Black Gram Seed Germination Procedure (Urad Dal)

Introduction to Black gram seed germination process

Black gram is also called as urad dal, urad bean, black bean, or black lentils. It is one of the important pulses crops, grown throughout the country. Black gram belongs to family Leguminosae. The Black gram crop is resistant to adverse climatic conditions and improves soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. It is one of the most important pulse crops next to chickpea, lentil, and mungbean both in area and production. The plant attains a height of about 30 to 100 centimeters, with stem lightly ridged, covered with brown hairs, and much-branched from the base. The leaves are large, trifoliate, and are hairy, generally with a purplish tinge.

Black gram is an important pulse crop containing about 26 percent protein. The crop is resistant to adverse climatic conditions and is a good source of fodder. Black gram crop is a mini-fertilizer factory as it restores soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen and producing nitrogen equivalent of around 22 kg per hectare. India is the largest producer as well as consumer of a Black gram and it is an important part of Indian diet Black gram accounts for about 10 percent of India’s total pulse production.

A step by step guide to Black gram seed germination

Black gram is scientifically known as Phasiolus mungo and it is known as Urad in India. India is its primary origin and mainly cultivated in Asian countries including Pakistan, Myanmar, and parts of southern Asia. About 70% of the world’s Black gram production comes from India and Black gram is a widely used pulse in India with high phosphoric acid content. It is one of the valued pulses, due to its culinary values. It is an erect upright habitat with thick hair and flat nodules. This nutritious pulse has a strong earthy flavor.

Black gram is a bean that is widely grown in the Indian subcontinent. It is considered the same species of mung bean. Seeds have a high content of carbohydrates, protein, minerals, fat, vitamins, potassium, niacin, calcium, iron, riboflavin and thiamine, and also amino acids. It has a short period of pulse crop and is self-pollinated. And probably the most well-known and high nutritional beans is the Black gram.

Black gram nutritional value

The pulse ‘Black gram’ plays an important role in the Indian diet, as it has vegetable protein and supplement to the cereal-based diet. It contains about 26% protein, which is almost 3 times that of cereals and other minerals and vitamins. Besides, it is used as nutritive fodder, especially for milch animals. Black gram is important legume crop characterized by a relatively high content of about protein (25.67%), carbohydrates (5.4%), fat (1-3%), fibers (3.5-4.5%) and ash (4.5-5.5%), while calcium and phosphorus are 132 and 367 mg per 100 g of seed, respectively.

  • Germinated Black gram is good for mild diabetes and it is a rich source of protein.
  • Black gram helps purify the system and remove toxins from the body.
  • Black gram helps maintain a healthy digestive system and is good for diarrhea.
  • Black gram is great for hair growth and reduces cholesterol to improve blood circulation.

Conditions for Black gram seed germination

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Conditions for Black gram seed germination.
Conditions for Black gram seed germination.

The area under Black gram has gone down due to its lower yield, which is responsible for the scarcity of quality seed among several factors. To maintain increased productivity, seed quality must be maintained properly. Seed storage is a very important factor in which the seed qualities greatly depend. Without proper storage seed quality degraded rapidly with absorbing moisture from the surrounding environment, this invites different diseases. Different phytopathogenic seed-borne diseases are responsible for disease development, which attacks the Black gram plants during the seedling stage to maturity.

The proper storage of seed is an important factor in the proper production of seed or crop. Maintenance of high Black gram seed germination and vigor of seed from harvesting to sowing is the purpose of good storage of seed. Adequate provisions and facilities for storage are important components of the seed production program in all climatic regions. It is an annual pulse grown as a fallow crop in rotation with rice. Similar to the other pulses, Black gram, being a legume, enriches soil nitrogen content and relatively short (90-120 days) duration of maturity.

Optimum temperature range for Black gram plant growth is 27-30°C. A dry harvest period is desirable as this forces the crop to mature and also reduces the risk of weather damage. It comes up well on water-retentive soils but cannot stand saline conditions and alkaline conditions. It is more tolerant of waterlogging than moong bean. Plant growth and development of Black gram are greatly influenced by various environmental factors that are temperature, light, water, and nutrient availability. Under abiotic stress conditions, where variations of the above factors affect plant growth and plant development adversely result in a dramatic reduction of the crop yield.

During Kharif, it is cultivated throughout the country and it is best suited to rice fallows during rabi in southern and south-eastern parts of India. Black gram requires relatively heavier soils than a green gram. It can be grown on a variety of soils ranging from sandy soils to heavy cotton soils. The most ideal soil is a well-drained loam with a pH level of 6.5 to 7.8. Black gram cannot be grown on alkaline soils and saline soils. The land is prepared like any Kharif season pulse crop. Though, during summer it requires thorough preparation to give a pulverized free from stubbles and weeds completely.

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Selection of seed for Black gram seed germination

  • Black gram seed should be free from insects, pests, and diseases.
  • It must be free from any inert matter i.e. dust particles, weed seeds, etc.
  • It must be purchased from registered seed companies /Agri. Service centers/Agriclinics.
  • Seeds must be viable and genetically pure.

How to identify genuine seeds

Some farmers have run into huge losses after planting fake seeds leading to poor crop performance. The seed is of low quality and it can also be infected with diseases. Sometimes it is packaged in material resembling that of reputable seed companies to confuse the farmer. Certified seeds are packed in containers or packets which are clearly labeled and have the following information: Seed lot numbers to allow for easy traceability of seed lot in the event of crop failure, the weight of the seeds, name of the crop species and crop variety, packaging date, Seed merchant or company. Labeling and sealing of the containers or packets are done in such a way that seeds cannot be removed without damaging the seal.  Seed certification is very important as it is the process through which the government gives quality assurance on the seeds available to farmers.  The purposes of seed certification are;

  • To ensure that seed sold to farmers meets minimum government set quality standards to maximize crop production.
  • To promote seed trade (locally and internationally) by complying with set regulations or agreements.

