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Effect of Varieties and Planting Time on the Performance of Onion under Tropical Planes of Kerala
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First Online 02-02-2021|
Methods: Five onion varieties were evaluated in four different dates of planting with an interval of fifteen days. Planting commenced from 10th November to 25th December 2017 in a split plot design with four replications. Yield attributing characters such as number of leaves per plant, leaf length, bolting percentage, neck thickness, bulb weight and yield were noted.
Result: All the parameters showed a significant variation over different dates of planting. There was a significant variation in number of leaves per plant, leaf length, bolting percentage, total bulb yield and neck thickness among the varieties. Interaction effect of varieties and dates of planting was significant only for leaf length and total bulb yield. Highest bulb weight was recorded in 25th Nov. planting. Highest yield was recorded in 25th Nov. which was on par with 10th Dec. and 10th Nov. plantings. Arka Kalyan recorded a highest yield, which was statistically on par with Agrifound Dark Red and Arka Pragati. Varieties when planted on 25th Dec. recorded a lowest neck thickness. Agrifound White exhibited a non-bolting behavior in all the dates of planting. Overall performance and yield of onion was found to be better when planting was done on 25th November.
Onion (Allium cepa L.) belonging to the family Alliaceae is one of the oldest vegetables in the world and has been cultivated for more than 5000 years. It is native to Central Asia and the secondary centre of origin is in the near East (McCollum, 1976). Adaptation of onion in India occurred from very ancient times before Christian era. Originally being a native of temperate region of Central Asia with perennial/biennial habit and long day bulbing nature, it has established well in India under tropical and short day (11-11.5h) photoperiodic conditions (Seshadri and Chatterjee, 1996).
Successful onion production in any area depends on the selection of varieties that are adapted to particular conditions imposed by specific environment and best planting time. As a part of tropicalization of cool season vegetables, cultivation of cool season vegetables during winter season is gradually picking up in Kerala. Development of varieties suited to tropical climate triggers the tropicalization process.
Planting dates for onion vary from place to place. As onion is a photo and thermo-sensitive crop, selection of correct planting dates is very important to get higher yield and quality. Even though it is known that onion comes up in the tropical planes of Kerala during winter period, there is no available data on planting dates best suited for onion cultivation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
a) Varieties : 5 ; Arka Kalyan (V1), Arka Pragati (V2), Agrifound Dark Red (V3), Agrifound Light Red (V4) and Agrifound White (V5)
b) Planting time : 4; Nov.10th (D1), Nov.25th (D2), Dec.10th (D3) and Dec.25th (D4)
c) Design: Split plot (Main plot- planting time and Sub-plot- varieties)
d) Spacing: 20 cm x 10 cm
e) Replications: 4
The crop was raised following the KAU package of practices; seedlings were raised on nursery beds. Nursery beds of 1m width and convenient length were taken inside a rain shelter to protect the seedlings from monsoon rains. Well rotten compost mixed with Trichoderma was incorporated in the nursery beds. Seeds were sown during the months of September and October. Sowing started by the last week of September and was repeated at an interval of 15 days to get seedlings for all the dates of plantngs. Forty five days old seedlings were used for transplanting in the main field (having 0.6-0.8cm collar girth).
In the main field, Farm Yard Manure was incorporated @29t/ha following thorough ploughing. Liming was also done to maintaine a pH range of 5.8-6.5. Seedlings were transplanted in flat beds at the rate of one seedling per hill. A spacing of 15-20 cm between rows and 10 cm between plants were given. A fertilizer dose of 80:40:60 N: P2O5: K2O kg/ha was applied in two split doses, half N and K and full P basally and remaining N and K at one month after transplanting. A light earthing up was also given after fertilizer application.
Observations were taken on yield attributing characters such as number of leaves per plant, leaf length, bolting percentage, neck thickness, bulb weight and yield per plot.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Leaf number varied significantly among different dates of planting. Maximum number of leaves (8.5) was recorded in 10th December planting which was on par with that of 25th November planting (8.05) (Table 1).
This might be due to the congenial climatic conditions prevailed during the period of November-December. This is in accordance with the findings of Misra et al., (2014) who reported the highest number of leaves in 25th November and 10th December planted crops. Das (2008) also reported variation in number of leaves of onion varieties among different planting dates. Effect of varieties on number of leaves was also found significant. Agrifound Dark Red recorded the highest number of leaves. Chandrika and Reddy (2011) also noted a significant varietal effect on number of leaves in onion plant.
Variation in leaf length was significant among different dates of planting. Highest leaf length (46.6 cm) was noted in 25th November planting which was on par with that of 10th December planting. Varieties also differed significantly for leaf length. Maximum leaf length was recorded in Arka Kalyan (46.47 cm) which was on par with that of Agrifound Light Red (44.88 cm) (Table 2).
Khan et al., (2001) reported that variation in leaf length among different varieties is due to the difference in adaptability of these cultivars to a particular environment. Interaction effect between dates of planting and varieties on leaf length was also significant. Highest leaf length was recorded in the variety Agrifound Light Red planted on 25th November. Similar results were reported by Mohanta and Mondal (2014), Khurana et al., (2003) and Misra et al., (2014). They noticed a highest leaf length of 50.50 cm in 25th November planting which was followed by 10th December planting (47.85 cm).
Bolting is the premature flowering behaviour in onion which is not a desirable trait in bulb yielding crop. Bolting percentage varied significantly among different dates of planting and varieties whereas, the variation was non-significant among the interaction between varieties and planting dates (Table 3).
