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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 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
Handbook of Agriculture