R&D: Crop Production

Rainfed farming

About 65% of the cultivated land in Odisha is rainfed, which is affected by the vagaries of monsoon. The AICRP on Dryland Agriculture, OUAT Centre has generated useful technologies to assure food security and to counter the problem of frequent drought in the state. Early maturing varieties of different crops have been identified for the rainfed areas. Remunerative intercropping systems involving drought tolerant pulses, oilseeds and vegetable crops with specific row arrangement have been standardized and are being recommended to the farmers (Table 11).

Table 11. Intercropping systems recommended for rainfed areas of Odisha



Inter cropping

Row ratio

Set specification (cm)

Row distance of intercrop



Arhar based intercropping systems


Arhar + groundnut





Arhar + sesame





Arhar + greengram/blackgram





Arhar + ragi





Arhar + rice





Arhar + rice (mixed broadcast)

40:60 (Seed rate ratio)


Arhar + radish





Arhar + okra





Maize based intercropping systems





Maize + cowpea (low trailing)





Maize + cowpea (non-trailing)


Uniform rows 30 cm apart


Maize + runnerbean





Maize + cowpea(fodder)


Uniform 30 cm rows



Maize + pigeonpea


Uniform rows 30cm apart


Rice based intercropping systems





Rice + radish





Rice + okra





Rice + blackgram





Yam based intercropping systems





Yam + maize


Yam at 90cm uniform rows

2 maize rows between 2 yam rows

  • Upland rice can be profitably substituted by pulses, oilseeds, tuber crops, ginger and turmeric for higher and sustainable yield.
  • Horsegram, ricebean, castor are three important pre-rabi crops following kharif rice, maize and greengram in rainfed uplands.
  • Phulbani dryland weeder reduced the manpower requirement in upland rice by more than 50% and also works well as a crust breaker.
  • Spraying 2% KCl + 0.1 ppm boron in the mid season overcome drought situation and gave 25% more seed yield over control.
  • Spraying 2% diammonium phosphate  twice at 45 and 60 DAS to paira fieldpea increased  green pod yield by 15% over control (23 q/ha).

Soil and water conservation

  •  Vetiver filter strips in unbunded upland rice reduced runoff by 35%, soil loss by 60%, and enhanced rice yield by 33% over farmer’s practice.
  • Contour cultivation and earth bunding covered with Cynodon dactylon reduced soil loss and runoff and enhanced cowpea yield (32.2 q/ha) as compared to the farmers’ practice (yield 18.6 q/ha, soil loss 4.5 t/ha and runoff 31.2%).
  • Stacking of locally available pebbles filled in empty cement bags across the waterway and growing grasses along the waterway reclaimed and stabilized gullies.
  • Construction of loose boulder/brush wood structure checked breach of field bunds in sloppy areas.  Crescent ditch helped moisture retention and growth of trees.
  • Thornless mimosa (Mimosa invisa) is useful for bio-remediation of wasteland because of its better land cover and addition of organic matter.
  • Water harvesting structures can be lined with soil:cement (6:1) mortar or 100 gauge LDP sheet to check seepage loss.

Rainfed lowland rice

  • Direct seeding in rainfed low land rice gives as good yield as that of transplanting if plant population is kept optimum and weeds are managed properly. Gap filling after beasi increased rice yield by 10 to 20% over farmers’ practice. With optimum plant population, random and line transplanted rice were equally productive.

Rice based cropping systems

  • The most promising and economically viable rice based cropping sequences including pulses, oilseeds and vegetables in the two prominent ecological situations were developed for the irrigated agro-eco system of the state during different periods. The promising cropping systems identified in recent time are given in Table 12.

Table 12.  Remunerative cropping systems for irrigated ecosystem of Odisha

Cropping system

Rice equivalent yield (t/ha/yr)

Net return      (` /ha)

B:C ratio

Coastal districts













Inland districts













Integrated Farming Systems (IFS)

  • Net returns from a crop-fish farming system in 1.2 ha area in East and South-Eastern Coastal Plain zone involving field crops-plantation crops-nursery-mushroom, pisciculture and apiculture was `1,33,850/year, where pisciculture contributed the maximum of 44% followed by field crops (28%) and plantation crops (26%).
  • A crop based farming system in 5.4 ha area under Mid Central Table Land zone fetched net return of ` 3,81,805/year with B:C of 2.42. Rice-chilli-pumpkin is one of the cropping systems in 1.4 ha area, which was most remunerative with net return of   ` 1,94,600/year and B:C of 2.76.
  • A pond based farming system with enterprises like, pisciculture, poultry, horticulture and field crops in 1.0 ha area under North Eastern Coastal Plain zone fetched the net return of  ` 1,70,500/year  with maximum contribution from poultry (24%) followed by nursery (19%), pisciculture and vegetables contributing 18% each.

