Frequently Asked Questions


Cultivation Systems

Cultivation Practices

Crop Protection

Season & Varieties

Nursery Management

Nutrient Management

Post Harvest Technology


Where ragi crop grows best?

Ragi is a crop of tropical and subtropical climate and can be grown successfully on hill slopes as well as in plains. It is very adaptable to higher elevations and is grown in the Himalaya up to 2,300 metres in elevation. It is a very hardy crop. It can be grown under rainfed as well as irrigated conditions.

Which areas of south India are best suited for growing ragi?

Regions in Southern India, comprising Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu (750 to 800 and 100 to 150) are well suited.

What is the optimum temperature and rainfall for growing ragi?

It is suited for cultivation in areas with annual rainfall of 700 to 1200mm. It does not tolerate heavy rainfall and requires a dry spell at the time of grain ripening. Temperature during the crop season varies between 250 and 320C.

At which season can the ragi variety CO RA14 can be grown in TamilNadu?

Irrigated - Marghazipattam (Dec – Jan) & Chithiraipattam (April - May)
Rainfed - Adipattam (June – July) & Puratasipattam (September - October)

What is the duration of ragi variety CO RA14?

• Duration: Medium duaration variety

• Duartion days: 105 to 110 days

What is the grain yield for CO RA 14 vareity?

• Under irrigated condition – 2892 kg /ha

• Under rainfed condition – 2794 kg /ha

Is the resistant ragi variety CO RA14 suitable to grow under Tamil Nadu conditions?

Yes. It can be grown in all districts except Kanyakumari & Nilgiris.

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Season and Varieties

At which season can the ragi variety CO 13 can be grown in TamilNadu?

• Irrigated - Marghazipattam (Dec – Jan) - Chithiraipattam (April - May)

• Rainfed - Adipattam (June - July) - Puratasipattam (September - October)

NOTE: It can be grown in all districts except Kanyakumari & Nilgiris.

What is the duration of ragi variety CO 13?

• Duration: Medium duration variety

• Duration days: 95 to 100 days

What is the grain yield for CO13 variety?

• Under irrigated condition – 3600 kg /ha

• Under rainfed condition – 2300 kg /ha

What is the duration of ragi variety CO 9?

Duration days: 100 days

Which season is suitable for growing CO9 in TamilNadu?

Season: Irrigated - Marghazipattam (Dec – Jan) - Chithiraipattam (April – May)

What is the duration of ragi variety Paiyur (RA) 2?

• Duration: Long duration variety

• Duration days: 115 days

What is the grain yield for Paiyur (RA)2 variety?

Grain yield under rainfed condition is 3150 kg /ha.

Is there any high yielding ragi variety that can grow well under Tamil Nadu agro climatic conditions?

Yes. TRY 1 variety yields about 4011kg/ha and it can grow well in TamilNadu except districts of Kanyakumari and TamilNadu.

What is the duration and season for growing TRY 1 ragi variety?

• Duration: Medium duration variety

• No. of days: 102 days

• Season: Irrigated - Marghazipattam (Dec – Jan)

What are the varieties released under Karnataka?

GPU 28, GPU 26, GPU 45, MR 6, L 5

What is the duration for GPU 28 ragi variety?

• Duration: Medium duartion variety

• Duration days: 110 to 115 days

What is the grain yield for GPU 28 ragi variety?

Grain yield: 40-45 q/ha under irrigated and 30-35 q/ha under rainfed conditions.

Name the short duration ragi crops that suits Karnataka?

GPU 26 variety has a duration period of 90 to 100 days.

Name the medium duration ragi crops that suits Karnataka?

GPU 45 variety has a duration period of 104 to 109 days.

Name the long duration ragi crops that suits Karnataka?

• L 5 vareity have a duration period of 115 to 120 days.

• MR 6 vareity have a duration period of 120 days.

What yield can the MR 6 ragi variety give?

Grain yield: 45 – 50 q/ha under irrigated & 30-35 q/ha under rainfed condition.

What is the duration and yield of GPU 48 variety?

• Duration: Short duration variety

• Duration days: About 100 days

• Grain yield: 37 q/ha.

What are the seasons to be considered for ragi cultivation?

• Main season: June to September

• Late season: July to October

• Summer: December – January to March – April

Is ragi a season bound crop?

No, ragi is not a season bound crop and hence can be cultivated throughout the year, if moisture is available.

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Cultivation systems

What are the two systems of cultivation?

Irrigated and Rainfed

What are the methods practiced in irrigated system of cultivation?

a) Direct sown crop b) Transplanted crop c) System of Ragi Intensification(SRI)

Which method of ploughing is advantageous in rainfed system of cultivation?

Fallow ploughing.

Which method of sowing is ideal for rainfed system of cultivation?

Line sowing

What is the average rainfall for the rainfed ragi crop?

Average and well distributes rainfall of 450 to 500 mm is optimum for rainfed ragi.

How to carry on tillage in ragi main field under rain fed condition?

  • Fall ploughing is advantageous for moisture conservation.
  • In the month of April or May, one deep ploughing with mould board plough followed by ploughing with wooden plough twice is necessary.
  • Before sowing secondary tillage with cultivar and multiple tooth hoe to prepare smooth seed bed is necessary.

What is the population density recommended for rainfed ragi field?

A plant population of 4 to 5 lakhs per ha is optimum for getting higher yields and higher or lower population than the optimum will reduce the yield.

How to sow the rainfed ragi seeds?

