Organic Black Gram Farming -Production In India

Introduction to Organic Black gram (Urad Dal) farming

Black gram is one of the important pulses crops grown throughout India. Black gram is resistant to adverse climatic conditions and improves soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. It is a widely used pulse in India with high phosphoric acid content. It is one of the most valued pulses, due to its culinary values. It is also called many names such as Urad Dal, Urad Bean, Black Bean, Minapa Pappu, and Black Lentils, etc.

A Step by Step Guide to Organic Black gram (Urad Dal) Farming or Production in India

India produces almost 70% of the world’s total production of a Black gram. Black gram is one of the most important pulse crops of India and it contributes 10% to the total pulse production in the country. It is grown in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan. The Black gram plays an important role in the Indian diet, as it has vegetable protein and supplement to the cereal-based diet. It contains 26% protein, which is almost three times that of cereals and other minerals and vitamins. Also, it is used as nutritive fodder, particularly for milch animals. The flowers of the Black gram plants are very small and yellow, while fruits are cylindrical.  The pods are hairy and contain 1 to 4 seeds each pod. The seed is an ellipsoid form, rounded and slightly elongated.

Black lentil is the whole grain, whereas white lentil is the same grain with the outer black color skin removed. The white lentil is also known as urad dal or split Black gram. The Black gram is one of the most widely produced lentils in India. It is used in the form of the dish “dhal” or ground into flour.

Different Varieties of Black gram

Some of the Black gram varieties suitable for all seasons are LBG-20 (Teja), T-9, LBG-623, WBG-26 (Usha), PBG-1, LBG-752, MBG-207, PU 31 (These varieties are suitable for all seasons cultivation viz., Kharif, Rabi, and summer season).

Organic Soil Requirements for Black gram Farming

  • Black gram does well on heavier soils like black cotton soils that retain moisture better.
  • It can be grown in all types of soils ranging from sandy loam to heavy clay soil, except the alkaline and saline soils.
  • Loam or slightly heavy soils with neutral pH levels are best suited for urad bean.
  • The soil must be well-drained and have good water holding capacity.
  • Waterlogged, saline, and alkaline soil must be avoided.
  • The Black gram grows well in fertile soil which is rich in lots of organic contents. Therefore, try to add as much organic content as you can while preparing the soil.
  • It can be grown on a variety of soils ranging from sandy soils to heavy cotton soils and the soil pH level is 6.5 to 7.8.
  • Black gram crops cannot be grown on alkaline and saline soils. And, the land is prepared like any other Kharif season pulse crop. However, during the summer season, it requires thorough preparation to give a pulverized free from stubbles and weeds completely.

Land Preparation for Organic Black gram Farming and Cultivation Practices

  • Black gram can be grown as a pure or mixed crop during the Kharif season.
  • Black gram is generally grown in Kharif/rainy and summer season. It grows best in hot and humid conditions with an ideal temperature level between 25 to 35°C.
  • It can be grown successfully from sea level up to an elevation of about 1800 meters.
  • It is best suited to areas having an annual rainfall of about 60 to 75 cm.
  • Maturity crop period should coincide with the dry weather condition for high crop yield and good quality seeds; this is one of the main criteria to decide the time of planting.

Seed Selection for Organic Black gram Farming

Black gram seeds used in sowing must be from an authorized source. Seeds should be genetically pure and having fine quality. Seeds used for sowing must be vigorous so that we can obtain a good field stand. Seeds should be thoroughly checked for diseased seeds, hard seeds, shrunken, deformed seeds, and immature seeds.

Seed Rate and Seed Treatment in Organic Black gram Farming

The seed rate mainly depends on the variety of the seed selected. Usually, an average of about 8 to 10 kg per acre is sufficient. Black gram seeds must be treated with seed treating fungicide to reduce infection by fungal pathogens from the soil. The seeds are treated with Bavistin 2 grams for every kg of seeds. Organic fungicide like Trichoderma viridi is also available for pulses by 4 grams/kg.

Seed Spacing and Seed Sowing in Organic Black gram Farming

For irrigated crop dibble the seeds adopting about 30 x 10 cm spacing. For rain-fed crop dibble the seeds adopting 25 cm x 10 cm spacing.

The time for sowing Black gram seeds for the Kharif season is about 15 to 30 of June. If you are planning for the summer then the February 3rd week to April first week is better for the sowing seeds.

In Black gram farming, two methods are available for the sowing seed. Both methods can be done by using the tractor or Bullock Ferti-cum-seed drill.

  • Line sowing method
  • Drilling sowing method

You can use this Ferti-cum-seed drill for applying the fertilizers and seed sowing at the same time. The maximum depth of the sown seed should be about 5 to 6 cm.

Process of Organic Black gram Farming

Process of Organic Black gram Farming.
Process of Organic Black gram Farming

Organic cultivation is gaining impetus in recent years due to the realization of inherent advantages. Farmyard manure, compost, vermicomposting, green manuring, agro-wastes, and plant wastes from sources imply both for the sustainability of soil organic carbon and supply of plant nutrients in traditional organic cultivation.

If you want to plan for organic Black gram farming then first of all the land preparations are important. The selected land should not be sown the Black gram in the previous year. You are planning to start cultivation in the Kharif season then ploughed the selected land in the summer season by using 2 or 3 harrowing’s. Before seed sowing in the field remove the extra weed and stone from the land. Apply about 5 to 6-tonnes compost or farmyard manure before sowing Black gram. Also, you can provide irrigation if it is required before sowing the seeds.

