PLANT HORMONES

Hormone:

A hormone is a chemical released by a cell, a gland, or an organ in one part of the body that affects cells in other parts of the organism. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism.

Plant Hormones:

Plant hormones, also known as phytohormones, are chemicals that regulate plant growth, which, in the UK, are termed ‘plant growth substances’.

Plant hormones are signal molecules produced within the plant, and occur in extremely low concentrations. Hormones regulate cellular processes in targeted cells locally and, when moved to other locations, in other locations of the plant.

Hormones also determine the formation of flowers, stems, leaves, the shedding of leaves, and the development and ripening of fruit. Plants, unlike animals, lack glands that produce and secrete hormones. Instead, each cell is capable of producing hormones. Plant hormones shape the plant, affecting seed growth, time of flowering, the sex of flowers, senescence of leaves, and fruits. They affect which tissues grow upward and which grow downward, leaf formation and stem growth, fruit development and ripening, plant longevity, and even plant death.

Classes Of Plant Hormones:

There are five generally recognized classes of plant hormone, some of the classes are represented by only one compound, others by several different compounds. They are all organic compounds, they may resemble molecules which turn up elsewhere in plant structure or function, but they are not directly involved as nutrients or metabolites.

1. clip_image001AUXIN:

There is only one naturally occurring Auxin: indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and this is chemically related to the amino acid tryptophan. Auxins were the first plant hormones discovered. The term auxin is derived from the Greek word auxein which means to grow.

Functions of Auxin:
The following are some of the responses that auxin is known to cause (Davies, 1995; Mauseth, 1991; Raven, 1992; Salisbury and Ross, 1992).

  • Stimulates cell elongation .
  • Stimulates cell division in the cambium and, in combination with cytokinins in tissue culture .
  • Stimulates differentiation of phloem and xylem .
  • Stimulates root initiation on stem cuttings and lateral root development in tissue culture .
  • Mediates the tropistic response of bending in response to gravity and light .
  • The auxin supply from the apical bud suppresses growth of lateral buds
  • Delays leaf senescence .
  • Can inhibit or promote (via ethylene stimulation) leaf and fruit abscission.
  • Can induce fruit setting and growth in some plants .
  • Involved in assimilate movement toward auxin possibly by an effect on phloem transport .
  • clip_image003Delays fruit ripening.
  • Stimulates growth of flower parts.
  • Stimulates the production of ethylene at high concentrations.
  • Auxins also play a key role in tropism (controlling the direction of plant growth).

2. ABSCISIC ACID:

clip_image004Abscisic acid, also called ABA, was discovered and researched under two different names before its chemical properties were fully known, it was called dormin and abscicin II. Once it was determined that the two compounds are the same, it was named abscisic acid. The name “abscisic acid” was given because it was found in high concentrations in newly abscissed or freshly fallen leaves.

This acid is known for its role in drought environments and inhibiting seed germination. We’ll talk about seed germination later on when we discuss giberellin, so let’s go with dry environments. When the plant senses it is dry it releases abscisic acid, which tells the Stoma to close.

Functions of Abscisic Acid:
The following are some of the physiological responses known to be associated with abscisic acid (Davies, 1995; Mauseth, 1991; Raven, 1992; Salisbury and Ross, 1992).

  • Stimulates the closure of stomata (water stress brings about an increase in ABA synthesis).
  • Inhibits shoot growth but will not have as much affect on roots or may even promote growth of roots.
  • Induces seeds to synthesize storage proteins.
  • Inhibits the affect of gibberellins on stimulating de novo synthesis of a-amylase.
  • Has some effect on induction and maintenance of dormancy.
  • Induces gene transcription especially for proteinase inhibitors in response to wounding which may explain an apparent role in pathogen defense.
  • Abscisic acid is considered the “stress” hormone. It inhibits the effects of other hormones to reduce growth during times of plant stress.

3. CYTOKININS:

clip_image005Cytokinins are compounds derived from a nitrogen-containing compound (adenine). Kinetin was the first cytokinin discovered and so named because of the compounds ability to promote cytokinesis (cell division). Though it is a natural compound, It is not made in plants, and is therefore usually considered a “synthetic” cytokinin (meaning that the hormone is synthesized somewhere other than in a plant). The most common form of naturally occurring cytokinin in plants today is called zeatin which was isolated from corn (Zea mays).

These are compounds that increase cell number, promoting cell division. Cytokines are released at the root tips and move up the plant. Cytokine and auxin together causes the plant to form a callus, the cells continue to divide without differentiating. This would be the equivalent as plant cancer, but unlike human cancer callus allow the plant to heal. We use plant calluses when propagating with tissue culture.

Functions Of Cytokinins:

A list of some of the known physiological effects caused by cytokinins are listed below. The response will vary depending on the type of cytokinin and plant species (Davies, 1995; Mauseth, 1991; Raven, 1992; Salisbury and Ross, 1992).

  • Stimulates cell division.
  • Stimulates morphogenesis (shoot initiation/bud formation) in tissue culture.
  • clip_image006Stimulates the growth of lateral buds-release of apical dominance.
  • Stimulates leaf expansion resulting from cell enlargement.
  • May enhance stomatal opening in some species.
  • Promotes the conversion of etioplasts into chloroplasts via stimulation of chlorophyll synthesis.

4. Ethylene:

clip_image008Ethylene, unlike the rest of the plant hormone compounds is a gaseous hormone. Of all the known plant growth substance, ethylene has the simplest structure. It is produced in all higher plants and is usually associated with fruit ripening.

Ethylene is also a hormone released when the plant is stressed. While abscisic acid’s main job is a plant’s drought response, ethylene is a multi-purpose stress hormone. One example of its use is a growing seedling. If a seedling is growing and hits a rock it will release ethylene, which will cause its stem to grow shorter, thicker, and curvier. With this bending the seedling will grow around the rock.

Functions of Ethylene:
Ethylene is known to affect the following plant processes (Davies, 1995; Mauseth, 1991; Raven, 1992; Salisbury and Ross, 1992):

  • Stimulates the release of dormancy.
  • Stimulates shoot and root growth and differentiation (triple response)
  • May have a role in adventitious root formation.
  • Stimulates leaf and fruit abscission.
  • Stimulates Bromiliad flower induction.
  • Induction of femaleness in dioecious flowers.
  • Stimulates flower opening.
  • Stimulates flower and leaf senescence.
  • Stimulates fruit ripening.

clip_image0105. GIBBERELLINS:

. Giberellin was discovered in Japan while researching “bakanae” this is Japanese for foolish seedings. The bakanae disease caused rice plants to grow extremely fast, so fast that the plant would not be able to support itself and fall over into the rice patty. Gibberellins are named after the fungus Gibberella fujikuroi, which produces excessive growth and poor yield in rice plants. Gibberellins, abundant in seeds, are also formed in young leaves and in roots; they move upward from the roots in the xylem (woody tissue) and thus do not show the movement characteristic of auxins.

Functions of Gibberellins:
Active gibberellins show many physiological effects, each depending on the type of gibberellin present as well as the species of plant. Some of the physiological processes stimulated by gibberellins are outlined below (Davies, 1995; Mauseth, 1991; Raven, 1992; Salisbury and Ross, 1992).

  • Stimulate stem elongation by stimulating cell division and elongation.
  • Stimulates bolting/flowering in response to long days.
  • Breaks seed dormancy in some plants which require stratification or light to induce germination.
  • Stimulates enzyme production (a-amylase) in germinating cereal grains for mobilization of seed reserves.
  • Induces maleness in dioecious flowers (sex expression).
  • Can cause parthenocarpic (seedless) fruit development.
  • Can delay senescence in leaves and citrus fruits.

