Madurai, an ancient city of Tamil Nadu, famous for Tamil literature and culture is situated at the southern part of Tamil Nadu and the Agriculture College and Research Institute is situated at this historical temple city. The famous temples of Goddess Meenakshi and the first of the six houses (‘Arupadai Veedu’) of Lord Muruga (Thirupparankundram) are the religious landmarks of Tamil Nadu.
Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai (AC & RI) is a constituent colleges of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore. The college is situated at twelve kilometers away from the Madurai City on Madurai-Trichy National Highway. The college is the second biggest teaching campus of TNAU accommodating 650 under-graduate, post-graduate and Ph.D., students. The College has the historical monument Yanamalai, a small rocky mountain on its western side. The localites revere the mountain and worship during auspicious days. The campus with an are of 154.14 hectares, is famous for its sylvan wealth, the only glades being the playgrounds. The green and idyllic atmosphere has made the campus a favorite picnic spot for the students of schools and colleges in and around Madurai, which attracts a number of visitors, and they say the spirit of beauty and the quest for knowledge reign supreme in the campus. Tamil Nadu Agricultural University was selected as the best university in India for the year 2000 and Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai was adjudged as the best College among Tamil Nadu Agricultural University for the year2002.
Genesis and Growth
The Agricultural College and Research Institute was started at Madurai in 1965 to provide agricultural education to aspirants in southern districts of Tamil Nadu and offer the results of need –based research projects to the benefit of farmers. The salient features of the college is that almost all the teachers are doctoral degree holders. As per the agricultural education policy of TNAU, the college insists on do-how besides know-how for the development of skill and professional confidence among the graduates. The college was initially accommodated in small buildings at the western side of the campus. The institute grew in leaps and bounds and today it has a sprawling main building, laboratories, seminar-halls, machine rooms, auditorium, other confidence building infrastructures, hostels for under graduate and post-graduate students, separate hostels for girls, sophisticated instruments, modern lecture halls, well-equipped library, a strong computer center with up to-date hardware and software, sports-stadium, play ground, swimming pool, canteen, post-office, halls for indoor games and dispensary. The college is also provided with a branch of ‘State Bank of India’ to benefit the students and staff. The college was affiliated to Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore when it was born in 1971. Later it was upgraded as Agriculture College and Research Institute.
To teach agricultural subjects at under graduate, post-graduate and doctoral levels.
To serve as a center of academic excellence in Agricultural education.
To bring innovations in agricultural research and technologies.
To carry out research projects whose findings will benefit the farming community.
To evolve new varieties and concepts.
To carry out extension activities viz., training the farmers, entrepreneurs and staff of state agricultural department.
The Architect of the college was the founder Dean Dr. A. Mariakulandai. His incisiveness and long – sightedness played a great role in establishing the College. The nomenclature of Dean was ‘Principal’ during his tenure period.
The almanac of the Deans of the College is
Dr. A. Maria Kulandai, Ph.D
June 1965 – Dec- 68
Dr. C.V. Govindaswamy Ph. D.
21.11.69 – 16.02.78
Dr. K.K. Krishnamoorthy Ph. D
17.02.78 – 15.05.84
Dr. T. Kumarsami Ph. D
08.06.84 – 03.04.87
Dr. T.S. Manickam, Ph.D.,
Dr. S. Sankaran Ph.D.
30.10.90 – 13.02.92
Dr. G.Soundarapandian Ph.D.,
14.02.92 – 17.01.94
Dr. S. Purushothaman, Ph. D.,
18.01.94 – 11.03.97
Dr. A. Ragupathy, Ph.D.,
12.03.97 – 11.03.2000
Dr. P.Rangasamy, Ph.D.
|Dr. N. Kembuchetty, Ph.D
The different educational programmes offered at this Institute along with strength of students in each programme are detailed below:
About 100 students are admitted to the B.Sc. (Ag.) degree programme every year through the common entrance examination conducted for the professional courses by Tamil Nadu State Government. Also Masters degree and Ph.D programmes are offered in 10 and 5 disciplines respectively.
Hitherto 2361 B. Sc (Ag.), 806 M. Sc (Ag.), 47 M. Sc. (Hort) and 151 Ph. D., Students graduated from this institute. At present 386 UG, 134 PG and 61 Ph. D. scholars are on roll at this college.
To add feather to the cap, seven students of this college are in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), five in the Indian police Service (IPS) and three in the Indian Forest service (IFS) holding higher positions in their respective services and the Institute is proud of them.
The different departments and the important activities carried out by each of them is given below:
Plant Breeding Genetics
(Including Crop Physiology and Seed Science and Technology).
Research on cold tolerant rice varieties.
Identify rice varieties suitable for Madurai district.
Seed hardening for drought tolerance.
Production of quality paddy seeds.
Direct sowing in paddy.
Integrated Farming Systems Research.
Water Management Techniques.
Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry
Soil fertility management.
Techniques of production of organic fertilizers.
Agricultural / Rural wastage recycling.
