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Niger cultivation

Did you know ? that Niger crop is very quick surface covering crop and therefore is very good against weeds

What is Niger? What is its importance?

Niger is an oilseed crop

It is grown as a minor oilseed crop in many developing countries having suitable climate for its growth.

Nearly 2/3 rd of Niger production is used for oil extraction 

It is used in confectionaries in India

In western countries it is used as feed for birds

It is fed in the form of silage to cattle

Niger cake is valuable cattle feed

Niger Seed contains 35-40% oil

Oil is pale yellow with nutty taste and a pleasant odour

The Keeping quality of Niger Oil  is poor due to oxidative rancidity

Oil contains Olieic acid 38%, Linoleic acid 52%

Oil is used for Culinary purpose, Manufacture of paints and soft soaps, Lighting and lubrication

Niger seeds

Niger oil is a good absorbent of fragrance and so used in perfume industries

Niger Oil is used as a substitute for sesame oil in pharmaceutical purposes

Niger based agar medium is used to distinguish a brain ailment causing fungus named cryptococcus neoformans

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What is the scientific name, family and plant characteristicts of Niger?

The botanical name of niger is Guizotia abyssinica

The family of Niger is Compositae (Asteraceae)

Niger is an Annual dicotyledonous herb

First leaf is paired and small

Leaves are sessile

Dark green is usual color but lower leaves pale yellow

The stem is usually round, smooth to slightly rough and Approximately 1-2 cm diameter

Plant can grow up to 1.5 m

Stem is hallow and breaks easily

Color of stem is green to reddish green

The fruit of niger is called achene

Seed is 3-5mm length and 1.5mm width, lanceolate in shape

The testa is hard, glossy, and usually black

Normally 1000 seeds weighs 3-5g in niger (Test weight)

Origin of Niger is believed to be ethiopia

What type of climate is required for Niger growth?

Niger is a temperate region crop and adapted to semi-tropical

Niger can be grown on elevations ranging from 500 -1000m

Moderate Temp ranging from 18 to 23 degree C is required during growth

Temperature greater than 30 degree C severely affects growth

Indian strains are less affected by temp compared to Ethiopian

Frost will kill the young plant

Niger can tolerate 1000-1300 mm of Rainfall

Peak flowering should not coincide with heavy rain

High wind in Niger results in seed shattering

What type of soils are required for Niger cultivation?

Niger can be grown on wide range of soils

Light textured soil are the best but well drained heavy soil are also suitable

Niger requires soil with pH 5.2 – 7.3

Occassional water logging in soil can be tolerated by Niger since it develops aerenchyma cells under waterlogged soils

Niger can also grow in saline but Flowering gets delayed

How to do field management for Niger cultivation?

It has small seed hence requires fine seed bed

Best season for cultivation is Aug-Sep in India after a Kharif crop or early Rabi crop

Seed rate per ha required for niger cultivation is 5 to 8 kg per Ha

Spacing btween Rows (Row width) is 20 to 30cm
And spacing between plants is 10 or 15 cm

Method of sowing is broadcasting (most commonly used) however, Drilling by seed drill is advanced and more useful

Depth of sowing is 1-3cm

How is the Nutrient management in Niger?

20:20:0 Nitrogen: phosphorus: potash kg / Ha is recommended dosage

N in two splits, at sowing and 30 DAS

K is recommended in Karnataka @ 10kg

How is weed management doen in Niger?

Niger grows rapidly and covers quickly the surface so One or two weedings are sufficient

Dodder (Cuscuta) infested areas are found in  Orissa

To control dodder use Cuscuta free seeds, Herbicide Chlorpropham G at dodder germination @ 4kg /ha, Pronomide @ 2kg/ha as pre-emergence soil treatment or as foliar
spray 20 DAS

How is Water management in Niger?

It is grown very rarely as irrigated crop in India

Crop is sensitive to moisture stress at early stage

Check basin or border strip is ideal methods

What is crop duration of Niger?

Duration of Niger varies in the range of 80-145 days

Delayed harvest leads to shattering

Seeds are loose in head, hence over maturity leads to grain shattering

Nearly 25 percent grain shattering is always found in Niger

Harvesting signs are When the leaves dry up, harvest it ans When the bud moisture is 45-50%

Stacking in the floor for a week and drying and cleaning as usual are normal operations

How much is the Yield potential of Niger?

Normally 300-500kg but up to 1000kg/ha depending on climate, soil and management practices

Yield is 400 kg when grown with sunflower 100 kg with sorghum per Ha

Intercropping system carried out with Niger are  Niger + sunflower (4:2) , Niger + soybean (2:1), Niger + peanut (2:2), Niger + blackgram (3:3), Niger + castor

Preceding pulse is more remunerative than sole crops

Further readings and references

www.wikipedia.com

Handbook of Agriculture