Tobacco as a commercial crop has unique place in India, as it generates substantial amount of about Rs 23,318 crores to the national exchequer in terms of excise revenue and foreign exchange of Rs 6058 crores. Tobacco is grown under different agro-climatic conditions viz., monsoon and also in post rainy season under conserved soil moisture. It is grown under irrigated (furrow irrigation) conditions in West Godavari and East Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh and Khammam district of Telangana to an extent of 28,000 ha. As the soils are light textured (sands and sandy loams) in this zone, water and nutrient use efficiency are low with furrow irrigation. DRIP IRRIGATION New irrigation technologies, such as drip irrigation to grow tobacco, not only enables the efficient use of every drop of applied water but also leads to enhanced crop growth and yield. This is due to maintenance of uniform soil moisture regime in the crop root zone by way of frequent irrigations at shorter intervals. Besides irrigation, a major component of profitable tobacco production is sound and balanced fertilization. Fertigation i.e., application of fertilizers via irrigation system i.e. Drip fertigation, ensures the efficient use of nutrients, fertilizer conservation, environmental protection and economics of tobacco production. In addition, fertigation with tray seedlings for healthy and uniform seedlings will enhance the yield and quality of FCV tobacco apart from higher water and nutrient efficiency. Drip irrigation with Recommended Doses of Fertilizers (RDF) in FCV tobacco proved its superiority over furrow irrigation with RDF. Drip irrigation with RDF recorded increased green leaf yield by 16%, cured leaf yield by 18% and grade index by 15% per hectare when compared to furrow irrigation with RDF.
Acharya Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology 1