Land grant- model
TNAU adopted the Land grant model of USA as other SAUs in India.
The model is followed with the premise that teaching, research
and extension education complement and reinforce each other so
as to maximise benefits, in each of three functions. Research in
TNAU has been a pivotal activity, which not only strengthens
postgraduate teaching as most teachers are also researchers. The
students are then taught the latest developments in fundamental
and applied research.
The undergraduate students are taught about innovative and
viable agricultural production technologies. Research improves
the confidence of teachers in real world applications, which in
turn help to organise better and useful practical exercises.
This section intends to provide a brief account of research
activities in TNAU and how research activities place a strong
base for better and quality agricultural education. Tamil Nadu,
one of the Southern States of India has seven agro-climatic
zones viz., North Eastern Zone, Cauvery Delta Zone,
Southern Zone, Western Zone, North Western Zone, High Altitude
Zone and High Rainfall Zone spread over in 29 districts.
Teaching campuses, research stations and transfer of technology
centres are located across all the zones where zonal and
location specific problems are addressed through research
activities. There are close linkages between teaching campuses
and zonal research stations in terms of exchange of knowledge
and materials. The location and lead functions of all the
research stations are furnished in the following Table.
Location and Lead functions of Research Stations
Research station with location
Lead functions (Research on)
Agricultural Research Station, Bhavanisagar
Rice, Sugarcane, Turmeric, Banana, Chillies,Tomato, Pulses,
Groundnut, sunflower, sorghum, grasses, maize, oilpalm,
tapioca, soyabean and jasmine.
Agricultural Research Station, Kovilpatti
Cotton, Millets, Small Millets,Pulses, Chillies, and Oil
Cotton Research Station, Srivilliputhur
Cotton and sesame
Regional Research Station, Paiyur
Rice, Ragi and Horse gram
Regional Research Station, Aruppukkottai
Cotton, Cholam, Cumbu, pulses Sunflower, Coriander, Chillies
And horticultural crops.
Agricultural Research Station, Aliyarnagar
Groundnut, Coconut, soyabean, pepper.
Rice Research Station, Ambasamudram
Hybrid Rice Evaluation Centre, Gudalur
Agricultural Research Station, Vaigai Dam
Cotton, Pulses, Groundnut, Cholam, Sunflower and Vegetables.
Agricultural Research Station, Paramakudi
Semidry paddy, Chillies.
Horticultural Research Station, Pechiparai
Fruits, Vegetables, Spices and Plantation and Agroforestry.
Agricultural Research Station, Tirupathisaram, Nagercoil
Agricultural Research Station, Ramanathapuram
Oilseeds Research Station, Tindivanam
Oilseeds and pulses
Coconut Research Station, Veppankulam Thanjavur
Sugarcane Research Station, Cuddalore
Sugarcane and pulses
Sugarcane Research Station, Melalathur Gudiyattam
Sugarcane Research Station, Sirugamani
Sugarcane, Betelvine, Banana and Oil palm.
Soil and Water Management Res. Institute, Kattuthottam,
Rice, Sesame, Soyabean, Blackgram and oilseeds
Agricultural Research Station, Virinjipuram
Groundnut, Greengram, Banana, Papaya, Cholam and Brinjal.
Rice Research Station, Tirurkuppam
Regional Research Station, Virudhachalam
Groundnut, Sesame and Cashew.
National Pulses Research Centre, Vamban
Pulses and Agroforestry.
Vegetable Research Station, Palur
Vegetables and Sugarcane.
Agricultural Research Station, Pattukottai
Rice, Pulses and Groundnut.
Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute, Aduthurai
Rice, Blackgram, Greengram, Cotton Oilpalm, Jute and Mesta.
Tapioca and Castor Research Station, Yethapur
Tapioca and Castor.
Horticultural Research Station, Thadiyankudisai
Fruits, Vegetables, Plantations and Spices.
Horticultural Research Station, Yarcaud
Spices, flowers, fruits and medicinal plants.