REFERENCES:

http://www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs300/hormone.htm

http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/farabee/biobk/biobookplanthorm.html

http://www.plant-hormones.info/auxins.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_hormone#Classes_of_plant_hormones

http://www.cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotes/145.html

TEXTBOOK OF BIOCHEMISTRY- Harrow-Mazhur

About Author:

Syeda Tahira Fatima Jafri

Website URL: http://agriculturism.blogspot.com/

BIO: I am doing my B.S. (IInd Year) in Agriculture & Agribusiness Management at the University of Karachi.

E-mail: fatimajafri@live.com

Feeding the community one garden at a time

May 29, 2013, by Leslie Davis

I work with a non-profit organization, Seed2Need, outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico that grows gardens to generate fresh produce for local food pantries. New Mexico consistently ranks high for poverty and food insecurity. Funding available to our central food bank has been reduced due to state and federal budget constraints. With so many relying on their services, they cannot afford to invest in perishable commodities, but the importance of fruit and vegetables to basic nutrition cannot be denied. Addressing the issue at a localized level seemed like the most efficient way to alleviate the problem.

seed2need logo2Our mission is to reduce hunger in our community by growing gardens, gleaning fruit from local orchards and soliciting produce donations at our local grower’s market. Produce harvested is often in the hands of the families who need it within hours of harvest.  Picked fresh.  Distributed fresh.  Consumed locally by families facing food insecurity.

What started as a small garden in a neighbor’s horse corral to supply one food pantry has evolved over the last five years into Seed2Need; now serving 15 food pantries and soup kitchens in the area. Our community is very supportive, with many local property owners donating land, equipment and excess fruit from their orchards. We receive financial assistance from local businesses and individuals. We have volunteers of all ages and every walk of life. Our organization involves service by the community for the community.

Many of us have an interest in gardening, but no background in agriculture. This has been an educational experience for many, if not most, of the volunteers involved. There has been a steep learning curve as we realize what we are doing wrong and recognize what we are doing right, changing and adapting as we progress. The varieties of produce have been altered based on productivity and various planting, irrigation and mulching techniques have been modified to increase efficiency. As a volunteer organization we have to be aware of cost effective, labor saving methods.Seeds2Need

Growing in New Mexico is nothing like growing in the more fertile climates of the Midwest or Southern states. New Mexico is a dry, arid, hot, high mountain climate. We have been experiencing a prolonged, extreme drought over the last several years. As a result of the drought, many farmers are unable to plant crops this summer, making the cost of fresh produce more cost prohibitive to families experiencing economic hardship and making water conservation a vital part of our plan. Although our gardens are close to the Rio Grande River we utilize a T-Tape drip irrigation system, drawn from a well, rather than relying on flood irrigation. This reduces the weeds brought in from flood irrigation and conserves water by applying small increments directly to the plants. We also utilize plastic mulch to prevent rapid evaporation and to create a barrier for weeds.

We have chosen vegetables that produce over a period of time, rather than a singular harvest, to ensure that we can provide a plentiful supply over several months. We also take into consideration regional tastes and diet. Currently we are growing 2 acres of tomatoes, green chile, cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupe, zucchini and green beans. Over the last three years we have generated 70 tons of produce for local food pantries. With two acres planted this spring we are hoping to harvest 30 tons this summer alone.

For more information please visit our website, www.Seed2Need.us, or like our Seed2Need page on Facebook. If you have any questions about our techniques or starting a garden to address hunger within your community, please email Seed2Need@gmail.com.

Bio: Leslie Davis has a finance and economics degree with 25 years of sales and marketing experience and a desire to apply those skills to make a positive impact on her community.

Contact Info: www.Seed2Need.us

Leslie Davis
505.933.1345
www.Seed2Need.us
Facebook: Seed2Need
Seed2Need@gmail.com

