Natural Resource Mgmt.

Crop Production

The division is working for resource management in farming for better energy efficiency and economic input allocation, developing suitable agronomic practices supported with implements for farmers with small holdings for minimizing climatic change related risks, soil degradation , drudgery etc.

Crop Management

Suitable package of practices including tillage practices, optimum sowing time, sowing methods, , seed rate,  crop geometry, nutrient, water and weed management for the major crops of the region  have been standardized    with low input technology.More remunerative intercropping and multiple cropping sequences have been identified. Production technology of Baby Corn has been developed. Efficient bio-inoculants have been developed to reduce inorganic fertilizer use.       

The optimum sowing time for irrigated wheat is from October 25 to November 10. The yield loss of 28 kg grain/ha/day for sowing during second fortnight of November is recorded in the northern hill zone. In rice-wheat cropping system conventional tillage in rice while zero tillage in wheat proved better in term of grain yield. The crop residues (stubbles) of previous crop retained at height of 15 cm resulted into higher yield as compared to the stubbles of 5 and 10 cm height in both rice as well as wheat..Under rainfed conditions, transplanting of finger millet followed by wheat sowing through seed drill resulted 16.1% higher fingermillet equivalent grain yield (FEGY) than the direct line sowing (3,621 kg/ha) and 73.6% higher than the traditional method of sowing (2,422 kg/ha). Mulch application in finger millet followed by hoeing in wheat crop improved the FEGY by 13.7% over no mulch. Transplanting of finger millet followed by wheat sowing through seed drill with mulch under zero tillage resulted net returns of Rs 53,264/- per ha with B:C ratio of 2.01.

The paired row planting of maize (paired row of 75 cm: 45 cm) intercropped with soybean and having intra-row spacing of 21 cm is recommended to harvest 26% higher yield than the recommended 60 cm х 25 cm geometry (87.5 q/ha).

The row spacing of 17 cm provided the maximum grain yield of wheat, which was 10% higher than the recommended spacing of 22.5 cm. The response of reducing row spacing was 95.3 kg grain yield/ cm up to 17.2 cm spacing.

Under rain-fed conditions, seed soaking with 1000ppm thiourea + FYM packing + dew harvesting gave highest yield and followed by seed soaking + two sprays at tillering and booting stages with 1000ppm thiourea.

In garden pea-french bean-okra cropping system application of FYM @ 69.9 kg P/ha (21 t/ha FYM) provided the highest SQI value. Application of FYM @ 69.9 kg P/ha (21 t/ha FYM) is recommended for better soil health, as it also produced 54% higher gardenpea equivalent pod yield of gardenpea-french bean-okra cropping system (41.4 t/ha) compared to the recommended NPK (26.8 t/ha).

Application of 20 tons FYM ha-1 provided 54% higher gardenpea equivalent pod yield of gardenpea-french bean cropping system compared to recommended NPK (20.5 q/ha). Application of 5.9 tons FYM/ha would substitute the recommended NPK through chemical fertilizers.

The level of FYM and vermicompost on fresh weight basis required to achieve the same yield level as recommended NPK for rainfed soybean-wheat cropping system were 14.7 and 8.8 t/ha, respectively.

  • Soybean production (21 q/ha) similar to 2 hand weeding can be obtained by pre-plant soil incorporation of new herbicide-squadron @ 2.0 litre/ha.
  • In hybrid tomato and garden pea, imposition of weed management from 45 – 60 days and 30 – 90 days period is crucial for realizing their potential yield.
  • Pre + one hand weeding and pre- + post-emergence application of herbicides significantly enhanced the system productivity compared to weedy check in soybean-wheat cropping system

In maize application of tembotrione @120 g a.i./ha as post emergence after at 25 DAS + One earthing at knee height found beneficial.

Cropping Systems

Intercropping of finger millet (transplanted) + pigeon pea in the row ratio of 4:1 is  better in terms of  finger millet equivalent yield (66 q/ha), net returns (Rs. 20 thousand/ha) and LER (1.26) under rain-fed condition.

Pigeon pea–lentil cropping system proved superior for net returns (Rs 63,616/ha), benefit:cost ratio (1.64) and energy ratio (1.94) among pigeon pea–wheat, pigeon pea–barley, pigeon pea–field pea and pigeon pea–toria, pigeon pea–lentil cropping systems.

Colocasia-onion-french bean produced the highest energy productivity (1.203 kg/MJ) and System productivity (52.38 t/ha) among different colocasia-based cropping systems (viz., Colocasia-onion-french bean, colocasia-gardenpea-french bean, colocasia-wheat-okra, colocasia-radish-potato, colocasia-cabbage-french bean, colocasia-coriander-cauliflower-french bean, colocasia-corinder-tomato and rice-wheat).

