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Cultivation of Niger: A Great Feed for Milch Cattle

A good cow feed, especially for milch cattle, is Niger seed cake. Linseed cake in the calf feed might be replaced by Niger meal, which has 17 percent crude fibre and 30 percent protein.

Sandeep Kr Tiwari
Niger could be grown in a variety of soil types
Niger could be grown in a variety of soil types

A small oilseed crop called Niger is mostly produced in rainfed environments. Humans consume Niger seed that contains 37- 47% oil, is pale yellow in colour and has a nutty taste and a pleasant odour. The oil is used for culinary purposes, anointing the body, in the production of paints and soft soaps, as well as for lighting and lubricating.

Because Niger oil effectively absorbs the scent of flowers, the perfume industry uses it as base oil. Both birth control and the treatment of syphilis are possible using Niger oil.

Niger seed cake is also considered as a good cow feed, especially for milch cattle. Linseed cake in the calf feed might be replaced by Niger meal, which has 17 percent crude fibre and 30 percent protein. In India, it can be utilised as manure too. Niger is further utilized as green manure to raise the organic carbon content of the soil.

It is mostly cultivated in Kharif season on a 2.61 lakh hectares area. However, it is a rabi crop in Odisha. Niger is grown in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and West Bengal. 3.21 q/ha is the average yield in India.

Soil & Climate Requirements 

For quick growth of Niger, the soil must be wet. Niger could be grown in a variety of soil types, including clay loam, sandy loam, and gravel soil. With enough depth and on heavy, well-drained soils or rocky laterite soils, it thrives under light black soils or brownish loam. It can even survive a little bit of salinity and alkalinity.

The majority of the crop is cultivated without the use of manure or fertiliser on marginal and submarginal soil.
The majority of the crop is cultivated without the use of manure or fertiliser on marginal and submarginal soil.

Sown under wet conditions in Kharif and rabi as a single crop or in mixtures with groundnut, pulse, or small millet crops in several States. The ideal rainfall is seen as falling between 1000 and 1300 mm. The optimum conditions for growth are a relative humidity of around 93% and a temperature of about 40° C.

State-wise ideal varieties of Niger

Odisha: GA-10, Utkal Niger-150

Jharkhand: Birsa Niger-1, Birsa Niger-2, BNS-10

Gujarat: Gujarat Niger-1, NRS-96-1

Tamil Nadu: Paitur-1

Madhya Pradesh/ Chhattisgarh: JNC-6, JNC-1, JNC-9

Maharashtra: IGP-76, IGPN-2004-1 (Phule Karala-1)

Karnataka: RCR-317, RCR-18, KBN-1

Land Preparation and Seed Rate

Land should be prepared thoroughly by doing three to four ploughings, followed by laddering to get a fine tilth, the land should be completely prepared. Broadcasting has a big role in sowing the crop. To enhance the bulk of the seeds and guarantee that they are distributed evenly, they are mixed 20 times with sand, FYM, or ash with a spacing of 30 cm by 10 cm, line sowing has been proven to be advantageous. 

Prepare 25 cm-diameter furrows that are 5 cm deep. Ideally, seeds should be planted three to five centimetres deep in furrows. After that, laddering along the furrows is required to cover the seeds with a 3-5 cm layer of dirt. This ensures soil compaction, leading to quick and uniform germination.

Basically, 5 kg/ha of seed is needed to plant a single crop.

Before planting, the seed should be treated with Thiram or Captan at a rate of 3.0 g/kg. The income is increased by 20% when seeds are treated with 10 g/kg of Azotobacter, 8 g/kg of Trichoderma, and 10 g/kg of PSB.

Nutrient Management

The majority of the crop is cultivated without the use of manure or fertiliser on marginal and submarginal soil. However, applying the advised N with urea + seed treatment with PSB 10 g/kg seed greatly increases yield. In Niger, sulphur application (20–30 kg/ha) boosts seed production and oil content.

Harvesting

After sowing, Niger Generally matures 95 to 105 days later. When the leaves have dried and the capitula turn brownish or blackish Colour, the crop should be picked.

Average Yield

Pure crop – 400-500 kg/ha

Intercrop – 150-300 kg/ha

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