172. Thearea under cotton in 1907-08 was 888,996
acres. In 1876 cotton occupied 35.9
per cent. only of the cropped area of the District as then constituted; in 1881 36.7 per cent., in 1891 38.2 per cent., in 1901 47.7, in 1905 52 and 1907-08 50 per cent. There was thus a gradual increase in the area during the thirty years from 1876 to 1905-06, and a slight falling off in the area subsequently. In this District where the demand for fodder crops is very great owing to the very limited area available for grazing, the area under cotton has probably reached its maximum. Its cultivation was formerly restricted to the better classes of soil; but owing to the great boom in the cotton trade and the consequent rise in prices of late years, cotton is now often grown on light inferior soils. The quality of the cotton depends largely on the quality of the soil on which it is grown. On
khardi poor soils it can only be grown profitably while high prices prevail, and any considerable fall in prices would result in the substitution of sesamum or some of the smaller millets which make less demand on the plant food of the soil. To succeed under the climatic conditions which prevail in the District the cotton grown should mature in about five months, so that at least one good picking is obtained before the cold weather.
173. The two indigenous varieties grown, namely jari
(Kati Vilayati) and bani (Hinganghat
or Ghatkapas) mature in about 5 and 5½ months respectively. The jari (Gossypiumneglectum) is one of the coarsest and shortest stapled cottons produced in India. Itsorigin is not well known. It is said that the jari grown thirtyyears ago was comparatively a superior cotton, that it spunup to 16's or even 20's and was in demand in the Bombaymarket for export to England. The present jari falls farshort of this description. Its staple is coarse and short,at its best it spins up to
10's only, and it no longer finds it marketin England, not being suitable for use in the
Lancashire mills. The introduction of the coarser strain is said to date from about the year 1873. In that year white flowered cotton, which was said to give 50 per cent. of lint, which ripened early and which was a most prolific yielder, was introduced into Berar from Khandesh. The first cultivators of this new introduction, having observed that the seed possessed a sharp beak resembling a thorn, and having concluded that it was a foreign variety, named it Kati Vilayati or ' thorned English.' The Kati Vilayati proved to be a most vigorous grower and a big yielder, and readily adapted itself to the soil and climatic conditions. Its botanical designation is Neglectumroseum and Neglectumroseumcutchica, there being two types with white flowers but the one giving a slightly better lint than the other. The jari which it has largely supplanted was most likely of the two finer-stapled types, viz. Neglectummalvensis and Neglectumverum, mixed with a fairly high percentage of
bani (Gossypiumindicum) which was the predominant cotton in those days. These are rather later in maturing than the two coarser types which now predominate. The percentage of the coarser type in this mixture has gradually increased until the jari of the present days often contains from 70 to 80 of the coarser, i.e., the roseum type. The reason would seem to be that Kati Vilayati is a hardy cotton with a heavy yield, which despite its coarseness finds a ready market at a good price both for export and for the use of Indian mills. It is exported mainly to Germany and Japan where it is found very suitable for mixing with wool in the manufacture of coarse woollen fabrics; in this country the existence of a large quantity of, machinery especially constructed for dealing with short-stapled cotton also gives it an artificial value. The ryot, recognising that Kati Vilayati is a hardy cotton, that it suffers less than other varieties from the exigencies of the climate, and gives large fluffy bolls with a very high percentage of lint to seed, prefers it to the finer types which have less bulky bolls. The good cultivator, who used formerly to select and gin his own seed and still does to some extent, selected only the big fluffy bolls, i.e., bolls of the roseum type. The percentage of the coarser types in this mixed cotton know as jari has thus gradually increased at the expense of the
finer. Cotton buyers in Berar at the present day recognise two kinds of jari cotton, gaorani and howri.Gaorani is of better staple but gives only 33 or 34 per cent. of lint; howri on the other hand gives 36 per cent. or even more of lint but the staple is much shorter. The difference in staple would seem to depend on the percentage of the fine-stapled types present in the mixture, which percentage varies considerably in different villages.
174. Bani, Hinganghat or Ghatkapas (Gossypiumindicum) is a cotton of long staple and silky fibre.
The percentage of lint to seed is about 26 compared with 32 per cent. for the finer types of jari and 40 per cent. for the coarser. Its staple is about 1 inch in length as compared with ½ inch for the coarser types ofjari. It has been almost entirely ousted from the District by the jari mixture now grown, and is never grown nowadays as a pure crop. This variety formerly known as Hinganghat or Ghatkapas had earned for itself a name and was exported in large quantities to England long before power spinning and weaving had made much headway in India. When grown pure, it was suitable for spinning 40's. The price of banikapas is Rs. 2 or Rs. 3 more per khandi than that of jari, but jari gives a much heavier yield than the former, more especially in years of drought or excessive rainfall. Bani is altogether a more delicate plant and less profitable at present prices.
175. Upland Georgian (Gossypiumhirsutum) is an acclimatized American variety which was
introduced about thirty years ago. It is known locally as ghogli. It is equal to
bani in length of fibre and will spin up to 40's, but has deteriorated very much in strength. The total area under this variety as a pure crop is insignificant, but it can be seen growing as a mixture to the extent of one or two per cent. in every cotton field.
176. Another exotic variety which is now being tried is buri (Gossypiumhirsutum) an American
Upland cotton acclimatized in Bengal. Seed of this variety was obtained nearly four years ago from theInspector-General of Agriculture and has since been grown
successfully at the Government Experimental stations. Its lint is as good as that of bani; the percentage of lint to seed is 33 as compared with 26 for bani; it yields well and the lint is worth 50 per cent. more than that of jari. This very desirable cotton is now under trial and the results so far have been distinctly promising.
177. Cotton being the most profitable crop grown is
always recognised as the principal crop
of a rotation. In awalkali,morandi and malt soils it is sometimes grown continuously year after year in the same field without any rotation with another crop. Though this is contradictory to all the laws of scientific farming, there is not the least doubt that it pays the cultivator. The cotton plant is tap-rooted and being a deep but not greedy feeder, does not readily exhaust the soil. In growing cotton or any other crop continuously on the same land there is always the risk, however, of encouraging insect pests. The Berar cultivator avoids this by removing all the cotton stalks from his fields in March. Where a rotation is followed it is generally cotton-juari; or cotton-cotton-juari; this is a good rotation, as juari being a shallow feeder draws its food supply from the surface soil. Cotton after rabi crops such as wheat, linseed, gram and cold season til is less common, except in a part of Ellichpur, Amraoti and Daryapur taluks. It is the practice all over the District to sow two lines of tur to twelve or more of cotton in cotton fields. The cultivator has a hazy idea of the fact that tur is a soil renovator, though he is ignorant of the cause. But the lines of tur serve another purpose in so far as they divide up the field into sections of known dimensions which enable him to gauge the amount of work done by his labourers and the yield obtained from different parts of the field. The tur also acts as a wind brake.