In organic cultivation where Farmyard manure and compost are used as sources of nutrient supply, the productivity of soil depletes during the transitory period leading to low yield levels. Hence it is imperative to evolve an alternative technology of organic farming that provides reasonable crop yields while restoring the fertility of soil during the transitory period. Also, the use of liquid organic fertilizers, effective microorganisms (EM) as foliar fertilizers has been introduced to modern agriculture in recent years to produce good quality food. Then, the use of fermented curd, rich in beneficial microorganisms, is practiced elsewhere both to augment plant growth and suppress pest loads on plants. The use of fermented cow dung, urine, milk fat, curd, and milk with the name of Panchagavya is getting adaptive popularity in organic agriculture largely through the efforts of small groups of Indian farmers.

Organic farming strengthens the soil nutrients as Black grams are known for imparting nitrogen content to the soil. The production of Black gram has been facing a downfall leading to towering demands, the organic farmers exploiting the heavy demands have constituted an organic pest repellent cum fertilizer for preventing pest attack. As a kilogram of inorganic Black gram fetches about Rs. 120, while the organically grown Black gram has been fetching Rs.175 per kilogram.

Irrigation Management in Organic Black gram Farming

Irrigation is not needed in the rainy season, but in the summer season irrigation must be given as per critical stages and availability of irrigation water. The number and frequency of irrigation mainly depend upon the soil type and weather. The crop should get irrigation at an interval of 10 to 15 days. From flowering to pod development period, there is a need for sufficient moisture in the field.

Irrigate immediately after sowing seed, followed by life irrigation on the third day. Irrigate at intervals of 7 to 10 days depending upon climatic and soil conditions. Crop flowering and pod formation stages are critical periods when irrigation is a must. Avoid water stagnation at all stages. There are many irrigation systems are available in the latest technology such as drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, micro jet, and basin irrigation but suitable irrigation for the Black gram cultivation are depending on the soil and weather conditions.

Black gram cultivation requires irrigation in the summer season. It does not require irrigation in rainy seasons. The Black gram plant requires irrigation in an interval of about 10 to 15 days. Black gram crop needed moisture in the soil during the flowering to pod phase.

Organic Pests and Diseases Control in Black gram Farming

Some pests and diseases are affected by the Black gram. Some common pests and diseases of the Black gram are anthracnose, hairy caterpillar, leaf curl, leafhopper, seed rot, and YM virus, etc.

Black gram Pests are;

  • Stem fly
  • Leafhopper
  • Aphid
  • Whitefly
  • Hairy caterpillar
  • Jassids

Black gram Diseases are;

  • Cercospora leaf spot
  • Bacterial leaf blight
  • Anthracnose
  • Powdery mildew
  • Root rot and leaf blight
  • Rust
  • Stem canker and Macrophomina blight
  • Yellow mosaic disease
  • Leaf crinkle


The nymphs and adults suck the sap. The affected leaves turn yellow color, get wrinkled and distorted. The insect exudes honeydew on which fungus develops, rapidly covers the plant with sooty mould that interferes with the photosynthetic activity of the plant.

Control – Spraying with 0.05% Endosulfan, 0.02% Phosphamidon, 0.03% Dimethoate, Methyl demeton control the Aphids effectively.


The adults and nymphs feed on leaves. As a result, light brown color patches appear on infested leaves. The affected leaves curl and become dry.

Control – To control this pest, spraying with 0.05% Endosulfan, 0.02% Phosphamidon, and 0.03% Dimethoate is effective.

Pod borer

Caterpillars feed on tender foliage and young pods. The pests make holes in the pods and feed on developing seeds by inserting the anterior half portion of the body inside the pods.

Control – Spraying with 0.05% Quinalphos can successfully control the pod borer pest.

Diseases in Black gram Crop;

Leaf spot

Angular brown or red color spots, with grey or brown center and reddish-purple border on leaves, stalk, and pods.

Control – To control leaf spot spray with Bordeaux mixture (5:5:50) or 0.2% Ziram.

Powdery mildew

The disease symptoms are powdery patches on leaves and other green parts, later becoming dull-colored and are studded with a black dot.

Control – To control this disease, dust the crop with finely powdered Sulphur.

You should always keep good contact with an agriculture specialist for having a good suggestion for controlling all these pests and diseases from the crop field. Selecting disease-resistant Black gram varieties is a good way for controlling pests and diseases of the Black gram crop.

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When and How to Harvest Black gram

Black gram harvested when 70 to 80 % of pods matured and most of the pods turn black color. At the time of harvesting, at least 20 to 22 % of moisture requires in the Black gram cereal and harvest the Black gram pods when it is mature. Over maturity can result in the shattering of grains. The harvested crop must be dried on the threshing floor for few days and then threshed. The threshing process can be done manually or by trampling under the feet of bullocks. The clean seeds must be sun-dried for 3 to 4 days to bring their moisture content at 8-10% to safely store in appropriate bins. Over maturity can result in the shattering of grains. When pods are dried completely then cereal is threshed from the pods by using a machine or manually. Harvested crops should be sufficiently dried and then threshed. Threshing can be done manually or under the feet of bullocks.

Commonly Asked Questions about Black gram Farming

What are the benefits of a Black gram?

Black gram is filled with magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and calcium. These all minerals strengthen your bone mineral density.

Is Black gram a Kharif crop?

During the Kharif season, the Black gram is cultivated throughout the country. It is suited to rice fallows during Rabi season in southern and south-eastern parts of India. Black gram needs heavier soils than a green gram.

What is the scientific name of a Black gram?

The scientific name of a Black gram or Urad dal is Vigna mungo.

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