Pigeon peas, also known as Cajanus cajan, red gram, Tur, or Arhar, is a legume native to South Asia and Africa. It is a plant that can grow in various environments, including drought-prone areas. They are widely grown in tropical and subtropical regions for their edible seeds, which are high in protein and nutrients. Pigeon peas are also used for their nitrogen-fixing capabilities, making them valuable for enriching soil fertility. Let’s check out How to grow Pigeon Pea/Red Gram/Toor Dal below.
The plants grow to a height of about 3-4 meters and have small, delicate flowers that range in color from white to purple. Pigeon peas grow best in well-draining, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. They thrive in full sun and require regular watering, especially during the dry season. Pigeon peas can be grown from seeds or seedlings, the latter being the most common method. Seeds should be directly sown in the ground. Pigeon peas are generally ready for harvest after about 3-4 months, depending on the variety.
Pigeon peas are a staple in many cuisines worldwide. They can be prepared in various ways, including cooked, dried, and ground into flour. It is highly nutritious and has a long shelf life, making it a valuable crop for farmers and a staple food in many parts of the world. Pigeon peas are a nutritious and versatile crop that is easy to grow and maintain, making them a valuable addition to any garden or farm.
Harvesting pigeon peas can be done by hand or using a machine. The peas are ready to be harvested when plump and have turned a deep brown color. After harvesting, the grains can be dried and stored for long-term use or immediately processed and sold. Overall, pigeon pea cultivation is an easy, sustainable, and rewarding way to produce a nutritious and versatile food source. With proper care and management, farmers can successfully grow and harvest a healthy crop of pigeon peas.
How to Grow Pigeon Pea/Red Gram/Toor Dal
About Pigeon Pea or Red Gram plant
The pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) is a legume plant native to tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It is also called red gram, Congo pea, or gandule bean. The pigeon pea is a drought-resistant plant that thrives in well-draining soil and is resistant to pests and diseases. It is an essential crop in many tropical countries, where it is used as a food source, animal feed, and green manure. The plant is also used in traditional medicine and as a fuel source. Some of the notable characteristics of pigeon pea plants include the following:
- Height: Pigeon pea plants can reach heights of up to 6-8 feet when fully grown.
- Leaves: The leaves of pigeon pea plants are compound and have a glossy green appearance.
- Flowers: Pigeon pea plants produce small, white, red, Yellow, or pink flowers arranged in clusters.
- Fruits: The fruits of pigeon pea plants are green pods that contain several seeds.
- Seeds: Pigeon pea produces pods containing small, round, green, or brown seeds at maturity.
- Roots: Pigeon pea plants have a deep taproot system that allows them to absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil.
- Adaptability: Pigeon pea plants are highly adaptable and can grow in various soil types, including poor and degraded soils.
- Nutritional value: Pigeon pea plants are a rich source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients, making them an important food source for many people worldwide.
Importance of Pigeon Pea cultivation
Pigeon pea cultivation is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it is a nutritious and protein-rich food source for humans and animals.
- Food security: Pigeon peas are a nutritious source of protein and are widely consumed in many parts of the world. It is mainly consumed as a split pulse known as ‘dal.’ Arhar seeds are also high in Iron, iodine, and essential amino acids such as lycine, threonine, cystine, and arginine. Farmers can help cultivate pigeon peas to increase food security in their communities.
- Income generation: Pigeon pea cultivation can be profitable for farmers, as the demand for pigeon peas is high locally and internationally.
- Soil improvement: Pigeon peas can fix nitrogen in the soil, which can help to improve soil fertility and increase crop yields.
- Climate resilience: Pigeon peas are known to be drought-tolerant, making them suitable for cultivation in areas prone to drought.
- Biodiversity: Pigeon peas support a wide range of wildlife, including pollinators and birds, which can help to enhance biodiversity in the areas where they are grown.
Overall, pigeon pea cultivation is an important activity that can help to improve food security, generate income for farmers, and promote sustainable agricultural practices.
Different varieties/ Hybrid of Pigeon Pea
- ICP 8203: This is a high-yielding hybrid variety of pigeon peas resistant to pests and diseases. It is suitable for cultivation in rainfed and irrigated conditions.
- ICP 8202: This is a medium-maturity pigeon pea hybrid with high yield potential and good resistance to pests and diseases. It is suitable for cultivation in rainfed and irrigated conditions.
- ICP 8201: This short-duration pigeon pea hybrid with high yield potential and good resistance to pests and diseases. It is suitable for cultivation in rainfed and irrigated conditions.