Water management

  • Irrigating rice from one field to another must be avoided. Irrigation should be given to fields through field channels only.
  • Irrigation scheduling with application of 7 cm depth of water three days after its disappearance from the plot in kharif and 1 day after disappearance in rabi through field channels is ideal for higher yield and water use efficiency.
  • Providing surface drainage through field channels at 10 m apart during kharif and at 15 m apart during rabi in ill drained low lands of the canal commands results in quick disposal of excess water from rice fields, improved yield by 13 to 15% and saved about 14% water than the conventional practice of field to field wild flooding. This practice facilitates the cultivation of dry crops during rabi.
  • The critical ground water table depth for non-paddy crops like maize, groundnut and sesame has been observed to be 1.0 m below the ground level.
  • Proper land levelling for efficient water management in rice is essential to increase application efficiency and increase in rice yield to the tune of about 8 and 6% in kharif and summer season, respectively.
  • Sowing wheat under optimum moisture condition with 4-5 irrigations at 18-20 days interval coinciding with important physiological stages of the crop helps in realizing higher yield along with higher water use efficiency.Summer groundnut (Jan-April) may be irrigated at a frequency of 12 days during the early stages of growth and at a week interval in later stages when the evaporative demand of the atmosphere increases considerably.
  • Potato performs well when irrigated frequently with lower depth of water. Considerable increase in tuber yield and water use efficiency could be achieved by planting in paired row technique (60 cm pair to pair and 30 cm within pair).
  • Sugarcane planting in October-November has an yield advantage of 40% over February-March planting and has higher water use efficiency.

Acid soil management

  • Acid soils constitute about 70% of the cultivated area of the State. About 21% soil have pH less than 5.0. It is a major constraint to production of pulses, oilseeds like groundnut and cereals particularly maize. Application of lime @ 20% LR below the seed rows alongwith recommended dose of fertilizer based on soil test and FYM @ 2 t/ha enhanced yield of maize and groundnut.

Long Term Fertilizer Experiment (LTF)

  • Integrated use of organic manure and optimum doses of inorganic fertilizer is necessary to maintain higher yield and also ensure higher monetary returns per unit area, input and time of rice-rice system.
  • Phosphatic fertilizer should be applied only to rabi rice to maintain the available P status a little above 15 kg/ha.
  • Intermittent (once in 2-3 years) application of liming material @ 0.25 LR is necessary to check slow build up of soil acidity and alleviate iron toxicity.
  • Foliar application of Zn EDTA @ 0.1% and Borax @ 0.25% twice between panicle initiation and emergence reduces grain sterility in rice.
  • Basal application of gypsum and ZnSO4 is necessary only to kharif rice to reduce sulphur and zinc deficiency.

Integrated Nutrient Management (INM)

  • Integrated nutrient supply system comprising of 20 kg N through FYM + 25 kg N through chemical fertilizer is recommended for arhar + rice (2:5) intercropping system for maximizing productivity.
  • Integrated nutrient supply for higher yield and profit of yam + maize (1:2) intercropping  system comprises of 50% chemical fertilizer (40-30-40 kg N-P2O5-K2O /ha to yam+ 18-9-9 kg N-P2O5-K2O /ha to maize) + 50% nitrogen as FYM (8.0 t/ha to yam + 3.6 t/ha to maize).
  • Combined application of 50% recommended dose of fertilizer (RDF) and 50% N through green manure / azolla during kharif and 100% RDF during rabi could sustain yields of rice-rice system at 10 to 12 t /ha/year.
  • Application of RDF in addition to lime at 0.25 LR to rice and RDF along with gypsum @ 250 kg/ha and borax 15 kg/ha to groundnut could sustain the productivity of rice-groundnut system.
  • Integrated nutrient supply system in garden pea involving application of well decomposed poultry manure @ 2.5 t/ha + 50% NPK (25-37.5-25 kg N-P2O5-K2O/ha) produced green pod yield of 44.2 q/ha.
  • Integrated use of 50-30-30 kg N-P2O5-K2O, 2.5 t FYM, 1.5 kg B and 40 kg S/ha increased seed yield of mustard cv. Pusa Jaikissan by 35% over RDF (9.5 q/ha).