178. Much of the cattle dung is used as fuel, and no
attempt is made to collect cattle urine.
Fields near the large towns are sometimes manured with the town sweepings; and where large herds of goats and sheep are kept, these are sometimes folded in the fields at night. Artificial manures are not in use, but
nitrate of soda has been tried and has proved a profitable manure when applied as a top-dressing.
179. The tillage implements used for cotton cultivation
are the country plough (nagar),wakhar, dhusa,daura,dhundia,khurpi and sickle.
The heavy Berar nagar is a much
larger implement than the country plough of the Central Provinces. The body is commonly made of the wood of the babul tree (Acaciaarabica), which is very tough and durable, and the beam of babul or tiwas (Ougeniadalbergioides) which is also very tough, strong and durable. The plough is drawn by three pairs of bullocks and stirs the soil to a depth of 9 or 10 inches; but land in Berar is so ploughed only at intervals of ten or fifteen years. The cost of the Berar nagar is Rs. 8. Some of the more enterprising cultivators are now using Ransome's turn-wrest plough, which they find to be an excellent implement for fields over-run with kunda grass (Andropogonpunctatus) and other obnoxious weeds. Its cost is Rs. 41. The wakhar serves the purpose both of a plough and a harrow. It is like a large scraper with a blade about 21 inches long and 4 inches deep. The blade is fixed to the body of the wakhar by means of pegs made of babul wood. The body is about 2½ feet in length. The beam is usually made of teak (Tectonagrandis),temru (Diospyrosmelanoxylon), or tiwas. The wakhar is guided by means of a single upright wooden stilt, is drawn by one pair of bullocks and costs Rs. 4. With one pair of bullocks a man can work from one to two acres in one day, the area depending on the state of the soil. For deeper work the driver stands upon the body of the wakhar. When the soil has baked very hard or when the land is infested with a thick growth of weeds, the light wahkar makes but little impression on it, and the cultivator will in such cases use the
moghda or large wakhar, the body and the blade of which are much larger and heavier. The moghda is drawn by two pairs of bullocks and turns up the earth in clods and brings weeds to the surface. It is often used for the first wakharing. The cross wakharing is then done by the lighter wakhar drawn by one pair of bullocks. When turned upside down after removing the blade and worked as a clod-crusher, the moghda is called a padhal. The implements used for interculture are the daura and dhundia; these are miniatures of the wakhar, and are used solely for interculture. The body of the daura is about 16 inches long with a blade 10 inches long and 2 inches deep. Its cost is R. 1-12-0. With two dauras drawn by one pair of bullocks two men can hoe from 2½ to 3 acres of cotton daily. The blade of the dhundia is of the same depth as that of the daura but is 4 inches longer. For interculture the cotton-grower therefore uses the daura while the plants are small; when they have grown somewhat larger the dhundia is used so as to pare away the weeds growing near the rows and at the same time to ridge up earth against the plants. Cotton is generally sown in this District by the dhusa. The dhusa resembles a wakhar except that the blade and pegs have been removed and two wooden tines are substituted; these tines form the drills. Two hollow bamboos called sarta are attached by a string immediately in the rear of the tines; through these the seed is dropped. Two wakhars are usually worked behind the dhusa to cover the seed with soil. With one man to drive the bullocks and two women to drop in the seed, they can sow about 4 acres of land in one day. Sowing is sometimes done with the wakhar, in which case only one sarta is used; but this method is a slow one and is only practised by the poorer cultivators. Sowing is commenced during the first break that occurs after the first good fall of rain, which is usually about the third week of June. Some of the more enterprising cultivators still follow the practice, which was once fairly common in Berar, of sowing small areas before the rains. The hand tools used are the
khurpi and the sickle.
180. There are now ginning factories within easy reach
of every cotton-growing village, and
factory ginned seed is commonly used for sowing. The cultivator sows about 10 lbs. of handginned seed and about 13 lbs. of the factory ginned seed per acre. The objections to the latter seed are that much of it is damaged in the process of ginning and that different varieties get mixed owing to careless handling. There is one cotton seed farm in Morsi taluk belonging to Mr. R. S. Pethe. The aim of the farm is to propagate and distribute to cultivators new and
improved strains of cotton seed that have been selected and supplied by the Government Experiment Stations.
181. Less damage is done to cotton by insect pests in
Berar than in most cotton-growing
tracts in India. This is due (1) to the
soil being almost totally bare of any
vegetation that would serve the purpose of a host plant for
these pests during the hot season, the cotton stalks being
uprooted in February or March, (2) the area under cotton is
large and compact and,(3) the climate is dry and uncongenial
to the healthy development of such pests for the greater part
of the year. The pests that do an appreciable amount of
damage are the cotton boll worm, the pink and red
cotton bug, the cotton stem borer, the leaf roller, aphides, and
grasshoppers. The moth of the boll worm (Eariasfabia)
lays its eggs on the leaves, stems, bracts and petals
of the cotton plant; the caterpillars are hatched in two or
three days and bore into the immature bolls and eat the seed;
they pupate later under ground or on the plant itself. In a
week the moth emerges and the pest thus repeats its life
history, multiplying enormously each time. The best
remedial measure that can be adopted is to uproot and destroy
all cotton plants after the last picking. The pink and the
red cotton bug (lalkira,Dysdercuscingulatus) lay their eggs
in cracks in the soil. The bug on emerging is wingless. It
moults five times, and after the third moult the wings begin
to appear. The bug gradually increases in size, and is
able to fly after the last moult. With its long needle-like
beak it sucks the juice of the green cotton boll and immature
seeds, thereby destroying the seed and lint. It may also be
seen feeding on bhindi (Hibiscusesculentus). The best
remedial measure is to shake the bugs into a vessel containing
kerosine and water. The cotton stem borer (Sphenoptera gossypii) is the grub of a beetle. The borer bores into
the core of the cotton plant and eats its way up the stem.
