Saturday, 15 July 2006

Non Polluting Eco-Friendly Herbal Weed Management for Crop Production.

Mohd. Afroz Sultan, Institute of Agriculture, Palli Siksha Bhavana, Visva-Bharati, Srineketan, ICAR - RCER, WALMI Complex, Phulwari Sharif, Patna, India, G.C. De, Institute of Agriculture, Palli Siksha Bhavana, Visva-Bharati, Srineketan, Shanti Niketan, West Bengal, India, Anisur Rahman Khan, ICAR Research Complex For Eastern Region, Walmi Campus, Phulwari Sharif, Patna, 801505, India, and S.S. Singh, RWC-CIMMYT, India, ICAR Research Complex for Eastern Region Floor, Walmi Campus, Patna, 801 505, India.

Wheat is the second most important cereal crop next to rice in India, grown under diverse agro-climatic conditions, and occupies more than 25 million hectare area with a production of above 70 million tones. This crop is always infested with wide range of weed including grassy and non-grassy. Yield losses due to grassy weeds is up to 37 per cent. Weeds generate competition for nutrients, water, light, space and microenvironment and they harbor insect-pest, pathogens and parasites and ultimately reduce the yields and quality of produce without sowing apparent symptoms of damage to the crop. Non-polluted and eco- friendly herbal substances like A. indica and V. negundo have the potentiality to control weeds in rice and other crops as pre and post-emergence applications. These plants are available in plenty in the region. Only extracts of green leaves of those plants were used to find their effect as herbicides in aerobic wheat soil by preventing germination or retarding growth and reproduction of weeds. These extracts containing both water and alcohol soluble constituent as the active chemicals act selectively on weeds. The extracts used are environment-friendly i.e. non-chemical, non-persistent, natural products that are free from harmful effects on crop plants. It has been observed that use of these herbal substances has resulted in tremendous increase in the density of non-grassy weeds in wheat field. The present investigation was an effort in this direction. Field trials were conducted during winter season of 2002-2003 at Vishva - Bharti University, Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India to study the effect of herbal substances on weed management and wheat productivity. The use of herbal substances was used for eco-friendly environment and to avoid the soil and water pollution. Extract of green leaves of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Vitex negundo (Nishinda), herbal substances as post-emergence at 21 Days After Sowing (DAS) after first irrigation recorded significantly lower weed population, weed biomass at different growth stages and also increased the grain yield. Pre-emergence application of butachlor and post-emergence application of herbal substances recorded significantly lower weed population than post-emergence application of herbal substances. Lowest weed biomass, higher grain and straw yield were recorded in weed-free-check. These treatments produced more yield components and yield.

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