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About the Crop
Aubergine or Eggplant
Name in Indian languages
Baingan (Hindi), Begun (Bengali), Ringna (Gujarathi), Badane (Kannada), Waangum (Kashmiri), Vange (Marathi), Bengena (Assamese), Baigan (Oriya), Vashuthana (Malayalam), Kathiri (Tamil), Vankaya (Telugu) and Peethabhala (Sanskrit).
Origin, Distribution and Uses
The history of brinjal dates decades back and made its written presence in an ancient Chinese agricultural treatise completed in 544. It also has its mention in Sanskrit literature from 3rd century AD. It is believed to be a domestic crop of India, China, Thailand, Burma or some other South East Asian country. Till 18th century, it was not utilised as a vegetable due to its unfavourable taste and fear of causing diseases like ulcers, leprosy, elephantiasis, intestinal constriction etc., but now it is widely used in various parts of the world as vegetable. It has been cultivated through ages to have rid away with the earlier bitter taste. In the beginning of 6th century AD, it was popularised in Middle East, Turkey and Africa by Arabs through Mediterranean route. It was introduced in 7th or 8th century to Greeks and Romans by Arabs. Italy, Turkey, Egypt, China and Japan are in the race and are considered to be large producer of brinjal. In India, it is largely cultivated in states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Brinjal is widely consumed as vegetable for its various health benefits. It is highly fibrous, contains antioxidants, potassium, Vitamin B-6 and phytonutrients like flavonoids which help in preventing cancer and heart disease. It also helps in weight loss with its low calories. It is good booster for brain and also helps in maintaining good health by lowering cholesterol in our body.
Area, Production and Productivity
As brinjal is a native of India, it is cultivated across many states in large scale and consumed by all most all household. In 2013 – 2014, as per the records of National Horticulture Database, the area under brinjal production was 7,11,000 ha, with production of 135.57 lakh tonnes and productivity of 19.1 mt/ha. The major brinjal producing states in India are Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. In the states of Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, it is harvested all year round. Out of all states, in 2013-14, West Bengal stands to be the highest brinjal producing state with 23% of total production.
Climate and Seasons
Brinjal mainly is a warm season crop and gives best yield if cultivated in the temperature range of 21 to 27°C. It shows its adversity towards very cold temperature and also is sensitive to severe frost. It is able to give a good yield if also during rainy season. It requires a long growing season with high average day and night temperature and the seed also requires high germination temperature.
It can withstand various types of soil but prefers well drained and fertile soil for maximum productivity. It also gives a good return if grown in sandy and clayey soil and the ideal pH remains to be between 5.5 to 5.6.
It is a violet coloured variety which is resistant to bacterial wilt, gives a high yield and is released from Kerala Agricultural University. The fruits are oval, medium and glossy violet in colour with an average yield of 30 t/ha.
2. Pusa Purple long
It was produced in IARI, New Delhi with many desirable properties like moderate tolerant to shoot borer and little leaf disease. The fruits are nearly 25 to 30 cm long with smooth glossy light purple colour. It gives an average yield of 27.5 t/ha.
3. Pusa Kranti
It is produced by IARI, New Delhi, which is a dwarf variety along with oblong and dark purple coloured brinjal fruit. The average yield is 14 to 16 t/ha and matures in 130 to 150 days.
4. Pusa Barsati
It was developed in PAU Ludhiana, which is a dwarf variety without thorns. The fruits are purple with an average yield of 35.5 t/ha.
It was developed by Kerala Agricultural University, which has bacterial wilt disease resistance and gives high yield. It gives an average yield of 62 t/ha and the fruit is light green in colour and of elongated shape.
It was developed in MPKV, Maharashtra and it is a dwarf variety, with purple coloured oval fruit with white strips on it. It gives an average yield of 30 t/ha.
7. Arka Navneet
It was released by IIHR, Bangalore. The fruits are oval and oblong, with deep purple coloration and also has very good cooking qualities. It can be picked in 150 – 160 days and average yield is 65 – 70 t/ha.
8. Manjri Gota
It was developed in MPKV, Maharashtra and the variety is a dwarf one with oval shaped purple coloured fruit, which attains a golden yellowish colour on maturation. It gives an average yield of 15 – 20 t/ha.