Biogas potential in Pakistan

For the last five years, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MPNR) has been trying to implement a LNG project of a rather small capacity of 400 Billion Cubic Feet per year (BCFD) and desperately tried to conclude an agreement in this respect in the last days of the reigning government of PPP.
The LNG rates almost as much as that of oil (more than 80%) which it purports to replace, although there are some merits in that project. However, this is not the purpose of this article to delve into that. Similarly, Pakistan and Iran have both been trying to implement the IP gas pipeline project for years. Finally, the project was inaugurated on Iran side of the border without finalising the contract details and amidst vocal US opposition to the project and the murmur by opposition parties that it was a political inauguration designed to take undue credit and creating problems (of sanctions and US disgruntlement over the issue) for the next government. In this perspective, one would like to desperately search for other options including local production of gas. Biogas emerges as a good option, although not a complete replacement of the imported pipeline gas. It is intended in this article to explore the Biogas potential in Pakistan, its strength and weaknesses and evaluate various strategies to avail of its benefit. We will also explore in the end a rather interesting proposal; the prospects of using Biogas in CNG applications, something which CNG owners may love to read as the sector appears to be facing extinction in the wake of the gas crisis.
Biogas Hope for PakistanBiogas is certainly not a new idea. The idea of producing Biogas for cooking has been on the cards for more than three decades in this country. In 1980s, attempts were made in the days of General Zia-ul-Haq to popularise Biogas. The initiative failed on account of many reasons detailing which may not be called for in this article. Several Rural development programme components are still there, which are dealing with Biogas for cooking with various degree of success or lack of it. Availability of cheaper and abundant gas and petrol resources has been one of the major reasons for underdevelopment of the alternative routes and products in the energy field. No more; neither the conventional sources are any cheaper any more and nor are these abundantly available. We have one-third of our power generation capacity under-utilised because we cannot afford to buy Fuel oil within the existing tariff framework, the latter being already too high and unaffordable for most consumers in the country.
Pakistan a country of 200 million people and a large agriculture and a livestock sector (being the fourth largest milk producer in the world) produces a lot of Biomass and the associated waste. Animal dung, agri-waste, food and other Bio industry waste, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and sewerage could all generate valuable Biogas in addition to solving the perennial waste disposal problems. My estimates indicate that Pakistan has a potential of producing as much Biogas as it currently produces from its Gas Wells in Balochistan and Sindh, a whopping 1.6 TCF per year. Why the potential does remains unutilised?
One may argue that nowhere in the world Biogas is a major source of energy. However, the situation is changing fast. Europeans have decided to generate Biogas to cater to the 20% of their gas requirement from Bio-sources by the year 2020 or so. While Americans are revelling in their Shale gas resource which is projected to last them for more than a century, Europeans produce only 40% of their gas requirements domestically and the rest is imported from Russia and the Middle East. In Europe a thriving and reliable gas market and network is operating based on local supplies and imports. Had their situation being as stark as ours, impetus on Biogas would have been even stronger. In any case, a 20% target is no mean a goal.
Pakistan has a livestock population of over 50 million, which alone produces about 1 million ton per day of biomass (dung), most of which gets wasted producing local nuisance and global environmental problems (global warming due to methane release).This alone can generate 4 billion Cft per day, which is the shortfall that we are facing. Easier said than done? Obviously, all of the potential cannot be converted in gas and put into pipe lines. However, oil and gas demand can be reduced by generating and utilising biogas in many direct and indirect ways.
Presently, small biogas plants are being installed for family needs in rural areas. The effort is continuing for the past many years. We have some 20 million rural house-holds. For 50% coverage, we require 5 million small biogas plants. This means, an installation activity of 500,000 biogas plants per year, if 50% target is to be achieved in 10 years. Due to poverty and capital needs, only a partial objective may be achieved in near future. Government subsidy and loan scheme can make a significant difference. The biggest merit of Biogas plants, especially the smaller ones, is that a lot of employment can be generated for the rural unemployed and landless workers. A reasonably sized Biogas programme say 100,000 plants per year can generate a direct employment of 50,000 workers not withstanding the stimulation of demand in cement and bricks sector. Finally, the motivation to shift from burning of Uplas and shrubs is lacking among the cash-starved rural poor.
However, there is scope for commercial and industrial activity and investments in biogas sector. There are about one million agricultural Tube wells in Pakistan, 80% of which run on diesel. At Rs 100 a liter of diesel, the generators cost Rs 25 per unit of electricity generated. Farmers spend about 600-1000 Million USD worth of diesel annually to buy the required diesel to operate these tube wells. Farmers have started investing in Biogas plants that cost them Rs 0.5 million to run their generators. An equivalent solar tube well costs two to three times more. It is expected that wealthier ones would go for solar and less wealth would be installing Biogas plants.
There are 30,000 large farms in Pakistan employing more than 50 cattle and 18000 farms rearing 200 cattle per farm on the average. Large Farms and cattle owners can produce electricity for others and sell it to the grid. A farm having 1000 cattle can generate 0.5 MW of electricity and a farm of 2000 cattle can generate 1 MW. One can reasonably assume that 1000 such farms can be marshaled to provide atleast 1000 MW, against a total potential of 3800 MW. Activity on this scale would require foreign technology and capital. Europeans would be keen to participate in this market, particularly Germany and Sweden where these technologies are thriving. A government policy would have to be evolved to facilitate all this. However, one is always scared of government policies which render every project expensive and unaffordable, the issue of costly Wind Power being a case in point. Wherever feasible, Biogas after cleaning and removing CO2 can also be fed into the gas network. Several such projects are being considered elsewhere and some are in operation as well. Recently, a Pakistani scientist settled in the US had prepared a proposal in this respect. I am not aware as to what happened.
Concluding, in addition to centralized generation and networks, we should also look into distributed energy options. Most alternative energy technologies are suited for distributed mode except wind Power. Energy security and autonomy is enhanced by distributed applications. Centralized systems are too vulnerable to attack, terrorism and other threats and discontinuity. Biogas has a potential to meet our energy demands in a significant way while augmenting Energy security and self-reliance.
PART-II : BIO-CNG-CNG FROM BIOGAS Bio-CNG is CNG produced from Bio sources instead of Natural Gas obtained from oil and gas fields. One could retrofit his CNG station with a Biogas plant and produce his own gas (Methane) instead of buying it from gas distribution companies such as SSGC and SNGPL. Raw material for the adjunct Biogas plant is to come from a variety of bio resources such as solid and liquid wastes and agricultural residues. In this article, we will explore the possibilities and role Bio-CNG can play in meeting the CNG demand in Pakistan.
Factories are closed down due to non-availability of natural Gas. And there are long lines at CNG stations. CNG dealers criticise and even curse the Minister of Oil and Gas for their problems, but the fact is that there is an acute shortage of Gas. CNG dealers would also want to maintain a price differential of 50% between oil and gas prices in order to be able to maximise their revenues and profits. Even if LNG and Iran Gas Pipeline projects are implemented (a big if), gas prices are not going to be the same as these have been and still are. Both Iran and LNG suppliers are asking for very high rates, which is more than double our current rates.
The morale of the story is to look for the other options and alternatives and develop these and stop living in the dream-world of cheap gas. This is a special message for the CNG dealers and their very vocal association. One would like to encourage them to Bio-CNG. As mentioned earlier, Biogas is nothing new, but Bio-CNG is and has come on the agenda only recently due to developments in technology and market. Biogas has 50% Methane and thus has to be upgraded, for use in automotives, to above 90% for technical and economic reasons. Also some gas cleaning is required to remove sulfur. This has been achieved successfully, technically and commercially only recently. One can now produce CNG at 50% of the price of Gasoline in the US Several commercial projects for self use by the producers have been launched.
To reassure the skeptics, let me also reproduce the cuttings from a news-letter (Bio-Master) on the subject, which shows how active and popular the subject is in many countries:
BIOGAS FROM SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT TO POWER DELHI BUSES
August 2012
Ambitious as it may sound, but Delhi plans to run its buses on biogas. In collaboration with the Swedish government, the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy plans to set up a biogas plant inside Kesopur Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) complex in West Delhi.
INDIA TO TEST THE BIO-CNG PRODUCED FROM BAGASSE IN A COMMERCIAL VEHICLE
February 2013
Under instructions from the Union Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India is expected to test the bio-CNG produced from bagasse and its use in operating a commercial vehicle.
ENOC SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH DUBAI MUNICIPALITY TO PRODUCE CNG FROM WASTE FOR automotive use
February 2013
Emirates Gas LLC (EMGAS), a subsidiary of Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dubai Municipality to treat land and sewage waste to generate compressed natural gas (CNG). EMGAS is now setting up an advanced facility to convert waste to bio-methane, from what is currently being flared, and then compress it into compressed natural gas that will be used as an automotive green.
FIRST ECO-BUS ENTERS SERVICE IN ZALAEGERSZEG (HUNGARY)
August 2012
The first eco-bus of the local public transport company entered service on 27 June. It is fuelled by biomethane, which is derived from the local sewage treatment plant. This action is part of a series of measures which aim to turn Zalaegerszeg into a sustainable town.
TURKU AIMS TO USE MORE BIOGAS BUSES (FINLAND)
October 2012
The city of Turku pledges to use the growing share of biogas to power its city buses. The aim is to make the bus transport within the city as environmentally friendly as possible.
FIRST ECO-BUS ENTERS SERVICE IN ZALAEGERSZEG (HUNGARY)
August 2012
The first eco-bus of the local public transport company entered service on 27 June. It is fuelled by biomethane, which is derived from the local sewage treatment plant. This action is part of a series of measures which aim to turn Zalaegerszeg into a sustainable town.
Ministry of Fuel (MFNRE) in India has approved about 15 projects subsidising up to 50% of the equipment cost of Bio-CNG installations. Local Government of New Delhi has decided to switch to Bio-CNG by producing Biogas from its solid waste facilities and get almost free fuel. Nothing is free though, the amortization costs and operating expenses would still yield a fuel cost saving of 50%. All public transport facilities and projects almost anywhere suffer from high cost issues not sufficiently covered under an affordable tariff. It is said that the newly established Metro-Bus project in Lahore also suffers from the same issue. However, Lahore generates a lot of solid and liquid waste and there should be ample agro-biomass around Lahore to be able to generate enough Bio-CNG at 50% of the Diesel prices. I hope the CM Punjab somehow reads it or get to know about it. Similarly, Karachi or for that matter all major cities can afford a public transport system under a cheaper and locally available fuel, in a country which calls itself an agricultural country. Reportedly, more than 35 CNG Buses procured by the local government of Karachi are in the docks, although for other than cost reasons. But improved economics and lesser fuel costs certainly help.
Although, urban area CNG stations may not be able to benefit from Bio-CNG(except where local government develop projects from organic waste), CNG stations on the highways passing through rural areas can certainly install Bio-CNG facilities. A Bio-CNG plant consumes a lot of space for biogas generation plant, although the same compression facilities as are already available in conventional CNG would be required for compressing and filling Bio-CNG. In Punjab and Sindh, there should be a large number of existing CNG stations that could benefit from this concept. Capital investments of about Rs 10 Million have been estimated for installing Biogas facilities at the existing CNG pumps in rural areas.
A wide variety of Biomass is available; Household and Municipal Solid waste , sewerage and waste water, agricultural, forestry and plant residue. To my knowledge, there is no single location or facility in Pakistan, where solid waste is hygienically and scientifically disposed off, except for some recycling activity self-sustained by commercial recyclers. In most countries particularly in Europe, hitherto, MSW had been incinerated, but now trend is changing towards gasification of solid waste. Waste heat was fed into heat exchangers to supply to the district heating systems or heat utilised in other applications. Incineration has become out of fashion due to environmental reasons as well. Increasingly solid waste is being disposed in Landfills which invariably produce Biogas.
In Pakistan, a number of studies and efforts have been undertaken in the past to generate electricity from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), but could not succeed due to a variety of reasons including poor economics and comparatively lower Calorific value of Pakistani MSW. Most, in fact all cities throw their MSW in uncovered waste dumps spreading squalor and disease in adjoining areas. Often, it is shamefully and carelessly burnt in the open very close to the residential areas. Any body who has crossed the Korangi bypass at night would know how dangerous this activity is. Bio-gasification and Bio-CNG may improve the economics of collection and disposal of MSW in most communities, especially major cities.
Villages and Rural Centers can replace diesel from their diesel engines of the tube wells. Also, tractors could be switched to Bio-CNG. Where Biomass should be used for producing electricity or where it should be used for Biogas for cooking or for Bio-CNG, would depend on time and space issues and choices of the stakeholders. No policy can be announced promoting or proscribing a certain use, although it is clear that in case of Bio-CNG, the alternative or opportunity cost is much higher, ie Bio-CNG is replacing expensive gasoline and diesel, while there are cheaper options to produce electricity than from Biomass.
Enterprise and innovation is augmented by the economics. A textile entrepreneur in Punjab is reportedly buying several hundred Buffaloes (which in addition to Milk) to provide Gober fuel which would generate Biogas which in turn would be used in electricity generation for his adjacent Textile Mill. The Gober generated Biogas would also be burnt in their Boilers.
Certainly, Bio-CNG would not be a panacea for our energy problems or a one-size-fit-all solution. Cheaper Oil and gas used to be such a panacea and a solution, but no more. But one could expect that a significant portion of CNG demand could be met through Bio-CNG. Localised and segmentised solutions for a variety of users and market conditions may have to be implemented by the private sector mostly, although Government can guide, facilitate and afford some demonstration and early project subsidies. These kinds of solutions such as Bio-CNG, apart from being economic and affordable, also add to our energy security. Imagine what would happen, if oil import facilities or market suffer some kind of blockade or discontinuity, or the law and order problem, affecting the inter-city transport. Biogas is locally produced as would be Bio-CNG.
Concluding, Bio-CNG appears to be an interesting and viable alternative to conventional CNG. Bio CNG should be allowed to grow in an unhindered market environment. Except for quality and safety issues, there should be no regulation, of price or otherwise. It should be the individual CNG dealer’s choice weather and where he should invest to produce and sell CNG. However, a government policy would be required to reassure potential investors and the existing CNG dealers that their investment and efforts would not be wasted and that at some point in time, government may start discouraging out. No policy is for ever. Circumstances keep changing and new challenges and issues are to be handled. However, sufficient time and opportunity should be made available before a change of policy stance to enable the investors to recoup their investments. Fortunately, in the case of Bio-CNG, Bio-gasification facility would always have many other alternative markets and usages.
Bio-CNG should be allowed to grow in an uncontrolled market environment. Except for quality and safety issues, there should be no regulation, of price or otherwise. It should be the individual CNG dealer’s choice weather and where he should invest to produce and sell CNG
.