Fallow Management

In traditional spring rice – wheat – finger millet – fallow and barnyard millet – wheat – finger millet – fallow, the fallow period can be replaced by cultivation of toria/lentil under rain-fed condition. In traditionally cultivated transplanted rice-fallow-potato cropping system under valley areas, the fallow period can be replaced by toria/radish/cabbage under irrigated condition.

Contingency crop planning

  • Finger millet variety VL 347 was suitable for contingency planning for delayed monsoon as it was found best for sowing upto 5 August (12.90 q/ ha). VL-892 of wheat was found suitable for a rotation with finger millet.
  • During kharif, six crops, viz., finger millet (VL Mandua 347), buckwheat (VL Ugal 7), soybean (VLS 73), okra (VL Bhindi 2), amaranth (VL Chua 44), and horsegram (VL Gahat 19) were evaluated for 3 dates of sowing (10 July, 20 July and 30 July) under rain-fed condition to screen their suitability to contingency crop planning for delayed monsoon. Highest finger millet equivalent yield was recorded by okra (5,312 kg/ ha) followed by finger millet (3,228 kg/ ha) and Amaranth (3,514 kg/ ha). All five crops except soybean gave positive response to sowing upto 20 July.
  • During rabi, wheat (1,458 kg/ ha) gave significantly higher wheat (main rabi crop) equivalent yield than lentil (1232 kg/ ha) and toria (922 kg/ ha) under rainfed condition. Planting of wheat and lentil was observed at par upto November 25 and only wheat was found suitable afterwards

Water Management

A Poly-cement tank technology of low cost (Rs 1,0 /litre storage cost) was developed by using local available material. It is better than cement tank (Rs 10 to 15 /litre), which  is mostly damaged in earth quake and land slides. The tanks made of trapezoidal shape having slope: 1:1 with 1 to 1.5-meter depth. The poly lining material can be used  LDPE 200 to 400 micron ((800‐1000 gauge) are multi-layered cross laminated 200 to 250 GSM polythene sheet. The blocks made by using local material (sand, river / gadhera /rivulets sand and soil having more than 80 percent sand) with 1:7:2 ratios of cement, sand and gravels/stones was used for pitching covering) of poly-film.

The runoff farming model was developed by constructing sunken bed raised bed system which requires around Rs 35000 to 39000 to construct in one hectare with the help of labour.  In one-year, sunken bed + Raised bed system returns around Rs 25000/from one-hectare land. Its expected life is 20 years. This technology generate employment of about 350-man days per year for crop growing and additional 370 to390 man days for construction of sunken + raised bed system in initial year one-hectare land.

The drip system was designed for small terraces of hills and for kitchen garden to save time and labour using plastic tank (500/1000/ liter capacity) to be kept on terrace risers / roof top used for gravity energy to give appropriate head. The sprinkler as well as drip system can be run with the 2-meter terrace risers which give pressure 2.90 m head. The drip system can also be run with tank placed on soil surface with 0.9 m head without any extra terrace riser head. The cost of drip irrigation installation in 200 m2 area is Rs 8625. The gravity fed irrigation system also designed for tanks made of polyfilm to irrigate terraces /field below the pond.

Wheat irrigation can be scheduled @ 0.8 IW: CPE ratio. In limited water supply, post sowing irrigation is more beneficial.  Rice required continuous submergence but limited water supply two days after disappearances of standing water can be irrigated. If water supply is very limited, the rice plot may be submerged at least during the critical stages of growth, i.e. tillering and flowering.

Potato responded to irrigation scheduled up to the rate of IW: CPE ratio 1.50, however limited water condition, farmers can schedule irrigation @ IW: CPE 1.20 and 0.75.

Water use efficiency of rice and wheat (4.20 and 11.0 kg/ha/mm) had slightly higher under zero tillage as compared to conventional tillage.

Azolla found suitable for reducing evaporation from tanks and using it for feeding fish poultry and animals. Azolla should not be grown in tanks which are used for fish cultivation.

Fodder Production

Suitable grasses and legumes have been identified and their management practices developed for improving the fodder productivity of native grasslands. Production technology of dual purpose crops (wheat, barley and oat) for grain and green fodder as well as different cultivated fodders have been developed. Two winter grasses, viz., tall fescue and perennial rye have been found promising under rain-fed condition. On steep sloping lands, planting of fuel-cum-fodder trees (Quercus leucotrichophora, Grewia optiva, Morus alba) by improved pit technique shows better establishment and faster growth and reduced erosion than the traditional pit planting. Turmeric and ginger can be successfully grown under fodder trees in silvi-horti system. On field terrace risers, Pennisetum purpureum (hybrid napier) is the most effective fodder grass.