  • Most of the black soils, 40% of red lateritic soils and 20% of alluvial soils of Odisha are deficient in Zn (<0.6 ppm); 66% of black soils and 50% red and lateritic soils are deficient in boron (< 0.5 ppm) and 91% red and lateritic soils, most of the red and yellow and mixed red and black soils are deficient in molybdenum (< 0.1 ppm).
  • In Zn deficient alluvial soils, application of 2.5 kg Zn/ha along with 200 kg FYM/ha was beneficial for groundnut and rice.
  • In Zn and S deficient (< 10 ppm) lateritic soil, application of 5 kg Zn and 20 kg S/ha and seed treatment with Mo increased the yield of green gram by 30% over control.
  • Rice varieties Kalinga III, Annanda, Birupa, Bhoi, Swarna, Mahalaxmi, T 1242, Panidhan and Mahanadi are tolerant to iron toxicity.
  • Application of Zinc @ 2.5 kg/ha and FYM @ 5 t/ha along with RDF (80-40-40 kg and N-P2O5-K2O/ha) gave the highest rice (cv. Lalat) yield (51.0 q/ha) which was 66% higher than the yield of rice in deficient soil (32.3 q/ha).
  • Application of lime @ 0.2 LR and S @ 40 kg/ha along with recommended dose of fertilizer (20-40-40 kg N-P2O5-K2O/ha) increased pod yield of groundnut by 30 and 35%, respectively over no lime and S applications (8.42 q/ha).
  • Application of borax @ 10 kg/ha or foliar spray of borax (0.3%) increased curd yield (62.8 q/ha) and reduced the severity of stem hollow and curd rot percentage in cauliflower.
  • In rice-sunflower cropping system application of sulphur @ 30 kg/ha to each crop is recommended for higher yield.


  • Bioinoculation of vegetable crops with combination of Azotobacter, Azospirillum, Rhizobium, PSM, Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma mixed with FYM / Vermicompost in 1:25 ratio and incubated for 7 days enhances the yield by 8-21% for above ground grown crops and 25-50% for underground grown crops, besides, increasing nutrient recovery and crop quality.
  • Use of proper bioinoculants saves 20-25 % plant nutrient cost incurred for N and P in addition to positive influence on soil health.
  • Seedling root dip in Azospirillum + RDF (125-50-100 kg N-P2O5-K2O/ha) produced 15% higher tomato yield over control (208 q/ha).
  • Application of Mo and Co @ 10 g Sodium molybdate and 1g cobaltous chloride per 25 kg kernel along with Rhizobium inoculation improved growth and yield of groundnut.

Organic farming

  • Use of organic inputs like FYM @ 25 t/ha, pongamia oilcake, neem oilcake, sterameal, rock phosphate, wood ash each at 1.25 t/ha could produce fresh rhizome yield of 13.0 t/ha of ginger and 15.7 t/ha of turmeric which was 30 and 16% less than the yield obtained with recommended dose of fertilizer.
  • Cultivation of curcumin rich HYV  of turmeric (Sudarsan, Subarna, Suguna and Roma) and low fibre ginger varieties (Nadia, China, Vardhan and Suprava)  is recommended with basal application of FYM @ 20 t/ha and mulching sal leaves at planting, 45 and 90 days after planting  @ 15, 5 and 5 t/ha, respectively.
  • Basal application of FYM @ 20 t/ha, neem cake @ 15 q/ha and Trichoderma viride @ 2.5 kg/ha is recommended for organic cultivation of chilli (Var. Guntur Sun, Sankranti, Indam 5 and Anmol).  Application of neem seed kernel/leaf extract @ 50 g/lit of water can control the sucking insects.
  • Organic package through application of 1/3rd recommended dose of N each as FYM, dhaincha/vermicompost and neem oil cake + biofertilizer (soil incorporation of Azospirillum/ Azotobactor + PSB)  to each crop resulted in the highest system productivity of 20.34 t REY/ha/year with net returns of Rs 64,689/ha/year for rice–potato–okra  and 20.44 t REY/ha/year with net returns of Rs 82,783/ha/year for rice–tomato–okra.

Weed management

Integrated Weed Management practices and herbicidal weed control measures have been developed for rice under different ecologies, pulses, oilseeds and vegetable crops.


  • Pre-emergence application of pretilachlor 0.06 / oxadiargyl 0.06 / pyrazosulfuron 0.02 kg/ha is effective against broad spectrum weeds in rice.
  • Post-emergence application of (Chlorimuron ethyl + metsulfuron methyl) 0.04 kg/ha (15 DAT) and bispyribac sodium 0.02 kg/ha is effective against monocot and dicot weeds in transplanted rice.


  • Pre-emergence application of oxyfluorfen 0.05 kg/ha is recommended against broad spectrum of weeds including Celosia in groundnut.
  • Post-emergence application of quizalofop ethyl 0.05 kg/ha/imazethapyr 0.05 kg/ha at 15-20 DAS are effective against most of the weeds in groundnut.


  • Pre-emergence application of atrazine 50 WP 1.5 kg/metribuzine 70 WP 0.9 kg/ha is effective against all types of weeds in sugarcane.