9. Pusa Purple Cluster
It is released from IARI, New Delhi, with small and dark purple fruits which are ready for picking in 75 days after transplanting. It is resistant to little leaf disease.
10. Arka Keshav
It was developed in IIHR, Bangalore with high resistant to bacterial wilt and the fruits are tender, which can be harvested within 150 days with an average yield of 45 t/ha.
11. Arka Ankur
It was developed in IIHR, Bangalore and fruits are oval and small in size with purple colour which is glossy in appearance. It can be picked after 45 days of transplantation.
It is resistant to bacterial wilt and gives a high yield. It was developed in Kerala Agricultural University and gives an average yield of 30 t/ha.
In order to grow brinjal, proper drainage is very important and it is to be ensured that the soil is prepared to fine tilth by ploughing it 4 to 6 times. For better productivity FYM should be mixed with soil before sowing the seeds and after final ploughing. Bulky organic manure like rotten crowding or compost can be mixed with the soil. The soil should be sterilized by chemical means like using steam and solar energy and physical means like steam and solar energy.
Seeds of brinjal are used for propagation. After the land is suitably prepared as per requirement, seeds are sown and transplanted according after germination.
Sowing, Nursery and Transplanting
The time and season of sowing depends largely on agroclimatic conditions and cultivation regions. There are three sowing season in North India which is June – July for autumn crops, November for spring and April for the summer crop. Although brinjal can be grown all year round in South India but main sowing can be done during July to August. In hills, seeds are sown in March or April. In order to avoid any problem related to water logging, brinjal seeds are sown in raised nursery beds and the seedlings are transplanted in the field. Generally, raised beds of size 7.2 × 1.2 m and 10 -15 cm in height is prepared and approximately a distance of 70 cm is kept between two beds for better cultivation operations. Rotten farmyard can be mixed with each bed for better growth and also small quantity of super phosphate may also be used. The beds can be drenched with 15-20g/10 L of water of Carbendazim to prevent fungal diseases.
The seed rate can vary according to the type of seed, where pure line varieties required is almost 500 – 750 g/ha and hybrid requirement is 250 g/ha. The seed rate also depends on the type of sowing and the requirement per hectare may range from 140 to 200 g for seed trays, 500g for seedbeds and up to 3kg in case of direct seed sowing.
Seed Treatment and Sowing
It is a routine part to treat the seeds properly before sowing them in order to prevent any future contamination and infection. Some of the various ways by which the seeds can be treated are given below.
- The seeds can be treated with 4g/kg of seeds with Trichoderma Viride or Thiram at 2g/kg of seed which avoids any fungal disease.
- The seeds can also be treated with 40g/400g of seeds with Azospirillum which in turn helps in better nitrogen fixation.
- Some of the varieties of brinjal seeds become dormant and it becomes very important to break the dormancy for proper germination. The dormancy can be broken by storing the seeds for duration of 12 months at an ambient temperature.
Seeds are sown 2-3cm deep and covered with layer of soil and is lightly watered. The beds are covered with grass or straw which helps in maintaining appropriate temperature and moisture. Post germination, the straw or grass needs to be removed. The seedlings are hardened during the last week in nursery after which they are transplanted for planting within 4 to 6 weeks. They reach a height of nearly 12 to 15 cm when they are carefully uprooted and transplanted in the prepared field without injuring the roots. Transplanting should be preferably done during evening time. It is advisable to dip the roots in Dimethoate at 0.02%, 6 hours prior to transplanting for controlling little leaf disease by avoiding jassids infestation.
Brinjal is a cross pollinated species and hence requires appropriate spacing. Spacing largely depends on variety and season of planting. In case of the spreading type, spacing may range between 75 × 60 cm to 75 × 75 cm. In case of non spreading and bushy variety, the spacing should be 50 to 60 cm from row to row and from plant to plant.
