CROP : RAGI (Eleusine coracana)
Annual grass; culms erect, laterally flattened,
60-120 cm tall or long, profusely tillering, in addition
to branches sent out at the rounded nodes in succession,
plants often lodged or prostrate; root system fibrous
and remarkably strong, permeating soil thoroughly, inflorescence
a whorl of 2-8 (normally 4-6), digitate, straight, or
slightly curved spikes 12.5-15 cm long, about 1.3 cm broad;
spikelets about 70, arranged alternately on rachis, each
containing 4-7 seeds, varying from 1-2 mm in diameter;
caryopsis nearly globose to somewhat flattened, smooth
or tugose, reddish-brown to nearly white or black.
Seeds should have minimum 80%germination
and must be free from seed borne pathogens
Ragi is suited for cultivation in areas with annual rainfall
of 700-1200 mm. It does not tolerate heavy rainfall and
requires a dry spell at the time of grain ripening. It
grows well in altitudes of 1000-2000 m with average temperature
of 27 ºC. Ragi is cultivated mostly in red lateritic
soils. Relatively fertile and well drained soils are the
Ragi is not a season bound crop and
hence can be cultivated throughout the year, if moisture
is available. It is usually grown during the following
Main season: June-September
Late season: July-October
Summer: Dec-Jan to March-April
PR-202, K-2, Co-2,Co-7,Co-8,Co-9,Co-10
Direct sown crop: 5 kg/ha
Transplanted crop: 4-5 kg/ha
Spacing: 25 x 15 cm
Preparation of nursery
Prepare the nursery field to a fine tilth. Incorporate
FYM/compost at 5 t/ha and form beds and channels. Sow
seeds uniformly on the beds and cover by stirring the
soil. Apply carbaryl 10% on the edges of the beds against
ants. One week before uprooting seedlings, apply ammonium
sulphate @ of 1 kg per 100 m2. A nursery area of 480
m2 is necessary to raise seedlings for one hectare.
Transplant the seedlings when they are three weeks old.
Preparation of main field and manuring
Plough the Main field field 3-4 times and incorporate
FYM or compost.
Irrigate the field on the day of transplantation.
Irrigation at weekly intervals increases growth rate and
Incorporate FYM or compost. at 5 t/ha.
Apply N, P2O5 and K2O @ 22.5 kg/ha each before sowing
or planting. Topdress N at 22.5 kg/ha 21days after sowing
Weeding should be done three weeks after
sowing and completed before top dressing
For controlling grasshoppers, spray carbaryl
50% WP at 1.2 kg/ha. The pink stem borer, which causes
dead heart symptoms, is often serious in the early stages
of the crop. Insecticidal control is not needed for mild
to moderate levels of infestation. In serious cases, spray
0.1% fenthion, or fenitrothion.
For controlling blast, spray ediphenphos at 250 ml/ha
or mancozeb at 750-1000 g/ha.
Ragi matures 3-5 months after sowing, depending
on variety, season and soil properties. Harvest the crop
when the ears are yellowish brown. Heap the harvested
ears and cover the heaps with ragi straw for 2-3 days
Rainfed crops are cut close to ground, stalks are allowed
to wither for a day or two in field, and then bundled
and stacked before threshing. To separate the grains,
dried earheads are beaten with sticks, sheaves are trodden
by bullocks or crushed by stone rollers. Separated grains
are winnowed and cleaned. Under irrigated conditions,
crop is harvested about 3.5 months after transplanting.
Earheads are gathered when they ripen; three or four pickings
are usually required to collect all earheads from a field.
These are heaped up, and when dry, threshed. 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.
Seed yield is 5 MT/ha. Ragi grain possesses
excellent storage properties and is said to improve in
quality with storage. Seed can be stored without damage
for as long as 50 years. They are highly valued as a reserve
food in times of famine. 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. Ragi is the
principal cereal crop for many peoples in India, Sri Lanka,
and East Africa. In India over 2.5 million hectares are
cultivated annually. Although it does not enter international
markets, it is a very important cereal grain in areas