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Field bean (Dolichos lablab var lignosus) is grown throughout India. Its green pods are used as vegetable and dry seeds as pulse. The foliage of crop provides hay, silage and green manure.Heavy use of pesticides has made many pests resistant to the pesticides used. High cost of chemical inputs has also made cultivation unviable. Research studies for the organic cultivation of field beans by TSSCRT have resulted in standardization of practices in cultivation of Field Beans.


Field Beans can be grown from Sept-Feb. Some varieties are sensitive to photoperiods. It is primarily a cool season crop. Fruiting starts with onset of winter( Dec) and continues into spring( March). During the dry season, irrigation is necessary. It requires a cool chilly period for best quality development.


It requires a neutral pH range of 5.5 - 6 and cannot tolerate acidic or alkaline soils. Medium textures soils such as silt loam or clay loams are best suited for field bean cultivation.


The varieties commonly used in Hosur area are local varieties

Stage I - Land preparation

Plough field with soil turning plough followed by one or two harrowings. Finally, level the field to a fine tilth.Maintain optimum moisture at the time of sowing for increased germination.Avoid soil compaction as this reduces plant emergence.Prevent water logging, as it will lead to collar rot.Prepare good seed bed for sowingIt can be grown as a mixed crop with Ragi or Sorghum or Maize.

Stage II - Seeds and sowing

Season: Favorable season is Late September to December.Seed rate: 12.5 - 20 Kg/Ha (5 -8 Kg /acre)

Seed treatment:Treat seeds first with Trichoderma 4gm/Kg of seeds the night before planting and dry in shade.Next morning coat the treated seeds with bio-fertilizer slurry (Rhizobium phaseoli 200 gm+200 gm Phospho bacteria per acre of seed) before planting.Sow the seeds on ridges and furrows taking care to see that the seeds are on one side of each ridge keeping a distance of 1m and 60-75 cm in plant-to-plant spacing in pure crop. When taken as mixed crop plant at about one meter from ragi and sorghum rows.

Stage III - Manuring

A basal dose @ 10 tons of Compost+200 Kg neem cake+1 kg trichoderma.is given during the time of land preparation At the time of first earthing up about 15-20 days from sowing, mix 1.5 kg Rhizobium+1.5 Kg Phospho bacteria +1 Kg K mobiliser( Frauteria) +1 Kg trichoderma + 100 kg Compost and then add into the soil between the rows.

Stage IV - Irrigation

First irrigation should be a pre-sowing one for good seed germination and plant stand.Follow normally a weekly schedule of irrigation.

Stage V - Weeding

One/two weeding with the first at 30 days after sowing and second if necessary a 15 days later is sufficient for the pure crop.

Stage VI - Plant protection (Disease and insect control, Spray schedule)

Disease/insect Symptoms Bio-pesticide &Dosage
Pod borer
(Helicoverpa armigera, Etiella zinckenella, Adisura atkinsoni)
Pod borers cause severe damage by boring pods and flowers from 10-90% Spray NPV at the time of flower bud formation and again at small pod stage.
One more spray at flat pod stage if damage exceeds one damaged pod per inflorescence maybe given.
Use Trichogramma spp. 4cc/acre at the time of flowering stage.
Myzus persicae, Hyadaphis erysimi and Brevicoryne brassicae
Leaves get crinkled, curled or cup shaped. The plant can be infested at any growth stage. In severe conditions, the entire plant may wilt. 
Aphids also produce honey dew on which sooty mold grows
  1. Use of Natural enemies like Parasitic wasps, and coccinellid predators namely ladybird larvae and lacewing larvae to keep the aphid population in control. 
  2. Spray Metarhizium/ Verticillium @ 3-5gm/litre to kill aphids.
  3. 5gm/litre to kill aphids.
  4. Mulch crop area as Aphids are less attracted to mulched plantings.
  5.  Use of Neem extract @ 3% sprays
Leaf eating caterpillar (Spilarcitia obliqua) (Euproctis fraternal) Large number of hairy caterpillars appear and destroy leaves Spray bacillus thurengensis @ 250 ml per acre
Stem fly
(Ophiomyia phaseoli)
Adults puncture cotyldanory leaf lamina and lay eggs.
Larvae mine leaves, petiole and stem.
Extensive mortality can be seen 20 days from sowing. 
More severe in monsoon season.
Spray 5% neem seed kernel extract at leaf emergence, 15 days and 25 days from sowing. 
Spray solution of Metarhizium anisopliae@ 250 gm/ 100 litre/acre at the time of flower initiation and pod formation. 
Spray NPV 100 LE @ 0.5ml/lit (100ml in 200 litres of water with 250 gm jaggery solution/acre) at the time of flower initiation
Leaf hopper
(Empoasca kerri)
Yellowing and crinkling of margins lead to severe depletion of plant vitality and leaf drop Continue neem oil as given above.
Weevils (Alcidodes pictus) Galls with many grubs are seen on vines Prophylactic sprays of neem seed kernel extract @ 3 % solution.
Serpentine leaf miner (Liriomyzza trifolii) Mines are found in basal leaves Spray 4 % neem seed kernel extract or neem formulation 3-5ml at 20 and 30 days from sowing.
Thrips (Calliothrips indicus, Megaleus distalis) Leaves, flowers, pod are severely damaged.
Severe attack leads to crinkling of leaves, flower drop, and streaks on pods.
Prophylactic sprays of neem seed kernel extract @ 3 % solution.
Red spider mite (Tetranychus cinnaberinum) Found on lower side of leaf. 
In severe infestation, webs are formed.
Older leaves are more sensitive. Loss of sap devitalizes plant and reduces flowering and yield
Spray neem seed kernel extract (3%) with Tobacco decoction.
Give water sprays during dry periods and maintain a humid atmospshere.
Leaf spot (Cerecospora dolichii) Circular to angular spots with grey center and reddish border appear on leaves. 
They slowly cover the entire leaf and reduce growth and yields.
Mix 250 gm of Trichoderma & 250 gm of Pseudomonas in 50 kg of compost and mix once at the time of planting, at the first weeding and pod initiation stage.
Spray 300 g of Pseudomonas with 100 lit of water/acre.
Ashy stem blight (Fusarium solani var phaseoli, Macrophomina phaseolina) The stems turn ashy in colur and become devitalised Mix 250 gm of Trichoderma & 250 gm of Pseudomonas in 50 kg of compost and mix once at the time of planting, at the first earthing up and pod initiation stage.
Spray 300 g of Pseudomonas with 100 lit of water/acre.
Powdery mildew(Laveillula taurica var macrospora) White powdery like substance is found on the under surface of leaves Mix 250 gm of Trichoderma & 250 gm of Pseudomonas in 50 kg of compost and mix once at the time of planting, at the first weeding and pod initiation stage.
Spray 300 g of Pseudomonas with 100 lit of water/acre.
Yellow mosaic Leaves develop bright yellow patches interspersed with green area.
It is spread by Bemisia tabaci
Spray 3% neem oil at weekly interval and prevent aphid act.
Spray Beauvaria bassiana 0.25 % at 15, 30,45 days from planting and prevent pest attack. 
Remove and destroy infected plants.
Spray buttermilk 10 litres in 100 litres of water

Stage VIII - Harvesting & Yield:

Pods are harvested from about 60 days.Harvesting can be done for 6 -10 weeks. Yields around 5-8 tons/acre of green pods can be obtained.

Bindumathi Mohan

T.S. Srinivasan Centre For Rural Training
SIPCOT II, Bethalapalli, Hosur, Tamil Nadu 635109
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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