The plant gradually withers and dies. The borer pupates
in the stem and emerges as a beetle after 10 days. The best
remedial measures are to uproot and burn all affected plants
and to destroy all the cotton plants after the last picking.
The moth of the cotton leaf roller (Syleptaderogata) lays its eggs singly on the leaves of the cotton plant. The caterpillar on emerging feeds on the leaves, rolls one up and lives inside it. They pupate within this leaf-house, emerge as moths after 10 days and couple and lay eggs. The rolled leaves containing the roller should be picked by hand and destroyed. The cotton blister beetle (Mylabrispustulata) eats the flowers of cotton. Grasshoppers (naktol of the family Acrididiae) and crickets (jhingra) eat the leaves of cotton in its early stages. The bag method of collecting them has been tried with some degree of success.
182. Cotton wilt (Neocosmosporavasinfecta) is a fungoid
disease which does a certain amount
of damage more especially in the rich soils where cotton is often grown year after year without a break. The fungus first enters the smaller roots, from which it spreads to the tap root and stem, filling the water ducts with its mycelia, with the result that the plant can no longer draw up its full food supply, and consequently begins to wither and die. The plant so attacked becomes dwarfed in appearance; the leaves turn yellow and shrivel up, and the main stem generally dies off. This may take a longer or a shorter period. In some cases the whole plant is dead within 50 days from the time of sowing the seed; in other cases the plant only dies late in the season. Some plants partially recover from the disease by developing strong lateral branches after the death of the main stem. The fungus is really a parasite which enters the vascular system of the plant and feeds therein. Its reproductive bodies or " spores " on germination give rise to the fungus plants. Certain varieties of cotton are not subject to the disease, and different plants of the same variety vary very considerably in their degrees of resistance, some being readily attacked while others are altogether immune. Burl cotton is immune from the disease and is being introduced on the worst wilt-infested areas of this District. Rotation of crops on these areas is also desirable.
183. The cost of cultivation and profit per acre when cotton is grown after juari is shown
Cost per acre.
Removing juari stumps
March or April
2nd fortnight of June
Wakharing after sowing
Seed 12 lbs
Tur 2 lbs
1st fortnight of July
1st hoeing by daura
Middle or end of July
End of July
2nd hoeing by dhundia
Beginning of August
3rd do. do.
20th of August
Hoeing up to September with dhundia
From August to September
From November to January
From October to January
Outturn in lbs.
Seed-cotton (kapas) 420 lbs. at Rs. 50 a khandi of 560 lbs.
Tur 75 at 25 lbs a rupee
Til 20 at 14 lbs. a rupee
Government assessment is included under cost of cultivation; it varies for different classes of soil. The cost of cultivation is reckoned on the supposition that all the operations are performed by hired labour, and is therefore rather misleading, as the
Kunbi cultivator maintains his own establishment of bullocks and implements, and if his farm is not a large one, much of the manual labour is performed by himself and his family. Under these conditions his
farming profits are higher than that shown in the statement.
184. Juari (Andropogonsorghum) is grown on all the different
classes of soils in the District. The later
and heavier yielding varieties are usually grown on the deeper soils which are more retentive of moisture; while the earlier varieties, except in years of short rainfall, do fairly well on the lighter soils. The varieties may be classified, according to the time required for ripening, into early, medium and late varieties. For the heavier soils amner is the most commonly grown, while ramkel, which matures three weeks earlier, is widely grown on medium and light soils. The varieties are more or less mixed but less so than in the case of other crops, as the cultivator almost invariably selects his seed on the threshing floor. He is not a systematic botanist, but he has fairly definite ideas as to the difference between the varieties grown. Amner is a late variety with fairly compact, long oval heads set with large flat seeds. The grain when well developed is the largest of all Berar varieties. The seed which is hard and yellowish in colour is considered the best among late varieties for eating. Ramkel has a long loosely filled head supported on an erect stalk. The grain is large and creamy white in colour. Ramkel is one of the best and most widely grown varieties in Berar, adapted to light as well as medium soils. Gunjaoli has a fairly compact head with red seed. The seed is well filled and round, but is considered a very inferior variety for eating; it is grown on medium soils along the foot of the hills. As a mixture, it can be seen in almost every juari field. Phalpali or motitura is a loose headed variety not commonly grown. The grain is small, well filled and oval shaped, and is used for making lahi (parched grain). It is not so much damaged by birds as the compact-headed varieties. Other varieties grown are jagdhan, an early loose-headed variety with white grain, manmodi, a medium variety with compact heads, ganeri and dukartondi, late varieties with yellow grain grown on heavy soils, and several varieties known as wants whose grain is roasted and eaten when green. In this state the grain known as hurda is sweet and tasty. The chief wanis are mohawani,bhatwani,naroliwani,pivliwani and charodiwani.
185. The land for juari is prepared in the same way and
at the same time as that for cotton, but
usually only one wakharing is given
before the rains. Another wakharing to kill the weeds is given
before the seed is sown which is generally about the middle
of July. The seed is sown with a three-tined seed drill
or tiffan. The body (khar) of the tiffan is from 3½ to 4 feet
in length. It is set with 3 tines at distances of from 13 to
18 inches apart. The lesser width is used for poorer soils
and is in common use in Morsi and Chandur taluks;
the latter is used for the more fertile soils such as those
of Daryapur, Ellichpur and Amraoti taluks. The drills are
fixed into wooden sockets in the body and are shod
with small iron shares. These drills meet in a wooden
bowl at the top into which seed is fed. The seed rate varies
from 2 to 61bs. an acre. After the tiffan two wakharsare worked to level the furrows and to kill weeds. Hoeing with
the daura is commenced about three weeks after sowing and
is repeated three or four times at intervals of a fortnight or so.
In good soil where the drills are 18 inches apart the last
hoeings are done with the dhundia. One or more hand-weedings
are given. At this time the women also remove the dried
leaves from the two lowest internodes. This is supposed to
enable the heads to fill better by letting in more air.
