Pigeon pea is believed to be originated from East Indies and tropical region of America as primary whereas secondary origin is taken as Africa. Among the total land cultivated with legume crop in Nepal, pigeon pea covers about 10% of it. It has average of 917 kg/ha production at present whereas with improved scientific cultivation technique its average yield can reach upto 15-20 quintals/ha. Pigeon pea is generally cultivated in bunds of paddy field in Terai region, or slope and unused land in Hills of Nepal. At present for higher production of Pigeon pea, improved cultivation techniques, improved variety, seed rate, fertilizer management, crop protection and proper storage is essential.
Mainly two types of pigeon pea are cultivated in Nepal based on height, crop duration and production.
- Cajanus cajan var flavous (Tur): Short duration crop
- Cajanus cajan var bicolor (Arahar): Long duration crop
Pigeon pea is basically important for soil because:
- The roots of pigeon pea penetrate very deep which protect soil from erosion.
- Similarly, root nodules present in pigeon pea helps in fixing atmospheric nitrogen and helps in increasing fertility of soil.
- Leaves from pigeon pea of 1 hector provides organic manure equivalent to 175 quintals of FYM which equals to 30-35 kg nitrogen.
- Rhizobium inoculated pigeon pea has 10-65 % higher production than without it.
Climate & Soil:
Pigeon pea can be cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical climatic region having 19-43-degree Celsius temperature. For proper growth and development of pigeon pea, 29-36-degree Celsius temperature is optimum. For flowering, 20-28-degree Celsius temperature is required whereby temperature below 16 & higher than 36 degree Celsius is harmful for plant growth and development.
Interesting Fact: 80-90 % flowers of pigeon pea drops without pollination and only 10-20% pollinate.
Pigeon pea can be cultivated in any type of soil but for better production deep sandy loam soil is best.
Varieties cultivated in Bunds:
Bageshwori etc: Prone to wind damage, excessive bushy, low pod setting, late maturing etc so following varieties are recommended for cultivating in bunds:
Rampur arahar 1
ICPL 145 etc
Field preparation & Spacing:
Plough the field for 2-3 times making free of weeds and clods and incorporate manure in it. For late maturing varieties, 75 cm * 25 cm (Row to row * plant to plant) distance is maintained, mid maturing varieties are planted at 60 cm * 20 cm and early maturing varieties are planted at spacing of 40-50 cm * 20-25 cm. Normally, pigeon pea is cultivated in non-fertile, slopy land as single or mixed crop.
Pigeon pea can be planted from last of Jestha to early Ashad however, late planting makes it prone to low production pest and disease incidence attack. For optimum production, June 15 (Ashad 1st) is considered optimum time of planting.
Manuring & Fertilization:
Generally, as pigeon pea is cultivated in rough land, before cultivating, add 10-15 tons of FYM during land preparation. Similarly, after field preparation and before planting, apply inorganic fertilizer in the ratio 20: 40: 20 kg NPK/ha which means 4 kg DAP and 1 kg MOP per kattha. All fertilizer is applied at once. Seed is inoculated with specific strain of Rhizobium before sowing.
Weeding & Irrigation:
As this crop is cultivated during rainy season, weed infestation is high. So, weeding after 20-22 days of planting is carried out to remove all sorts of weed and prevent competition with crop. After the crop has grown enough, it will restrict the growth of weed itself.
Irrigation during rainy season is not necessary however water logging problem must be avoided with proper drainage facility. During long term drought spell, irrigate the field at 7-10 days interval.
Harvesting & Yield:
Harvesting is done when 75-80 % of pods turns yellow with metallic sound on shaking pods. Harvesting is carried out in the morning to prevent the shattering loss of pods and threshed using thresher or hitting with stick. They are cleaned winnowed and sun dried to keep moisture about 8-10%.
The national average yield of pigeon pea in Nepal is 917 kg/ha however with proper scientific cultivation technique, farmers can produce upto 1500-2000 kg/ha.
During storage keep Celphus tablet in the storage area to avoid pest attack and loss of pods.
Pod Borer (Helicoverpa armigera):
- Timely sowing i.e. mid October or growing early maturing cultivars which complete pod formation by first week of March helps in escaping peak activity of this pest.
- Mixed intercropping with non-preferred host plant like barley, wheat, mustard and linseed.
- Use of marigold a trap crop.
- Apply Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus (NPV) @ 250-500 LE/ha. Spraying should be carried out in evening time.
- Apply fertilizer as recommended dose.
- Install yellow pan trap with 1% (10ml/liter of water) kerosene water or yellow sticky trap at crop height in the field for monitoring occurrence of winged aphid.
- Releasing and rearing of predators like ladybird beetle.
- Spray 660 ml of Dimethoate 30 EC in 500-1000 liters of water.
- Use of resistant varieties like Rampur Arahar-1, ICPL 84072, ICPL 87133, ICPL 7035.
- Mixed cropping with non-legume crops.
- Plant disease resistant varieties like Rampur Arahar & Bagheshwori.
- Adopt crop rotation.