SPROUTED MINI SIZED SETTS FOR SMALL TUBER PRODUCTION
Traditionally farmers of the district cultivate elephant foot yam using setts of 750-1000gm size as planting material. For producing such setts, during the month of January, the central bud of the seed tubers is scooped out using a sharp knife thereby promoting the development of the dormant axillary buds. During February – March, just before planting the tubers are cut into setts of 750-1000gm keeping one bud in each sett. Since there is no control mechanism for ensuring sprouting of buds at uniform distance on the tubers, farmers cut the setts according to the position of the buds and this leads to non uniform setts of varying weights. Based on the OFT assessment and refinement conducted during 2009-10 and 2011-12 , the use of mini setts as planting material in EFY was assessed and refined and sett size of 250gm was standardized for cultivation of EFY. Here also the production of uniform sized setts with one sprouted bud was difficult as there was no control over the location of sprouting of buds in the EFY. To overcome the problem an innovative methodology to ensure the production of uniform sized setts with one sprouted bud was developed.
During the month of January, the tubers are half split into as many setts as can be obtained from the tuber. It is done by passing the knife used for central bud removal, half way through the tubers central region where dormant buds are present. For example, a seed tuber of 2kg size is half split into 8 setts. After allowing the wounds to air dry for 2hrs, fresh cow dung is applied to the cuts and the tubers are kept inverted or smoked for promoting bud development. By February- March, buds sprout in each of the setts. During the day of planting the setts are finally separated from each other by cutting the remaining portion. After allowing for air drying the cut wounds, the setts are treated with cow dung slurry and planted in the main field. Planting such pre-sprouted uniform mini sized setts help the farmers in obtaining uniform crop stand. This also leads to production of small tubers weighing 2- 3 kg suitable for nuclear families.