Under fruit based agri-horti system, VL Gehun 829 is one of the potential dual purpose wheat variety which yielded 2.30 to 4.17 t/ha grain, 2.63 to 3.77 t/ha green fodder and 4.80 to 7.88 t/ ha dry fodder.

In pecan nut (Carya illinoinensis) based agri-horti system, the maximum biomass (56.5 t ha-1) and carbon stocks (25.3 t ha–1) recorded in wheat + pecan-nut system followed by (53.2 and 23.9 t ha–1) lentil + pecan nut system. Contribution of pecan nut in carbon stock and carbon sequestration rate was 22.8 t C ha –1 and 1.67 t C ha–1 year–1, respectively.

In a 30-year old Quercus leucotrichophora, high density plantation (1x1m), tree cutting management significantly influenced the carbon stocks of Q. leucotrichophora trees. Total vegetation (above ground + below ground) carbon stock was highest for the above 1/3rd part undisturbed (356.9 Mg ha-1 ) and lowest in the cutting at 1m (86.7 Mg ha-1 ).

Microbial Resources

Plant Growth Promoting Bacterial (PGPB) culture collection

A total of ~1200 bacterial cultures were isolated from soil/ rhizosphere/ endorhizosphere of crop plants collected from different geographical locations of Uttarakhand Himalayas have been maintained in glycerol stocks at –80OC. Thirty elite plant growth promoting bacterial isolates were identified based on their 16S rRNA sequences and deposited at IMTECH, Chandigarh, NBAIM, Mau and GenBank accession number obtained for all the deposited isolates viz., Pseudomonas lurida NPRs3 (MTCC 9767);  Pseudomonas lurida NPRp15 ( MTCC 9246);  Pseudomonas sp. NARs1; Pseudomonas sp. NARs9 ( MTCC 9002); Pseudomonas sp. PPERs23 (MTCC 8999); Pseudomonas jessenii  PGRs1 (MTCC 9864); Pseudomonas putida PGRs4; Pseudomonas sp. PGERs17( MTCC 9000); Pseudomonas sp. PCRs4( MTCC 9001); Pseudomonas putida PBRs5( MTCC 9247); Pseudomonas koreensis PBRs7 (MTCC 9865); Pseudomonas fluorescens-PPRs4 (MTCC 9768); Pantoea dispersal 1A (MTCC 8706) ; Pseudomonas fragi CS11RH1 (MTCC 8984); Pseudomonas sp PCRP7(2) (MTCC 8985); Pseudomonas sp RT6RP (MTCC 8986); Pseudomonas poae RT5RP2 (MTCC 9243); Pseudomonas lurida M2RH3 (MTCC 9245); Pseudomonas poae (MTCC 9244); Pseudomonas sp PCRP7(2); Pseudomonas lurida NPRs3 (MTCC 9767); Pseudomonas fluorescens-PPRs4 (MTCC 9768); Pseudomonas fragi-CS11RH4 (MTCC 10212); Enterobecter ludwigii-HSBN1; Bacillus thuringiensis KR1; Serratia marcescens KR4; Enterobacter asburiae KR3; Stenotrophomonas maltophilia A-BYM; Exiguobacterium acetylicum  1P (MTCC 8707); Serratia marcescens  SRM (MTCC 8708)

Nitrogen  fixation

Three symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria isolated from nodules of pea, rajmash and soybean were identified based on their 16S rRNA sequences viz., Rhizobium leguminosarum-PR1 (MTCC 9248), Rhizobium leguminosarum-FB1 (MTCC 9766) and Bradyrhizobium sp. SB1 respectively.

Talc based formulation of entomopathogenic bacteria Bacillus cereus WGPSB-2

A total of 38 bacterial isolates that were pathogenic to white grubs were obtained from diseased larvae obtained from three different geographical region of Uttarakhand state. One promising isolate WGPSB-2 was isolated from moribund larva of Anomala dimidiata and has been identified as Bacillus cereus (MTCC 7182) by IMTECH, Chandigarh.  Causes mortality of II instar larvae of Anomala dimidiata and Holotrichia setticollis due to the production of lipase toxin-phospholipase C.

Plasticulture Technologies

VL Solar dryer has been developed for drying of different perishable, semi-perishable and non-perishable agricultural commodities/produce/food and wet processed food material with output capacity of 5 to 20 kg per batch as per type of produce. Its unit cost is Rs. 9,000/-

A small low cost portable poly house (62.4 m2 surface area with 12.0 m length x 5.2 m width x 2.6 m height) has been developed to protect crops from any adverse environment and to prevent the entry of animals and birds. The crops can be grown throughout the year as per requirement. The unit cost is Rs. 75,000/-.