Goutam et al., (2006) reported a non-significant variation in bolting percentage among varieties, planting time and interaction between the two. Devulkar (2015) reported a non-significant variation for bolting percentage among different dates of planting (15th November, 25th November, 5th December, 15th December and 25th December).
The highest bolting percentage was noticed in 10th November planting (1.71%). Early planting could be one of the reasons for higher bolting percentage in onion as suggested by Dong et al., (2013) who also reported that early planting resulted in higher accumulated temperatures which lead to high bolting percentage. The findings are also in line with those of Singh et al., (1993), Cramer (2003) and Bijarniya et al., (2015).
Among the varieties, bolting percentage was lowest/absent in Agrifound White (0%) which was on par with Arka Pragati, Agrifound Light Red and Agrifound Dark Red having 0.32%, 0.61% and 0.83% respectively. Umamaheswarappa et al., (2015) observed a significant variation in bolting percentage when they studied 21 onion varieties including the varieties undertaken in the present study. They observed a bolting percentage of 0.34% in Arka Kalyan, 0.31% in Arka Pragati, 0.29% in Agrifound Dark Red, 0.30% in Agrifound Light Red and 0.37% in Agrifound White.
Dark red Kharif onion cultivars were observed to be more susceptible for premature bolting than the Light Red Rabi onion cultivar during late Kharif season as reported by Bhonde et al., (1992) and Warade et al., (1996). The actual mechanism behind different bolting characteristics of the cultivars is yet to be discovered.
Neck thickness is an important parameter as it determines the storability of onion. Onion having thinner neck store better than those having a thicker neck. Neck thickness showed significant difference among different planting dates and varieties but, the variation was non-significant among the interactions. Lowest value for neck thickness was recorded in 25th December planting with 3.54 cm which was followed by that in 10th December planting (Table 4).
Jilani (2004), observed that the thickest onion bulb necks were obtained with early plantings (27th October) compared to late plantings (26th December). Formation of thinner neck with later planting can be correlated with small plants caused by earlier bulb initiation for late planted plants than for earlier plantings.
Different onion varieties often differ with respect to neck thickness (Jilani and Ghaffoor, 2003). This was also observed in the current study, wherein lowest neck thickness was noted in Agrifound White (3.66 cm). Sharma and Jarial (2017) evaluated different onion varieties and reported a lowest neck thickness in the variety Agrifound Light Red. Similar to the present reports, Mohanta and Mondal (2014) also reported significantly different variations in neck thickness with respect to varieties, planting time and interaction between both.
Bulb weight differed significantly with different planting dates. The highest bulb weight was recorded in 25th November planting (66.2 g) which was followed by 10th December planting and 10th November planting with 52.2 g and 48.15 g respectively (Table 5).
Longer day length and cooler temperatures prevailed during this period might be the reason behind production of bulbs having better sizes. The lowest bulb weight was recorded from fourth date of planting, 25th December (20.45 g). Mahadeen (2009), Nandal and Singh (2002), Mohanta and Mondal (2014) also reported a significant variation in average bulb weight with respect to planting dates.
The variation was non-significant among different varieties as well as among the interactions. However a significant variation in bulb weight was noted among varieties by Tripathy and Lawande (2008). Average bulb weight of varieties ranged from 43.81g to 49.88 g and Arka Pragati and Agrifound Dark Red varieties could produce bubs weighing 71.75 g and 73.5 g respectively when planted on 25th November, which indicates that the selected varieties can perform better under Kerala conditions.
Yield per plot
Yield per plot varied significantly among different dates of planting, varieties as well as interaction between dates of planting and varieties. The highest yield was recorded in 25th November planted crop (1.30 kg/m2) (Fig 1) which was on par with 10th December and 10th November planted crops with 1.26 kg/m2 and 1.02 kg/m2 per plot respectively (Table 6).
This might be due to the long sun shine hours prevailed during the bulb development stage. These findings are in agreement with the results obtained by Misra et al., (2014) and are also in line with the findings of Bijarniya et al., (2015) who reported a highest yield in the crop planted on 15th November. Similar results were also obtained by Kumar et al., (1998) and Hiray et al., (2001).
Yield per plot varied significantly among different varieties also. Highest yield was recorded in Arka Kalyan (1.21 kg/m2) which was statistically on par with Agrifound Dark Red (1.15 kg/m2) and Arka Pragati (1.07 kg/m2). Yield was lowest in Agrifound White (0.86 kg/m2) which was on par with Agrifound Light Red (0.90 kg/m2) (Table 6). Differences in yield between varieties indicates that the bulb weight can vary depending on factors affecting plant growth and yield and can be improved through crop management practices (Menon et al., 2016). Agrifound Dark Red was identified as a promising variety with a bulb yield 5.83 kg/m2 by Haldar et al., (2009). Bindu and Podikunju et al., (2016) also came up with the similar results in Kerala. They evaluated three onion varieties such as Arka Kalyan, Agrifound Dark Red and N 53 and obtained a higher yield from Agrifound Dark Red which was followed by Arka Kalyan. Khar et al., (2000) and Yadav et al., (2009) also reported variation in bulb yield among different varieties under same cultural practices. Menon et al., (2016) reported a highest total bulb yield in the variety Agrifound Light Red which was followed by Arka Kalyan, Agrifound White, Arka Pragati and Agrifound Dark Red.
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