrivelled and defoliation may occur. Fruits of the affected plants do not develop fully and remain small.

Apply Wettable Sulphur (3.0g/l) or Carbendazim (1.0g/l)  or Flusilazole (0.3 ml/l) or Dinocap (1.0 ml/l) or Hexaconazole (0.5 ml/l) or Difenoconazole (0.6 ml/l) three-four times at 15 days interval

Downy mildew

Symptoms.: The disease is first seen as yellow angular spots on the upper surface of the leaves. Under conditions of high humidity, whitish powdery growth appears on the lower surface of the leaves. The disease spreads rapidly killing the plant quickly through rapid defoliation.

Pre packed mixture of Pyroclostrobin + Metiram (2.5g/l) or Chlorothalonil (2.0 g/l) or Mancozeb (2.0 g/l) or Fosetyl-Al + Propineb (2.0 g/l)  or Cymoxanil+ Mancozeb (2.0 g/l) at 10 days interval

Fusarium wilt

Symptoms.: Fusarium wilt is soil borne and may remain in the soil for several years at a time. Once infected, the fungus grows quickly in the host tissue, clogs the plant’s veins, and interferes with the transportation of plant water and nutrients. Fusarium wilt also prevents the plants from producing sufficient chlorophyll, so leaves may be pale, yellow, or yellow-white.

Follow Bio-Intensive Disease Management practices. Drenching of Bordaux mixture (1%) Pre packed mixture of Carbendazim+ Mancozeb (2.0 g/l)

Anthracnose

Symptoms.: On mature leaves, small pale yellow, water-soaked areas emerge near veins and enlarge rapidly, turning tan to dark brown. The spots may coalesce, resulting in blighting, distortion, and death of entire leaves.

Spray Carbendazim (1.0 g/l) or Difenaconazole (0.6g/litre)

Harvesting and yield

Harvesting and yield

Yield: about 12 -15  tonnes in 100 to 150 days

 

Note: All recommendations and yields are for one acre area

 

*FYM Enrichment  with Bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticide

 

Well decomposed Farm
yard manure (one tonne) is thoroughly mixed Azotobacteror Azospirillum,
Phosphate Solubilizing bacteria (PSB),  Trichodermaharzianum or
Trichodermaviridae, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Bacillus subtilis,
Paecilomyceslilacinus or Pochoniachlamydosporia  each @ 1 kg. This is then
moistened by sprinkling water and covered with  wet gunny cloth kept to
incubate for  about 3- 4 weeks (15-20 days). For better aeration and
decomposition it is advised to give a turn in between at around 10-12 days.
This enriched FYM should be mixed with remaining nine tonnes of FYM before
applying to the main field.

 

**Neem cake Enrichment  with Bio-fertilizers and
bio-pesticide

 

Powdered neem cake (100
kg) with oil content (>10 %) is thoroughly mixed Azotobacteror Azospirillum
Phosphate Solubilizing bacteria (PSB),  Trichodermaharzianum or
Trichodermaviridae, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Bacillus subtilis,
Paecilomyceslilacinus or Pochoniachlamydosporia  each @ 1 kg. This is then
moistened by sprinkling water and covered with wet gunny cloth kept to incubate
for about 10 days. If it is to be stored for a few more days, for better
aeration and decomposition it is advised to give a turn. This enriched neem
cake should be applied to the main field along with farm yard manure
application at the time of bed preparation for planting. This enrichment is
required, if enriched FYM was not used/applied.

 

***Poison baiting: Mix rice bran (10-12 kg/acre) with
jaggery (gur) or molasses (2 kg) in the morning. Allow it to ferment till
evening.  In the evening, mix this with an insecticide like methomyl or
thiodicarb (250 g) and broadcast in main plot. Cutworms get attracted, feed on
the fermented poison bait and get killed. Baiting has to be repeated 2 or 3
times more if the incidence of the cut worm or armyworm is high.

 

Baking soda spray: Baking soda is a white soluble compound
that has fungicidal properties when used as spray on diseased plants. It also
serves as protectant (on plants) from disease-causing pathogens. Mix 1 tbsp of
baking soda and 1 tbsp of dormant oil or vegetable oil. Add 4 liters of water
and  stir well. Add one tbsp of dish washing liquid soap and stir it
again. Fill-in water can or sprinkler and spray. Stir or shake the container
from time to time to prevent soda from separating. Repeat application every
after 2 weeks. Apply baking soda spray as soon as the symptoms appear. Be sure
to include the undersides of the plants’ foliage. Spray in the early morning or
late afternoon.

Bordeaux mix: There are many copper compounds that are
used as fungicides. The most common is Bordeaux mix which is a combination of
copper sulphate and hydrated lime.  

Copper sulphate, lime
and water in the ratio 1:1:100 are used for preparing one per cent Bordeaux
mixture. In order to prepare 100 Litres of mixture one kg of copper sulphate is
dissolved in 50 Litres water. In another vessel one kg of fresh quick lime is
slaked by sprinkling water and the volume of lime solution is made up to 50
Litres water. The copper sulphate solution is poured into lime solution by
stirring the mixture. Both solutions can also be poured into a third vessel
with constant stirring. The prepared Bordeaux mixture should be strained
through a cloth/strainer before spraying.

Spray plants thoroughly
preferably early in the morning, in a dry and sunny day. In this way, the
plants have the time to dry and the solution can not penetrate into the leaves’
tissues. Constantly shake the sprayer while in the process of application to
prevent the solution from clogging.

 

Cattle-dung and Urine Extract: Mix Cattle-dung (5 kg) and urine (5 liters)
thoroughly in 5 liters of water in a container and allow this mixture for 4
days by keeping a lid over the container.  After 4 days, filter and add
100 grams of lime to this solution. Dilute the solution in 80 liters of water,
which is sufficient for spraying an acre. Spraying cow dung urine solution
prevents eggs laying by the moth, e.g. Helivoerpa and Spodoptera, etc. It is
found to give protection against some diseases and the sprayed crop looks green
and healthy.

 

Tobacco Decoction: Boil
1 kg tobacco dust in 10 liters of water for 30 minutes to attain coffee red
colour. Add water to the boiling solution to make 10 litres volume. Cool and
filter the decoction using a thin muslin cloth. Add soap @ 2 g/l and dilute to
80 to 100 litres for spray. This preparation is effective against whitefly,
aphids, and leafhoppers. Tobacco decoction should not be used frequently as it
is toxic to natural enemies.

 

Precision agriculture,
as the name implies, means application of precise and correct amount of inputs
like water, fertilizer, pesticides etc. at the correct time to the crop for
increasing its productivity and maximizing its yields. Precision agriculture
management practices can significantly reduce the amount of nutrient and other
crop inputs used while boosting yields. Farmers thus obtain a return on their
investment by saving on water, pesticide, and fertilizer costs. Applying the
right amount of inputs in the right place and at the right time benefits crops,
soils and groundwater, and thus the entire crop cycle. Consequently, precision
agriculture has become a cornerstone of sustainable agriculture, since it
respects crops, soils and farmers.