Post Harvest Management

  • A manual pedal operated paddy threshing machine VL Paddy Thresher has been developed for hill farm women to reduce  drudgery. The machine is manually operated by single man having the threshing capacity of 80-100 kg/hr with 98% efficiency.
  • A single phase (1 HP) electric operated Vivek Millet Thresher-cum-Pearler has been devloped for finger and barnyard millets with  > 98% threshing efficiency and with > 90% pearling efficiency. The unit cost of the machine is Rs. 24,500/-.
  • A VL Polytunnel of semi-circular shape (3.0 m length x 1.0 width x 0.5 m center height) covering ground area of 3 sq m. as a protective structure has been developed for high values crops to reduce damage from frost and hail have been developed. The price of one unit of VL Polytunnel is Rs. 2,500/-. 

Farm Mechanization

  • Environment friendly, more durable an light weight (13 kg) VL Metallic Plough with various adjustments has been developed, to save the trees used for making traditional plough. It has higher working efficiency and minimum wearing and tearing in comparison to traditional.
  • VL foot operated hand wash device developed for washing hand without touching with reference to COVID-19 pandemic disease prevention. Water saving was around 4 time as compared to conventional tap water.
  • Use of weed wiper resulted into 297, 53, 76 and 33% higher yield than control in finger millet, wheat, horsegram and lentil, respectively. The cost of weeding in these crops with wiper was found 89.9% less as compared to manual weeding. Thus, weed wiper proved very economical in terms of weed control and gave highest B:C ratio (1.61, 1.99, 3.12 and 1.22 in fingermillet, wheat, horsegram and lentil, respectively).
  • Under poor residual soil moisture conditions, highest wheat grain yield was recorded under sowing with multi-crop planter and it was 18.8 and 8.8 higher than broadcasting and manual line sowing, respectively. Sowing of wheat with recommended dose of fertilizer through manual/animal drawn multi-crop planter, provides simultaneous placement of seed and fertilizer, can be very useful under extremely low/residual soil moisture conditions which are more prevalent at the sowing time of rabi crops in the region.
  • Vermi compost straining drum for farmers: A solar cum manual operated continuous vermicompost sieving drum (Channa drum) had been developed. The capacity of the machine is 200–225 kg vermicompost per hour along with zero mortality of earthworm during the process. The cost of one unit is Rs 10,000/-. The mortality rate of earthworm is upto 1 per-cent with VL Chhanna (strainer) Drum as compare to the ordinary mesh (3.67 to5.8 per-cent).
  • Smokeless chulha for pine needle briquettes: A new kind of stove (Chulah) was introduced, which is suitable for pine needle briquettes. This stove is light weight (2.5–3.0 kg) and suitable for house hold activities. This initiative will lessen forest fire problems in the state.
  • Development of animal feed block machine: Animal feed block machine was developed to prepare a block of 30x30x15 cm. Pressing was done manually by a screw press mechanism.



  • Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) for the determination of micronutrients, trace elements
  • Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS)-AAS vario 6 (Analytika Jena) for the determination of micronutrients, trace elements and heavy metals
  • CHN Analyzer (FOSS Heraeus) for the determination of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen
  • Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE) for microbial diversity/ microbial community analysis
  • Phase contrast Microscope with computer Imaging system (Nikon ECLIPSE 80i) to determine the shape, size and arrangement of microbes
  • Nitrogen Analyzer KjeltecTM 2300 (FOSS) for the determination of total nitrogen, ammoniacal nitrogen and protein content
  • Microwave digestion system for soil/ plant/ compost etc.,
  • Polymorphism and Mutation detection system
  • Flame Photometer-ELICO, India for the determination of potassium, calcium and magnesium
  • UV-VIS Spectrophotometer for colorimetric analysis
  • Fermentor (Biotran, Germany) for the mass multiplication of microbes
  • Soil DNA Extractor-Fast prep 24 (MPBIO) for the extraction of DNA & Protein
  • DNA Engine (PCR) (Peltier Thermal cycler) for the amplification of microbial DNA
  • Gel Documentation system (Alpha Imager) for the visualization of DNA/RNA/Protein gel and analysis
  • Refrigerated Environmental shaker-MaxQ4000 (Barnstead/Lab line, IOWA,USA) for the mass multiplication of microbes
  • Plant Growth Chamber (WTB Binder, Germany) to conduct the experiments under controlled environmental conditions
  • Water Bath-HAAKE SWB25 (Thermo Electron Corporation, Germany) for the extraction of DNA/ RNA/ Protein/ Enzymes
  • Refrigerated Centrifuge machine
  • Deep freezer (-20ºC) for the storage of microbial cultures
  • Root scanner
  • Leaf area meter