Production of bio-control agents and bio-control methods in pest control.
Use of Botanicals in pest control.
Control of plant diseases through bio-control methods.
Use of Botanicals for the control of plant diseases.
Developing short duration high yielding mushroom varieties.
Production and distribution of bio-fertilizers.
Research on bio-fertilizers.
Developing high yielding vegetables and fruits varieties.
Techniques of establishing nutrition garden.
Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology
Investigating the rural problems, issues confronting development administration, technology transfer and extension systems through expost-facto studies.
Creating experiential learning opportunities to UG students through Rural Agricultural Work Experience (RAWE) programme and establishing farmer link with the institute.
Providing expertise in Agricultural Extension and Rural Development to PG students.
Establishing link with development agencies including NGOs to further the extension process.
Studying the cost - effect relationships of the innovations.
Developing strategies for marketing of agricultural commodities.
Designing farm machineries / implements suitable to the locale farmers.
Maintenance of buildings, water supply, electrical fixtures and vehicles of the college.
(Including Physics, Bio-chemistry, Mathematics and Agricultural Statistics).
Teaching Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Bio-Chemistry and Computer.
Maintaining the Computer Center.
Imparting the techniques of management of dairy, poultry and piggery practices to the UG students.
Students’ placement Cell
The students placement cell is functioning actively under the Dean to guide the students for their employment opportunities. The regular coaching classes are arranged to the students for ICAR and civil service examinations.
Four PG students have been placed with ‘DHAN FOUNDATION’ as consultants.
Twelve UG students have completed training on entrepreneurship development in agriculture sponsored by NABARD at Agri Clinic and Agri Business Centre, Kodaikanal and waiting for proper suitable placement.
Two UG girl students got placement as consultant in ‘SYNGENTA Pvt. LTD’
The institute has a well-equipped Library. Apart from a wide collection of more than 51,000 books, 220 Indian journals and 85 International journals, the library has email and Internet to help the students and faculty.
All the scientists of the departments actively engage in research projects. There are 13 research projects funded by various National and International agencies viz., Rock Feller, Department of Bio – technology, Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology, Zeneca, ASPEE, Monsanto, Cyanamid, Margo and ICAR. Totally 47 University sub-projects and 8 plan schemes are under operation in this institute.
Significant research highlights are:
MDU 5 – a short duration (105 days) rice was released. It is high yielding with yield potential of 5.5 t/ha. It can be grown throughout the year and has helped farmers during late arrivals of monsoon. It is also drought tolerant and suitable for tank fed area.
IET 153577 – a medium duration Basmati culture has been identified for release in southern districts.
High yielding, powdery mildew tolerant Sesamum variety DCH 140 – 1 has been found to be promising.
Foliar application of methanol (5%) at stray flowering of blackgram has found to increase yield by 18%.
Medium vigour seeds can be made to yield on par with high vigour seeds by application of NPK at the rate of 150:75:75.
Every year around 1300 kg of MDU 5 breeder seeds are produced and distributed which envisages to cover 1.66 lakh hectare of farmers holdings.
The institute also produce foundation and certified seeds of rice varieties viz., ADT 36, ADT 43, MDU 5, Co 43, ADT 39, improved white Ponni and ADT 39 to the extent of 250 tonnes that are well received by the farmers, seed producers, seed dealers etc., Elite seeds are also produced and distributed to farmers.
Introduction of micro-sprinkler system at 100% ETC to groundnut. VR-2 recorded a pod yield of 3156 kg with a net return of Rs. 20,143/- with a benefit cost ratio of 2.34.
Among the recent recommendation, the aged seedlings for throwing method in rice has been determined as 25 days provided a mean yield of 4199 kg with a gross income of Rs. 20,995/ha. Combining organics and in-organics has a benefit cost ratio of 2.88 with grain yield of 4.4 t/ha.
Cold tolerance in rice grown in Cumbum valley can be induced with the application of 25 kg/ha Zinc Sulphate.
On per cent Sodium Molybdate spray after N top dressing and on 30th day gives highest rice grain yield under cold stress condition.
Screening of rice cultures against WBPH has resulted in identification of 21 cultivated genotypes resistant to WBPH that can be used for resistance breeding.
Boosting eco-technology has received a further fill up as Palmarosa oil (0.1%) was found to control leaf blight disease of onion. While spraying of gypsum based Pseudomonas flourscens 1 kg/ha was effective in retarding sheath rot disease in rice.
Induction of off season flowering via application of placobutarol at 20 ppm and 30 ppm had recorded higher flower yield per plant pleased the flower vendors of Madurai and Theni districts.
Economic survey conducted in Thirumangalam block reported that raising meat goats had the highest input, output ratio of 1.17 which was the highest compared to other veterinary practices.
Development and production of Rhizobium and Azospirillum along with silicate solublizing bacteria have helped to promote root nodulation and reduction in use of inorganic urea fertilizer and improve the uptake of phosphate and silica in rice.