- ICP 8205: This is a late-maturity pigeon pea hybrid with high yield potential and good resistance to pests and diseases. It is suitable for cultivation in rainfed and irrigated conditions.
- ICP 8206: This is a late-maturity pigeon pea hybrid with high yield potential and good resistance to pests and diseases. It is suitable for cultivation in rainfed and irrigated conditions.
Soil requirement for Pigeon Pea
Pigeon peas grow best in well-draining, loamy soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. They also prefer soil high in organic matter, as this helps to improve soil structure and increase water retention. Pigeon peas tolerate drought but need a consistent moisture supply to produce high yields. They may also benefit from adding compost or other organic matter to the soil, which can help improve soil fertility and structure. However, it is essential to avoid over-watering pigeon peas; it causes root rot and other problems.
In case you missed it: Fertilizer Schedule for Okra: Organic, Chemical, How and When to Apply
Climate requirement for Pigeon Pea
The pigeon pea is a tropical legume that grows best in warm and humid climates. It requires a minimum temperature of about 20°C and can tolerate temperatures up to 35°C. It thrives in areas with an annual rainfall of 600–1200 mm and a well-distributed pattern throughout the year. Pigeon Pea can tolerate drought conditions to a certain extent, but they perform best when provided with irrigation. It is not suitable for cold climates and cannot withstand frost.
Land preparation for Pigeon Pea
Pigeonpea grows well in a well-tilled and well-drained seedbed. Deep plowing with soil turning plow in fallow/wastelands is recommended, as is zero tillage sowing under intensive cropping systems and broad-bed Furrow/Ridge – furrow planting in low-lying and intercropping areas. There are a few steps you can follow:
- Choose a site with well-draining soil that receives plenty of sunlight. Pigeon pea can tolerate shade but grows best in full sun.
- Clear the land of any weeds or debris, and till the soil to a depth of about 8 inches.
- Test the soil to determine its pH level and nutrient content. If the pH is too high or too low, you can control it by adding lime or sulfur, respectively.
- Add organic matter or NPK to the soil to improve its structure and fertility. Compost, well-rotted manure, or green manure crops are all excellent options.
- Mulch the soil around the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
In case you missed it: Fertilizer Schedule for Home Garden: Organic, Chemical, How and When to Apply
Propagation of Red Gram/ Pigeon Pea
Red gram is propagated through the use of seeds. The seeds can be sown directly in the soil or started in pots and then transplanted. When directly sowing in soil, place the seeds in a furrow about 1-2 inches deep and 8-10 inches apart. They should be watered regularly to keep the soil moist, and the seeds will begin germinating in about 7–14 days.
Seed rate, sowing, and spacing in Red Gram/Pigeon Pea
Red gram should be seeded at a rate of 6–8 kg per acre. Seed should be sown behind the plow or with a seed drill at a row spacing of 60–75 cm, with a 15-20 cm distance between plants within each row. The desired plant density determines the pigeon pea seeding rate for a genotype, cropping system, seed germination rate, and the mass of the seed.
- Early maturing: 8-10 kg/acre (Row to row – 50 – 60 cm & Plant to plant – 10 – 20 cm)
- Medium/Late maturing: 5- 8 kg/acre – (Row to row – 60 – 80 & Plant to plant – 10 – 30 cm)
Seed treatment and method of sowing in Pigeon Pea
Thiram (2gm) + Carbendazim (1gm) or Thiram @ 3 gm or Trichoderma virdie 5 – 7 g / kg seed; Rhizobium and PSB culture 7–10 g/kg seed. Pigeon pea is sown using one of three methods. The most common method is flat sowing; the other methods are broadbed – furrow (BBF) for early maturity and ridge-and-furrow for late maturity. Pigeonpea bund cultivation in rice fallow areas
Different cropping system and Intercropping in Red Gram
Short-season crops such as urd, moong, cowpea, and others could be grown profitably in the space between the rows. Following are some essential cropping systems:
Pigeonpea and maize (Rabi); Pigeonpea, Urd, and Wheat; Pigeonpea, Sugarcane Mung, and Pigeonpea, Urd, and Wheat; Pigeonpea, Sugarcane and Mung, Pigeonpea, Urd, and Wheat Pigeonpea – sugarcane
Pigeonpea is frequently intercropped with a variety of crops: cereals (sorghum, maize, pearl millet, finger millet, and rain-fed rice); Legumes (groundnut, cowpea, mung bean, black gram, soybean) and other commercial crops (caster, cotton, sugarcane, and cassava).