186. In December the crop is ready for harvesting. It is
reaped with small sickles, the reaper
taking eight lines at a time. The stalks are laid together in bundles which are left to dry for about a week. The heads are cut off and removed to the threshing floor; the stalks are firmly bound and stacked in the field. The threshing floor is a circular piece of ground selected for the purpose within easy reach of the field. All weeds and grass are carefully removed from it, and it is made firm by pounding it with mallets or by walking cattle over it, the hardened surface being smeared with cowdung. The heads of juari are spread in a layer about 6 inches deep in a circle round an upright post fixed in the centre of the floor. One bullock is so tied to this post that he can walk freely round it and not entangle the tying rope; otherbullocks tied each neck-to-neck are arranged alongside
the first. They are made to march round in a line, forming the radius of the circle, treading out the grain at every step. The biblical injunction " muzzle not the ox that treadeth out the corn " is disregarded by the Indian cultivator who muzzles his bullocks very effectively by the use of a net in the form of a bag which covers the animal's mouth. Sometimes bullocks yoked to a cart are used instead, in which case the wheels help to separate the grain.
187. To winnow the grain one man stands on a stool or platform erected for the purpose, and a
second man hands him baskets full of the mixed grain and chaff from the threshing floor. The grain is poured from his basket or sup to the ground below. This is done when the hot winds of March are blowing. The heavy grain falls straight down; the chaff is blown beyond it. A man standing below with a broom in his hand brushes aside any bits of straw that may have fallen among the grain. The stalks (karbi) and chaff form the staple cattle fodder, and the grain is the staple food of the cultivator and his labourers.
188. An enormous amount of damage is done every year
to juari by birds, the greatest depredator being the juari bird (boria). They come in such myriads to eat the grain that a negligent farmer' is left with but little save the stalks and glumes. To protect his ripening crop the thrifty cultivator erects in each area of about 6 acres a platform ten or twelve feet high. From daylight to sunset he sits in one of these armed with a sling, and by uttering wild yells and slinging earth or stones, he scares away these unwelcome visitors. Some damage is done to the crop in its early stages by herds of blackbuck (hiran) and wild pig. The chief insect pest of juari is a borer locally known as murad and unni, the only difference being that the pest is known as murad when it attacks the young juari shoots of from 6 inches to 1 foot high, and as unni when it attacks the full-grown stems. In the first case the attacked plants often tiller freely and may give a good yield. The moth of the juari stem borer (Chilosimplex) lays clusters of eggs on the leaves. In four or five days caterpillars emerge, which first feed on
the tender leaves of the juari and then bore into the stems near the root. The caterpillar eats its way upwards through the stem, thereby damaging the plant. The stem attacked dies; but the plant if still small sends up fresh shoots from the root. The caterpillar pupates inside the stem, in which state it remains from one to two weeks. The moth emerges from the pupa, crawls outside, couples and again lays eggs. The same pest attacks sugarcane, and maize. Affected plants should be uprooted and destroyed and all the juari stubble should be removed after harvesting the crop. At long intervals the District is visited by swarms of Bombay locusts (Acridiumsuccintum) which damage this and other kharif crops. The female of the Bombay locust couples and lays its eggs in clusters of one or two hundred at a depth of about half an inch in light soil, burying half its abdomen in the soil while doing so. The hoppers after hatching feed on grass, juari and other green crops. They moult seven times; after the last moult their wings develop and they fly in swarms ravenously feeding on the crops on which they alight. The locust lives about one year and then dies after laying eggs The only practical method of dealing with this pest is the bag method. The mouth of the bag is kept open by a rectangular frame work of bamboos 12 feet by 3. The bag carried by two men is swept over the field infested with the hoppers, which on being disturbed jump and fall into it where they can be killed at leisure. This method was tried in juari fields in 1904 with some success.
189. Juari is not much affected by rust. Smut (Ustilago sorghii) a parasitic fungus which converts the grain into a foul, dark-coloured powder is, however, very common. The damage done by it can be almost entirely prevented by steeping the seed in a ½ per cent, solution of copper sulphate. The use of this fungicide is understood by and is now practised by a few cultivators; some cultivators steep their, seed in cow's urine which acts as a fungicide; they also attribute to urine the power of preventing the seed from being eaten by insects in the soil. Tavli or agia (Strigahirsuta), a parasitic weed, attaches itself to the roots of juari and sugarcane, feeding on the juice of the plant
and thereby checking its growth. The crop on an area infested with tavli
becomes yellow in appearance; frequent weeding is the only chance of saving it.
191. Tur (Cajanusindicus) is mostly grown along
with cotton in the proportion of two lines of tur to twelve or more of cotton. It is also grown at times as
a pure crop. Being a leguminous crop it will give a fair outturn on land that is
considered too poor for cotton, to which it is usually confined as a pure crop.
There are two common varieties, a red-seeded and a white-seeded variety. Of
these, the red variety is supposed to give the better pulse. There is a variety
known as ramkati, a variety of arhar (Cajanusbicolor)
which is sometimes grown in gardens. It has a red seed and comes to maturity in
March. It grows much taller than the earlier varieties. The seed rate of tur per
acre is 6 lbs., and its outturn as an independent crop about 400 lbs. As a
subordinate crop with cotton it will yield under very favourable conditions
about 100 lbs. The cost of cultivation per acre is shown below:—
192. In certain patches of soil a wilt disease almost invariably attacks this crop from year to year; but the damage which it does in the District as a
whole is very little. Early frost which in the north of the Central Provinces is
so destructive to tur in certain seasons, is unknown here. The tur leaf
caterpillar, (Euceliscritica), which feeds on the tender
upper leaves of the tur plant, twists the leaves into a knot in which it lives.
It pupates inside the twisted leaves and emerges as a tiny black moth. The
twisted leaves containing the pupa should be handpicked. The tur plume moth (Exelastisparasita) lays its single blue eggs on the pods of tur. These hatch as
small caterpillars, bore inside the pods and feed on the seeds. When fully fed
they come out and pupate on the pods. After 4 or 5 days they emerge as moths.
Handpicking is the only remedy recommended. The tur pod fly of the genus MuscidaAcalyptrata lays eggs in the tur pod, by piercing the shell with her ovipositor. The maggot, after hatching, feeds upon the seed. When fully fed it pupates inside the pod and a fly emerges within a week.