  • Line sowing is ideal and seed drills giving spacing 22.5 to 30 cm between rows should be used.
  • Ragi seeds are very small (400 seeds/ g) and the recommended seed rate of 15 to 20 kg per hectare will contain about 4 million seeds. Therefore, even when seed drill is used thinning the row leaving a spacing 7.5 to 10 cm between plants, must be followed.
  • Sowing by seed-cum-fertilizer drill is advantageous for line sowing besides efficient utilization of applied nutrients.

How to trouble shoot poor germination of rain fed ragi under field conditions?

Poor germination, often, is the result of inadequate moisture after sowing in low rainfall areas. Under these conditions, the adoption of a simple technique like seed hardening will not only improve germination and subsequent plant stand but also impact early seedling vigour and tolerance to drought.

What are the steps involved in seed hardening technique?

Step 1: Sole seeds in water for 6 hours. Use one litre water for every kg seed for soaking.

• Step 2: drain the water and keep the seeds in wet cloth bag tightly tied for two days.

• Step 3: At this stage, the seeds will show initial signs of germination.

• Step 4: Remove seeds from the wet cloth bag and dry them in shade on a dry cloth for 2 days.

• Step 5: Use the above hardened seeds for sowing.

What is the seed rate and spacing for direct sown crop?

Seed rate is 10Kg/ha and spacing is 22.5*15cm

What are the features of SRI?

SRI Technology uses less inputs. It uses less seed, water, chemical fertilizers and pestisides but uses more organic manures. Ragi grown with SRI Technology has large root volume, profuse and strong tillers with big panicles, more and well – filled spikelets with higher grain weight. Under SRI, ragi fields are not flooded but only kept moist by alternate wetting and drying.

What are the basic principles of SRI?

1. Use of young seedlings for transplanting

2. Careful transplanting

3. Planting at wider spacing

4. Weed control

5. Water Management

6. Organic manures

How much seeds used for sowing in SRI system?

1.25 Kg seeds are used for one hectare

What is the age of the seedlings to transplant in main field?

8-12 days old seedlings are transplanted in main field

How to plant the seedlings in main field?

The seedlings are planted in square pattern and only one seedling is planted per hill.

What are the benefits of SRI?

Higher grain and straw yields * Reduction in duration by 10 days. * Lesser chemical inputs * Less water requirement (About half that of conventional method) * Less chaffy grain * Grain weight increased without change in grain size * Higher head ragi recovery * Withstood cyclonic gales. * Soil health improves through biological activity * Cold tolerance

What are the constraints of SRI?

  • Non availability of labours at the initial states of planting. So it is a barrier to adopt this technology by farmers
  • Farmers need more experience to practices this method
  • SRI results well in rabi season because they have more water control and there is more sunlight. But in the kharif (summer) season, the timing of the monsoon’s onset is unpredictable, and its arrival brings serious flooding, which makes it hard for farmers to maintain soil aeration.
  • Unavailability of suitable weeders
  • Traditional mindest of farmers
  • Lack of awareness about the technology

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Nursery management

What is the chemical seed treatment for ragi seeds?

Slurry treat the graded seed with Carbendazim at 2 g or Thiram 75% WDP at 4 g in 5 ml of water per of seed.

How to treat ragi seeds with cow urine?

These are the steps to be followed in sequence to treat ragi seeds 1. Mix one part of cow urine with 10 parts of water 2. Pour the Ragi seeds into this and let them wait for 15 minutes 3. 2 minutes into these 15 minutes, remove the hollow floating seeds 4. After the 15 minutes have passed, pour off the water to separate the hard seeds on the bottom from the water 5. Dry the seeds in the shade before sowing

What is the seed rate for sowing ragi?

Direct sown crop: 15 to 20 kg per ha (Rainfed crop)

Transplanted crop: 4 to 5 kg per ha (Irrigated crop)

For ragi nursery bed preparation what size of plot must be prepared and how?

Prepare 12.5 cents (500m2) of nursery area to plant 1ha.

Mix 37.5kg of super phosphate with 500kg of FYM or compost and spread the mixture evenly on the nursery area.

What are the measurements to form raised beds?

Mark units of 6 plots each of size 3m x 1.5m. Provide 30 cm space between plots for irrigation.

Excavate the soil from the inter space and all around to a depth of 15 cm to form channels .

What are the pre-treatments for ragi seeds to prevent fungal attack?

Mix the seeds in a polythene bag to ensure a uniform coating of seeds with Pseudomonas sp. 2gram/kg of seeds. Seed treatment with Azospirillum may be done @ 3 packets/ha (600g/ha).

How to sow ragi seeds?

Broadcast 5 kg of treated seeds evenly on the beds and sprinkle with 200 kg of powered FYM.

Sprinkle 500 kg of powered FYM over the beds evenly to cover the seeds which are exposed and compact the surface lightly

What is the optimum depth for sowing ragi seeds?

Ragi seeds must be sown at an optimum depth of 1cm because deep sowing will adversely affect germination.

How to control the water supply to ragi nursery plot?

Provide one inlet to each nursery unit.

Allow water to enter through the inlet and cover all the channels around the beds. Allow the water in the channels to raise till the raised beds are wet and then cut off water.

Do not allow cracks to develop in the nursery bed by properly adjusting the quantity of irrigation water.

How many days after sowing (DAS) the ragi seedling will be ready to be planted in main field?

Pull out seedlings on the 17th to 20th day of sowing for planting in main field.

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Cultivation practices

What are the soils best suited to grow ragi?

It is a suitable crop on alluvial loamy and sandy soils, with good drainage but reasonable water- holding capacity. It can tolerate some water logging. Black soils with sufficient drainage capacity also support good crop of ragi.

In south India which soil suits best for ragi cultivation?

In southern India, it predominates on marginal soil conditions, provided by lateritic and red sandy loams.