Fertilizer application in Red Gram/ Ahar
Fertilizer doses should be determined based on soil test results. All fertilizers are drilled in furrows 5 cm deep and 5 cm on either side of the seed. Use 25-30 kg N, and 40-50 kg P 2 O. Apply a base dose of 5,30 kg K2O per ha area when sowing. Secondary and micronutrients such as sulfur, Iron, and zinc are applied based on recommended and deficiency symptoms.
The symbiotic relationship between Pigeon Pea and the bacterium Rhizobium Because gram-positive bacteria fix nitrogen, the amount of nitrogen fertilizer used is minimal. Bio-fertilizers like rhizobia, mycorrhiza, and Azospirillum can help little millet plants absorb more nutrients. Rhizobia fix nitrogen and make sure it is available to plants, whereas mycorrhiza aids in phosphorus and other micronutrient absorption. Azospirillum promotes plant root growth and improves soil structure.
Irrigation management in Red Gram/ Pigeon Pea
Irrigation is not required for rain-fed crops but requires 2 to 3 irrigations. Critical stages at flower initiation occur 35 days after sowing (DAS), and pod filling occurs 55 days after sowing (DAS). Waterlogging conditions during flowering and pod filling reduce yield. Proper irrigation promotes vegetation growth and flowering. Need of three irrigation for proper flowering and high yield first at the branching stage (30 DAS), Second in the flowering stage (70 DAS), and third in the podding stage (110 DAS).
In case you missed it: Fertilizer Schedule for Fruits: Organic, Chemical, How and When to Apply
Weed management in Red Gram
The first 60 days are critical and detrimental to the Red gram/ pigeon pea crop. Two mechanical weedings are required, one at 20 – 25 days and another at 45 – 50 days after sowing but before flowering. Fluchloralin (Basalin) at 1.5 kg/ha or Triuralin at 800 ml/ha is the herbicide recommended.
Disease management in Red Gram/ Pigeon Pea
Several diseases can affect the growth and productivity of red gram/pigeon pea plants. Some of the common diseases include:
- Fusarium Wilt: This is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum and is characterized by wilting and yellowing of leaves, reduced growth, and death of plants. It is spread through infected seeds and soil.
- Root Rot: This is caused by the fungus Pythium aphanidermatum and is characterized by the roots and lower stem rotting. It is spread through water and soil.
- Leaf Spot: This is caused by the fungus Cercospora sp. and is characterized by forming small, dark spots on the leaves. It can lead to reduced growth and yield if not controlled.
- Powdery Mildew: This is caused by the fungus Erysiphe polygoni and is characterized by the formation of powdery or a white-colored substance on the leaves and stems. It can lead to reduced growth and yield if not controlled. Other diseases include Sterility mosaic disease, Alternaria blight, and Phytophthora blight.
To manage diseases, it is essential to follow good agricultural practices such as:
- Using disease-free seeds
- Planting in well-draining soil
- Using a proper crop rotation system
- Avoiding over-watering
- Using fungicides as needed
- Pruning infected plants to prevent the spread of the disease.
Pest management in Red Gram/ Pigeon Pea
Common Insect-pests found in Pigeon Pea are Pod borers, Tur Pod fly, Plume Moth, and Pod-sucking bugs. Pest management in red gram/ pigeon pea involves:
- Identifying the pest species.
- Monitoring their population.
- Implementing control measures to reduce their impact on crop yield.
- Identification of pests: The first step in pest management is identifying the pests causing damage to the red gram/ pigeon pea crops. It can be done through visual inspections of the plants or using traps or pheromone lures.
- Monitoring of pest populations: Regular monitoring of pest populations is essential to assess the infestation’s severity and determine the appropriate control measures through visual inspections or monitoring traps or pheromone lures.
- Control measures: Various control measures can be implemented to manage pests in red gram/ pigeon pea crops. These include:
- Chemical controls: Pesticides can be used to control pests, but they should be used judiciously to minimize negative impacts on non-target species and the environment.
- Biological controls: Using natural predators or parasites of pests can be an effective control measure- for example, using ladybugs to control aphids.
- Cultural controls: Practices such as crop rotation, proper irrigation, and fertilization can help reduce pest infestations.
- Physical controls: Using barriers or traps can help reduce pest populations.
- Genetic resistance: Using genetically resistant crop varieties can also be an effective pest management strategy.
