The effect of ‘on-farm’ seed priming – soaking seeds in water before surface-drying and sowing them – was tested for mungbean (Vigna radiata) in 15 irrigated on-station trials and four sets of rainfed, paired-plot, farmer-participatory trials over four contrasting years from 1999 to 2002 in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The optimum soaking time was found to be between six and eight hours; eight hours was used in all the trials. Of the 19 trials, priming was significantly better than non-priming in 14 with a mean yield increase of 56%. In the remaining five trials there was no difference between treatments but in no case was priming worse than not priming. In a subset of 11 on-station trials in which management was considered to be optimal, yield declined in a linear fashion as the date of sowing was delayed.
The rate of decline of about 30 kg ha−1 d−1 after 1st June was similar for both non-primed and primed crops, although the latter declined from a higher base. Farmers' yields were proportional to rainfall over the four years and the mean increase in grain yield due to priming in the 39 trials was 30%. Benefits from priming were the result of a combination of faster germination and emergence and more vigorous growth and development, leading to better crop stands and bigger, more productive plants. It was concluded that ‘on-farm’ seed priming is a low-cost, low-risk technology that has the potential to raise mungbean yields substantially thus making it a more attractive crop for farmers.
Rashid, A.; Harris, D.; Hollington, P.A.; Rafiq, M. Improving the yield of Mungbean (Vigna Radiata) in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan using on-farm seed priming. Experimental Agriculture (2004) 40 (2) 233-244. [DOI: 10.1017/S0014479703001546]