How to transplant the ragi seedlings? What is the rate of planting?

Plant 2 seedlings per hill.

Plant the seedlings at a depth of 3 cm.

Plant 18 to 20 days old seedlings

Adopt a spacing of 15x15 cm for planting.

What is the weeding practice to be followed in ragi main field?

Hand weed twice on the 10th and 20th day after transplanting.

Hoe and hand weed on the 15th day of planting in light soils and 17th day planting in heavy soils and subsequently on 30th and 32nd days, respectively.

Allow the weeds to dry for 2 or 3 days after hand weeding before giving irrigation.

What is the size for beds and channels in ragi main field?

Beds must be of size 10m2 to 20m2 according to topography of the field.

What weed control practices are to be followed for rainfed ragi?

In line sown crop 2-3 inter-cultivations are necessary.

In assured rainfall and irrigated areas spraying 2,4-D sodium salt @0.75 kg.a.i./ha as post-emergent spray around 20 to 25 days after sowing effectively controls weeds.

Isoproturon @ 0.5 a.i. /ha as pre-emergence spray is also effective in control of weeds.

In broadcast crop two effective hand weedings will minimize weeds as inter cultivations is not possible.

What are the crops that can be rotated with ragi?

Legumes like green gram / black gram / field gram / soybean / horse gram or ground nut in southern state will minimize inorganic fertilizer application and also sustain higher yields.

Ragi – Maize (2 year crop rotation) gave higher yield per unit area as compared to Ragi – Ragi crop rotation.

What are the crops that can be intercropped with ragi?

ntercrops includes field bean (Lablab purpureus), pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan), cowpea (Vigna sinensis), and niger (Guizotia abysinnica), castor bean, niger, groundnut and pulses. With groundnuts, ragi is the subsidiary crop. In hills it is grown mixed with soybean.

Sometimes the ragi intercropped with mustard, because mustard flowers bloom during the early stages of the ragi crop and attracts lady bird beetles, a predator of aphids, attacking the ragi crop. In case of rain failure, mustard acts as an insurance crop.

What are the proportions at which ragi can be intercropped with other crops?

Ragi + Pigeon pea combination in 8:2 or 6:2 proportion brings higher returns

Ragi + field bean in 8:1 proportion resulted in enhancing the productivity.

Ragi + Fodder sorghum in 8:1 proportion resulted in enhancing the productivity in Karnataka.

Ragi + black gram or green gram in 8:2 proportions is the other profitable crop combinations.

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Nutrient management

What is the NPK recommendation for the main field for planting ragi?

Fertilizer should be applied according to soil test recommendations. If soil test values are not available, 50 to 60 kg Nitrogen, 30 to 40 kg P2O5 and 20 to 30 kg K2O per hectare.

How much FYM must be applied to the main field before planting the ragi seedlings?

Spread 12.5 t/ha of FYM or compost coir pith evenly on the unploughed field and then plough and incorporate in the soil. (Do not spread and leave the manure uncovered in the field as nutrients will be lost).

How the fertilizers have to be applied in main field?

Entire amount of phosphatic and potassic and half of nitrogenous fertilizer should be applied at sowing time. The entire quantity of fertilizers should be applied 8 to 10 centimeter deep in soil at the time of sowing.

Half of the remaining dose of nitrogen should be top dressed in two equal split doses after 30 and 50 days of sowing.

What are the biofertilizers recommendations for ragi before planting the seedlings?

Apply 10 packets /ha (2000g) of Azospirillum inoculant after mixing with 25 kg of soil and 25 kg of farmyard manure before transplanting.

Application of 2 tonnes of enriched farmyard manure per hectare with 100% P and K fertilizer gave higher yield of Ragi in Coimbatore.

What is the recommended micronutrient dose for ragi and how to apply them?

Mix 12.5 kg of micronutrient mixture formulated by the Agriculture Department with enough sand to make a total quality of 50 kg/ha.

Apply the mixture evenly on the beds. Do not incorporate the mixture in the soil.

How and when to apply Azospirillum for ragi plant?

At the time of transplantation, prepare slurry with 5 packets (1000g) per hectare of Azospirillum inoculant in 40 litres of water and dip the root portion of the seedlings in the solution for 15 to 30 minutes and transplant.

What is the NPK dose recommended for rain fed ragi?

The recommended doses of fertilizers vary from state to state for rainfed crop. Recommended dose of 40:20:20 kg per ha N:P:K was applied. With judicious application of farmyard manure inorganic fertilizer efficiency is enhanced.

In how many splits and at what sequence the fertilizers had to be applied?

Entire P2O5 and K2O are to be applied at sowing, whereas nitrogen is to be applied in two or three split doses depending upon moisture availability. In areas of good rainfall and moisture availability, 50% of recommended nitrogen is to be applied at sowing and the remaining 50% in two equal splits at 25 to 30 and 40 to 45 days after sowing. In areas of uncertain rainfall, 50% at sowing and the remaining 50% around 35 days after sowing is recommended.

What is the biofertilizer recommendation for the rain fed ragi?

Treating seeds with Azospirillum brasilense (N fixing bacterium) and Aspergillus awamori (P solubilizing fungus) @ 25 g/kg seed is beneficial.

How to apply the chemicals and biofertilizers to the seeds of rain fed ragi?

In case seeds are to be treated with seed dressing chemicals, treat the seeds first with dressing chemicals and then with bio-fertilizers at the time of sowing.

What is the procedure for applying the biofertilizers to rain fed ragi seeds?

Step 1: Bio-fertilizer culture specific to the crop is to be used @ 25g /kg of seed.