Implementing a combination of control measures for an integrated pest management approach is essential to ensure the most effective and sustainable pest management in red gram/ pigeon pea crops.
Harvesting & threshing in Pigeon Pea
The best harvesting time is when two-thirds to three-fourths of the pods have matured, as determined by their changing color to brown. The harvest season for pigeon Pea typically occurs around 4-6 months after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions. Harvesting pigeon pea involves cutting the plants at the base and removing the pods from the stems. The pods are typically collected in baskets or bags and taken to the threshing area.
Threshing is separating the grains from the rest of the plant material. For pigeon Pea, It can be done manually by beating the pods with a stick or using a hand-held threshing tool. Alternatively, the threshing machine can more efficiently separate the grains from the pods. After threshing, the grains are cleaned and dried to remove any remaining plant material or dirt. Once dry, the grains can be stored for future use or sold to markets.
Pigeon Pea yield
The average yield per acre is between 6 and 8 quintals. With enhanced agronomic practices, pigeon Pea may yield 10-12 q/acre in irrigated conditions and 6-10 q/acre in unirrigated conditions.
- Fertilizer Schedule Chart for Indoor Plants: Season-wise Homemade, Organic, Natural, and Liquid Fertilizer Calendar
- 10 Best Harvesting Machines in the USA for Small-Scale and Large-Scale Farms: Prices Included
- 15 Best Michigan Apple Orchards: Top List for Apple Picking Farms and Cider Mills in Michigan
- Beekeeping Management Practices: Season-wise Management of Honey Bee
- 15 Best Neem Oil for Plants in India: Our Top Picks for Affordable Neem Oil for Indoor and Outdoor Plants
- Plant Spacing Chart for Vegetables, Fruits, Flowers, Herbs and Calculate Ideal Plant Spacing
- How to Grow Potatoes in Raised Bed Trenches: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Best Outdoor Plants for the Netherlands: Full Sun, Winter, Shade, and Balcony
- 12 Best Fig Tree Fertilizers: Top Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizers Along with Price
- Vegetable Planting Chart for London: Month-Wise Growing Calendar for Different Seasons
- Chicken Farming in India: Poultry Farming Cost, License, and Requirements to Start in India
- Beekeeping in South Africa: Requirements, License, Cost, and Training to Start
- Month-By-Month Tree Pruning Chart: Zone-wise Trimming Calendar for Different Seasons
- 15 Gardening Mistakes to Avoid This Winter: For Vegetables, Flowers, Herbs, and Fruits
- Vegetable Container Size Chart in Inches, Cm, and Gallons: Cost Comparison for Different Container Sizes
- Dairy Farming in Thailand: Breeds, Techniques, and License to Start
- Vegetable Planting Chart for Melbourne: Month-wise Growing Calendar for Different Seasons
- Poultry Farming in Thailand: Breeds, Techniques, and License to Start
- 15 Best Livestock Feed Pellet Making Machines With Price for Small and Large Animal Feed Pellet Making
- Top 14 Apple Orchards in Illinois: Best List of Apple Picking Farms in IL
- Fish Farming in Thailand: Requirements, Types of Fish, and Government Support
- Pig Farming in Thailand: Breeds, License, and Permissions to Start
- Catfish Farming in South Africa: Business Plan, Cost and Profit Analysis
- Tilapia Fish Farming in South Africa: Business Plan, Cost and Profit Analysis
- Sheep Milk Production: Lactation Period, Uses, Benefits, Price, and Dairy Sheep Breeds
- When to Start Seeds Indoors Chart: Zone Wise Calendar for Vegetables and Flowers
- The 15 Best Lawn Sprinklers for Large and Small Areas: Cheap and Top Quality
- Month-by-month Gardening in the Philippines for Vegetables and Flowers
- Pests Affecting Tomato Crops at Flowering Stage: Symptoms, Control, and Prevention
- 15 Best Electric Chicken Debeaking Machines: Price List Included
- Lawn Irrigation System Cost: Estimating Cost Per Square Foot for Different Types
- How to Grow Walnut Tree at Home: Propagation, Planting, Pollination, and Care
- Backyard Beekeeping Cost and Tips for Reducing Backyard Beekeeping Costs
- How to Grow Pistachios at Home: Propagation, Planting, Pollination, Care, and Yield
- 12 Best Chicken Pluckers: Defeathering Machine Price List Included
- How to Grow Olive Trees in Pots: A Comprehensive Guide for Planting and Care