Table: Biogas Potential in Pakistan

====================================================

No of Livestock=56.9 Million

Live stock Biomass generation=1 Mn Tons/day

Number of Large Dairy Farms=30,000 (avg 200 Cattles)

MSW =55000 tons/day

Crop residue= 225000 tons/day

Annual Biogas (Bio-methane) potential=1.6 TCF/yr

Pakistan Ngas Production=1.4 TCF/yr

Existing Short Fall= 1 TCF/yr

CNG consumption=0.164 TCF/yr

LNG projects =0.146 TCF/yr (25 Billion USD imports)

OR Electricity Potential from Biogas =3800 MW

—————————————————-

Source: Author’s Estimates

=============================
DAIRY FARM HERD SIZE AND BIOGAS & ELECTRICITY OUTPUT
========================================================
No  of animals    Gas out put   Tot.Gas   Tot.Electr    Power    Profit
number            CM/animal/d   Mbtu/yr     kWh/yr       KW       Rs/yr
========================================================
5000                  2.4       147000     14700000     2940   14700000
3000                  2.4        88200      8820000     1764    8820000
2000                  2.4        58800      5880000     1176    5880000
1000                  2.4        29400      2940000      588    2940000
500                   2.4        14700      1470000      294    1470000
200                   2.4        5880       588000      117.6    588000
======================================================

Source: http://www.brecorder.com

Camel Farming

 

When discussing milk and lactation in general, two aspects must be taken into account. The first is the amount of milk produced per day and per lactation period. The other aspect, which is as important, is the type of milk produced. Animals living in cold areas or in the sea need a different quality of milk from those living in hot areas; this applies also to fast-growing animals as compared with slow-growing animals (Yagil & Etzion, 1980).

This section will deal with the lactation, milking and amount of milk produced.
The mainstay of the desert nomad’s food is camels’ milk, which is consumed fresh or when just soured (Mares, 1954, Gast et al.1969). Data on the actual amount of milk produced by camels are not very accurate for judging the milk-giving capabilities of camels.

Camel FarmingCalves must be allowed to drink; therefore, the herder and his family must share with the calf the milk produced by the herd. How much the calf drinks certainly varies with its size, age, and health. The amount of grazing and water available to the camel will also determine the amount suckled, and the total produced.
The camel, like the cow, has a four-quartered udder. It is firmly suspended from the abdomen, without deep cuts (Sharma, 1963) (Photo 4). There are four teats, each having two orifices.
China
The two-humped Bactrian camel is used mostly as a working animal (Dong Wei, 1979). The lactation period is 14–16 months, and the amount of daily milk production averages 5 kg per animal; although some animals can give as much as 15–20 kg per day. Normally, only about 2 kg are milked; the rest is suckled by the calf.
Russia
Milking capabilities of the Bactrian, the dromedary, and the hybrid of these two types of camels were examined (Kheraskov, 1955, 1961, 1965; Lakosa & Shokin, 1964; Dzhumagulov, 1976). The dromedary gave more milk than the Bactrian or the hybrids (Table 2). The hybrid – Kazakh – gave more milk than the hybrid Turmein. The lactation period was 18 months. Most of the milk was produced in the first seven months of lactation, from spring, throughout summer, until Autumn. This was correlated with the availability of fodder. Grazing in Winter is difficult, because of snow. The second lactation yield was far greater than the first, and in each following lactation more milk is produced. The estimated milk yield between the third and sixth months of lactation was 879– 1 572 kg (Kulaeva, 1979). Slightly more milk was received from the back-quarter, 56.4 percent to 43.6 percent from the forward-quarters. From the sixth month of pregnancy the amount of milk declined.
With good stall feeding the same amounts of milk were received as with grazing animals. This would be of great importance if a steady and balanced diet could be supplied to the animals throughout the year.
When the animals are hand-milked the milker stands on one leg and balances the milking bowl on his bent left leg. The left hand holds the bowl, while the camel is milked with the right hand. Another method is to tie the bowl around the milker’s neck so it hangs low enough to be held while the camel is being milked. Camels have successfully been machine milked. Liners of 18.56 mm diameter and 56 mm length are recommended for the Bactrian and liners of 20.6 mm diameter and 90 mm length are recommended for the dromedary (Baimukanov. 1974). The animals were gradually changed from hand to machine milking in the presence of their calves. The cell-count of milk of hand-milked camels was lower than that of machine-milked camels (Kospakov, 1976).
In the vast dry areas between the Caspian Sea and the Balkash Lake the camel is, and can be, of great nutritional importance. In Kazakstan, milk and milk products account for up to 90 percent of the daily staple diet. The camel is the most important provider of milk. Thirty-seven percent of all milk comes from the camel; 30 percent from sheep; 23 percent from the Yak and only 10 percent from cows.
New World Camels
Little is known about the milk production of these members of the camel family. The alpaca, when kept on good pasture, can produce up to 0.5 kg of milk daily (Novoa, 1970).
Horn of Africa
In the Horn of Africa, milking of camels is not only an act of work, but has become an integral part of the local culture and heritage. Only boys, unmarried women or ritually clean men are allowed to milk the animals (Hartley, 1979). No treatment of the milk is allowed. The milk is either consumed fresh or when just soured. In some tribes the herdboys subsist on camel milk alone. They drink water only after the camels are watered. Two teats are left for the calf, while the other two are milked-out for the tent dwellers. These latter two teats are tied up with soft bark fibres. The colostrum is not drunk, but is either given to the calf although it is thought to be bad for the young camel (Field, 1979), or spilled onto the ground. This certainly represents a bad practice since the colostrum contains large amounts of absorbable antibodies.