193. There are two varieties of til (Sesamumindicum), one
with black seed and the other white
seed. The former is the one widely grown; it ripens rather later than the other. On black soils rainy season til is grown mixed with cotton seed at the rate of about 5 tolas per acre; on lighter soils it is grown as an independent crop. For rainy season til the soil is prepared in the same manner as for cotton, and the seed is sown with a tiffan with wakhars working behind. Cold season til is sown either with the tiffan or the two-tined cotton seed drill. The seed rate is 2 lbs. an acre. To secure its equal distribution it is mixed with fine sand or earth. When the plants are about 8 inches high the crop is hoed with the
daura and then hand-weeded. After this two more hoeings are sufficient. The crop is ready for harvesting in October and is cut and taken to the threshing floor to dry. The oil is extracted by simple pressure in a pestle-mill. The cake is used as cattle food and the oil for human consumption, for lamps and as an ointment for the body. The stalks are mostly used for fuel. The cost of cultivation is shown below:—
Two more hoeings
As it is a hardy crop and is usually grown on poor soils, the yield per acre is proportionately small. The average for poor soil may be taken as 250 lbs. which is worth about Rs. 18, giving a net profit per acre of Rs. 8-13.
194. The damage done by insect pests is not very severe;
being the til sphinx (Acherontia styx) better known as the hawk moth, the til leaf roller (Antigastracatalaunalis) and the til hairy caterpillar (Diacrisiaobliqua). Handpicking and thorough cultivation after harvesting the crop to destroy the pupae underground are the only remedies known.
195. Urad (Phaseolusradiatus) is mostly grown in the
Melghat. It is sown on the lighter
soils such as morandi and khardi. It is grown alternately with cotton and juari or grown as a subordinate crop with the latter. Being a leguminous crop it renovates the soil. In seasons of good rainfall its growth is checked by the principal crop when grown as a mixture; but in years of short rainfall it may contribute the greater proportion of the outturn. The following statement shows the cost of cultivation per acre when sown as a mixture with juari:—
196. On the poor soils in the Melghat, Morsi and Chandur taluks, bajra (Pennisetumtyphoideum) is
sometimes grown as an independent crop. In these taluks it is also grown as a mixture with cotton in the proportion of one line of the former to 12 or 15 of the latter; but the proper place for bajra is a poor light soil where cotton and juari cannot be grown economically. Like juari it supplies the ryot with bread for himself and fodder for his bullocks. The grain is said to be heating and to have a tendency to induce diarrhoea; but when mixed with juari is very wholesome. Except in years in which the crop comes to grief owing to heavy rains at the time of flowering, it is more dependable than the more profitable crops.
197. There are two varieties of tobacco (Nicotianatabacum) which are locally known as bandri and bani.Bandri has a broad leaf with a very thick midrib and is used both for smoking and chewing.
Bani has a long but narrow leaf and is inferior to bandri both in the quality and quantity of its yield. The very best soil for tobacco cultivation is pandhri but kali,malimorandi and shorati are also suitable where there is sufficient water available. Tobacco is grown in nearly every village in the District, but only on very small plots. The area under this crop last year (1907-08) was 1904 acres.
198. Tobacco seed is first sown in a nursery in a seed bed
7 feet by 7,raised about 3 inches above
the ground level. The soil is finely pulverized and manured with cattle dung and ashes. At the commencement of the rains the seed is sown broadcast and lightly worked in. If there is a long break in the rains the seedlings are watered by hand in the evening of every third day. In order to protect seedlings from the severe heat of the sun, branches of trees are spread over the bed. In the very early stages weeding is essential; otherwise, the seedlings are smothered by growing weeds. By about the 1st of August they are 6 inches high and are fit for transplanting. Tobacco is usually grown in pandhri soil; in this soil tobacco followed by tobacco year after year is said to yield well, and to improve in quality. It is sometimes grown after the staple crops of the District, cotton and juari. To prepare the ground for tobacco the land is ploughed and cross-ploughed with the country nagar and then wakhared. The stumps of the previous crop are collected and burnt and
the field manured with cattle-dung at the rate of 20 cart loads per acre and again wakhared before the rains. After the outbreak of the rains two more wakharings are given, and towards the end of July the land is levelled by means of the wakhar worked upside down. The young seedlings are transplanted out in rows about 21 inches apart and about 18 inches apart in the rows. This regularity in planting enables the hoe to be used lengthways and crossways in the field. If the crop is to be irrigated, and if there is no rain at the time the seedlings are ready for transplanting, the soil is raised into ridges 21 inches apart and cross ridges 7 feet apart by means of a daura with a rope wound round the blade. In this way the land is divided into beds which can be easily irrigated, the water being run through the furrows. The seedlings are planted on the ridges. The crop is carefully weeded by hand at intervals of about a fortnight. In the month of October, when plants are about 3 or 4 feet high, the top shoot and the lower and coarser leaves of each plants are nipped off. This work is done by women who use their fingers for the purpose. Should there be water available the crop is irrigated once a month during the dry weather; but irrigation is not absolutely necessary and tobacco is grown to a large extent without it. When the crop is mature the plants are cut before daybreak and arranged in a line with the lower half of one plant covered by the upper half of the next so that of each plant the top portion only is exposed. After lying thus for eight or ten days and after the midrib has become sufficiently dry the plants are inverted so as to get both sides dried evenly. On the evening of the fourth day they are watered and on the following day stacked with the tops downwards. If the leaves are not sufficiently moist they are again watered. About noon next day leaves are separated from the stems by women who at the same time separate the best leaves (dhal) from the inferior ones (bhurka). The leaves are made into bundles which are stored in a well-ventilated room in heaps 3 feet diameter and 5 high. The heaps are taken down, the leaves examined and rotting ones removed every third day during the first month and once a week later, till the bundles are all dry. The cost of cultivation per acre is shown below:—
March or April
Wakharing before rains
May to June
Collecting stumps of previous crop
May to June
May to June
Wakharing before transplanting
Levelling with pathad
Cost of seedlings for an acre
August or September
Hoeing 6 times
September and October
Nipping off suckers
October, November, and December
January to March
640 lbs. at 4 lbs per rupee
Bhurki (from ratoon crop) 80 lbs. at As. 1.6 per lb.
199. In this District wheat (Triticumsativum) is a more
difficult crop to grow than cotton. In
years of short rainfall it fares badly; in
normal years it is much less profitable than cotton. The
area under this crop last year was only 81,780 acres. As
the area under cotton has increased that under wheat
has decreased. Thetkali is the best wheat soil. In
Chanur and Morsi taluks hawra (hard white) and hatha (hardred) wheats are grown. In the Purna valley a mixture
of white and red wheat locally known as chawal hatha is grown. Bansi is also common. Wheat is a good
preparation for cotton; wheat-cotton, and wheat-cotton-juari are considered good rotations for deep black soil.
