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Elephant dung as potting medium for rubber plants
Kottayam, 29 August 2014

Elephant dung can effectively be used as potting medium for raising rubber root trainer plants, says the research finding of Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII). Ms. Sheela Thomas, Chairman, Rubber Board inaugurated the distribution of plants raised through this medium by handing over a plant to Mr. P. Krishnankutty, Deputy Administrator, Guruvayoor Devaswom and Mr. K.E. Chacko, President, Model Rubber Producersí Society, Chirakkadavu, in a function held at Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII), Kottayam today. Dr. James Jacob, Director, RRII, explained the advantages of using elephant dung as potting medium.

Root trainer plants of rubber are now highly popular among rubber growers because of its unique advantages. Presently coir pith is being used as the medium for raising root trainer plants. However, coir pith requires a lengthy pre-treatment for removing its phenolic contents before it can be filled in the cups for raising plants. Further, its availability is limited to coastal regions and its nutritive value is low.

Trials have established that partially dried elephant dung mixed with equal quantity of soil can be used as an alternative to coir pith. This is an outcome of the research carried out by Dr. Vinoth Thomas, Principal Scientist, RRII.

Presently elephant dung is a waste material with no use and its disposal is a problem. Nearly 12 lakh root trainer plants are required in Kerala for planting every year. It is estimated that the dung required for raising these is only a tenth of the dung available from 600 domesticated elephants in the state.

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