Brinjal is susceptible to pest manifestation by range of pest and in order to minimise that, it can be grown with any other crops. It is a highly cross pollinated crop and inter specific hybridisation is practised so that resistance characteristics can pass from the wild cultivars to commercial ones. It can also be intercropped with many other crops like marigold, cabbage, maize, soya etc for better yield and harvest. The chances of bacterial wilt disease reduces if it is rotated wit French bean. Cropping rotation with sorghum and wheat helps in preventing from rot knot and nematodes.
There should be adequate and timely supply of water which is an important aspect for good production. It is very critical to irrigate the crop for good growth, flowering, fruit setting and fruit development. In plains the crop needs to be irrigated in 3 or 4 days during summers and every 7 to 12 days during winters. The brinjal field should be irrigated regularly at regular intervals to keep the soil moist during frosty days. The early phase requires copious irrigation. If the plant is irrigated excessive during seedling stage, it might cause damping off disease. If there is stagnant water during the vegetative phase, it leads to soil borne diseases that result in poor growth.Drip irrigation technology is widely used as it increases the irrigation potential by optimizing available irrigation water. In case of drip irrigation, the crop and field is irrigated in interval of almost 2 days. Drip irrigation is ideal for brinjal cultivation because as it fulfils its water requirement efficiently with drip,. During initial 70 days, the crop requires adequate moisture level and thus requires almost 0.75 L of water at initial stage and 3.25 L of water during peak growth stage. There are many advantages of drip irrigation like it saves water, improve fertilizer application efficiency and produce quality.
Brinjal is a long duration crop and in order to achieve high yield with good productivity, it is very important to provide appropriate nutrients in form of both organic manure and chemical fertilizers.The following can be supplemented as part of nutrient management.
- It is effective to prepare the soil with organic manure and thus 15 to 20 tonnes of well decomposed FYM can be added to the soil. Farm yard Manure consists of decomposed cattle dung mixture and remains of food stalks.
- Apart from FYM, many other organic manure like farm compost, urban compost, biogas slurry, compost manure etc can also be added as organic manure.
- An optimum amount of micronutrients should be incorporated in the brinjal cultivation. Nitrogen is taken up by the plant as nitrate which is converted to ammonium in plant and utilized as protein. In order to provide adequate nutrition, 100kg to 150kg of nitrogen is used as basal input.
- Phosphorus is taken by the plant as phosphate anion and its deficiency may lead to stunted growth. 50kg of phosphorus can be added as basal dose and 1% super phosphate solution of 10g/litre can be sprayed for fresh growth.
- Potassium plays an important role in plant metabolism and its deficiency may lead to stunted growth and reduction in leaf size. As basal dose, 50 kg of can be potassium can be added and 0.5% 5g/L potassium chloride can be sprayed later.
Weeds compete with the main plant for space, nutrients and light and if not controlled effectively reduce the plant productivity. It is very important to check weed growth to ensure proper soil aeration and plant root development. Manual methods like hand weeding and hoeing can be used to remove the weeds. Another very effective method is black polythene mulching, which prevents light entry and hence doesn’t allow weed germination. Apart from these certain chemicals or weedicides can also be used to destroy them or prevent there growth. Fluchloralin at 1.5kg/ ha or Oxadiazon at 0.5 kg/ha or Alachlor at 1.5kg/ha can be applied along with manual weeding to control weeds effectively.
Pests and Management
Brinjal fruit and Shoot borer (Leucinodes Orbonalis)
It is widely distributed in many Asian Countries and highly infest brinjal. It is active through out the year and this proper management is required to escape destruction by it. It lays eggs on the ventral surface of leaves, shoots and flower buds and thus starts its damaging effect after the seedlings are transplanted till fruits are harvested. The caterpillars enter from under the calyx in the flower bud and start feeding inside. The flower buds which are damaged either shed off or if fruits are developed, it shows small circular holes. The damaged tender shoots and fruits with bore holes should be destroyed. By using light traps at 1/ha can kill moths by attracting them. Insecticides like 2kg of Carbaryl 50 WP and 2kg 50 WP wettable Suphur or 250-340 ml of Fenpropathrin 30 EC or 625 – 1000g of Thiodicarb 75 WB can be used to protect against damage. Resistant varieties of brinjal may be used.