The growing of wheat and gram mixed, as practised in
the wheat tract, is unknown. The seed rate is only
40 lbs. per acre; it is sown with the heavy rabitiffan drawn by two or three pairs of bullocks. The cost of cultivation per acre is shown below:—
200. The area under gram (Cicerarietinum) last year was
22,891 acres. There are two varieties grown, one with brownish seed and the
other with white seed. This crop is grown on all the
different classes of soil; the cultivation required is similar to
that of wheat. The seed rate is about 25 lbs, an acre. The
cost of cultivation and profits per acre thereon are shown below:—
202. Of linseed (Linumusitatissimum) the variety grown is
the red. The cultivation and soils suitable for this crop are the same as
for wheat, but it is sown rather earlier. The cultivator first sows gram or lakh, then linseed and then wheat. It is generally sown about the middle of October. The seed rate is 12 lbs. per acre and the outturn 300 to 320 lbs., the value of which is Rs. 22. Like wheat, linseed has had to make way for cotton and juari; the area grown last year was only 10,045 acres. The only disease that affects the crop is rust which is not very common. When grown too often on the same soil the crop suffers as the soil becomes linseed sick.
204. Garden cultivation is well understood and is of some
importance more especially in parts
of Morsi and Ellichpur taluks. In
some parts of these taluks the water is less than 20 feet from the surface and plentiful. In 1907-08, 7453 acres were under irrigated crops, most of which were occupied by chillies, tobacco and turmeric. There were also 1219 acres of vegetables and 159 acres of orchards all of which require intensive cultivation. The area of a single vegetable garden is generally less than one acre. The land is almost continuously under crops, for when one is harvested the plot is prepared for the next crop. In the corners and on the borders of a plot sown with one crop, small quantities of other vegetables are grown so as to occupy every part of the area. The profits obtained from garden cultivation per acre are high compared with those earned by the ordinary dry-crop farmer. On the other hand the area cultivated by one man is very small and requires much more labour and capital. Garden lands irrigated from wells sunk previous to the original settlement are assessed at the highest dry crop maximum rate of the group of villages to which they belong. Lands irrigated from wells sunk during the currency of the lease are treated as dry crop lands. The fruit gardens are not so skilfully managed. They belong mostly to Marwaris, Brahman pleaders and other well-to-do people, who have taken to this form of gardening as a hobby. The best fruit gardens are to be found in the towns of Ellichpur and Amraoti. The general defects to be noticed everywhere are the neglect of pruning and of cultivation round the trees. For want of pruning the vitality of the tree is largely spent in producing wood rather than fruit; while by neglect to keep the surface soil round the tree well scarified, excessive evaporation and the consequent loss of soil moisture are allowed to check the growth of the tree. The fruits chiefly grown are mangoes (Mangiferaindica), oranges (Citrusaurentium), guavas (Psidiumguava), plantains (Musasapientum), limes (Citrusbargania) and papayas (Coricapapaya). Grafted mangoes are grown in the gardens in the larger towns. In the garden of Mr. Ganesh Nagesh Sahasrabudhe, Vice-chairman of the Ellichpur Municipality, may be seen 500 of the finest grafted varieties,
including the Alphonso, Pairi and other desirable types. As these mango gardens often cover an area of several acres, difficulty is experienced in giving them sufficient water during the first two years of their growth. The common mango, groves of which may be seen everywhere in the District, being more drought resistant, fares much better in this respect. When there is cloudy weather and thunderstorms at the time of flowering, the flowers instead of developing into fruit die off, as if burnt. The failure is most likely due to the state of the weather preventing the fertilization of the flowers. There are two kinds of common mangoes: the one is rather hard and tastes of turpentine; the other, found at Ellichpur, is more juicy. The former is used for making chutney, mango fool, etc., the latter is eaten. These mangoes are common in all parts of the District, being hardy and requiring no irrigation. When a cultivator wishes to grow mangoes he plants seeds in rows about 30 feet apart each way in the beginning of the rainy season. In the hot season the young plants are fenced with brushwood, which serves to shade them from the sun and to protect them from goats and other animals. As the plants are not irrigated they make very little progress except during the rains. The land between the rows is sown with the ordinary farm crops till such time as the mango trees shade the ground thoroughly. The first crop is obtained in the tenth year. One good mango tree will yield about 5000 mangoes which are worth from Rs. 8 to Rs. 10.
205. In this District oranges are probably a recent introduction seeing that they are not grown
by the Mali caste. Morandi and kali are considered good soils for oranges. The young trees are planted during the rains in pits 18 inches apart each way and are liberally manured. A shallow basin about 3 inches in diameter is made round each plant and is connected with a channel running midway between the rows. The plants are irrigated at intervals of 10 or 12 days during the cold weather, and at intervals of 6 days during the hot season. They are manured with cowdung before and at the end of the rains. The trees begin to bear in five years, and are in full bearing in seven years. For the first three years the space between the rows
is cropped with vegetables or other crops. Two crops are obtained each year, one in November and December and one in February and March. The oranges of the latter crop are considered the better. One good tree yields from 500 to 1000 fruit, at which rate the trees on one acre will yield about 67,000 oranges which at Rs. 10 a thousand are worth Rs. 670; but the outturn is seldom more than half that. The chief insect pests are a caterpillar (Virchalaisocrates) which bores the fruit, and a stem borer (Chloridolumalcmene). The cost of establishing an orange garden of one acre is reckoned to be about Rs. 162, and the annual upkeep on the same about Rs. 82, so that a thriving orange garden pays very well. The variety grown is the Nagpur orange, but the taste is somewhat sharper.
Guava cultivation is understood and practised by the ordinary Mali; plantains, limes, sweet and sour, and papayas are also common garden fruits. In Chikalda peaches thrive well and yield very good fruit for cooking purposes.
206. The implements required for garden cultivation are
the same as those used on the farm. The water-lift is the ordinary mot or
leather bucket which in some places has been replaced by the
Sangli iron mot. There are several garden hand tools in
common use, including the kudali,kulhad,phaura and vakas. All these are shaped more or less like an ordinary pickaxe,
varying only in the breadth and slope of the head.
They cost from two to eight annas and are used for
digging trenches, ridging, and for uprooting such crops as
onions, ground-nut and carrots.