The camels are milked twice a day; before dawn and at night. The average milk production is about 1 800 kg, i.e.: 9 kg per day.

Table

Weaning is carried out when the calves are 9–11 months old. A leather band with protruding thorns is placed on the calf’s head in such a way that the dam is pricked every time the calf attempts to suckle; the dan thus quickly moves away.
North Kenya
In North Kenya the camels produce far more milk than the local cows. The Sakuye camel produces an average of 4 kg milk daily with a maximum of 12 kg. The cow produces 0.5–1.5 kg per day. Camels lactate for about a year. In areas with only one rainy season lactation finishes at the end of the dry season; this is thought to be caused by the shortage of feed during this period.
In areas of northern Kenya, where the nomads subsist almost entirely on camel milk, there are two rainy period. Field (1979a and 1979b) reported lactation studies lasting three lactations. The duration of lactation was 47–67 weeks. Lactation ended 4–8 weeks following conception. Daily milk production reached 21 kg in the first week, declining to 4.8 kg in the 16th week of lactation. There was an average daily milk yield of 13 kg for the first 10 weeks (1.8–50.2 kg) and 3 kg for the remainder of the lactation. Total production averaged 1 897 kg per animal. In the lactation studies the lowest milk yields were those given by camels without calves. These animals also had much shorter lactation periods, even though they were milked 5–7 times a day. Four milkings per day yielded more milk than twice a day milkings: seven liters compared with six (Evans and Powys, 1979; Shalash, 1979).
Ethiopia
The camel is known to be capable of producing large quantities of milk under extensive and intensive management (Knoess, 1979). Knoess rightly stresses the fact that as the camels are not intensively milked, but some milk is left for their calves, the exact amount is difficult to assess. Milk trials in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia were carried out for six days in various stages of lactation (Knoess, 1976). As suckling stimulus is an integral part of milk production (Yagil et al., 1975), it is obvious that in the short period of hand-milking the maximum milk producing capabilities were not fully exploited. Even so, eight liters in two milkings, or 2 470 kg over 305 days were obtained. The daily average for twice-a-day milking was estimated at 7 kg. These animals grazed on irrigated pastures. Under rainfed conditions, 13 kg per day can be milked (Knoess, 1979). It was found that some days the camels were milked 6–8 times a day, while other days they were not milked at all. This certainly would make the milk supply lower than if the animals were milked regularly each day. In the dry season the milk yield was about half that of the rainy season. This could be due to the lack of feed or to advanced stages of pregnancy (Lakosa, 1964).
Somalia
The lactation period is between 8–18 months (Mares, 1954a). The length of lactation depends on when the lactating dam is remated. The average daily yield in milk is 5 kg with a total yield of 1 950 kg. The amount of milk drunk by the calf is regulated by tying up one or more teats (Mares, 1954a). The amount the calf is allowed is determined by its needs and the milking capacity of the mother. Camels are milked twice a day; just after sunrise and at least two hours after sunset. Calves run with their mothers but are penned separately at night. From the age of six weeks they graze. When calves have finished suckling the amount left for consumption by the tent dwellers can vary from 1 to 4 kg (Epstein, 1970).
If a calf dies, the dam dries up if milking is not stimulated (Mares, 1954a). For this a foster calf or conditioning of the mother is necessary. Often arranging for the dam to see the skin of her dead calf is enough to stimulate let-down of milk. Fostering is done in three ways: (1) The foster calf is covered with the skin of the dead calf and allowed to suckle until the milk is flowing and the dam can be hand-milked. (2) The calf is tied down in front of the foster-mother, a rope being tied from the calf to the mother’s muzzle. (3) The nostrils, ears or anus of the foster-mother are compressed with a special clamp. When the clamp is released, and the pain thus removed, the calf is presented for suckling. This is usually anough for the dam to allow the foster-calf to suckle.
In all cases the calf drinks from its own mother as well as from the foster-mother.
Algeria
The nomads of the Ahaggar in the Sahara depend on milk to given them a balanced diet (Gast et al., 1969). They have a saying “water is the soul; milk is life”, and hungry people say “I’ve lost the taste of milk”. Of course the camel is only one of the providers of milk. Goats, sheep and cows supply milk and milk products. The lactating camel produces 4–5 kg/day, on good pasture, for the first three months. A good milker can even provide up to 10 kg a day. When the udders are full the animals are milked three times a day, otherwise their swaying teats hinder their walking. After the third month of lactation the yield averages about 2 kg per day. The bad milkers dry off very quickly. It is therefore accepted that one camel is necessary to provide the requirements of one family. The camel herders’ only source of food is camel milk.
The camels are tied down during the night and the camels’ udders are covered with nets to prevent the young from suckling. The first milking takes place before dawn. The young calves are allowed to suckle for about one or two minutes. This is time for the milk to let-down. The calves are pulled away and the dam then milked for the tent dwellers. At twilight the camels are returned to the camp, and milked again after allowing the calves to suckle for a few minutes.
India
The geographical distribution of camels (dromedaries) in India, is in the States of Gujorat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya, Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and U.P. (Rao et al., 1970). The females calve for the first time at the age of 4 years. They lactate for 8–18 months. The amount of milk for the calf, and the amount that is milked, is regulated by tying up the teats to prevent the calf from suckling. The camels are milked twice a day. The daily milk production is between 2.5–6 kg, but often 15 kg per day is milked. Lactation yields range from 2 000 kg (Gohl, 1979) to 2 700–3 600 kg (Rao et al., 1970) under good feeding conditions, to about 1 360 kg, when feed supplies are poor (Yasin and Wahid, 1957).
Pakistan
The Arabian camel is found mainly in West Pakistan (Yasin & Wahid, 1957). Length of the lactation varies from 270–540 days; daily milk yields of 15 to 40 litres were recorded (Knoess, 1977). The total milk yield ranges from 1 350–3 600 kg. The lower milk yields were found in the areas where feed supplies are poor and under desert conditions. When the camels were well fed, there was an average milk yield of 10–15 kg per day (Yasin and Wahid, 1957). As much as 22 kg a day were obtained from some camels. In the areas with poor feeding the daily average was 4 kg. The heavy Pakistani camels produced up to 35 kg per day (Knoess, 1979). The desert camels gave more milk than the animals getting poor feed. These animals were milked twice daily.
Egypt
With good feeding a daily milk production of 10–15 kg was obtained (Shalash, 1979) giving a yield of approximately 3 000–4 000 kg per lactation. Daily yields of 22 kg have been recorded. Where feeding was precarious the daily production was only 4 kg, with a total production of 1 500 kg. These later data are similar to those presented by El-Bahay, 1962.
Israel
No actual recordings of milking have been made. Estimates of milk production range from 7 to 15 kg daily. Lactation periods vary from 9–18 months. In order to establish the total amount of milk produced by the lactating camel, the milk yield was measured indirectly (Yagil & Etzion, 1980). This method is based on firts marking the calves’ blood with radioactive water. The calves were not allowed access to any drinking water as this would have made milk determinations impossible. The mothers were allowed drinking water only once a week for an hour, from the beginning of spring until the end of summer. The results show that there was a slight increase in milk yields as lactation progressed (5.7 to 6.2 kg). No decline was found when the animals were dehydrated. These data do not give the full potential of the camel as, in fact, what was measured was the calves’ need for water. The calves ate the same feed as their mothers. They started eating within the first month of birth. Not withstanding this fact, it is quite clear that the feed demand of the calf is fairly large. In addition, research was carried out using the same diet throughout the year to eliminate nutritional factors affecting quantity and quality of milk. The natural grazing available to camels changes from winter to spring and in the summer the changes are even more drastic, in quantity and quality. With a decline in quantity the calves would tend to take more from their mothers than when the feeding is plentiful.
The milk production of camels in general was reviewed. Only in the USSR and in Saudi Arabia were any attempts made to milk camels by machine (Baimukanov, 1974). In the main the same milking methods are still in use as were probably used for the first domesticated camels. Milk is still shared with the calf (Photo 4) and many superstitions and ritual customs accompany the milking of camels. The dromedary gives more milk than the Bactrian. The milk yield of dromedaries does not vary so greatly between the various countries; the maximum daily milk yields are relatively large; and the lenght of lactation varies greatly, not only between countries, but also within a country. It is clear that status of feed and water will determine the amounts of milk for human consumption. Improving the feed is of prime importance in planning for better husbandry. Intensive farming will also allow for better husbandry and for easier implementation of selective breeding for high milk production. These aspects will be discussed in detail in other sections.
A most interesting phenomenon was discovered when research was carried out on intestinal lactase concentrations in various ethnic groups in Saudi Arabia (Cook & Al-Torki, 1975). Adult Arabs were found to have the highest lactase levels. This was supposed to demonstrate a selective advantage associated with the fluid and caloric value of camel milk and indicate the importance of camel milk for the survival of desert nomads.

