Nursery Management

Preparation of Nursery

The seeds are raised in a well prepared nursery beds during the months of May – June and the seedlings becomes ready for transplanting after 3 to 4 weeks.

Land Preparation

  • For raising seedlings to plant one ha of main field, select 12.5 cents (500m2) of nursery area near a water source, where water does not stagnate.
  • The nursery beds should be prepared to fine tilth and well enriched with organic nutrients.
  • Mix 37.5 kg of super phosphate with 500 kg of FYM or compost and spread the mixture evenly on the nursery area.
  • Plough two or three times with a mould board plough or five times with a country plough.
Plough with mould board plough

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Raised bed formation

  • 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 and spread the soil removed from the channels on the bed and level.
Formation of raised beds

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Selection of seeds

  • Seed rate: 4 – 5 Kg/ ha
  • The seed should belong to the proper variety, which is proposed to be grown.
  • The seed should be clean and free from obvious mixtures of other seeds.
  • The seed should be mature, well developed and plump in size.
  • The seed should be free from obvious signs of age or bad storage
  • The seed should have a high germinating capacity
Selection of seeds

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Seed Treatment

i. Seed treatment with chemicals

  • Mix the seeds in a polythene bag to ensure a uniform coating of seeds with Thiram 4 g/ kg or Captan 4 g/kg or Carbendazim 2 g/kg of seeds
  • In case seeds are to be treated with seed dressing chemicals, treat the seeds first with seed dressing chemicals and then with bio-fertilizers at the time of sowing.

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ii. Seed treatment with bio fertilizers

  • Seed treatment with Azospirillum may be done @ 3 packets/ha (600g/ha) and 3 packets/ha (600g/ha) of Phosphobacteria or 6 packets of Azophos (1200 g/ha).
  • Treat the seeds at least 24 hours prior to sowing.

Procedure for inoculating seeds with bio-fertilizers 

  1. Bio-fertilizer culture specific to the crop is to be used @ 25 g per kg of seeds
  2. Sticker solution is necessary for effective seed inoculation. This can be prepared by dissolving 25 g jaggery or sugar in 250 ml water and boiling for 5 minutes. The solution thus prepared is cooled
  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 seeds
  4. The culture-coated seed is to be dried well in shade to avoid clumping of seeds
  •  Use inoculated seeds for sowing

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iii. Seed treatment with cow urine

  • Treat seeds with cow urine, salt water and asafetida before sowing was effective against seed borne diseases.
  • Mix one part of cow urine with 10 parts of water
  • Pour the Ragi seeds into this and let them wait for 15 minutes
  • After 15 minutes remove the hollow floating seeds
  • Pour off the water to separate the hard seeds on the bottom from the water
  • Dry the seeds in the shade before sowing

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Sowing of seeds

  • Rill sowing or broadcast 5 kg of treated seeds evenly on the beds. In SRI use 1.5 Kg of treated seeds per hectare
  • Cover the seeds by leveling out the hand lightly over the soil.
  • Sprinkle 500 kg of powered FYM over the beds evenly to cover the seeds which are exposed and compact the surface lightly. (Do not sow the seeds deep as germination will be adversely affected).
Sowing of seeds

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Water Management

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 rise till the raised beds are wet and then cut off water. Adjust the frequency of irrigation according to the soil type.

No. of Irrigations
Red Soils
Heavy Soils
Immediately after sowing
Immediately after sowing
3rd day after sowing
4thday after sowing
7th day after sowing
9th day after sowing
12th day after sowing
16th day after sowing
17th day after sowing
  • In case of red soil irrigation is given on the 3rd day to soften the hard crust formed on the soil surface and also to facilitate seedlings to emerge out.
  • Do not allow cracks to develop in the nursery bed by properly adjusting the quantity of irrigation water.
water management

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Crop Protection

i. Cut Worm

Larva feed leaves especially in nursery. Larvae hide in the soil during daytime and feed on leaves at night. Young caterpillars cut the seedlings at the base. Finally it defoliates completely.

This Pest is controlled by spraying Endosulfan 35EC @ 0.75 lit/ha or Carbaryl 50WP @ 2.5 Kg/ha or Chlorpyriphos 20EC @ 2lit/ha or Phasolone 35EC @ 1.25 lit/ha. Removing the weeds and plant residues in the nursery. Put the poison bait of wheat bran – 1Kg + Monocrotophos (10ml) +Jaggery-100gm + Water to moisten the bait.

Cut Worm

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ii. Grasshopper

It is a polyphagous insect, which feed many other plants. It feeds on foliage and tender shoots of ragi seedlings. Nymph and adult defoliate the crop and make marginal notchings in the leaves. 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. Spraying Endosulfan 35EC 400 ml/lit or Carbaryl 50WP 400g/lit of water.


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iii. Blast

The infection appears in the nursery from the second week after germination. Spindle shaped spots appear on the leaves with yellow margin and greyish centre in the initial stages. Later the centre become whitish grey and disintegrates.  Finally the young leaves dry in the nursery itself.

This disease can be controlled by spraying any one of the following fungicides Carbendazim 0.1% or Edifenphos 10 ml in 10 litres of water using a high volume sprayer which cover 3 cents nursery area on 10 to 12 days after sowing. Seed treatment with carbendazim @ 1gm/Kg of seeds. Spary Pseudomonas at 2g/lit of water immediately and after noticing the symptoms. Grow resistant varieties like CO RA(14),  Paiyur (RA)-2, GPU-28,GPU-45,GPU-48, L-5. Use healthy ragi seeds for sowing which will avoid the blast incidence.


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iv. Seedling Blight

The pathogen affects both seedling and the adult plants. The first symptom appears on the seedlings as minute, oval, light brown lesions on the young leaves and become dark brown lesions. As the seedlings develop, these enlarge into elongagte lesions, about 1 length and 1 to width 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.

This disease can be controlled by Spraying Mancozeb at 1.25Kg/ha or DithaneZ-78 (2g/lit of water) or 1% Bordeaux mixture or Copper oxychloride. Seed treatment with Captan or Thiram at 4g/kg of seeds.  Uproot and destroy the diseased plant soon after detecting in the field.
Seedling blight

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Pulling out the seedlings for treatment

Pull out seedlings on the 17th to 20th day of sowing for planting. The optimum age of seedling for transplanting depends on variety and its duration. Transplanting generally is done manually by pressing its roots with thumbs on wet or loose soil.

Age of seedlings is one of the important factors in deciding the growth of seed crop and yield. Transplanting of too young or too old seedlings will adversely affect the yield. Avoid aged seedlings for transplantation.


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Seedlings treatment

Before transplanting, treatment of seedling with biofertilizers is beneficial for increasing the crop yield. The method of application is as follows.

  • Take a bucket of water.
  • Recommended dose of Azospirillum (1000g/ha) and Phosphobacteria (1000g/ha) are mixed in this water.
  • Dip the roots of seedlings in suspension and keep than immersed for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Take out the seedlings from the suspension and transplant immediately.

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