The success of mulberry leaf production depends on three factors namely, variety, cultivation practices (agronomic characters like good rooting, fast growth, high yield, wide adapaptability to environmental and soil conditions and resistance to diseases and pests are important with respect to leaf production which is the primary activity in sericulture) and plant protection measures. Beside that, climatic conditions are essential for the growth of mulberry. Different varieties require different climatic conditions.
1.Mysore Local or Local cultivar or Natikaddi
It is a low yielding variety known for its adaptability to low agronomic inputs and poor management practices both under rainfed and irrigated conditions. It is cultivated mainly in Karnataka.
2. Improved cultivar or Kanva-2 or K2 or Mysore5 or M5
It is an open pollinated hybrid (OPH) selection from the seeding population of Mysore Local variety. It grows vigorously and responds well to agronomic inputs. It can be grown under varied agro climatic conditions with suitable system of planting. It is cultivated in almost all the indian states and recently introduced to some south east Asian countries like Srilanka, Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.
3. MR2 (Mildew Resistant Variety –2)
This variety was developed by the TamilNadu Sericulture Department at their experimental station, Coonoor during 1970s. MR2 variety is resistant to powdery mildew disease caused by Phyllactinia corylea and is very popular in the plains of TamilNadu and better suited for high altitude areas also where high temperature prevails. This variety is good in rooting, leaf yield and growth. It is rated high for its nutritional level of leaves and hence susceptible for thrips attack. It yields 25,000 to 30,000 Kg leaf per hectare under irrigated conditions of TamilNadu.
4. High yielding varieties
To boost productivity of mulberry per unit area, experiments were carried out for evolving high yielding varieties at different sericultural research stations . A few such evolved varieties suited for irrigated conditions are already under cultivation and or field multiplication programmes namely, S13, S36, S54, Viswa (DD) and V1 for irrigated conditions and S13 and S34 for rainfed conditions. They yields from 40,000 kgs to 60,000 kgs per hectare per year. Leaf yield of S13 is 18 tonnes / ha / year. Leaf yield of S34 is about 17 tonnes / ha / year.