Onion is an important cash crop that is grown in kharif as well as in rabi season in Ahmednagar District. The area under onion is 77.5 thousand hectares in Ahmednagar District as per 2011-2012 data out of which more than 65 per cent area is under rabi onion and the rest is grown as kharif crop. The kharif and rabi onion cultivation is predominantly grown under light to medium soils that faces weed competition from weeds like Dactyloctenium aegyptium, Elusine indica, Cynodon dactylon, Cyperus rotundus, and Parthenium hysterophorus. The farmers are using weedicide oxyfluorfen(goal) weedicide at 20 days after transplant after which a single weeding is conducted. The cost of weeding was Rs 7340 per ha during 2012-13 while it was Rs 13340 per ha during 2013-14 season. Farmers are forced to reduce the weed control cost by not following second weeding at 60 to 75 days after transplanting (DAT). This has affected the yield of the onion reducing it between 172.9 q/ha to 242 q/ha.With the existing low rabi onion yield the KVK scientists provided technological intervention by conducting Assessment on use of oxyfluorfen and quizalofop ethyl at 12 DAT for control of grassy as well as broad leaf weeds. The results have been found to be very encouraging and the yield due to control of weeds in kharif onion has increased to 280.5 q/ha registering an increase of 16 per cent over farmers practice. The same assessment was observed to be successful and was later demonstrated among farmers in Wakadi, Rajuri and Mamdapur village. Taking the cue from KVKs assessment and demonstration the MPKV has also conducted the trial on use of oxyfluorfen and quizalofop ethyl at 25 DAT for increasing the onion bulb yield of farmers. The KVK Babhaleshwar has also taken effort to disseminate the technology through use of mass media like KVK Pravara Community radio and AIR Ahmednagar where the use of weedicide has been greatly disseminated further in Ahmednagar district.
Later the farmers gave a feedback that the second weeding generally which is required to be conducted at 75 DAT as per recommendation was not being followed due to high labour cost during second weeding stage. Here the KVK scientist inetervened and provided an innovative solution of broadcasting of sand mix 0.75 a.i. kg/ha pendimethalin at 35 to 40 DAT after completion of first hand weeding to control the emergence of weeds and reduce the labour cost on second weeding and facilitate bulb size enlargement and yield. The results have been found to be successful with demonstration plots registering an average yield of 201.1 q/ha and increase of 16.3 per cent over farmers practice. With overwhelming success of this sand mix application of pendimethalin the farmers have expressed their readiness to use this innovative for not only kharif onion but also other crops like sugarcane, brinjal, chilli and other exotic vegetables in Khandala village.