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Lentil (Rabi)

Lentil is a valuable human food, mostly consumed as dry seeds (whole decorticated, seed decorticated and split). In India, its mostly consumed as ‘Dal’ by removal of outer skin and separation of cotyledons. It is easy to cook and easily digestible with high biological value. Dry leaves, stems, empty and broken pods are used as valuable cattle feed.

Lentil is also called as Masur and Malka (bold seeded).

The Lentil growing states in India are Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, etc

Climate

Lentil requires cold climate. It is very hardy and can tolerate frost and severe winter to a great extent. It require cold temperature during its vegetative growth and warm temperature at the time of maturity. The optimum temperature for growth is 18-300 C. Its range of cultivation extends to an altitude of 3,500 m in north-west hills.

Soil Type and Field Preparation

Well drained, loam soils with neutral reaction are best for lentil cultivation. Acidic soils are not fit for growing lentil. The soil should be friable and weed free so that seeding could be done at uniform depth.

On heavy soils, one deep ploughing followed by two to three cross harrowing should be done. After harrowing, the field should be levelled by giving a gentle slope to ease irrigation.

Lentil is grown on a wide range of soils ranging from light loamy sand to heavy clay soil in northern parts, and in moderately deep, light black soil in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Sowing time

  • Recommended sowing time for Rainfed : First fortnight of October in Central and South India and second fortnight of October in North India;
  • Under irrigated conditions - First fortnight of November in North India
  • Late sowing : First week of December in rice fallows of NEPZ or on fields vacated very late by kharif crops under irrigated condition.

Seed Rate and Sowing

  • For small seeded : 40 - 45 kg/ha;
  • For Bold seeded : 45 - 60 k g/ha;
  • For Late sown condition : 50 - 60 kg/ha;
  • For Utera cropping : 60 - 80 kg/ha seed is recommended.

Sowing should be done in rows 30 cm. apart and it should be sown at a lower depth (3 - 4 cm). This could be done either by using a Ferti-seed-drill or by seeding behind desi plough.

Seed treatment

  • Fungicide: Thirum (2 gm) + Carbendazim (1gm ) or Thirum @ 3 gm or Carbendazim @ 2.5 g per Kg. of seed;
  • Insecticide: Chlorpyriphos 20 E.C. @8 ml./Kg. of seed;
  • Culture: Rhizobium + PSB, one packet each for 10 kg seed

Cropping systems

Sequential cropping :

The most common rotations under sequential cropping are:

  • Kharif fallow - Lentil (Rainfed areas)
  • Paddy - Lentil
  • Maize - Lentil
  • Cotton - Lentil
  • Bajra - Lentil
  • Jowar - Lentil
  • Groundnut - Lentil

Intercropping :

Most common inter cropping systems are:

  • Lentil + Sugarcane (Autumn) with two rows of lentil at 30 cm row spacing in between two rows of sugarcane
  • Lentil + Linseed (2:2)
  • Lentil + Mustard (2:6 )

Irrigation

First irrigation should be given at 40 - 45 days of planting and second at pod filling stage. Most critical stage for moisture stress is pod formation followed by flower initiation. In absence of winter rains and where contribution of soil moisture is negligible viz . in Central India, two light irrigations may be applied for significant yield improvement. More irrigation may affect the crop performance adversely.

Plant nutrient management

Generally Nitrogen 20 kg. Phosphorus 40 kg. and Sulphur 20 kg. per hectare in medium to low fertile soils as basal dressing. In lentil grown in calcareous alluvial soils, apply 1.6 kg of Boron per ha as basal to each crop. In soils, low in Zn, soil application of 20 kg Zinc Sulphate is recommended under rainfed and late sown condition; foliar spray of 2% urea improves yield.

Weed control

Two manual weeding, one at 25-30 days and another 45-50 days after sowing should be done. Weedicide like Pendimethalin 30 EC @ 0.75 - 1 kg a.i. per hectare may be used as a pre-emergence treatment. A weed-free period of early 45 - 60 days is important.

Pest and disease management

The major diseases of lentil are rust in northern plain and wilt in Central zone. Use of resistant varieties is helpful in controlling the disease - small seeded Rust resistant : PL-406, PL-639, PL-4, and L-4147 ;  bold seeded Rust resistant : L- 4076, DPL-15, IPL-406, DPL-62 etc.

Pest is not a major problem in lentil. In some years aphid population rises due to rise in temperature during January of February, and causes heavy damage. Spray of Monocrotophos (0.04%) is effective for aphid control.

For AESA based Integrated Pest Management in Lentil, click here.

Harvesting, threshing, storage

Crop become ready for harvest when leaves begin to fall, stem and pod turn brown or straw in colour and seeds are hard and rattle with 15% moisture inside them. Over ripening may lead to fall of pods as well as shattering and seed cracking if seed moisture fall below 10% due to delay in harvesting.

The crop should be allowed to dry for 4-7 days on threshing floor and threshed by manually or bullock/power drawn thresher. The clean seed should be sun dried for 3-4 days to bring their moisture content at 9-10%. The seed should be safely stored in appropriate bins and fumigated to protect them from bruchids.

Yield - A well mange crop yields about 15 - 20 quintals of grain per hectare.

Recommendation to achieve higher production

  • Deep summer ploughing once in 3 years.
  • Seed treatment should be done before sowing.
  • Application of fertilizer should be based on soil test value.
  • Wilt resistant/ tolerant – RV L - 31, IPL81 (Noori), IPL - 316, Sekhar masoor - 2, Sekhar masoor - 2. 5. Rust resistant/ tolerant – IPL - 406, WBL - 77, Pant L - 6, Pant L - 7, Sekhar masoor - 2, Sekhar masoor - 2, IPL - 316.
  • Adopt integrated approach for plant protection.
  • Weed control should be done at right time

Source : Directorate of Pulses Development

Related resources

  1. Technologies for increasing production of Rabi crops in in Bundelkhand
  2. Improved Agronomic Practices for Dryland Crops in India


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