Courtesy: FAO.org

Hydroponic Farming: Pakistan Future

Asad Manzoor*

 

Department of Agriculture & Agribusiness Management, University of Karachi

 

To defeat food shortages in the upcoming era, Pakistan can use hydroponic farming to overcome crises of food shortage. Hydroponics can be a revolutionary technology for Pakistan to guarantee suitable and sustainable supply of vegetable. It reduces 70 percent to 90 percent less water and reduce cultivated area than irrigated soil and land based agriculture farming and gardening. No water was lost in the ground or absorbed by weeds or lost in evaporation.

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With the collaboration of government and private sector, a hydroponic pilot project can be started across the country. The establishment of state-of-the-art greenhouse facility can produce hydroponic tomatoes of all varieties including tangy, elegant, cherry and others. If the hydroponic technology is properly deployed, the country could be a huge power player in the market because nobody else in the region is using high-tech hydroponics.

 

Hydroponic Farming- Pakistan Future 
A high tech hydroponic facility is more expensive to set up than soil farming but once it is set up, operating and maintenance costs were low and the very high and definite yields means that invested money would be recovered in one year.
The world leader’s countries in hydroponics utilize ‘cluster approach’ where land is allocated just for hydroponic farming practiced by different farmers. To develop a viable hydroponics industry, Pakistan urgently needs to improve its infrastructure facilities, such as availability of electricity and land. Greenhouses need a constant supply of power but the situation in Pakistan is not encouraging. By improving electricity facilities and establishing green house a fine chain of hydroponics farm can develop.
With more than 16 million populations, Pakistan needed to boost its agriculture performance, which was low and unpredictable compared to other major agriculture producers. If hydroponics is introduced properly, the country can triple the revenues earned on agriculture exports. The new technology also has a great potential to meet our food requirement.

 

*Contact: asad@gardener.com

Go bananas with banana nutrition facts

Banana saw its origin in Malaysia. The fruit is believed to be conceived for the first time in the country. It made its way to the Indian subcontinent with the help of numerous visitors. It took several years to become popular all across the world. Today, banana stands as one of the most loved fruits. Its sweet flavor is considered to be one of the best flavors offered by any fruit. In many countries, leaves of banana are used in the making of plates. Bananas are easy to peel as well. They are immensely fleshy in the inside. This makes it easily consumable. Apart from its delectable taste, there are numerous health benefits of bananas too, which have been listed here as banana nutrition facts.

Go bananas with banana nutrition factsThe deliciously sweet fruit is loved by people of all age groups. Bananas act as a perfect smoothie material too. They blend in with other fruits easily and enhance their flavor. If bananas are prepared without addition of another fruit, the prepared beverage is known as a banana smoothie or a banana-shake. This is generally prepared by adding milk or yoghurt with the mixture. Numerous banana dishes are also widely popular amongst the masses. Banana splits are loved by children. Banana is also used in the preparation of pies and cakes. So, why do people consume bananas and go bananas at the sight of bananas? The answer to that is, naturally, its delectable taste. However, there are several banana nutrition facts too that bears testimony to their popularity.

Banana nutrition facts expound the presence of several essential elements and constituents in the fruit. Banana retains Vitamin C which helps in defending the body against diseases like scurvy. It also helps in improving the immune system of the body thereby helping the body to develop resistance against infectious agents. The vitamin is also essential for the synthesis of connective tissues. It also assists in the absorption of iron, thereby helping in the formation of blood. Banana also contains potassium which helps in speeding up the process of protein synthesis. Potassium is also beneficial in muscle-building. Potassium assists in the stimulation of nerve impulses, which are necessary for muscle contraction. Hypertension and stroke could also be eschewed, with the aid of potassium in bananas. Bananas also do not retain sodium hence could be easily included in one’s diet to mitigate the effect of high blood pressure.

Some of the banana nutrition facts explain, how bananas impart a boost in the energy level of a person. No wonder players and athletes prefer munching a piece of banana to improve their performance. Bananas contain sugars like fructose, sucrose and glucose which are available naturally. It also contains fiber. It retains Vitamin B6, which is also known as pyridoxine. It helps in the synthesis of antibodies, thereby improving the immune system. Pyridoxine also helps in the formation of red blood cells. One of the

banana nutrition facts elucidates how bananas contain extremely digestible carbohydrates. A banana also assists in carrying out various metabolic activities in the body.

Source: Mango Nutrition Facts

Types Of Mango – King of Fruit

The Indo-Pakistan mangoes are monoembryonic and seedlings differ invariably from each other. The wide variations among the seedling progeny have been responsible for the evolution of several choice varieties in both the countries which have been further multiplied by vegetative means and grown on large scale. These varieties have thus been called as “Horticulture Varieties”. That is how a large number of standard varieties have come onto being and is cultivated in the different parts of Indo-Pakistan. The varietal nomenclature is so much confusing that one variety carries many names at various places and some cases on name is applied to several varieties.