Hadda Beetle (Epilachna Vigintioctopunctata)
They feed on the upper surface of the leaves and also between the veins and to the mid rib. The leaves dry off turning brown and ultimately fall of the plant. The adult beetles and the pupae can be mechanically destroyed or they can be collected in kerosenated water by shaking off the plants. It can also be controlled by spraying an emulsion of 1 litre of neem oil with 60 g of soap dissolved in 1/2L of water by mixing it with 20 L of water and 400g of well crushed garlic. A spray of Diflubenzuron with 1.5 L of Endosulfan or 1.0 L/ha Chlorpyriphos also effectively reduces its population.
Brown Leaf Hopper (Cestius Phycitis)
It mainly sucks the sap from lower leaf surfaces by piercing and sucking, which leads to injection of toxic saliva in plant tissues causing reduction in size of leaf, petioles and gives plant a more bushy appearance. It can be controlled by dipping the seedling in 0.2% Carbosulfan 25 DS solution. It can also be curbed by spraying Methyl Parathion 750 ml or Dimethoate 500ml or Imidacloprid 125ml 3 or 4 times in interval of 10 days.
Ash Weevils (Myllocerus Subfasciatus)
It feeds on roots leading to wilting and death of plants. It can be managed by various ways and through application of certain chemicals. During the last ploughing, neem cake at 500kg/ha or Endosulfan 4% D at 25kg/ha should be applied. It can also be curbed by spraying 2.5 kg of Carbaryl 50 WP in 375 L of water per hectare.
Lace Wing Bug (Urentius Hystricellus)
It attacks leaves resulting in yellowish patches near the mid rib. It is advisable to collect and destroy the infected plants. It can also be controlled by spraying Dimethoate 30 EC at 1L/ha or Methyl Dementon 25 EC at 1250 ml/ha.
Aphids (Aphis Gossypii)
This pest is a sucking type which is highly active from December to March. The nymphs and adults both damage the plant by sucking cell sap from leaves, stem, bud etc and thus increasing plant mortality rate. It can be controlled by spraying Methyl Demeton 25 EC or Dimethoate 30 EC 500ml or Fenevalerate 20 EC 375 – 500 ml or Thiometon 25 EC.
Diseases and Management
Damping Off (Pythium spp., Phytophthora spp., Rhizoctonia)
It is one of the most common brinjal fungal diseases which infects the seedlings and occurs when it is still in the nursery bed. The seedling become pale in colour and brownish lesions appear at collar region, resulting in wilting and death of seedling. This disease is curbed by treating the seed bed with Formalin before sowing of seeds. The seeds can also be treated with Cerasan or Agrosan G.N at 2 gm/kg of seed before sowing. It can be regularly sprayed with fungicides.The nursery top soil can also be treated with Thiaram at 5g/sq m area of soil. Soil solarisation also effectively controls damping off by spreading 250 gauge polythene sheet over nursery bed before seed sowing and bioagent Trichoderma viride can be applied in soil at 1.2kg/ha.
Phomopsis Blight (Phomopsis vexans)
It is a fungal disease which infects the foliage and fruits. Symptoms are small circular spots later turning brown with irregular blackish margin on the leaves. The stem also show dark brown lesions and spots on the fruit to form rotten areas. It can be prevented by long crop rotation with disease resistant variety. The fruits become soft and watery due to the disease. In order to prevent this disease, the seeds should be dipped in hot water for 50°C for 30 minutes. It can also be controlled by spraying with 0.2% Difolaton or 0.2% Captan in nursery stage. By spraying the field weekly with Zineb (Dithane-Z-78) or Mancozeb (Dithane-M-45) at 2.5gm per litre of water, this disease can be checked.
Fusarium Wilt (Fusarium solani)
This disease causes the underground stem to become dry and brown due to decay and the roots become weak. It results in stunted growth, immature fruit withering, yellowing of lower leaves and ultimately drying of the whole plant. It can be reduced by applying a combination of Trichoderma harzianum strain as seed treatment at 4 g/kg of seed and treating the soil with neem cake at 80g/pot at transplanting time and after 30 days of transplantation.