Step 2: Sticker solution is necessary for effective seed inoculation. This can be prepared by dissolving 25g jaggery or sugar in 250 ml water and boiling for 5 minutes. The solution thus prepared is cooled.

Step 3: Smear the seeds well using the required quantity of sticker solution. Then add culture to the seeds and mix thoroughly so as to get a fine coating of culture on the seed.

Step 4: The culture-coated seeds is to be dried well in shade to avoid clumping of seeds.

Step 5: Use the inoculated seeds for sowing.

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Crop protection

Which ragi variety is resistant to leaf blast?

Paiyur (RA) 2 variety is resistant to leaf blast & moderately resistant to neck and finger blast.

Name a ragi variety resistant to neck and finger blast?


Is there any blast resistant ragi variety that suits Karnataka?

Yes. MR 6 is a ragi variety highly tolerant to neck and finger blast. GPU 48 is tolerant to blast.

How to protect ragi nursery from pest and diseases?

Spray neem kernal extract 5% to the nursery. Repeat the same if needed. Spray Psudomonas sp. at 2g/litre of water.

How to avoid pest in ragi serving grain purpose?

In case of grain purpose ragi, dry the seeds adequately to reduce the moisture level of 10% to avoid pest.

How to avoid pest incidence in case of seed purpose ragi?

In case of seed purpose ragi admix one kg of Activated Kaolin for every 100kg of seed. Pack in gunny or polythene lined gunny bags for storage to avoid infestation with pest.

What are the major diseases of ragi?

The main diseases of ragi are blast, seedling blights, wilt or foot rot, smut, downy mildew and mosaic virus.

What causes yellow spindle shaped lesions in the ragi crops?

Blast disease shows such characteristic symptoms. This disease is caused by Pyricularia griseus.

What are the clear symptoms of blast disease?

The pathogen attacks the crop from seedling stage to the time of grain formation. The lesions are spindle shaped and are of different size. In the beginning, the spots have yellow margin with grayish green centre. Under humid conditions, an olive grey overgrowth of fungus can be seen on the centre of the spot. Later the centre become whitish grey and disintegrates. The lesions on the seedlings are about 0.3 to 0.5 cm in breadth and 1 -2 cm in length.

Stem infection causes blackening of the nodal region. Maximum damage in caused by the neck infection. The neck region turns black and shrinks. Infection may also occur at the basal portions of the panicle branches including the fingers. The affected portions turn brown and ears become chaffy and only few shriveled grains are formed.

In which areas the blast disease is prevalent?

Blast is commonly seen in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The disease was first reported in Tamil Nadu in 1919. It is stated that the disease can cause a loss of grain upto 50 per cent. Optimum temperature is 25 to 300 C. High relative humidity (92 to 95 per cent) and continuous drizzles also favour this disease much.

How does the disease spread?

The fungus is seed-borne and the primary infection takes place through the seed-borne conidia and also the other crops serve as source of inoculum. The secondary spread is through air-borne conidia, the initial inoculum probably coming from weeds or some cereal plants acting as collateral hosts.

How to control the spread of the blast disease in ragi? What are the practices to be adopted for effective control?

*Avoid excess use of N application. *Seed Treatment with Carbendazim 1gm/kg seeds. *Spray Carbendazim 0.1 % to nursery 10-12 days after sowing. Repeat the spray 20 to 25 days after transplanting if the disease incidence is more than 5%. Repeat the spray 40 to 50 days after transplanting (before flowering) if found necessary. *Treat seed with Agrosan G.N. or Ceresan at the rate of 2.5g per kg of seed. *Spray Pseudomonas sp. at 2 g /lit of water First spray immediately and after noticing the symptoms. Second and Third sprays at flowering stage at 15 days interval to control neck and finger infection of blast disease of necessary. *Treat the seed with Pseudomonas fluorescens and spray the extracts of Prosopis juliflora leaf extract (10%), Ipomoea carnea leaf extract (10%) to reduce the incidence of blast. *Foliar spray with Aureofungin sol (100ppm) at 50% earhead emergence followed by a second spray of Pseudomonas sp. at 2g/lit of water 10 days later to reduce neck and finger blast.

What is the cause for brown lesions on the seedlings of ragi which also continues upto matured stage of the plant?

This kind of symptom is caused by Drechslera nodulosum. This disease is called seedling blight. This is one of the common diseases of ragi in India, the Philippines and parts of Africa. It is also found on other graminaceous hosts. In India it occurs in severe form in some years in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

How to find the presence of seedling blight in seedlings?

The first symptom appears on the seedlings as minute oval, light brown lesions on the young leaves. As the seedlings develop, these enlarge into elongate lesions and become dark brown. Several such lesions coalesce to form large patches of infection on the leaf blade. The affected blades wither prematurely and the seedlings may be killed. In some cases the infection may be found on the basal portion of the seedling and on the roots, resulting in the death of the seedling from post-emergence rot.

How to find the presence of seedling blight in grown up ragi plants?

On grown up plants the lesions are found on the leaf blade, leaf sheath and culm; on the leaf the spots are linear, oblong and dark brown; on the leaf sheath and culm they are somewhat irregular, with an ill-defined margin. The infection in the neck region is revealed as a prominent brown to dark brown discolouration followed by a weakening of the neck tissue that causes it to break, allowing the ears to hang down. Partial infection of the ear at the fingers or part of the fingers, as in the case of Pyricularia disease, is also common. While nursery infection causes heavy damage due to the seedling rot, neck infection causes heavy chaffiness and severe loss in grain yield.

What are the favourable conditions that favour the spread of the seedling blight disease?

