RARS has 87 hectares of farmland studded with plantations of pepper, coffee, rice, coconut, areca nut, mango, mangosteen, sapota, banana, vegetables, fodder crops, and a collection of sub-tropical fruit species. A unique collection of roses maintains more than 600 varieties. The farm nursery provides quality planting materials of black pepper, different types of fruit and ornamental plants besides forest species. Laboratory facilities to offer Leaf/ tissue analysis and soil testing, production of biocontrol agents and tissue culture plants are available. A fodder museum is maintained for the benefit of dairy farmers. A fruit and vegetable processing unit to process the farm produces and to provide hands-on training on value addition of agricultural produces. The station houses a rabbit rearing unit and a cattle unit. The station has a number of rainwater harvesting structures to collect rainwater during the monsoons and irrigate the entire farm during the summer months.
Leaf Tissue Analysis laboratory was established in 2011 with financial assistance from State Horticultural Mission and sample analysis started from 2012 onwards. Since then the laboratory has efficiently catered the soil testing needs of Wayanad district as well as other districts of Kerala. The services of this lab have been recently expanded and are utilised by several farmers and extension functionaries from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Biocontrol lab - Bio control agents multiplied in the lab
- Beauveria bassiana, for the control of berry borer in coffee (beetles), and sucking pests and lepidopteran pests of crops.
- Verticillium lecanii, for the control of mealy bugs, white fly, aphids, thrips and scale insects.
- Pseudomonas fluorescens for the control of quick wilt in black pepper, sheath blight, brown spot & sheath rot in rice, rhizome rot & bacterial wilt in ginger, rhizome rot, wilt & leaf spot in banana, damping off & bacterial wilt in solanaceous vegetables, and brown spot & stem rot in vegetables.
- Trichoderma sp., for the control of quick wilt in black pepper and, rhizome rot in ginger & turmeric. It can be used in potting mixture in the nursery to control different diseases.
- Metarhizium sp., for the control of root grubs, termites and beetles.
In addition to biocontrol agents, pheromone traps for the control of fruit flies in cucurbits and mango are also produced. Last year about 110 tonnes of biocontrol agents was supplied by the unit to various Krishi Bhavans in the district.
Fruit and Vegetable Processing Unit
Fruit and Vegetable Processing Unit functioning under RARS, Ambalavayal utilises the organically produced fruits and vegetables produced on the farm to make value added products like squashes, jams, pickles etc while providing employment opportunity to 14 well-trained women self-help group members. Fruits like pineapple, guava, sapota, strawberry, papaya, passion fruit, mangosteen, litchi, mango etc. are routinely processed catering to the demands of local as well as distant markets. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are preserved as pulp and are hence available as products for purchase even during the off seasons. The seeds of the input materials used are collected separately and are processed to be sold or used for germination. Highly underused jackfruit has been demonstrated to be good enough to be transformed into 101 value added products by the unit and has exhibited all of them in jack fests conducted during the past couple of years.
Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory
For superior farming, healthy, high quality, high yielding plants through micropropagation or tissue culture are essential. Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory, RARS offers plants with uniform yields, good selection of right varieties, resistance against disease and larger yield compared to conventional planting materials.
The main production activities of this tissue culture lab are –
- Banana –different varieties of banana including nendran, giant nendran, mindoli, poovan etc.
- Strawberry- highly commercially valuable varieties like sweet Charlie, winter dawn etc.
- Orchids – different types of orchids including phelenopsis, dendrobium, vanda etc.
- Different varieties of rose
Further details are available at- http://rarsamb.kau.in/