Moth Bean Cultivation

Moth bean is a native crop of hot and dry habitats of northern and western parts of India. These very adjusting abilities have rendered this crop as an indispensable component of cropping system prevailing in dry regions.

  • India

    15 May - 30 June
Moth Bean Plant
Moth Bean Plant

Botanical Name- Vigna aconitifolia

Origin- Arid and semi -arid regions of India

Color- Yellow to Brown


  • It is a creeping annual plant and it belongs to the Fabaceae Family.

  • It is also known as Mat bean, Moth bean, Matki, and dew bean.

  • The moth bean crop consists of pods, sprouts and protein rich seeds are mainly consumed in India.

  • It acts as a pasture legume.

  • It is rich in iron, calcium, manganese, zinc, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B9.

  • The seeds of this crop contain 22-24% of protein.

  • It is identified as a most remarkable food source in future because it is unaffected by drought and have a ability to encounter soil erosion.


  • It is grown on an area of 13.19 lakh hectares most constricted to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka with a production of 1,753 lakh tonnes with a productivity of 133 kg per hectare.

  • It is a hot weather, resistant to drought legume.


  • It is often planted at the end of the rainy season.


  • The ideal temperature for growing Moth bean is between 24°c-32°c.

  • It can also permit up to 45°c during the day.

  • For growing Moth Bean , 500-750mm of rainfall is required and it can also do well with 300mm of annual rainfall.

Moth Flower
Moth Flower

Soil Requirements:

  • Other than in which it is normally grown it doesn’t need any soil conditions.

  • In the Northern-western mid regions of India it can be strongly cultivated on well-drained sandy plains and poor dunes with poor organic matters and poor fertility rate.

  • On plain lands and dunes it is cultivated as sole, mix and intercrop.

  • To reduce the losses of soil moisture, the crops can immediately be sown after rain on light soil dunes.

  • It has a wide pH range of 3.5-10.

  • It grows well in sandy soil.

Land preparation:

  • In western Rajasthan one plowing with mold board plough and a cross harrowing will serve the purpose in dry conditions.

  • In wide spaced crop, Sweep Cultivation with a fertility seed drill which is developed at CAZRI can also be used as an alternative.

Sowing Time:

  • The best sowing time is from May-June.

  • Late sowing can be done in the end of June or by mid of July.

Seed rate & Sowing:

  • For grain, the required seed rate is 10-15 kg/ha.

  • For mixed crop, 4-5 kg of seed is required.

  • For Fodder purpose, 20-25 kg/ha is required.

  • Spacing should be done as 30-45cm x 10-20cm.





CAZRI Moth-2










Moth bean
Moth bean


  • In India, It requires very less irrigation and it is one of the most drought resistant pulse crops.

  • These plants are rugged and drought resistant.

  • They will do well if they are irrigated timely and appropriately.

  • During the flowering stage, it requires water and developing stages of pod will be very good for the plants.


  • They do not require additional fertilizer.

  • They are normally grown on abandoned and less managed soils which are naturally poor in physical properties defective in organic matter.

  • The application of fully disintegrate FYM to the tune of 20-25 tonnes per hectare should be applied to improve organic carbon and physical properties of the soil.

  • It will help in increasing the water holding capacity of the soil.

Harvesting & Storage:

  • From planting to harvesting, Moth bean plants take around 75-90 days.

  • For threshing, before harvesting the whole plant should be matured and dry.

  • It is difficult to harvest Moth bean and it is the main drawback of this crop.

  • Plants should be cut with a sickle, as Mowers cannot be used because of the shape and density of the branches.

  • After being dried for maximum 1 week it is threshed and winnowed.

  • This crop suffers from a loss of harvest, transport and storage.

  • Because of these factors, about 8-20% or maybe more yield losses are expected.

  • After the leaves gets dry and pods turn yellow, crop can be uprooted.

  • For 3-5 days crops are stored in bundles and kept for sun drying.

  • Then the crops are threshed by the use of bullocks, hand sticks or threshers.

  • After threshing, the seeds again kept for drying in the open sky so that the moisture content be lowered to about 8-10%.

  • By using cloth or gummy bags seeds are stored in airtight earthen pots.


  • With improved technologies, it gives 6-8 quintal gran yield.

  • 12-25 quintal/ha green fodder yield can be achieved if it is cultivated for fodder.


FactCheck in Agriculture Project

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