Optimum temperature from infection is 30 to 320c and it can take place between 10 to 370C and 80 to 90% relative humidity. A rain during earhead emergence is favourable. The pathogen readily infects foxtail millet, Crow footgrass, Echinochloa sp, common millet or white millet, pearl millet, Sorghum and corn. The pathogen is seed-borne, passing from season to season mostly on the seed. When infected seed is sown in the nursery, the fungus infects the seedling systematically causing them to rot and blight. Secondary spread is through air-borne conidia.

What are the effective control measures for preventing the spread of the disease?

Treat the seeds with Captan or Thiram at 4g/kg

Spray with Mancozeb at 1.25kg/ha

Spraying with 1% Bordeaux mixture or Copper oxychloride is also suggested for the control of the disease

Spray with Dithane Z-78 (2g/lit of water)

What causes the ragi plant to become stunted with brownish soft clumped basal stem portion with leaf sheath?

These kinds of symptoms are characteristic of the disease called fruit rot or wilt caused by Sclerotium rolfsii (Sacc.) Curzi. In general, wilt is of minor importance but in some areas it becomes severe during rainy seasons. Besides India, it also occurs in Sri Lanka. Presence of ecto-parasitic nematodes in soil makes the disease more complex, causing severe outbreaks in some parts of Karnataka. A wilt disease in ragi was observes in Coimbatore in 1954.

What are the clear symptoms of the disease fruit rot in ragi?

The infected plants remain green and stunted. The fungus attacks the basal stem portion and later the leaf sheath and culm. The infected portion becomes soft and dark brown in colour. The fungus is seen to grow in between the sheath and stem on the lesions. The plant ultimately dies. On the surface of lesions, small, spherical, dark coloured sclerotia are formed.

How the disease of fruit rot in ragi spreads? How to control it?

The fungus survives in the soil as sclerotia and spreads through irrigation water and implements. It is a weak pathogen, and when the plant is weakened due to physiological conditions or to insect and nematode attack, the fungus becomes active. The incidental or other types of wounds in the roots, including those caused by ectoparasitic nematodes, favour the entry of the fungus. Once inside the host the organism becomes virulent, causing severe damage to the plant. High soil moisture and high temperature (more than 300C) is highly favourable for the spread of the disease.

No control measures have been worked out for this disease. Keeping the plants healthy and robust, and providing good drainage and other optimum soil conditions, help to avoid the disease. Deep ploughing before sowing and proper crop sequences involving non-poaceous crops reduces disease intensity.

What is the cause for the presence of smutty, malformed grain in the earhead of ragi?

Smut disease caused by the pathogen Melanopsichium eleusinis (Kulk.) Mundak and Thirum shows this symptom. The disease appears only at the time of grain setting. The affected grains are deformed and are filled with compact, hard, dark-coloured gall-like spore masses. Only a few grains are smutted and formed scattered in the spike.

Is this smut disease of great importace? How to control it?

This disease is of minor importance, being found only in certain areas of Karnataka and Maharashtra, where the damage caused usually is negligible. The disease is mainly air-borne, infecting only a few spikelets in the panicle. The spores are released from the sac while on the panicle, or they may reach the soil subsequent to harvest.

This disease since air borne is difficult to control. But this can be prevented by proper cultural practices. Some varietal variations in the reaction to the smut disease are reported; hence there is a possibility of evolving resistant varieties to combat the disease.

What is the reason for the dwarf, bushy appearance of the plant with brush like ear heads in ragi plants?

Downy mildew disease (Sclerophthora Macrospore Sacc.) is the cause for the stunted and bushy growth of the ragi plant. This is known as green ear or crazy top. The pathogen is seed borne. Green ear disease was reported from Karnataka in 1947. It is less common in Tamil Nadu.

What are the symptoms of the downy mildew disease?

The infected plants are dwarf in appearance with shortened internodes. The leaves are formed closely and thus give a bushy and bunchy appearance. The leaves become pale green. The symptom is well expressed on the earhead which bears abnormal spikelets exhibiting various degrees of proliferation instead of normal spikelet. The whole earhead gives a brush like appearance.

How to control the spread of the downy mildew disease in the ragi plants?

Affected plants should be destroyed by burning.

In case of severe attack spray Dithane M-45 on the standing crop at the rate of 2 g/litre of water.

Keep the field clean.

What causes the yellow mosaic pattern of chlorosis and dwarfing and sterility ragi plants?

Mosaic virus causes this mosaic pattern of chlorosis in ragi plants. Mosaic disease in ragi is wide spread in many places of Tamil Nadu. The disease is high in April – may sown crops due to population of vectors viz., Cicadulina bipunctella and Cicadulina cinai. The insect Aphis maydis is commonly associated with the symptoms, and it may play a major role in spreading the disease.

What are the symptoms of the mosaic disease in the ragi plants?

Infection may occur at all stages of plant growth but the symptoms become most prominent from 4 to 6 weeks after planting. The first symptom is Chlorosis, followed by mosaic mottling and severe stunting of the plant. The entire plant becomes pale, dwarfed and sterile. Rarely the affected plants come to ear and if formed the panicle is mostly chaffy. As the disease advances, the plants wither prematurely and the diseased crop is easily identified from a distance. The loss in grain yield may be as high as 100 per cent, depending upon the age of the plant at the time of infection. A dry summer and bad drought conditions preceding the irrigated crop are believed to favor the disease.

What are the control measures for the mosaic disease?

Rogue out the affected plants.

The disease intensity can be reduced considerably with heavy doses of phosphatic fertilizers combined with fortnightly sprays with a combination of fungicide and insecticide.

What causes the yellow chlorotic specks and streaks in ragi plants?

