RAJUVAS DEVELOPS SEWAN GRASS SEEDLINGS
THROUGH SOIL-LESS CULTIVATION
Jaipur,The Scientists at Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (RAJUVAS), Bikaner have achieved a breakthrough that could open doors for technology driven, soil-less cultivation of seedlings in the state. They have claimed success in developing seedlings of sewan, a desert grass found in western Rajasthan, using the hydroponics technology.
Facing challenges in proper germination of sewan, the scientists at Livestock Feed Resource Management and Technology Centre (LFRMTC) of RAJUVAS at the behest of Vice Chancellor Prof. (Dr.) Col. A.K. Gahlot embarked on using hydroponics technology for developing planting material from seeds of sewan.
The Vice Chancellor said that hydroponics technique was focused on cultivation of plants without soil, using water as a medium to supply all the requisite nutrients. In the hydroponics machine, crops can be grown in controlled environmental conditions with a temperature range of 15-320C and a relative humidity of 80-85 percent. Controlled light is let in through suitably glazed windows. Crop is grown in multilayer shelves and planting material is ready in 7-8 day continuous cycle.
Principal Investigator, LFRMTC, Prof. R.K. Dhuria said that major problem with sewan seed was that it could not be sown by seed drill and plough due to its very less weight. When broadcasted in conventional cultivation, most of the sewan seed do not germinate as they are picked up by ants, rats, birds and termites. Further, these seeds have less reserve nutrient in their endosperms which also inhibit their proper germination. Prof. Dhuria said that alternative technology of making pellets in cow dung and broadcasting in the field after rain or just before rain required protection of seeds from wind in the early stages of establishment. He said that taking a clue from the use of hydroponics technology in preparing planting material for rice crop, scientists of LFRMTC engaged in developing planting material from seeds of sewan grass.
Sewan, popularly known as the king grass of desert has high protein content of 7-11 percent. This grass is relished by ruminants like buffalo, sheep, goat and camel but has not withstood heavy grazing and eventually degraded.
The Vice Chancellor said that Minister for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Shri Prabhulal Saini appreciated the efforts made by RAJUVAS in development of this breakthrough technology. The minister said that the technology could prove to be a viable tool to give boost to the ambitious pasture development programme of the state leading to better availability of monsoon herbage for precious livestock of the state. The minister said that as Rajasthan became the first state to achieve this success, RAJUVAS should further refine this technology by the next rainy season so that it could be applied in larger areas of the north-western Rajasthan. Shri Saini assured that funds would not be a constraint in this regard.