207. The chief gardens in the District are the Government
gardens at Amraoti Camp and Chikalda and the Municipal and Jail gardens
at the former place. The Namdar Bag of Ellichpur, a once
famous garden, is now in ruins.
208. Among the crops grown in the neighbourhood of
villages, chillies (Capsicumfrutescens)
hold a very important place. Two varieties are commonly grown in the District (1) Diwani or khodnea is grown in gardens only; the plant is tall and bushy
and the fruit red and pungent. The seed is sown from November to January and usually as a subordinate crop to onions. (2) Nowrangi or daryabadi, the other variety, is less pungent and the fruit is yellowish red on ripening. The seed is sown in the end of April in a seed bed and transplanted in June or July. It is generally grown as a dry crop but chillie-growers who have facilities for irrigation irrigate from November till March.
209. Well-drained black soil is considered best for chillies, but pandhri fields are often used.
The land is ploughed and cross-ploughed and then wakhared in the dry weather. Manure is applied at the rate of 30 cartloads an acre and the land again wakhared. The nursery beds 7 feet by 7 are prepared and manured as for tobacco and the seed is sown in May at the rate of from two to three lbs. for 20 plots. The beds are watered daily till germination takes place and every second day later. The young seedlings are covered with a layer of cotton stalks to shade them from the scorching rays of the sun. About the end of June the seedlings are transplanted in rows about 20 inches apart with the plants 20 inches apart in the rows. This permits of interculture both ways with the bullock hoes. During the rains the crop is hoed four or five times, and weeded by hand as often as necessary. The pods are ready for picking about the end of September, and the plants continue to yield for three or four months or even longer if irrigated. The crop is sometimes attacked by a green fly of the genus Jassidae, which cause the curling of the leaves. The cost of cultivating dry-crop chillies is about Rs. 70 per acre, and the outturn is about 500 lbs. of dry chillies worth Rs. 126; but if irrigated the outturn is increased by approximately 8 maunds and the whole crop is worth Rs. 165 an acre, leaving the grower with a clear profit of Rs. 55 in the one case and Rs. 75 in the other.
210. Turmeric (Curcumalonga) is cultivated by the Ghasi
Malis in the patasthal lands at the foot
of the Satpuras in the Morsi taluk.
Sendurjana is the chief centre. At other places it is irrigated
from wells It is grown on well drained black soils in rotation
with ground-nut, sugarcane and sometimes even after cotton and juari. The land is cultivated and ridged as for other irrigated crops; the sets are planted on the ridges 8 inches apart in the beginning of the rains, 50,000 being required for one acre. The crop is irrigated at intervals of ten or twelve days during the dry weather. In January the rhizomes are ready for harvesting and the shoots are cut off with a sickle. The plot is then watered and after a week the rhizomes are dug up, stored in a shady place on a layer of turmeric leaves and covered with bundles of san hemp or other stalks available at the time. Sets which had failed to germinate are collected separately; the inferior turmeric derived from these is used for making the red powder (kunku) with which women paint their foreheads. In March the heap is opened and the turmeric for seed is separated from that intended for sale, that chosen for seed being the main stock from which the side shoots have been removed. In addition to the seed there are three other marketable products derived from this crop. The sets of the previous season which are found still clinging to the roots are sold at a cheap rate to the Atari (maker of perfumes) who uses them in the manufacture of his stock in trade. From the stocks not required for seed an inferior turmeric known as hap
is prepared, while turmeric proper is made from the rhizomes. These are boiled
in earthen pots if the quantity is small; but if a large quantity is to be dealt
with, iron pans of the same kind as are used for boiling the juice of sugarcane
are used. The pan is filled with water to a depth of six inches, and the
rhizomes are then put into it and heaped up above the brim. After two hours
boiling the rhizomes are taken out and spread on a plastered floor in the sun to
dry. Turmeric is chiefly used as a condiment; it is also used as a dye. Despite
the fact that this crop is one of the most profitable grown, the area under it
in this District has dwindled away to 405 acres. The local demand being in
excess of the supply, turmeric is now imported from the Nizam's dominions, Betul
and the Bombay Presidency. The cost of cultivation per acre including the
Government assessment of Rs. 8 for patasthal land is approximately Rs. 183, and the value of the outturn of about 1600 lbs. of toots is Rs. 290, leaving the grower with a net profit of Rs. 107.
211. Onions (Alliumcepa) are widely grown in the village
garden lands. There are two varieties,
white and red. The former is better for cooking, the latter for eating. Onions do well in pandhri,morandi and mali soils. They are generally grown in rotation with other garden crops such as
karela (Momordicacharantia),methi (TrigonellafaenumGraecum),takot (Chanopodiumveride),dhania (Coriandrumsativum), and less seldom after juari or cotton. The land is cultivated as for other garden crops and manured at the rate of 40 cartloads per acre. The field is then ridged into plots 7½ feet by 7½ by means of a
daura with a rope wound round its tines; the sides of the bed are prepared with a
phaura. In Amraoti and Ellichpur taluks it is the practice to make narrow beds 7½ feet by 3½. The seed is sown in October in well-manured nursery beds 7½ feet by 7½. On the sides of the same beds a few onions are generally planted for seed production. The seedlings are irrigated at the end of every four or five days, and two months later the leaves are cut off with sickles and sold in the bazar at the rate of four or five bundles a
pice. In January the bulbs are transplanted in beds about four inches apart. The crop being ready for harvesting in May the bulbs are either pulled out by hand or dug up by means of a khurpi. On drying the leaves are cut off and the bulbs stored in thin layers in a dry airy place. Along with the onions some other subsidiary crops are grown such as
karela or chillies from which a certain yield is obtained in the same year. The seed bulbs are ready in February. The tops are nipped off, dried and the seed cleaned by means of the sup and sold at R. 0-8-0 a pound. The outturn per acre is about 10,000 lbs. the market value of which is Rs. 175 to which may be added Rs. 12, the value of the other vegetables grown on the same land. The cost of cultivation is about Rs. 150, leaving a net profit of Rs. 37 per acre. The onion is a favourite vegetable in this District. Its juice mixed with castor oil is valued as a remedy for ticks in cattle.