A disease called Mottle streak causes chlorotic streaks in ragi plants. Yellowing becomes severe on later stages. This is caused by Nucleorhabdovirus. The possible vector which favors the spread of this disease are Cicadulina bipuntella, C.chinai. These vectors can be controlled by spraying 0.03% Phosphamindon, 0.04% Diazinon or Dimethoate

What are the clear symptoms of the mottle streak disease?

Initial symptoms of mottle streak disease appear around 45 DAS in funnel leaves as small sparse chlorotic specks. Later the specks coalesce leading to short streaks.

Yellowing of plants in severe infection.

Infected plants produce more of nodal branches and unproductive tillers.

Failure of earhead emergence with sparse grains are noticed during initial and late infection.

How to manage the mottle straek virus in ragi plants?

Rogue out the affected plants

Spray systemic insecticides Methyl dematon or Monocrotophos 500ml/ha. when noticing symptom and repeat twice if necessary at 20 days interval to control the vector.

What are the minor diseases of ragi?

Bacterial leaf spot(Xanthomonas campestris pv. Eleusineae) and bacterial leaf blight (Xanthomonas coracana)

What are the ectoparasites (Phanerogramic Parasite) in ragi plant?

Striga asiatica kuntze and Striga densiflora benth

What are the serious pests of ragi?

Among the few pests affecting this crop, stem borer, aphids, hairy caterpillar, grass hoppers and earhead bugs are worth mentioning.

What causes dead heart with drying of central shoot in the vegetative stage in ragi plants?

Pink Stem borer, a serious pest of ragi causes dead heart symptom. The damage starts from the seedling stage and continues till maturity. Larva congregates inside the leaf whorls and feed on the central causing typical ‘pin hole’ symptom. Severe feeding results in drying of the central shoot and results in dead heart formation.

How to identify the pink stem borer pest?

Eggs are beadlike laid in rows, usually 30-100 per batch. The larva has an orange-red head with a purplish-pink body. The pupa is dark brown. Adult are medium sized, pale yellow brown moths.

What are the cultural practices to be followed as a measure to control the infestation of pink stem borer in ragi?

* Dead hearts should be pulled out and used as fodder or buried in manure pits. * Crop rotation with short duration non-graminaceous (legume) crop to reduce the borer population. This practice helps in breaking the life cycle of the borer. * Set up light trap till midnight to attract and kill the stem borer moths. * Harvesting the crop close to the ground level will greatly help in eliminating the larval and pupal stages of the pest. * Application of optimal rates of nitrogenous fertilizers in split application minimizes the crop susceptibility to the borer.

What are the sprays recommended to control the pink stem borer infestation in ragi?

Spray Methyl parathion 50 EC 1 ml/litre or Phosphamidon 85 WSC 0.5 ml/litre or Dimethoate 30 EC 1.7 ml/litre.

Spray carbaryl 50 WP 1 kg per ha for the control of stem borer.

What are the biocontrol methods to control the pink stem borer?

Bio – control agents viz., Telenomus sp., Trichogramma minutum (egg parasites) and Apanteles flavipes, Bracon drinensis (larval parasites) and Tetrastichus ayyari (pupal parasites).

What causes dead heart symptom with root damage?

White stem borer causes these symptoms. The damage is similar to other stem borer, but caterpillar attacks the plant at root region. If the damage is severe, central shoot may die causing "Dead Heart'. If it is partial, the plants may turn yellow.

How to distinguish the incidence of the white and pink stem borer?

• Nature of damage varies in both cases. Unlike the ‘pin hole’, the white stem borer larvae are found at the base of tillers close to soil level and attack the base parts of the plants. • The white stem borer lays eggs in a batch of 100. • Larva: Creamy white with yellow head • Pupa: Brown, obtect type, pupates inside the stem • Adult: Small moth with dark brown forewings bearing a white band along the anterior margin and white hind wings.

What are the control practices for controlling the white stem borer?

• Spray carbaryl 50 WP 1 kg per ha • Spray Methyl parathion 50 EC 1 ml/litre or Phosphamidon 85 WSC 0.5 ml/litre or Dimethoate 30 EC 1.7ml/ltitre.

What pest causes defoliation in leaf of ragi plants?

In ragi plant many pests causes defoliation. Some of the major pests involvead are, * A lepidopteran worm, Spodoptera exigua commonly known as cut worm * A lepidopteran worm , Estigmene lactinea commonly known as Black Hairy Caterpillar * An Orthopteran pest, Grasshopper

How to identify the infestation of the cut worm?

Larvae are brownish grey in color. Larva feed on leaves especially in the nursery. Larvae hide in the soil during daytime and feed on leaves at night. They pupate in the soil in earthen cocoons. Adult moths look brown with white hindwings.

How to control the cut worm pest in ragi?

* Spray Malathion 50 EC 2 ml/litre or Carbaryl 50 WP. 40 gm/litre * Poison Bait: Wheat bran – 1 kg + Monocrotophos (10ml) + Jaggery – 100 gm + Water to moisten the bait.

Short holes in the leaves of young plants. What causes this symptom?

A coleopteran pest, Chaetocnema pusaensis, commonly called as flea beetle causes short holes in the leaves of young plants.

How to identify the infestation of the flea beetle in ragi field?

They can be identified from the followings : 1. Nature of Damage: Adult bites and makes holes in the leaves of young plants and affects their vigour both in the nursery and in the young transplanted crop. 2. Adult: Dark blue beetle.

What are practices to control the flea beetle attack in ragi field? What are the recommended sprays?

* Weed control in and around planting sites to deprive larvae of food sources needed for successful development * Removal of old crop debris and other surface trash to deprive over wintering beetles protective cover.