Horticultural Research Station, Kodaikanal
Fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Horticultural Research Station, Uthagamandalam
Fruits and Vegetables
The problems for research are identified during the discussions
in monthly zonal workshops of each district (where researchers
and extension workers come into contact), interaction with
farmers by workers in Transfer of Technology Centres, Regional
Research and Extension Education Council meetings, Farmers Days
(organised annually) in various campuses and research stations,
Research and Extension Council meetings and State Scientific
Workers conferences in Agriculture, Horticulture, Agricultural
Engineering, Forestry and Sericulture. In the above mentioned
forums, functionaries of the State development departments,
leading farmers and scientists of the TNAU participate and
On knowing the problems, the scientists in the relevant
discipline in research stations / campus identify and define
research problems and take up research on applied or basic
nature. The project leader and co-leader(s) prepare the research
project proposal in specified programme and present the proposal
at the station / department / campus levels and get them
reshaped and improved by fellow scientists. The proposals are
then sent for approval by the Research Project Approval
Committee (RPAC) located at the University head quarters.
Research Project Approval Committee (RPAC)
The RPAC is the apex body of the TNAU, consisting of the
Director of Research as the Chairman and Director of Extension
Education, the Technical Directors, Deans and Lead Scientists as
members. On receipt of the research project proposal in the
Directorate of Research, it is refereed to the members concerned
depending on the area / discipline of research for scrutinising
the comments. The comments if any are communicated to the
project leader to revise the proposal. The concurred / revised
proposals are placed before the RPAC for approval. The approved
projects are duly implemented by the project leader or the team.
The duration of the projects is normally three to five years.
The RPAC approves the extension and mid term correction and
modification of the projects based on their merits. RPAC also
does the approval of the completion reports of the research
The Directorate of Research maintains computerised information
and monitors the research projects carried out in the different
disciplines / faculties.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The progress of the on-going research projects is discussed and
monitored by the Professor and Head of the Station / Department
/ Campus in the monthly technical meetings. The Half Yearly
Progress Reports of the research projects prepared by the
Project leaders are sent to the Directorate of Research and then
they are referred to the Technical Directors / Lead Scientists
for comments. Suggestions offered by them are communicated to
the project leaders in pursuing the research projects.
The Director of Research and Technical Directors during their
visits to the Research stations monitor the progress of the
research projects and provide appropriate guidelines to the
project leaders in their research pursuit.
The Vice-Chancellor, the Director of Research and Technical
Directors / Deans monitor and evaluate the progress of the
research projects during discussion with the project leaders at
the time of Regional Research and Extension Advisory Council
Meeting and Crop Scientists’ Meet.
End Use of Research Findings
The project leaders publish the findings from their research
projects in various national and international journals, which
are valued greatly by the scientific community. They also
publish popular articles in journals and newspaper for the
benefit of the farming community.
The Directorate of Research publishes the TNAU Annual Reports
and Research Highlights and provides copies to national and
international institutes / organisations for dissemination of
The research findings are incorporated in crop production guide
every year to update the technologies in this basic and
reference document which is used in all levels in the State for
bettering the agricultural production and productivity.
Undergraduate students also use these guides to equip themselves
on package of crop production practices. Number of research
projects implemented currently by discipline in teaching
campuses are shown in Table 2.
Thrust Areas of Research
The shrinking land and water base for agriculture in Tamil Nadu
coupled with the increasing demand for agricultural commodities
due to increasing population, expanding agro-based
industrialisation, and the emerging scenario of vast export
potential necessitating attention on post-harvest processing
etc., have been taken into account in identifying the future
thrust areas for research in the next two decades. The main
focus of research is to increase the productivity of crops by
devoting more attention on development of hybrid varieties.
Since two line breeding work has now come in, it is necessary
for development of TGMS lines and hybrids under two line system.
To develop alloplasmic and allonuclear lines, diversion of male
sterile lines is to be taken up in sorghum and pearl millets.
Identification of cytoplasmic sterile lines and development of
sterile cytoplasmic male sterile lines with markers is to be
carried out in redgram. In cotton, the crucial problem is to
reduce the cost of production of hybrid seed. This is aimed
through developing new CMS sources and restorer lines.
Development of sunflower hybrid of 80 to 100 days duration is
planned through development of new cytosteriles of different
cytoplasmic male sterile origin. Tamil Nadu is deficit in fodder
supply. The full exploitation of the genetic potential of hybrid
animals is hampered due to lack of appropriate nutrition
management. The future focus on forage grass/legumes is to fix
grass-legume species for the various agro-climatic regions of
the State by strengthening forage research.
