Do you want to learn how to grow horse gram? Well, count yourself lucky since you have landed on the right page.
What is the horse gram? It is a bean that is quite popular in India, and it is typically meant for feeding horses.
However, it can still be used as human food due to its medicinal purposes. It is used in traditional Ayurvedic cuisine; hence, the reason behind its popularity in Asia.
The plant takes about 4-6months to mature, and it can be grown in areas with poor soil fertility. Growing horse plant is simple and straightforward. It also requires less care and management.
Some of the standard states in India where the plant is grown on a large scale are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.
Let’s dig deeper into the guide and learn how to become a successful farmer of horse grams in your locality.
Origin of Horse Grams
This is an indigenous crop cultivated in India, and it is mainly used as food. The plant was discovered at around 2000 BC.
The plant belongs to the genus Macrotyloma where it has about 25 species, and all of them are quite common in Africa as well as Asia.
It has several other names according to the locality where it is planted. Some of the common names are Kulthi bean, Hurali and Madras gram in English, Hulthi or Kulthi in Hindi, Hurule in Kannada, Kulthi-Kalai in Bengali, Mudhira in Malayalam, Ulavalu in Telugu, Kollu in Tamil, Kudu in Tulu, Kuleetu/Kulith in Konkani, Kuleeth in Marathi and Gujarati, Chana or Chholey in Punjabi and Kolatha in Oriya.
Horse Gram Benefits
There are a lot of health benefits associated with consuming horse grams regularly. Some of the common benefits include:
- It has a high source of proteins hence can be used as a substitute of both white and red meat.
- Has a high amount of fibre which is ideal for promoting proper digestion process in the body.
- Suitable food for treating mouth and peptic ulcers
- Ideal food for preventing the development of kidney stones and also fostering weight loss
- Commonly used in ayurvedic medicine for treating quite a good number of health disorders.
How to Grow Horse Gram
These plants are robust and weather resistant. They can also be grown in arid or semi-arid areas.
If you’re planning to venture into this crop farming, then don’t worry since it requires minimal care as compared to others.
Here is the guide describing various methods on how to grow horse grams like a pro:
Identify the Location
The good thing with this plant is that it grows in almost all weather climate. But to get high production, ensure the area selected has well-drained and fertile soil.
The plant is also tolerant to soil with low alkalinity, and it can also withstand the earth with so many metal stresses.
Ensure the soil is free from waterlogged and also the plants can access full natural sunlight.
Prepare the Soil
Till the land and then add some organic manure to the soil to increase fertility. As mentioned earlier, these crops tend to do well in fertile soil.
In the case of commercial production, you will be expected to use artificial fertilizer depending on the size of your land.
These crops tend to grow well in areas that have warm and dry climate conditions. These plants do not do well in higher altitudes. These regions tend to have wet and cold climates.
Therefore, ensure the area selected will favour your crops though they require less care and maintenance.
Best Time for Growing
Horse grams are grown mostly between August and September in India. If you tend to develop them as fodder, then sow the seeds between July and August.
Pick the Variety to Plant
The crop has a lot of species; thus, it is upon you to choose the species that has the highest level of production.
Here are some samples of the species; Arjia Kulthi-21, Baizu Kulthi, Birsa Kulthi-1, BJPL-1, Central, Co-1, CRHG-01, CRHG-02, CRHG-03, CRHG-04, CRIDA 18R, and Dapoli-1 among many others.
Each species has its characteristics and weather climate requirements. Consult the nearest farmer about which species does better in your area.
Purchase Quality Seeds
These plants are typically grown from seeds; thus after deciding on the species variety consider buying high-quality seeds from a reputable supplier. Always plant new seeds that are authentic.
Seeds per Hectare
The number of seeds depends on the variety, but they tend to be about 30-45 kg of horse grams. These seeds can be planted on a hectare.
You can opt for scattering method or digging rows where you can place the seeds then cover them well.
Ensure the rows are 12 inches apart and the seeds should be sown apart about 3-4 inches. Use high-quality seeds and also remember to treat them before planting.
You can soak the seeds overnight to foster faster germination. Ensure the soil is well-drained and fertile.
Caring and Maintaining
These crops are hardy and robust. Hence, they are comfortable and straightforward to care. In case of maximum yields, remember to apply fertilizer, water the soil properly, consider mulching to ensure the ground retain the right amount of moisture and remember to control weeds.
Pests and Diseases
Like other crops, they are also prone to pests and diseases. Some of the common pests that invade the plantation are Aphids, stem fly, leafhopper and whitefly.
Horse grams diseases include powdery mildew, Cercospora, root rot wilt, leaf crinkle, leaf curl, and mosaic virus. Consult specialists on how to control such a situation on your farm.
The plants are usually harvested at maturity where the pods are threshed and seeds extracted. When the colour of pods turns from green to straw indicates that they are ready for harvesting.
It is not advisable to start harvesting the plants during cloudy and raining seasons since it will cause rotting.
Determining the exact return of your products is quite tricky since it depends on the size of the farm. However, on average, the hectare can produce about 700-1000kgs.
Growing horse grams is as easy as stated in the article. I hope the information is insightful to start the journey of growing these crops. Good Luck.