* Efficacy of seed dressing insecticides against flea beetle: Damage was less in carbosulfan @ 6.25 g a.i. /kg of seed (3.88%) and was on par with imidacloprid @ 6 g and 3 g a.i. / kg of seed (4.66 and 5.9%, respectively) and thiamethoxam @ 3.5 g a.i / kg (6.13%).

How can one identify the black hairy caterpillar presence in a ragi field?

Defoliation is the identity for the presence of the pest. From the following identities one can identify the pest.

Eggs are laid on the plants

Larva: Thick with black head and hairs all over the body

Pupates in soil

Adult moths are large white with crimson markings

How to control grasshoppers in ragi field?

Both Nymph and adult defoliate the crop. The long-term control of grasshoppers is possible through the use of cultural practices like tillage, fall clean-up, trap cropping, early seeding, and early harvest.

What is the pest that feeds on the ear head of ragi?

A lepidopteran pest called earhead caterpillars (Sitotroga cerealella) feeds on the ear head of ragi.

How to control the ear head caterpillars?

Dust the maturing earheads with 4% Carbaryl, or spray 0.1% Carbaryl (W.P)

What causes the yellowing of leaves with ant infestation and stunted plant growth?

Apihd attack causes the infested plants to turn pale yellow and become stunted. They remain at the base of the plant and suck the sap. Wilting and drying of plants in patches is the typical symptom. Black ants attend them for honeydew and their presence confirm the root aphid attack. It occurs on many grasses too.

How to confirm the presence of aphids?

* Honey dew secretion and infestation of ants * Nymph and adult attack underground parts of the plants, they suck sap from roots. Plants become weak and may wilt. * Pinkish and globular aphids (Tetraneura nigriabdominalis) or greenish yellow aphids (Schizaphis graminum) or brown aphids (Hysteroneura setariae) will be seen at the base of the plant.

How to control the infestation of aphids?

* Mixing crude oil in irrigation water is a common method for its control. * Mix Dimethoate 30EC 3 ml in one litre of water and drench the rhizosphere of the infested and surrounding plant with solution to check the root aphid
* Spray the crop with Dimecron 100EC (250 ml/ha in 1000 litres of water). * Spray carbaryl 50 WP@ 1 kg/ha (500 l spray fluid/ha).

Leaves and tender shoots nibbled with death of grown up plants. What causes these symptoms?

A coleopteran pest called root grub (Holotrichia consanguinea) possibly can cause these symptoms. Grub feed on the root and rootlets, results in the death of the plants. Adults nibble on the leaves and tender shoots. They can move under soil, thus can migrate from one plant to another.

How will a root grub of ragi look like?

Grub is fleshy, ‘C’ shaped, whitish yellow in colour found close to the base of the dump. Adult is dark brown.

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Post Harvest technology

What is the apt time for harvesting rain fed ragi?

Ragi matures 3 to 5 months after sowing, depending on variety, season and soil properties. When the earhead on the main shoot and 50% of the earheads on the crop turn brown, the crop is ready for the harvest.

What is the maturity index for harvesting ragi under irrigated conditions?

Under irrigated conditions, crop is harvested about 3.5 months after transplanting. In case of rain fed ragi harvest the crop when the ears are yellowish brown.

What are the harvesting practices to be followed for rain fed ragi?

Rainfed crops are cut close to ground, stalks are allowed to wither for a day or two in field, and then bundled and stacked for about 2 months before threshing. To separate the grains, dried ear heads are beaten with sticks; sheaves are trodden by bullocks or crushed by stone rollers. Separate grains are winnowed and cleaned.

What are the harvesting practices for ragi under irrigated conditions?

Ragi under irrigated condition is harvested about 3.5 months after transplanting. Ear heads are gathered when they ripen; 3 or 4 pickings are usually required to collect all ear heads from a field. Heap the harvested ear heads and cover the heaps with ragi straw for 2 to 3 days as a time for drying before threshing. Straw from irrigated plants is coarse and thick and is rarely cut. It is grazed down or sometimes turned under as manure for next crop.

What is the average yield expected in case of ragi?

Seed yield is 5 million tons per hectare. Yield depends on variety and is directly related to duration, height and tillering capacity of type grown. Types with straight spikes give better yields than those with curved spikes.

What are the conditions to be considered while threshing ragi ear heads?

Green ear heads if harvested will contaminate the seeds with immature seeds and interface cleaning, drying and grading. Dry ear heads until seed moisture content is 15% and separate manually by threshing with pliable bamboo stick or machine thresher.

How to grade the threshed ragi seeds?

Threshed seeds should be pre cleaned before sun drying; seeds must be dried to 12% before grading. The measurements to be considered are * BSS 10 x 10 (aperture width 2.4mm) as scalper * BSS 12 x 12 (aperture width 2.0 mm) as grader, processing loss will be 10 to 15%.

How to pre harden the ragi seeds after harvesting and grading?

Soak seeds in 0.5% CaCl2 at 1:1 ratio until visible expression of embryonic growth. Air dry the seeds to original moisture content.

How to store ragi grains after harvesting practices?

In less humid places, use fresh gada cloth for short term storage. For long term storage, in humid places 700 gauge ploythene bag may be used and also ragi grains are stored in metallic tins, earthen grain bins, and gunny bags. Underground pits called hagevu in Karnataka, India were bottle shaped excavations used to store ragi. Ragi seeds resist insect and fungal attacks, but it is preferable to dust the storage bags with lindane.

How to do milling in ragi?

Ragi can be milled by wet conditioning. It can be steamed followed by milling in a hammer or plate mill or a roller flour mill.

Will parboiling improve the grain quality in ragi?

