STUDIES ON FEASIBILITY OF UTILIZING RAINFED CASSAVA FOR ERICULTURE
A study was undertaken with seven Indian popular cassava varieties viz. CO2, CO3, CO(TP)4, H165, H226, MVD1 and Kunguma Rose (KR) cultivated under rainfed condition to find out the feasibility of diverting a part of foliage for rearing of eri silkworm as a source of additional income without affecting the crop produce. The rearing capacity of eri silkworm, was estimated based on the availability of total foliage at the time of removal of week shoots 6 months after plantation (6 MAP) by farmers, forced leaf harvests from 7-9 MAP and finally at the time of tuber harvest (10 MAP). The forced leaf harvests up to 30% once at 8 MAP did not affect the tuber yield and starch content of the tubers in the variety MVD1. The varieties CO3, CO4 and H165 could tolerate leaf plucking up to 20% whereas CO2, H226 and Kunguma Rose were found highly sensitive in which leaf harvest @ 10% only found safe on yield and quality of main produce. Highest foliage yield (6.373 MT/ha)and rearing capacity (797 dfls) of eri silkworm were recorded with H165 without affecting yield and quality of the tuber. The variety MVD1 (4.450 MT/ha & 556 dfls) was found next best suited whereas CO2 was registered lowest foliage yield (1.566 MT/ha) and rearing capacity (196dfls). Based on the overall foliage availability without adverse impact on tuber quality and yield, the order of merit of cassava varieties suitable for ericulture was H165> MVD1> CO3 > Kunguma Rose > CO4 > H226 > CO2 under rainfed conditions.
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