212. The sweet potato (Ipomaeabatatas) is one of the
common garden crops in villages which
are remote from forests. Near the
jungle it is hard to save the crop from wild pig. Two varieties
are grown, a white and a red. The best crops are obtained from well-drained black cotton soil but the lighter soils, morandi and shorati, give good outturns. Sweet potatoes followed by cotton or juari are sometimes, manured with san hemp or til ploughed in as a green manure. It
is also grown after the common garden crops. The soil is ridged as for onions in beds 7½ feet by 7½ with the ridges 18 inches apart and sets each with four nodes are planted on the sides of the ridges, two rows in each furrow, so that successive rows are only 9 inches apart. The sets are covered with earth and irrigated at intervals of four or five days at first and at intervals of twice that length later. The potatoes are ready for harvesting in February and according to custom some are dug up at Shivratri as an offering for Siva. From that time till April or May the Mali continues to lift his potatoes to supply the local market. The leaves are used as a fodder for bullocks. The chief insect pest is the potato beetle. The cost of cultivation is approximately Rs. 200 and the value of the outturn about Rs. 255 per acre, leaving the cultivator with a net profit of approximately Rs. 55.
213. Pan cultivation is carried on mainly by the Bari
caste. The important places at which
pan-gardens are to be found are Badnera, Dabhe and Anjangaon Bari in the Amraoti taluk, Malkhed in the Chandur taluk, Anjangaon Surji in the Daryapur taluk, Ellichpur, Sirasgaon Kasba, Ladki and Brahmanwada-Thadi in the Ellichpur taluk. The area under cultivation of this crop in 1907-08 was 662 acres or 9 per cent of the total irrigated area of the District. The maximum area under cultivation in one field seldom exceeds one acre which belongs to eight or ten different cultivators holding in common. The best loamy garden soil is selected for the pan garden. The preliminary cultivation is the same as for other garden crops. The land is then divided into beds with a water channel for each line, as the vines have to be irrigated at all seasons except during the rains. The row of the beds is called a kanang or wani; each contains 100 beds 10 feet by 3½ feet so that the area of a kanang is 350 feet by 10½ feet. In the beginning of the rains the seed of
sawari (Sesbaniaaegyptiaca), 19 sown in the
rows, and in August the betel vine is planted at distances of 18 inches apart. The sawari plays the part of a support for the vine which grows up along it, and at the same time shades the vine from the sun. As a protection against Strong winds a hedge of pangra trees (Erythrinaindica) is grown round the garden; for still greater protection screens made of cotton or other stalks are attached to these. The whole area enclosed is known as a tanda. Plantains are grown all over the garden at intervals of 10 or 12 feet for purposes of shade. The betel vine cultivator generally has two tandas
at the same time so as to enable him to rotate his vines. He plants the one two
years after the other so that he gets a crop of leaves every year. The cost of
cultivating a pan-garden of about ½ acre is said to amount to Rs. 575 in the
first year, and to about Rs. 260 in succeeding years. The value of the outturn
is about Rs. 208 in the second year and Rs. 338 each year from the 3rd year to
the 10th year, if the vines are well manured. The profits from this small area
are said to be sufficient to maintain a Bari and his family in comfort.
214. Water melons are grown in the beds of the Purna,
Wardha and other rivers. The kharbuj wadi, melon garden, is generally about
200 feet long and 50 feet wide. The cultivation is carried on by the Bhoi or fisherman caste. The light sandy soil of the river bed is cultivated and levelled in January. Furrows are then made with the phaura at distances of 4 feet apart. In these seeds are planted and covered with cattle-dung and ashes. When the plants are about 8 inches high, they are thinned out, manured a second time and the furrows levelled. In March, manure is again applied and the plants are earthed up. The wadi is fenced in April to keep out jackals and pigs which are very destructive. The cost of cultivation of a kharbujwadi of about 50 feet by 100 feet is Rs. 30-6-0. The value of outturn is Rs. 75, leaving a net profit of Rs. 44-10-0. Despite the fact that this is a most valuable crop, the area under melons is said to be gradually decreasing owing to the exorbitant rents charged for the wadis and the scarcity of labour.
215. Rice (Oryzasativa), mung (Phaseolusmungo),karela (Momordicacharantia),ambari (Hibiscuscannabinus),san-hemp (Crotalariajuncea) sawa (Panicumfrumentaceum), kodon (Paspalumscrobiculatum), kutki (PanicumPsilopodium), brinjals (Solanummelongena), garlic (Alliumsativum), ground-nut (Arachishypogaea), sugarcane (Saccharumofficinarum), and other minor crops are grown. Of these rice, kodon, kutki and other inferior millets are mostly grown by the Korkus of the Melghat on isolated patches of the slopes and valleys of that mountainous taluk.
217. Chikalda is the only place in these Provinces in
which coffee (Coffeaarabica) has been
tried. The area under the crop at present is about 25 acres, and is to be found mostly as small plantations in the compounds of the bungalows and on land belonging to the Order of St. Francis de Sales. The pioneer in coffee-planting was a certain Mr. Mulheran, who fifty years ago tried coffee on these hills. The plateau is in many respects suitable for coffee cultivation. The altitude is 3664 feet above the sea-level and the soil is red loam in which respects the Chikalda plateau is very similar to the best coffee tracts in the Nilgiris. The main drawback is that the rainfall is usually confined to four months in the year. The coffee obtained is considered to be as good as any grown in India; it requires to be matured for a year after harvest before being used. The seed is first sown in a well shaded nursery bed. The seedlings are planted out in rows 7 feet apart, with the plants 6 feet apart in the rows. As the soil is very shallow it is sometimes necessary to remove some of the stones and muram of the sub-soil so as to give the roots greater freedom of growth. One basket of cattle-dung and leaf mould is mixed with the earth at the roots of each seedling. Good shade is absolutely necessary. One of the best trees for this purpose is the silver oak (Grevillearobusta) which both shades the coffee
bushes from the rays of the sun and at the same time protects them from strong winds. Hand-weeding is necessary to kill weeds and to keep the surface loose and friable round the bushes, so as to prevent the excessive evaporation of soil moisture. The bushes produce berries after the third year. In their fifth year they are in full bearing and continue to yield well for at least thirty years if manured regularly. The bushes are not allowed to grow to a height of more than five feet. The yield of berries per tree in a good year is about two pounds. Most of the coffee produced is sold to officers stationed in Berar and visitors to Chikalda; the supply is too insignificant to create anything like a demand for it on a commercial scale. Tea (Theasinensis) too has been tried but without success, as the conditions are too dry for this plant.