Project outreach & trial status
All trials are distributed amongst 7 SGF project implementing partners. Irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic and keeping in view the management challenges, 126 on-station and on-farm trials were successfully established. Five cultivar evaluations, 55 baby and 66 pilot trials are spread out across six states and amongst seven implementing partners. Due to logistic challenges this year, no trials are sown in Rajasthan while a new state ‘Telangana’ in the southern zone is added to the SGF program. CSA and Chetna have extended their activities in the new state.
Last season (2019-2020), a total of 103 different on-station and on-farms trials are sown in six important cotton growing states of India. All trials are distributed amongst 7 SGF project implementing partners. Keeping in view, the management challenges faced during last season, this year number of trial are reduced to over 30 % in comparison to 155 trials implemented in 2018-2019, by the same number of partners. Once again, maximum number of trials are established in Madhya Pradesh (52), a predominant cotton growing state of India. Strikingly, this year, the second highest number of trials are sown in southern cotton growing belt, Andhra Pradesh (17) by Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), which reflect the fast pace dissemination and increased awareness about this project amongst organic cotton growers in different regions. Second position is jointly shared by Odisha (17), followed by Maharashtra (13), Gujarat (2) and Rajasthan (2). A total of 5 cultivar evaluation trials, 61 on-farm baby and 37 pilot trials were established at different partner location across different villages and tehsils of these states.
In 2018, project have marked its presence in Northern, Central and Southern zones of India. Project sites are strategically placed all across the major cotton growing belts of India. Continuing with Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha from 2017-18, SGF trial sites and activities are further extended to the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh in 2018-19.
In comparison to 25 trials in implemented during growing season 2017-18, first year of SGF Phase II have witnessed over five-fold increase in number of trials amounting to a total of 155 trials conducted across 6 states 2018-19 cotton growing season. This year, out of total trial conducted across the different states, majority of trials are established in Madhya Pradesh (54%) tops the list followed by Maharashtra, Odisha, Gujarat with least number of trials in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh (2%).
1. On-Station Cultivar Evaluation Trials (CET)
All trials are conducted under organic farming inhomogeneous fields that represent the majority of farmers growing conditions and soil types. Before starting field trials, breeding material and cultivars need to be tested for Bt-contamination with strip test. Minimum of 20 cultivars and breeding lines shall be tested, including long fiber G. arboreum as well as G. hirsutum cotton and commercial F1 hirsutum hybrids as a check. On-station trials need to be conducted as a randomized complete block design with 2 replications and 4 or 5-row per plot. Plant density varies according to soil type: under fertile soil with summer sowing and irrigation sowing should be done at the spacing of 3 x 1 feet (21 plant per row) or 3 x 2 feet (11 plants per row) for F1 hybrids and for shallow soil with monsoon sowing and rainfed conditions with spacing of 2 x 1 feet (21 plant per row), respectively. To avoid mixtures during harvest, the plots are separated by one border row of red-leaved cotton or different cotton species.
2. On-Fam Baby Trials
On-farm baby trials are conducted with 7 entries out of which four entries were common to all the partners, whereas for remaining 3 partners have the option to choose preferred genotype including at least one arboreum, one or two hirstusm/herbaceum, one hirsutum hybrid and one check in 2 replications as 2- to 4-row plots with minimum 100 plants per cultivar.
3. On-Fam Pilot Trials
For On-Farm Pilot trials at farmers field, 0.1 acre of suggested promising lines either a hirusutum variety, arboreum hybrid or arboreum variety is planted in comparison with present commercial hirusutum hybrid/variety on the same field.