Parboiling of ragi helps in improving quality of ragi dumpling by eliminating its slimy texture. Flour from puffed ragi has good flavour and can be used in snacks and supplementary foods in South India ragi is used as gruel, dumpling, roti, dosa or porridge.

What is the malting capacity for ragi? What is the use of malted ragi?

Compared to other millets, ragi is most suitable from the stand point of product quality and enzyme release for malting. The malted ragi flour can be used along with germinated green gram flour to formulate a high calorie dense weaning food having excellent nutritional qualities. Ragi flour can be used with milk beverages. The grain can be made into a fermented drink (or beer). It is also used for as a flavoured drink in festivals.

Is ragi better than rice to serve as a diet for poor people?

The nutritive value of ragi is better than that of rice and other cereals. Ragi is especially valuable as it contains the amino acid methionine, which is lacking in the diets of hundreds of millions of the poor who live on starchy staples such as cassava, plantain, polished rice, or maize meal.

Is there any nutritive value in ragi husk just like wheat grains?

The husk forms 5.6 per cent of the weight of the grain. It is rich in calcium, phosphorus and iron, the calcium content is higher than in the common cereals and millets. The major proteins of ragi are prolamins and gluteins and they appear to be adequate in all the essential amino acids. Germinated finger millet is used to make weaning foods for infants.

What are the possible products out of ragi grain as food?

The grain is used in the preparation of food items such as ragi dosa, ragi balls, pancake, vermicelli, malt, biscuit, beer, papads, millet mix, bread, roti etc. The grain is made into a fermented drink (or beer). It is also used for as a flavoured drink in festivals. Straw makes valuable fodder for both working and milking animals.

How far ragi is good in health and medicinal point of view?

Finger millet is a popular food among diabetic patients in the country. Its slow digestion indicates low blood sugar levels after a finger millet diet thereby reacting as a safer food for diabetics. The leaf juice has been given to women in childbirth. Ragi can prevent leprosy, liver disease, measles, pleurisy, pneumonia, and small pox in long term. Ragi has the highest calcium content and good fiber content. This is a very good source of calcium for young growing children and aged people who need calcium supplement.

How to make ragi noodles?

Sieve 70 g of refined wheat flour (control) and 30 g of ragi flour blends in a BS 60 mesh sieve, steam for five minutes, cool and sieve again. Fill the flour in the mixing compartment of the pasta-making machine and blend with water 30 ml and salt 2g for 30 minutes and extrude. Steam the noodles for 5 minutes. Allow to temper in room temperature for 8 hours. Dry in a cabinet drier at 60 for 6 hours.

How to make ragi vermicelli?

It is similar to ragi noodles except for that the floor composition as follows * Refined wheat flour – 30 g * Whole wheat flour – 40g. Mix them and fill it pasta making machine, extrude, steam and dry them.

How to make ragi idiyappam?

It is similar to ragi noodles except for that the floor composition as follows * Rice flour – 80 g * Ragi – 30g Mix them and fill it pasta making machine, extrude, steam and dry them.

What is ragi mudde? How to prepare it?

Ragi mudde is a food item unique to the state of Karnataka, India. It is mainly popular with the rural folk of Karnataka. Ragi mudde is made of ragi flour by pouring the flour into boiling water with some amount of salt. Mix it together to make soft dough. The dough is then made into tennis-ball sized balls (mudde) and served hot. Ragi mudde is usually eaten with ghee and sambar.

How to make ragi mudde along with rice?

Take 4 cups of water and a fistful of rice grains in a saucepan, add salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook the rice until the grains are soft and then just pour or dump ragi flour into the pot. Don’t stir now; this is the way folks back at home cook. Cover and put this mixture on medium heat for few minutes until the steam lifts the plate covering the pan. Using a wooden masher or whisk, stir the ragi-rice mixture vigorously with no lumps. Let the stove in simmer heat and do steam cooking for about 15 minutes. After cooking, let it cool down a bit and make mudda or balls out of with hands or ice cream scooper. Place the ragi mudda in a bowl and pour the sambhar over it. Not too cold and not too hot, just warm is perfect for the palate. Drizzle ghee over it

How to make ragi malt?

Take 1 tablespoon ragi flour in a cup. Add half glass water slowly. Combine to smooth, lump free paste. Do not add the flour directly to boiling water, it will clump into lumps. In a vessel, heat till the water or milk reaches boiling stage.Then add the dissolved ragi flour solution slowly to the boiling water (or milk), continuously stirring to prevent lumps. If you add the flour mix to water before the boiling stage, the flour will separate and it won’t be suitable to drinking. Add sugar or jaggery and pinch of cardamom (Elachi) powder. Reduce the heat to medium level, and simmer the ragi malt for 5 minutes, stirring in-between. Turn off the heat. Let it cool to warm, and then pour into a glass or cup. This serves for two cups.

How to make ragi halwa?

Fry 100g ragi flour in 50g ghee in a heavy bottom kadai. Add coconut milk powder with the flour and cook the flour in water. When it thickens add 100g sugar. When the halwa forms a mass, add 50g ghee and stir. Stir continuously till the halwa leaves the sides of the pan and the ghee separates from halwa. Add the coarsely ground cashew nuts. Spread on a greased tray and cut into pieces.

How to make ready to use beverage mix?

Clean and soak ragi for 12 hrs. Allow it to germinate for 48hrs. Shade dry them for 24hrs and devegetate them followed by kilning at 700 – 750C. Grind it in a local floor mill. Perform sieving in a BS 80 mesh. To make it a malt floor add, milk powder, powdered sugar or jiggery and pack it with minimum moisture.

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