LUDHIANA, MAY 30 Bharatsandesh news)::“Soybean can replace the paddy crop and play an important role in crop diversification,” said the experts of the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). Soybean is a major source of proteins (37-42%) and is rich in calcium and magnesium, they told, adding that it also contains nearly 21 per cent oil, and a lot of fibre. Growing of this crop in cereal based rotations also helps immensely in improving the soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen through symbiotic activity of rhizobia bacteria in its roots, they added. Sowing of soybean should be done in the first fortnight of June, advised the experts, adding that the varieties namely SL744 and SL525, recommended by the PAU, should be grown for higher yield.
Referring to the seed rate and seed treatment, Dr Navneet Aggarwal suggested that the seed rate of 25-30 kg/acre should be used for the sowing of the crop. Seed should be inoculated with recommended Rhizobium culture before sowing to enhance nitrogen fixation by the crop. The Rhizobium culture can be obtained from the Department of Microbiology, PAU, he told. Dr Aggarwal explained, “For inoculation, place the seed on a clean pucca floor or a polythene sheet, wet it with minimum quantity of water and mix one packet of Rhizobium culture. Dry the seed in shade and sow immediately. Seed should be treated simultaneously with Captan or Thiram @3g/kg of seed against soil-borne diseases.”
Another expert, Dr Guriqbal Singh advised that the sowing of soybean should be done in good moisture conditions at the depth of 2.5-5 cm in lines 45 cm part with plant to plant spacing of 4-5 cm. Sowing of this crop on raised beds can save 20-30 per cent irrigation water, he informed. Soybean can be successfully intercropped with maize by sowing one line of the crop between the lines of maize spaced at 60 cm. Suggesting that mulch is helpful for soybean as it ensures proper germination and seedling emergence, he suggested the use of wheat or paddy straw as a mulch to cover the rows.
Dr B.S. Gill emphasized that the weeds must be controlled at proper time to get higher yield and that proper method for fertilizer application should be followed. The soybean crop requires about 3-4 irrigations depending upon the rainfall but irrigation at the time of pod-filling stage is very crucial, he added. Dr Gill told that the harvesting of crop should be done when the most of the leaves fall off and the colour of the pods changes. The delay in harvesting can cause shattering of pods, he said.