Pakistan produces over 150 varieties of mango and among these Chaunsa and Sindhri have great potential for finding buyers in the international markets.

Types Of Mango - King of FruitTalking to APP on Monday Secretary Agriculture Punjab Muhammad Mushtaq Ahmed said Punjab holds 67 percent of the total area and produces 80 percent of country’s mango.http://www.agrinfobank.com

He said total production of mangoes in Punjab during 2011-12 was 1.304 tons and Pakistan is of high quality with good aroma, excellent appearance, special taste and flavor along with sufficient quantity of fiber content thus enjoying a prominent position in the international market.http://www.agrinfobank.com

To a question, he said Pakistan produces over 1.75 million tons of mangoes out of which 127 tons are exported, currently only 5 percent of the total mango produce is processed in to value added items like pulp for use in drinks and ice cream, canned mangoes and dried mangoes.http://www.agrinfobank.com

He said Pakistan exported mangoes worth $ 29 million to the Middle East and EU in 2009 and Malaysia, China and Hong Kong are other valuable trading partners.

Pakistan Mango Varities: Chaunsa, Chok anan, Dusehri, Langra, Desi, Anwar Rataul, Sindhri, Fajri, Saroli, BaganPali, Alphonso, Muhammad Wole, Neelum,Shan e Khuda

LANGRA  http://www.agrinfobank.com

It has originated as a superior chance seedling near Benares. Size medium to large, ovate, base round to slightly flatten, shoulders equal. Beak minute but distinct, sinus slight to absence, skin green and thin, flesh fibreless, yellowish brown in color, scented, highly melting, very sweet. Stone very small, flattened, oval. Weight of an average fruit is about ¼ kg. Fruit quality very good, bearing heavy. Season (Early to mid Season). 1st to 3rd week of July. Heavy yielder.

AMAN DUSEHRI

It derives its name form village between Lucknow and Malihabad where it was originated as a superior chance seedling. Size small to medium, oblong, ventral, shoulder higher than dorsal, beak and sinus absent, color yellow when ripe, skin thin, pulp fibreless, flesh firm, very sweet, flavor nice. Stone very small, oblong, variety good to very best, bearing heavy, mid season (July), keeping and peeling quality good.

ALPHANSO, BOMBAY                                                                                    

This is a leading commercial variety of Bombay State and is one of the best in India. Because of its better adaptability to humid climate it has not been able to maintain its esteemed position in the dry districts of Pakistan. The Alphanso is successful in some districts of Sindh. Size medium, ovate, oblique, base obliquely flattened, Ventral structure boarder and much higher than dorsal, beak just a point, sinus not prominent, color of the ripe fruit yellow or brownish yellow, skin thin, pulp yellowish brown, flesh firm, taste very sweet, flavor excellent, almost fibreless. Fruit quality is good. Mid season variety harvested in July.

SAMMAR BAHISHThttp://www.agrinfobank.com

It has originated as a superior chance seedling in Muzaffernager U.P. It got its name because of its pleasant flavor. Fruit medium, base slightly flattened, shoulders equal, sinus very light, beak point prominent, skin greenish yellow, thin, pulp yellow, very sweet, sparsely fibrous, flavor pleasant to delicious. Stone medium and oblong, oval. Quality of the fruit is very good, keeping and peeling qualities well. Ripening season July-August.

FAJRI KALAN  http://www.agrinfobank.com

It has originated as superior chance seedling in Bihar and gor its name after the name of lady Fajri who selected and brought up its trees. Size big, oblong, obliquely oval, base rounded, shoulder unequal, with ventral higher than the dorsal, beak distinct, sinus very shallow with rounded apex. Skin thin, pulp color pale, fibreless, taste sweet with pleasant flavor. Juice moderate to abundant. Stone large, oblong. Fruit quality good to very good bearing late season August, Keeping quality good.

MUHAMMADWALA

Size small to medium, skin thick, yellow brown, pulp sweet, juicy, stone medium sized, fiber very little. Very hard variety. Season early August.

SAMMAR BAHISHT CHAUSA http://www.agrinfobank.com

It is originated as choicest seedling in a village Chausa in Malihabad, Tehsil of Lucknow. It is also known as “Kajri” or “Khajri”. There is resemblance between the foliage of Fajri and this variety but there are marked difference in fruit shape and quality. Fruit medium to large ovate to oval, base obliquely flattened, ventral shoulder raised than the dorsal, beak distinct, sinus shallow, apex round, skin medium in thickness, smooth, flesh firm, fibreless with pleasant flavor and sweet taste. Juice moderately abundant. Stone somewhat large oblong. Fruit quality good, bearing heavy, keeping quality medium to good. Ripening season in August (late).

RATAUL (ANWA R)  http://www.agrinfobank.com

It has originated as a chance seedling in “Shohra-e-Afaq” Garden in Rataul. Now is has become popular in mango growing areas of Punjab because of its high flavor. Fruit medium, ovate, base flattened with equal shoulders, which are rounded, beak not prominent, absent in some cases, sinus absent, and apex round. Skin medium thick. Flesh firm, fibreless, flavor very pleasant, with very sweet taste. Juice moderately abundant. Some medium oval. Fruit quality very good. Ripening season in July (Mid-Season). Keeps well in storage.

SINDHRIhttp://www.agrinfobank.com

It is a leading variety of Sindh. Fruit shape ovalish long. Size big, length 15 cm, breadth 8 cm. Thickness 7.4 cm. Weight 14.0 oz. Base obliquely rounded, cavity absent, Ventral shoulder rising and round, dorsal ending in a curve. Skin color lemon yellow when ripe. Surface smooth. Pulp color Yellowish cadium. Texture fine and firm fibreless. Stone medium size. Flavor pleasantly aromatic, taste sweet. Heavy yielder, early season.http://www.agrinfobank.com

BANGANPALIhttp://www.agrinfobank.com

Another variety of Sindh. Fruit shape is obliquely oval, Size is big, length about 14 cm. Breadth 9.1 cm Thickness 8.2 cm. Weight 22.0 oz. Base obliquely flattened. Cavity not prominent. Stalk inserted obliquely. Shoulders ventral typically razed, broader and much more higher than dorsal. Back almost rounded. Skin color dark green and glazy when unripe. Yellowish light green with very light crimson patches when ripe. Surface smooth, shining. Dots small distinct. Glands small, crowded.

NEELUM   http://www.agrinfobank.com

Quality variety of Sindh. Fruit shape ovate, size small, length 7.7cm breath 5.9cm thickness 5.6cm weight 5.0oz. The base is rounded. Stalk inserted squarely. Cavity slight to absent, Shoulders unequal. Ventral is higher than dorsal, back rounded. Sinus slight to shallow, Beak acute to obtuse. Apex rounded, Skin color sea green when unripe & yellow with reddish tinge when ripe. Surface smooth. Small dots with numerous small glands. http://www.agrinfobank.com

References:

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Rabi Crops List

The crops that are sown in the winter season are called Rabi crops. (also known as the “winter crop”) in Pakistan and India. The Rabi means, when the crop is harvested.Crops that are grown in the winter season, from November to April are called Rabi Crops.Some of the important rabi crops are wheat, barley, peas, gram and mustard.