What is now important is the development of integrated farming
system for recycling of farm waste, sustainable agriculture, and
to increase the income from unit area of land. Hence the focus
is to develop integrated farming system models for the various
farming conditions of the State and to fine-tune them to the
actual field conditions. In Tamil Nadu, the area under dryland
formed 49.0 percent of the geographical area. Further increase
in agricultural production has to come by increasing the
productivity of dryland agriculture. So the focus is on
development of optimal cropping system by analyzing the resource
base and climate. Development of bio-fertilizers and integrated
nutrient management has been given top priority for cost
reduction and soil health management. With growing demand for
organic farming products in export market the research on
organic farming with optimum yield has been planned. Tamil Nadu
has about 12 percent of the geographical area under wasteland.
The future thrust is on integrated wasteland development on
watershed basis. Hence the research is for development of region
specific agro-forestry, agri-horticulture and silvipasture
system for insitu soil and moisture conservation and for
increasing the productivity of rainfed areas on a sustainable
basis. The State has four lakh ha. under problem soil. The aim
is to have detailed soil survey of these areas and develop
integrated reclamation technologies to improve the productivity
of these areas.
Indiscriminate use of chemicals have polluted the land, air, and
water resulting in health hazards. Further they also create
toxic residues in fruits and vegetables. The need is to evolve
eco-friendly, low cost and effective management strategies to
control the pests and diseases. The thrust will be more on use
of bio-pesticides and bio-control agents for the control of
pests and diseases of export potential fruits and vegetables.
Since the use of chemicals cannot be stopped at one stroke the
immediate focus is on intensification of integrated pest
management (IPM). Seed is the crucial and key input for
agriculture. The focus is on increasing the shelf life of seeds
without a reduction in the vigour. Finger prints / protein
footprints of released crop varieties are aimed at to ensure
seed quality and purity monitoring.
It has been estimated that the post-harvest loss in fruits and
vegetables is about 30 percent and only about 1.5 percent of the
production is processed. With globalisation of agriculture, the
urgent need is to strengthen the post-harvest research and
initiate green house cultivation as the alternate technology for
production of vegetables and flowers for export. Protected
horticulture cultivation will ensure increased yield and quality
product. With the increased emphasis on rainfed agriculture for
future agricultural development what is needed is to utilise the
available moisture in time and take up cultivation. When the
labour is becoming scarce and costly, the research focus will be
on development of location/operation specific low cost
agricultural implements. The past experience showed the
non-availability of extension in agricultural engineering. For
promoting the agricultural implements designed in the University
the emphasis is laid on agricultural engineering extension.
Similar is the need for development of low cost packaging
technology and processing for value addition of the agricultural
commodities. With increasing scarcity of water, the research
focus will be on efficient use of available water and increased
adoption of micro irrigation system.
Economic reforms and liberalisation policies have opened up the
world market for agricultural commodities. To make use of this
opportunity it has aimed to focus the research on feasibility
studies on agro-industries with cost-effectiveness. Guiding
planners for policies on land use, price and wages is an
important area of research. Entrepreneurial development of women
and documentation of indigenous technologies is another focussed
area for the future. Use of geographical information system for
better planning has been initiated in the University and will
get greater attention in the future.
Based on the above, the following thrust areas have been
Development of hybrids for increasing the productivity.
Development and field testing of integrated farming system
Optimal cropping system for drylands based on climatology
Identification of location specific agro-forestry, agri-hort.
and silvipasture system for wasteland development
Development of bio-pesticides and bio-control agents
Minimisation of post-harvest loss
Value addition for agricultural commodities
Conversion of agricultural waste into wealth
Studies on pollutants and remedies
Protected cultivation of vegetables, flowers etc
Development of agricultural machineries and extension
Feasibility studies on agro-industries
Infrastructure development for export
Entrepreneurial development of rural women
Documentation of indigenous knowledge
Establishment of herbal gardens
Micro-propagation through tissue culture manipulation
Marker assisted selection
DNA finger printing
Technology for low cost nutritive food
Promotion of seed village concept.
IPM in cotton
Bio-control for IPM and Bio-fertilizer for sustainable dry land
Bio-tech for mass multiplication of disease free seedlings.
Multi-media and multi-agency extension approach
Research findings of the past and present in the
above areas are incorporated into the teaching materials.
