Indigenous Technologies in Management of Storage Seeds
Author: Sohan lal kajla*, Neelu kumari and Moti Ram Natwaria
Department of Plant Breeding & Genetics,
Bikaner-334006, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India

Seeds should have a good storage facility, since seeds are the main input for next crop. Seeds should be stored in such a manner, that its germination capacity and vigour should not decline. The quality of seeds have critical influence on the ability of crops to become established and to realize their full potential of yield and value.

Nearly 30% of the seeds are lost during storage period due to insects, rodents and microorganisms. Management of these insect pests by chemical method is not economically feasible but also unsafe for consumption. There is evidence of ash, sand,herbs used in ancient civilization,whichhave been credited with mystical power for increasing storage life of seed called as indigenous management practices.These methods avoid the use of chemicals and are inexpensive. Day by day theindigenous technique are lapsing hence, there is a need to generate awareness and dissemination ofthe ecofriendly and low cost indigenous management practices among the farmers. Hence, this article briefly emphasize on important eco-friendly management practices.

Insect’s management:

Common salt

In this method of seed storage 150 -200gm of available table salt in houses is mixed for a kg of cowpea seeds manually and stored in jute gunny bags it should stich properly. Due to this practice insects are deter from the stored grains. This method is very much suitable for short term storage and it is moderately effective and affordable in cost

Neem products

  • Neem leaves: Take required amount of neem and leaves and shade dry it till it becomes papery. Seeds are filled up to ¾th of a storage bin and covered with a clean cloth. Mix the above leaves and spread a handfull on the surface of the seeds in the storage bag or bin. This method can also be followed in bigger storage containers.
  • Neem oil: It can be mixed with the seeds at the rate of 2% by the weight of the seed. Using oil is more effective than the leaves. Seeds can be stored by mixing with Neem oil (2-3 ml / kg of seed). 50 kg gunny bags of any seeds need 150 ml of the oil for mixing.
  • Neem seed and kernel: Neem seed powder can be mixed at the rate of 1% to the volume of the seed. This is practiced for the control of khapra beetles, rice weevils etc. which is found in storage. Mix 30g of ginger rhizome powder and 50 g of neem kernel powder with 1 kg of any of the pulse variety such as cowpea, soyabean, redgram etc. The following practice is a traditional measure followed by several farmers for storage pest control.
Other plant products

Mix 50 grams of custard apple seed powder with 1 kg of any of the pulse variety like soya bean, cowpea, redgram, etc., to prevent the attack of the pulse beetle. Mix the seeds of Maize, Wheat etc., with dried fruits and leaves of Vantulsi(wild Tulsi - Ocimum) at the ratio of 1:100 to prevent from the weevils in storage. Store cereals and millets in bags or baskets made from the date palm fronds and after mixing it with neem leaves and ash. Plaster the top portion with cow dung to prevent the entry and spread of insects. Mix blackgram seeds with mustard oil @ 10-15 ml per kg of seeds and store it in earthen pots covered with dry cloth.Seed coat of Mahua(Madhucalatifolia) @ 1-1.5 kg per kg of paddy seed is mixed before storage. The summary of plant parts and other materials used for seed/ grain protection as given as follows:

Plant parts/ other materials Crops Type of material
Bach (Acoruscalamus L.) rhizome/leaves Cereals and pulses Seeds andgrains
Peach (PrunuspersicaL.) leaves Cereal and pulses Seeds and grains
Neem( AzadirachtaindicaL.) leaves Cereals, oil seeds and pulses Seeds and grains
Bakayan ( Mileaazadirachta L.) leaves Cereals and pulses Seeds and grains
Turmeric (Curcumalunga L.)leaves Cereals and pulses Seeds and grains
Lemon ( CitruslimonL.) leaves Cereals and pulses Seeds and grains
Wood ash Wheat, Barley and Rice Seeds
Cow dung ash Cereals Seeds
Cow dung + cow urine Cereals and pulses Seeds
Kerosene oil Pulses Seeds
Mustard oil Pulses Seeds and grains
Red roasted oil Cereals and pulses Seeds
Lime powder Pulses Seeds
(Source: Mehta et al., 2012, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge)

Wood ash and Lime

Wood ash is a safe and effective pest controlmaterial. Mix equal quantity of seed and wood

ash to prevent the attack of beetles and other storage pests. Lantana camaraleaf ash is veryeffective against pests attacking pulses. Dusting of lime powder about 10gm/kg of grains and later store in gunny bags.

Rat management:

Place unripe papaya fruit pieces in the corner of the storage godown. When rats eat thesefruits, the mouth tissues get damaged due to the chemical substance in the papaya fruit. For one room, we can keep 2-3 pieces of the fruit. Take 2-3 kg of castor leaves and add 3 litresof water. Boil for half an hour and filter the extract. Take 2-3 kg of sorghum seeds and add it to the above extract. Boil it again for half an hour. Take these seeds in a vessel and keep it in the corner of the storage rooms. Rats feed on these and die.

Storage pathogens management:

Various microorganisms affect stored grainssuch as fungi, bacteria, yeast and so on.An approximately 2400 microorganisms have been associated with the seeds of 400 genera of plants. Out of all these microorganisms fungi is responsible for maximum damage / spoilageof seeds in storage. When a fungus is present, it causes off odour, kernel discolouration, loss ofnutritive value and loss in viability. Fungi may also produce certain poisonous substances whichare harmful and may be fatal to human beings, animals, poultry etc.

The environmental conditions that favours the development of fungi (Aspergillus, Penicillium sp., Aletrnaria sp., Chetomium sp., Curvularia sp. and so on) are, moisture content above 12%. A temperature of 30 – 320 C. The degree to which the grain/seed has been previously infected with fungi. The amount of foreign matter such as dirt, dust, chaff etc., present in the stored product. Oxygen content in the storage godown and the condition of the seed stored.Moisture content of the seed/grain should be reduced to a safe level. By doing this the chancesof fungal growth is minimized. The safe level of moisture content for wheat and rice are 12% and 13% respectively. Reduction of moisture content can be done either by sun drying or with the help of grain dryers. Reduction of temperature to a range of 23– 30 0C helps in the reduction of storage fungal growth.

  • The best ways to avoid damage from microorganisms during storage are,
  • To clean the food grains / seeds before storage.
  • The seeds and food grains should be dried to an optimum level before storage.
  • The food grains should be placed in receptacles where moisture increase is minimum during rainy season.
  • The godowns should also beaurated on sunny days.
The protection of stored grains/ seeds against insect pests attack is very much essential for safe and steady supply of high quality food. Above mentioned indigenous or ecofriendly management practices are advantage over modern approaches like chemical control. These approaches have little or no cost and readily available.

Mehta et al., 2012, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

About Author / Additional Info:
I am currently pursuing Ph.D. in Agriculture(Department of Plant Breeding & Genetics) from SKRAU, Bikaner.