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Maize Maize (Zea mays, L)

Lucerne Lucerne (Hedicago sativa)

Cumin Cumin (Cuminum cyminum, L)

Coriender Coriender (Coriandrum sativum, L)

Wheat Wheat (Triticum vulgare, Vill)

Fenugreek Fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum, L)

Gram Gram (Cicer arientinum)

Onion Onion (Allium cepa, L)

Mustard Mustard (Brassica juncea, L)

Tomato Tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum, Mill)

Fennel Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare, Miller)

Potato Potato (Solanum tuberosum)

Isabgol Isabgol (Plantago ovata. Fors)

 

OatOat (Avena sativa)

Things You Must Know Before You Buy Organic

Before you buy organic or natural foods, see what today’s food experts told us about making smart food choices.

By Perri O. Blumberg

“Organic” isn’t a new idea.

Before World War II, all crops were organic. It was only afterward that farms used new, synthetic pesticides and chemicals to minimize weed, insects, and rodent damage. What’s not new? Many worry about the long-term effects of ingesting chemical residues from “conventional” produce (i.e., sprayed crops), as well as the impact these treatments have had on our planet and our resources.

Organic isn’t just for the rich.

Many are making efforts to help everyone access organic food, from giant companies like Walmart to local non-profits like Growing Power, a Milwaukee community garden that helps thousands of area residents buy affordable, sustainable food.

78% of U.S. families buy some organic food.

Things You Must Know Before You Buy OrganicYet according to the Organic Trade Association, even though sales of organic food and beverages have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to an estimated $29 billion in 2011, that only represents 4.2% of all food sold in the U.S.

Everyone can eat an organic diet.

One popular criticism is that farmers can’t grow enough to supply organic food for all. It’s true that if everyone needed to eat organic meat in quantity, it would be difficult for today’s agribusiness to produce enough organic feed to nourish the livestock. That said, if people ate less meat, and we had a large-scale shift in thinking, it would be possible for our lands to be developed to yield organic produce as they did before World War II. Also,  we’d probably go farther in the fight against hunger.

If you think [insert organic granola bar name here] is a cute little artisan line, think again.

The majority of organic brands you see in the grocery aisle are owned by giant corporations. Bear Naked? Kashi? Morningstar Farms? Kellogg. Naked juice? Pepsi. Odwalla? Coca Cola. LaraBar? Cascadian Farm? General Mills. And the latest is the acquisition of Bolthouse Farms by Campbell Soup Company for over $1.5 billion.

Organic could still come from China.

To get to your plate, most food travels over 1,000 miles—even organic food. Check the labels or ask the market manager to figure out the origin of your organic produce, and try to buy local. In addition to helping the environment, shopping local keeps dollars in your community. Note: Even if a local, small farm isn’t certified organic, many of them use organic methods.

Organic meat isn’t always grass fed or free range.

According to the USDA: “Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones,” which helps cut down the levels you ingest. (People who eat conventional meats usually have traces of 12 to 15 different antibiotics in their bloodstream at any time.) However, organic doesn’t mean the animals ate grass and roamed a pasture; it could just mean they’re fed organic corn as opposed to genetically modified corn. Ask questions before you buy.

Skip labels that call seafood organic.

When it comes to fish and ocean life, there are no federal regulations that makes something “sustainable” or “organic.” So if you see seafood marked as such, be wary: It’s not required on a state or federal basis to meet any specific standards, it hasn’t been tested for toxicity, and it’s probably more expensive.

Organic is not about superfoods.

A recent Stanford meta-analysis claimed that “eating organic doesn’t give you any health benefits,” which caused a lot of commentary on whether organic was better for you. However, researchers honed in on nutrient makeup without examining pesticide residue and antibiotic resistance. They also left out the bigger picture: Organic farming systems replenish soil and protect important resources like water, compared to conventional farming which can contaminate soil and water with chemicals and nitrogen.

Know the “Dirty Dozen”? Meet the “Clean 15.”

If you pick conventional produce, the Environmental Working Group came up with the “Clean 15″ (low-pesticide residue on conventional crops) and the “Dirty Dozen” (highest pesticide residue, might make more sense to buy organic). Remember that eating fruits and vegetables, however they’re grown, is far better than skipping them completely.

Processed food that’s organic is still processed food.

If a food comes out of a box and is labeled organic, it means it’s healthier only in that it was minimally produced without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation. And you can feel good that workers, animals, and the environment were all treated better in the process. However, it might not be nutritionally better for you!

“Conventional” farming isn’t sustainable.

Chemical fertilizers are only so successful in controlling pests before they develop tolerances. Then, new stronger formulas need to be developed, which eventually taps out our soils. The short-term gains of conventional farming (ie, cheaper prices) are actually reducing our chances to return to organic methods.

Organic seeds are in danger.

Four of the world’s largest agrochemical companies own a whopping 50% of the world’s farmed seeds—and they aren’t breeding them for organic conditions. Just as we need to think about the soils, we also need to think about the seeds; conserving and developing crop genetic diversity is essential.

Less than 1% of all American crops are organic.

Based on the most recent data collected from Organic-World.Net, only .6% of American crops are organic and without genetic modification.

Organic crops are less likely to be buggy.

Because the soil is nourished by natural methods, the crops are better equipped to resist disease and insects. When pests get out of hand, organic farmers rely on natural options like insect predators, traps, and mating disruption to get rid of them and restore balance to their land.

“Organic” doesn’t mean 100% organic.

According to the USDA, unless it says “100% organic,” any item labeled “organic” only needs 95% of its ingredients to have been organically grown. Also, some ingredients are exempt from the definition because they are “too difficult to source organically,” including foods using sausage castings, some coloring, celery powder, and fish oils.

Calling your food “natural” is easier than getting an “organic” seal of approval.

Organic foods undergo intense USDA regulations: No synthetic fertilizers, synthetic growth and breeding hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs; any pesticides used must be natural. It takes three years, and thousands of dollars in fees, for farms to go organic. Once certified, farmers get regular inspections, keep detailed logs and must stay prepared for surprise visits to test their soil and water. “Natural” foods don’t have such rigorous scrutiny.

Organic crops aren’t just for food.

Everything from t-shirts to napkins and cosmetic puffs can be purchased as certified organic products that are made from organic fiber. Organic flowers and organic furniture are also rising in popularity, too.
Sources: 
Organic Valley; Brendan Brazier, Best selling author of Thrive, Formulator of Vega; USDA; Organicnewsroom.com; Jenny Gensterblum, Chef at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School; HappyFamily,Tara DelloIacono Thies,registered dietitian and nutritionist at Clif Bar & Company; University of California at Berkeley; countdownyourcarbon.org, omorganics.org; Carrie Brownstein, Seafood Quality Standards Coordinator at Whole Foods; thedailygreen.com.

Source: Reader’s Digest

Kharif Crops List

The crops that are sown in the rainy season are called kharif crops. (also known as the summer or monsoon crop) in India. Kharif crops are usually sown with the beginning of the first rains in July, during the south-west monsoon season. The main monsoon season in Pakistan and India runs from June to September.

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Paddy Paddy (Oryza sativa, L)

Guar (F) Guar (F) (Cymopsis tetragonaloba, Taub)

Castor Castor (Ricinus communis)

Nagali Nagali (Eleusine coracana, G)

Hy. Cotton Hy Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum, L)

Chilly Chilly (Capsicum frutescens, L)

Cotton Cotton (Gossypium herbaceum, L)

Jowar Jowar (Sorghum vulgare, Pers)

Sesamum Sesamum (Sesamum orientale)

Soyabean Soyabean (Glycine hispida, Merr)

Maize Maize (Zea mays, L)

Urid Urid (Vigna mungo, L)

Bajri Bajri (Pennisetum typhoideum, L)

Arhar Arhar (Cajanus cajan, Milsp)

Ground Nut Ground Nut (Arachis hypogaea, L)

Fennel Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare, Miller)