Popular Article

Super Early Pigeonpea- Scope and Opportunities in India

M. Parimala Kumar, K. B. Suneetha devi, B. Balaji Naik, G. Jayasree, P. D. Sreekanth and C. V. Sameer kumar

  • Page No: 084 - 088
  • Published online: 27 Sep 2022

  • Abstract
  •  mparimal.kumar@gmail.com

Pigeonpea is a one of the oldest food crops to provide rich source of food proteins. It occupies an important place among pulses and has been rated the best as far as its biological value is concerned. It has been recommended for a balanced diet with cereals, especially to fill in the nutritional gap for proteins among the poorer section in developing economies that cannot afford a non-vegetarian diet. The available medium and long duration pigeonpea cultivars grown under rainfed conditions were experiencing terminal drought at flowering due to cessation of the south west monsoon in October leading to lower productivity in India. The photo and thermo sensitivity of existing pigeonpea cultivars is also another drawback restricting the horizontal expansion to different cropping systems in varied agro-ecologies. The scope of yield maximization in pigeonpea could be possible through cultivation of photo and thermo in-sensitive super early pigeonpea types.

Keywords :   Cropping systems, inter crops, super early, photo and thermo insensitive

  • Introduction

    Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan L.) is the sixth most important grain legume in the world and second most important pulse crop after chickpea in India. Globally, pigeonpea is cultivated in 5.61 M ha area and 90 % of world area of pigeonpea is present in India with net cultivated area of 4.54 M ha and produces 3.83 MT with an average productivity of 842 kg ha-1 in India. Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana account for India’s 73.1 % of the area and 70.3 % of the production. The highest productivity of pigeonpea is 1836 kg ha-1 in Philippines (FAOSTAT, 2019). Inspite of highest area (>90 %) exists in India, the productivity is low as pigeonpea is seldom grown as sole crop and non availability of fast growing, short duration, high yielding photo and thermo insensitive pigeonpea cultivars. The stifle due to terminal drought stress in available medium and long duration pigeonpea cultivars grown under rainfed conditions is hindering productivity of pigeonpea in India. The Photo and thermo sensitivity of traditional pigeonpea cultivars exists are, restricting the expansion to different areas and cropping systems. Traditional cultivars of pigeonpea are of different duration types viz., early (120 to 140 days), Medium (140 to 160 days) and long duration (> 160 days). Among these types medium and long duration groups were mostly cultivated and they cannot fit in preceding or succeeding crop situations of rainfed ecology due to limited growing period. Super early pigeonpea varieties developed from ICRISAT are of 100 days duration with yield potential of 1.0 to 1.5 tonnes ha-1 (Vales et al., 2012). Yield maximization of super early pigeonpea and its cropping system depends on selection of suitable super early cultivar and its adaptability in the agro climatic zone. The super early maturing lines developed by ICRISAT i.e., ICPL 11242 and ICPL 20325 comes under non determinant type (NDT) group and ICPL 20338 and ICPL 11253 under determinate type (DT) group are found promising.

  • Scope of the Super Early Pigeonpea

    The earliness of these lines provides number of opportunities for inclusion in the cropping systems and lays path in the expansion to non-traditional area like rice fallow and Fallow -early rabi crops (Groundnut, Mustard, Chickpea etc.,). Being hardy and early, fits in rice fallows, wheat-pulses and sugarcane-pulses intercropping system using residual moisture for growth and development (Hingane et al., 2018). This can be a remunerative option in the pigeonpea-wheat cropping system and provide sufficient time to undertake the cultivation of wheat in the same field and intern contribute to reduce environmental degradation. This can be attractive option to grow the crop on stored soil moisture through Zero till or minimal tillage. The earliness enables the crop to escape diseases, drought and pod borer attack. Response of super early pigionpea with different microbial consortia for releasing crop nutrients to crop was observed (Parimal et al., 2022). The uniformity in pod maturity and attractive stature opens the prospect of completed mechanization in super early pigeonpea (Ranjani et al., 2018). Compatibility with machinery like rotary mulcher, multi crop shredder and slasher can be used to chaff the small stalks into small pieces. This ecologically friendly method helps to soil health through addition of organic matter (Ramanjaneyulu et al., 2021).