Seed quality and temperature for Black gram seed germination

The Black gram seeds germinate at a temperature range of 27°C–30°C. It is a matter of common observation that seed bulks of local races and even improved varieties used by small farmers have a significant proportion of damaged, shriveled, and undeveloped seeds, besides extraneous material.

In Black gram, seed-borne fungi, namely Rhizoctonia Solani and Alternaria sp., get associated and cause not only discoloration of the seed coat but also render such seeds non-viable. Therefore, healthy and clean seeds should be sorted out for sowing. This is true for improved types as well as for landraces.

Detailed observations reveal that it would be possible to realize a minimum of about 10% gain in yield by merely providing community seed cleaning and grading services, of farmer’s seed lots and also of improved varieties, within every cluster of villages.

Seed-production program

The farmers should be given a guarantee that their products will be purchased by the department at a remunerative price. The handling of seeds, seed storage, processing, and subsequent distribution to the farmers in small packets needs consideration.

The seed rate and sowing of Black gram

A seed rate of the Black gram is 15-20 kg/ha for Kharif and 25-30 kg/ha for spring or rabi. Optimum sowing time mid-June subject to availability of moisture or rainfall.

Method of sowing of Black gram

  • Sowing must be done in line sowing\drilling method with a tractor-drawn ferti-cum-seed drill or by bullock drawn ferti-cum-seed drill/tifan.
  • The ferti-cum-seed drill must be used for the application of fertilizers and seed sowing at a time.
  • Black gram seeds should not be sown more than 5 to 6 cm in depth.

Time of sowing of Balck gram

  • The second fortnight of June (15to 30 June) is the proper time of Black gram seed sowing in Kharif season.
  • In summer, sowing should be done from the third week of February to the first week of April.
  • Late sowing should be avoided.

The seed treatment for Black gram

  • Seed should be treated with thiram by 2.5 g / kg seed
  • It must be treated with rhizobium culture for atmospheric N fixation.

Seed treatment will protect the seedlings from seed-borne pathogens, root-rot, and also seedlings diseases. Treat the seeds with Thiram by 2 g/kg of seed 24 hours before sowing or with talc formulation of Trichoderma viride by 4g/kg of seed. Biocontrol agents are compatible with biofertilizers. First, treat the Black gram seeds with Biocontrol agents and then with Rhizobium. Fungicides and biocontrol agents are also incompatible.

The distance of Black gram plants or Black gram seed spacing 

For Kharif season-Row to row 30-35 cm and plant to plant 10 cm.

For spring season-Row to rows 20-25 cm and plant to plant 5 cm.

Nursery preparation for Black gram seed germination

Nursery medium was prepared by using topsoil: cow dung: compost at the rate of 1:1:1. Nursery medium was sterilized by using the fungicide, Bathione, to prevent soil born pests and diseases. Seeds were first germinated under water-soaked conditions in nursery beds for 3 weeks.

Black gram seed storage

  • Store the seeds in gunny or cloth bags for short term storage (8-9 months) with the seed moisture content of 8 to 9%.
  • Store the seeds in a poly-lined gunny bag for medium-term storage (12-15 months) with a seed moisture content of 8 to 9 %.
  • Store the seeds in 700 gauge polythene bags for long term storage about more than15 months with a seed moisture content of less than 8.

Water management for Black gram cultivation

Black gram needs life-saving irrigation when there is a long dry spell and light irrigations are always beneficial. Each irrigation must be followed by hoeing for promoting aeration. In rice, fallows give 1 or 2 irrigations at 30 and 50 days after sowing for better crop yields.

Black gram harvesting and yield

The black gram should be harvested when 70-80 % pods matured and most of the pods turn black. Over maturity can result in shattering. The harvested crop must be dried on the threshing floor for few days and then threshed. Threshing can be done manually or by trampling under the feet of bullocks. The clean seeds should be sun-dried for 3 to 4 days to bring their moisture content at 8-10% to safely store in appropriate bins. A well-managed crop of a Black gram may produce 12 – 15 quintals grains/ha.

Commonly asked questions about Black gram cultivation

Is Black gram a lentil?

Black gram or Urad is a little black seed with a white interior. It is similar to a mung bean in size and shape but tastes different.

Is Black gram the same as black beans?

Commonly, Black gram and black turtle beans are the same as the black cover. They are in the Fabaceae family but Black gram belongs to the vigna mungo group while black turtle bean belongs to phaselous vulgaris. The name Black gram is popularly used in India.

What season does Black gram grow?

The proper time of Black gram sowing in Kharif is the second fortnight of June (15to 30 June). In summer, sowing must be done from the third week of Feb. to the First week of April.

Is Black gram healthy?

Black gram is a healthy pulse as it is rich in iron content and this helps boost the energy levels in the body and keeps you active.

Which soil is grown in a Black gram?

Black gram crops can be grown on a variety of soils ranging from sandy soils to heavy cotton soils. The most ideal soil is a well-drained loam with a pH level of 6.5 to 7.8. It cannot be grown on alkaline and saline soils.

The conclusion of seed germination of Black gram

If you are into commercial black gram farming, you must be aware of the seed germination process. The selection of quality and high yield black gram seeds is very important for maximum profits and crop yield in black gram farming.


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