Cercospora Leaf Spot (Cercospora egenula)
This disease is favoured by high relative humidity and leaf shows chlorotic lesions which are grayish brown and irregular in shape. The leaves which are damaged fall off prematurely. It is very important to manage this disease and prevent the plant from attack by maintaining proper sanitation. It can also be taken care by intercropping and application of chemicals like 1% Bordeaux mixture or 2g of Copper oxychloride or 2.5g Zineb/litre of water. The plants should be irrigated in the morning hours so that it gets ample time to dry.
Bacterial Wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum)
This disease causes wilting of foliage leading to collapse of the entire plant. It causes slight yellowing of leaves and plant drying at flowering and fruiting stage. Plants show wilting symptoms at noontime but recover by night, but eventually die soon. It can be effectively managed by inter cropping with cauliflower or other crops. By spraying copper fungicides i.e., 2% Bordeaux mixture, the disease can be curbed and also nematodes need to be curbed as the disease is more prevalent in presence of root knot nematodes.
Little Leaf of Brinjal
It is a mycoplasmal disease which is a viral disease transmitted by leaf hopper Hishimonus Phycitis. It infects the leaves which appear reduced in size and deformed. The affected plant produces many tiny yellow leaves and doesn’t bear fruits. It is advisable to destroy the diseased plant. The insect or carrier can be killed by spraying the crop with Dimethoate Rogor-30 EC or Oxydemeton Methyl, also called Metasystox-25 EC or Monocrotophos at the rate of 1ml per litre of water.
It can be easily cultivated via organic farming and since it is a warm season crop. The seeds of brinjal can be soaked in water with Pseudomonas fluorescens to protect the plants from diseases. The seeds can be kept in a dilute solution of 50 to 100ml of water with 2 gm of Pseudomonas fluorescens for 6 hours after which they can be put in trays or grow bags. The brinjal plant seeds takes 10 – 14 days to germinate after which it is they are removed from trays and planted in grow bags within 3 to 4 weeks. The grow bags can be filled with organic manure containing soil, peat, vermin compost, cow dung etc and neem cake to prevent attack from disease. Brinjal transplants can be incorporated with low nitrogen containing organic fertilizers at regular intervals. When the soil is warm, the transplants needs to be watered to maintain a good moisture level. While the transplants are growing, it may be infected by insects which can be checked by applying organic insecticide or by covering the plant by agribon bag till the plant starts flowering. By using good crop rotation practices, diseases can be checked.
Harvesting and Yield
After almost 60 to 150 days of transplanting the brinjal plant, the fruits are ready for harvest. It is very important that the fruits are harvested at the right stage when they reach the right size and before the seeds become very large. We can check the fruit maturity by pressing it with thumb and if it bounces back to same place, the fruit is immature. Once the fruits are checked for their maturity, they are held by hand and cut by a knife, with some stem on the end of the fruit. Harvest can be done in intervals as fruits mature at different timing. Some varieties are harvested in only one phase and some varieties are harvested in two phases. It is very important to take care of the brinjal while harvesting them to prevent bruising and injury. The brinjal fruit becomes bitter if it is over matured. The yield highly depends on the season and variety of brinjal, with average yield of 20 to 30 tonnes per hectare.
India is one of the largest producer of brinjal and thus farmers focus more on growing varieties which are tolerant to diseases and also can grow in all conditions. The whole marketing process involves many people like the middlemen, retailers and wholesale traders. India exports brinjals to almost 30 or more countries. However, the export of brinjal to various countries have decreased due to less efficient marketing system.
Post Harvest Technology
After the fruits are harvested, they are immediately graded according to its size and colour. According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, there are three grades of brinjal which are super, fancy and commercial. After grading, in order to protect them they are packed in bamboo baskets, wooden baskets and plastic boxes for transport. The brinjal fruit is stored at 10 -12°C in cold storage and at 85 -95% relative humidity & cannot be stored for more than 14 days as it might cause chilling injury. The fruits can be stored in summers for 1 or 2 days and for 3 to 4 days in winters. They are transported from yards to places through ordinary truck and lorries. It is very important to pack the fruits appropriately, taking care of the loading and unloading to prevent damage.