AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION
Pulses occupy an important position in the agrarian economy of the district. Next to cereals they are important as food-crops. There are a number of pulses grown in Sholapur district, the chief among them being tur, math, gram, horse-gram, mug and udid. The minor ones such as chavali, watana and wal are also grown in the district. Pulses covered an area of 1,14,046 hectares during 1971-72. Table No. 8 gives taluka-wise acreage under pulses in Sholapur district from 1961-62 to 1971-72. Table No. 9 gives out-turn of pulses in the district from 1961-62 to 1971-72.
Tur: Tur (pigeon pea) is grown all over the district. It covered the largest area, viz., 33,372 hectares during 1971-72 under pulses in the district. Its cultivation was prominent in Sholapur, Barshi, Akkalkot and Mohol talukas. It can be grown on a variety of soils, light as well as heavy. Medium moist soils, however, give good out-turn. Usually it is sown, through one-coultered drill, in June-July as a mixed crop with cotton, bajri in every fourth or eighth row. The crop is harvested by the end of February or so. The red and light brown seeds are generally sown in the district. N.84, improved strain evolved by the department of agriculture, is used in the district. Its yield is 12 per cent more than that of the local variety. Flowering and fruiting continues for over two months, thus allowing several pickings of ripe pods. The plants are cut close to the ground, tied into bundles and are brought to the threshing floor. After about a week the plants are usually beaten with long sticks to break open the pods. The stems are then separated and tied into bundles and the broken pods are winnowed. Then the grain is ready for market. The stems turatya are used to thatch a house or a cattle-shed and also for making baskets. The stems are tied in a small bundle which may be used as a broom to clean the cattle-shed or ground. The green pods are eaten as vegetable while ripe. Tur is split into dal and consumed in a variety of ways. The outer husk of the grain is used as fodder.
Math : Math (matki) stands second to tur among the pulses grown in the district. It occupied an area of 69,975 acres during 1967-68.
It is grown throughout the district as a kharif crop. It is sown in June-July and harvested in November. It is sown mixed with bajri in every fourth to sixth row. It can be grown on light sandy soils and also on the poorest soils. The crop is inter-cultured twice but is not weeded The crop ripens after bajri. The plants are uprooted and brought to the threshing floor. After drying, they are trampled by oxen or beaten with sticks to break open the pods. The broken pods are winnowed and the grain is ready for market. Matki is used as a split pulse. It is also eaten parched or boiled whole with condiments. Sometimes it is given to horses and cattle and is said to form a fattening diet. The leaves and stalks are used before uprooting of the plants and form a good fodder for cattle.
Gram: Gram (Harbhara) is the next important pulse crop taken in the district. It occupied an area of 32,177 hectares during 1971-72. It is grown throughout the district as a rabi crop. It is grown on all types of soils from the heaviest clay to the lightest loam. It gives a high yield on good black soil where it is grown alone, while on light soils it is taken as a mixed crop. It is sown in October-November with a four-coultered drill at a distance of about.254 to.304.8 m. (10 to 12 inches). The crop is harvested after about three months when the leaves become reddish brown and the green colour of pods turns into pale white. The plants are pulled out and casted to the threshing floor. They are stacked for about a week, dried and trampled under the feet of oxen to get the pulse. It is a common practice to pluck off the tops of the shoots before the flowering time to render them strong and bushy and increase the out-turn of grain. The department of agriculture has evolved the strain named as Chaffa in the district which gets ready earlier than the local varieties by a week and is a high-yielding variety.
The foliage and the green grains of gram are used as vegetable. It may be eaten green, boiled or parched. It is used as a dal when ripe and also used in preparation of many types of dishes. It is used as a common food of horses. The dry stacks also form a good fodder for cattle.
Horse gram: Horse gram (hulga or kulthi) occupied an area of 19,410 acres in 1967-68. It is taken only in Sangola, Malshiras, Mohol, Mangalwedha and Karmala talukas of the district. It is grown as a kharif crop and requires moderate rainfall. It is grown on a wide range of soils. It is sown through four-coultered drill in June-July as a mixed crop with bajri in every fourth row. The crop becomes ready for harvest by November. The foliage dries up and falls off. The plants are uprooted and are brought to the threshing floor where they are trampled under the feet of oxen. The grains are usually brown light red. The green crop is often used as a fodder. The pulse is given to
horses after boiling. It is also eaten by the poor people in rural areas.
Mug: Green gram (mug) occupied an area of 2,577 hectares in 1971-72 in the district. Usually it is grown as a mixed crop with kharif jowar and bajri on medium black soil in every fourth or eighth row. It is also grown as an independent crop. When it is sown as an independent crop, the fields are prepared by one or two ploughings followed by working with a blade harrow. Not more than a rough tilth is attempted. The seed-bed is made fairly fine. The seeds are sown by four-coultered drill. They are sown about ten inches apart and are covered by a plank. After a week or so, the seedlings come out of the soil. The crop is hoed after twenty days by inter-culturing tools once and may also be hand-weeded. The crop matures within three to four months from sowing and is ready for harvest. The plants are uprooted and brought to the threshing floor and stacked for a week. They are threshed by beating with sticks or trampling under the feet of oxen to get the pulse. The green pods are eaten as vegetable. The ripe green coloured pulse is consumed whole or split. It is also made into dal. The leaves and stalks are used as a fodder.
Udid: Black gram (udid) covered an area of 5,933 acres in 1967-68. It is sown in June on a variety of soils, viz.. light red, brown alluvial and black cotton. The crop is sown through four-coultered drill as a mixed crop with bajri and jowar in rows. It is harvested in November. The green pods of udid are used as vegetable. The ripe pulse is split and consumed as dal. It is ground to powder to be made into papads. The stalks and leaves are used as a good fodder.