  • Suitability of SEP for Diverse Cropping Systems in India

    The photo and thermo insensitive ability and super early duration of these pigeonpea line enables to sow in round the year by which inclusion in existing cropping system could be possible in rainfed and irrigated ecology.

  • Advantages

    1. Conserving time and natural resources like land, water, time capital.

    2. Suitability of super early pigeonpea inclusion in different cropping systems rainfed and irrigated scenario and this enable to intensification with diversified crops in cropping system.

    3. Uniform pod maturity and thin stems enables to mechanized harvesting.

    4. Seed to seed mechanization is possible with this crop.

    5. Low climatic risks and No terminal drought stress as crop harvested in 110 days.

    6. High density planting system with pneumatic planter and other machinery is possible.

    7. Being legume improves the soil physical condition and nutrient availability through N fixation.

  • Constraints

    1. Seed availability for larger arears.

    2. Market acceptance of seed as it is smaller than the traditional cultivars.

    3. Awareness among the farming community

  • How to Overcome

    1. Large scale field trials and front-line demonstration should be organized under supervision of agricultural institutions and department for wider acceptability.

    2. Government should intervene and support marketing of produce.

    3. Capacity building.

  • Conclusion

    There are clear chances for adaptability of super early pigeonpea without additional input resources under rainfed and irrigated ecosystems in India. The performance of super early pigeonpea under intercropping situation is yet to be identified for improving land utilization efficiency. Continuous tapping of the potential of high yielding extra super early lines under different cropping systems is required.

  • Reference
  • FAOSTAT, 2019. faostat3.fao.org. Downloaded on 2021.

    Hingane, A.J., Kute, N. S., Singh, I., Kumar, N., Singh, S. J., Raje, R. S., Singh, I. P., Belliappa, S. H., Sadayappan, R. M, Rathore, A. R., Kumar, C. V. S., 2018. Prospects of Super-early Pigeonpea in the Pigeonpea Workshop at International Food Legumes Research Conference VII (IFLRC-VII) held at Marrakesh during 5-9 May, 2018.

    Parimala Kumar, M., Suneetha devi, K.B., Balaji Naik, B., Jayasree, G., Sreekanth, P.D. 2022. Performance of super early pigeonpea in different sowing windows and integrated nutrient management in STZ. The Journal of Research PJTSAU 50 (1), 70-81.

    Ramanjaneyulu, A.V., Swetha, D., Sainath, N., Sudarshanam, A., Uma Reddy, R., 2021. Mechanization in cotton – An overview. Chronicle of Bioresource Management 5(2), 016–025.

    Ranjani, M. S., Vanniarajan, C., Kumar, C. V. S., Saxena, R. K., Sudhagar, R., Hingane, A. J. 2018. Genetic variability and association studies for yield and its attributes in super-early pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (l.) Millsp.) genotypes. Electronic Journal of Plant Breeding 9(2), 682-691.

    Vales, M.I., Srivastava, R.K., Sultana, R., Singh, S., Singh, I., Singh, G., Patil, S.B., Saxena, K.B., 2012. Breeding for Earliness in Pigeonpea: Development of New Determinate and Non-determinate Lines. Crop Sciences 52(6), 2507–2516.


Kumar MP, devi KBS, Naik BB, Jayasree G, Sreekanth PD, kumar CVS. Super Early Pigeonpea- Scope and Opportunities in India CBM [Internet]. 27Sep.2022[cited 8Feb.2022];6(1):084-088. Available from: http://www.pphouse.org/cbm-article-details.php?cbm_article=73

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