Involvement of Students in Research
Currently schemes funded by various agencies are in operation at
TNAU. Most of the schemes funded by private agencies, foreign
agencies, certain Central and State government departments (eg.)
Dept of Bio-technology, New Delhi, Indian Council of
Agricultural Research (ICAR), Tamil Nadu State Council for
Science and Technology (TNSCST) and other agencies have
provision for Senior Research Fellows to take up the time bound
research programmes. In the absence of sufficient manpower, the
positions of Senior Research Fellows are converted as Ph.D.
Fellowships and the fellowships are awarded on the basis of
merit. The Ph.D. students will take up the objectives envisaged
in the scheme proposal and approved by the competent authority,
as the Ph.D. Research programme for a period of two years. This
has been accepted by the funding sources and on completion of
the programme the results are communicated to the concerned. As
such the PG students both M.Sc and Ph.D., are actively involved
in the research programmes carried out at TNAU.
Besides undertaking the research in their respective college
campuses, the Post - graduate students and Ph.D. scholars also
avail the infrastructural facilities at the different
Agricultural Research Stations. The details relating to students
research executed at Agricultural Research Stations during the
last five years are given in Table
National Agricultural Technology Project
Indian Council of Agricultural Research has initiated a major
research programme viz., National Agricultural Technology
Project for strengthening the national research system in the
country. In this initiative ICAR has included several state
universities for improving and expanding some important research
areas based on the need for each regions for the growth and
development in the agricultural sector. In this venture ICAR has
agreed to fund a major project with a budget of Rs.2 crores for
establishing a team of excellence on biological fertilizers for
rice and rice based cropping systems and named Professor
Dr.S.Kannaiyan as the project coordinator for implementation in
TNAU. Similarly the projects approved under NATP funding are as
Fragile Rice Based Cropping System and Fragile Economy: A multi
Development of Hybrid in Vegetables
Land Use Planning for Coastal Eco-system
Land Use Planning in Rainfed Agro-Ecosystem
Agricultural Research Information System (ARIS)
ARIS is functioning at Coimbatore headquarters and at seven
Zonal Research Stations. At each station, ARIS cell has been
established and computers and other accessories supplied by ICAR
have been housed and effectively utilised. At main campus, Local
Area Network is established by connecting computers available in
different offices. A provision for 96 nodes was made. Further
e-mail facility has been established at Coimbatore and in other
stations the work is in progress. ARIS is now being extended to
ten colleges of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. ICAR has
provided a grant of Rs.40 lakhs, apart from hardware equipments,
for establishing ARIS cells in each college. The work is in
progress. Internet facility and CABSAC abstracts are also
provided under ARIS. A WEB-site of Tamil Nadu Agricultural
University have been created for global access.
Community outreach focuses mainly on communicating the results
and findings of the research studies to the clientele group. The
primary clientele group is the farmers. The Policy makers and
Executives involved in agricultural development form as an
important clientele group. Agro-based industries / agri business
are also yet another clientele group. The outreach is aimed
through the following means.
Directorate of Extension Education
Scientific Workers’ Conferences
Policy seminars / workshops
There are four major sources which contribute funds for the
research activities in TNAU, namely, state government (both plan
and non-plan expenditure),ICAR (partly and fully financed
schemes), Government of India and Private and foreign agencies.
In the ICAR partly financed schemes, the ICAR meets 75 per cent
and the remaining 25 per cent share is met by the state
government. University scientists are getting number of research
schemes from national and international agencies.
Strength and scope for improvement
TNAU is a very strong research institution as the research is
carried out in about 40 centres.National, state and regional
problems are dealt by the centres.
The strong research base and network provide a solid foundation
for more useful agricultural educational programmes. It helps to
churn out best researchers.
Currently most students take up their research in the teaching
campuses. It is possible after the course work, the students may
be placed in research stations to take up research. The
candidate may be encouraged to move between research station and
teaching campus in order they can carry out both field
experiments and laboratory experiments. Study Leave is given to
the teachers to do their Ph.D. programs.
The university though aims high, and plans to take up research
in new areas, the work moves at a slow space due to bureaucratic
hurdles and other factors. The buzzword should be the efficiency
in research. The Ph.D. students can play an increasing role in
carrying research in frontier areas.