The institute also produces a biopesticide NPV to combat helicoverpa and Spodoptera and egg parasitoid Trichogramma chilonis. Till date 270 ha have been covered in total, for crops like rice, sugarcane, cotton and groundnut.
Spinosad 48 SC a biopesticide at 10 g per hectare recorded highest kapas yield in cotton varieties MCU 10 / Supriya that effectively contained in boll worm population.
Two varieties of mushroom, MDU 1 and MDU 2 were released that are popular among Madurai district farmers.
Maximum man-days were garnered by wetland labourers who preferred dairy/goat raring has the most preferred on farm/off-season avocation.
In seed Science and Technology unit of Plant Breeding and Genetics Department, a herbal garden over an area of 1.00 ha, was established with 30 species of herbal plants with a financial outlay of Rs. 4.00 lakhs funded by GOI, Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operation. In this same scheme , a Regional Analytical Laboratory has been established with a financial outlay of rs. 17.50 lakhs, for analysis of various components / active principles present in herbal species.
The central farm under the control of the Department of Agronomy is the backbone of the institute. The farm is 78.16 hectares in area. As rice is the major crop, it collaborates in the conduct of experiments in paddy cultivation particularly in direct sowing. Every year on an average 200 tons of certified seed is produced and distributed by sale to farming community.
Through ‘Earn while you Learn’ programme each UG student has been allotted with an area of 5 cents for cultivation from seed to seed in paddy and the income generated from the land is distributed to them.
The details of different trainings offered in different spheres are given below:
Bio-Control Agents Production Centre
One Insectory is being maintained by the Department of Agricultural Entomology. Through the bio-control agents production center the following are produced for sale.
Nuclear Polyhedral Virus (NPV) is produced for the control of Prodenia, Red hairy caterpillar and cotton boll worm. The cost is Rs.80/200ml.
Trichoderma egg parasite is produced for the control of paddy stem borer, leaf roller and cotton bollworm. The cost is Rs.18/1cc.
Production of crysopa for the control of cotton pests is undertaken.
The scientists of Agricultural Entomology impart the production techniques to extension workers and farmers through trainings and demonstration.
The Department of Plant Pathology offers a one-day training on mushroom production on 15th of every month. The admission fee for the training is Rs.50/-head. So far two mushroom varieties viz., MDU-1 and MDU 2 were released. The spawn bottles are sold@Rs.10/ bottle.
Rural Waste Management
The techniques of making compost from rural and agricultural wastes viz., enriched farm yard manure, vermin compost, sugarcane trash compost and coir pith compost were generated by the Department of Soil Science. These techniques are disseminated through trainings to extension workers and farmers.
Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK)
The Krishi Vigyan Kendra offers its services to train farmers, farm youth, farm women and extension workers. The trainings are either on-campus or off-campus. The hall mark of KVK is its readiness to collaborate with private organizations to train the farmers.
Located beside the Trichy National High way, it is an information center for the farmers and other visitors. The visiting farmers can get guidance, counseling and answers for their querries from the scientist in-charge of the center. The visitors can also use the intercom provided near the main gate to contact the other scientists of the institute instantly if they prefer. A Farmers’ Study Centre is also functioning in this center. Recent publications in agriculture and allied subjects are placed for sale. The activities of this center are attended by the KVK.
Certified paddy seeds, bio-fertilizers like Azospyrillum, Rhyzobium, Phospobacteria, Bule green algae and Azolla, bio-control agents like NPV, Trichodermma egg parasite, and Crysopa, and Trichoderma viride for seed treatment are produced and sold to the needy farmers and State Department of Agriculture on prior indent.
An annual agricultural festival that provides opportunities for farmers to interact with scientists and extension functionaries is conducted during January / February every year.
What More To See
The Department of Horticulture manages a 4 ha orchard. Seedlings of high yielding fruits, ornamentals, flowers, coconut seedlings and the like are produced and sold for the public. A model ‘Medicinal Garden’ is also maintained in the orchard. MDU-1 varieties were released in brinjal, chillies, bitter gourd, onion, snake gourd and bhendi from this department.
Nature has blessed the institute with scenic beauty. The backdrop of the institute is the imposing Yanaimalai that beckons the enthusiastic tourists to track. The panoramic view the rocky hill provides to the tourists from the top is indeed a great visual experience. This hill is under the control of Archeological Survey of India because of its historical importance.
The swimming pool, located in perfect environs, is always a source of exercise and entertainment for the students and the staff. It is difficult to evade the attractions of the crystal water. The subscriptions for swimming are very nominal, Rs.10/- a month for the members.
The Boat Club
It is another beauty of the campus. The Chittankulam Tank, a clean strip of water with the lofty green woods on its bank give a thrilling experience in boating to the residents and visitors.
How To Get To The Campus
The campus is 12 km from Periyar City bus terminal in Madurai City and
5 km from integrated bus terminal (near Court complex). The city buses bound to Melur stop at the college. The college can also be accessed from the Avaniapuram Airport which is 18 km away.
Agricultural College and Research Institute