  • Pre plant incorporation of fluchloralin 0.75 kg/ha/pre emergence application of pendimethalin 0.75 kg/ha is recommended for jute.
  • Post-emergence application of quizalofop ethyl 0.05 kg/ha at 15-20 DAS effectively controlled grasses in jute.


  • Pre-emergence application of pendimethalin 1.0 kg/ha is effective against broad spectrum weeds in vegetables like brinjal, tomato and chilli.
  • Post-emergence application of quizalofop ethyl 0.05 kg/ha/imazethapyr 0.06 kg/ha at 15-20 DAS is effective against most of the weeds in vegetables like brinjal, chilli, tomato etc.


  • Pre-emergence application of pendimethalin 1.0 kg/ha is effective against most of the weeds is pulses.
  • Post-emergence application of imazethapyr 0.06 kg/ha is suitable for controlling most of the weeds in pulses.


  • Acacia mangium popularly known as Australian teak has been identified as a fast growing timber species for commercial plantation (@ 300-400 trees/ha) in wastelands and crop field bunds. It can be harvested for poles during 5th year and for timber after 10-12 years of plantation with estimated gross returns of Rs. 4 to 5 lakh/ha.
  • The compatible tree/fruit/crop species recommended in different agroforestry models are as follows:


Tree/fruit component

Crop component


Acacia/Sissoo/Teak/Casuarina/ Gambhar

Maize, Cowpea, Greengram, Groundnut, Millet, Sesame



Dinnanath, Guinea, Stylo, Hybrid napier


Guava/Custard apple/Mango/ Pomegranate

Maize, Cowpea, Arhar, Niger, Okra

Forage Crops

*        Intercropping of maize and cowpea in 2:2 ratio is recommended to get the highest forage yield (37.0 t/ha) with benefit cost ratio of 3.41.

*        Pearl millet (fodder) – oat (fodder) – maize + cowpea (fodder) is the most remunerative system under irrigated condition with green forage yield of 42.9 t/ha of pearl millet, 46.4 t/ha of oat and 38.9 t/ha of maize + cowpea.

*        Guinea grass can be grown in coconut orchard with green fodder yield of 22.3 t/ha.

 Seed Technology Research

  • Paddy seeds stored at 9% moisture in polylined jute canvas bag could maintain germination above minimum seed certification standard, MSCS (germination > 80%) for six months under ambient condition.
  • The dormancy in groundnut can be induced for a period of 20 days by spraying maleic hydrazide @ 1250 ppm at 60 DAS to prevent viviparous germination.
  • Germination and vigour of paddy seeds can be enhanced by following seed priming technology (soaking the seed in water for 12 hours followed by shade drying) to get an yield advantage of 15% in direct seeded rice.
  • Seed treatment of greengram with ozoneem 3000 ppm @ 5 ml / kg of seed is effective against pulse beetle (Callosobruchus sp.) for six months.
  • The inert dust (flyash @ 5 g/kg + MgSO4 5 g/kg) is quite effective in controlling storage pest of paddy seed (Lesser grain borer - Rhizopertha dominica and Angoumois grain moth).
  • Shade drying of rabi/summer groundnut pods to about 7% moisture and storing in sealed polythene bags (700 gauge) maintain germination percentage (above MSCS 70%) for more than 10 months under ambient condition.


  • University has taken a pioneering role in the field of research and extension on edible mushroom in the state. Paddy straw mushroom (Volvariella volvacea) and oyster mushroom (Pleurotus species) cultivation method have been successfully transferred to the farmers. This has been made possible by the dedicated efforts of scientists in production of spawn, perfecting its cultivation practices and imparting training to the farmers, extension officers, NGOs and other line department personnels.
  • The compost materials used as substrate for production of button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) has been standardized with ingredients such as 300 kg paddy straw + 30 kg wheat bran + 9 kg SSP + 9 kg CAN + 4 kg urea + 12 kg gypsum +  10 kg CaCO3 with C:N ratio of 16:1.

Honeybee & Pollinators

  • Placement of bee colonies @ 10-12 colonies/ha increased the seed yield of mustard by 10.6%, sesame by 25.1%, niger by 33.0%, sunflower by 79%, safflower by 64% and litchi by 10%.
  • Average honey yield in Odisha is 12-15 kg/box/season in hilly areas and 5-8 kg/box/season in coastal areas under normal management and stationary honeybee keeping condition.
  • For maintenance of colonies, artificial feeding with sugar : water solution in 1:1 proportion is required in rainy season, 1:2 proportion in summer and 2:1 proportion in winter season.
  • Regular inspection of colonies during October-November and fumigation with 85% Formic acid @ 5 ml/colony/day is suggested for 21 days for satisfactory control of mite infestation.
  • Removal of old combs and spraying with neem oil (2.0%) or Dipel (1.5%) on bottom board checked the incidence of wax moth during rainy and post rainy season.