Coconut Farming Info Guide for Beginners:
The following article talks about the farming of coconut farming techniques, and ideas.
About Coconut use in India:
Coconut plays a major role in the economy of India. Apart from the importance of copra and coconut oil which is widely used in the manufacture of soaps, hair oil, cosmetics, and other industrial products, its husk is a source of fiber which supports a sizable coir industry. The tender nut supplies coconut water, a popular thirst quencher of health and hygienic value which is a multi-crore business all over India. Virgin coconut oil (VCO), extracted from fresh coconut kernel without any chemical processes is abundant in vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants, thus making it the ‘mother of all oils.
The agro-climatic conditions for Coconut Plantation:
The coconut palm is found to grow under varying climatic conditions. It is essentially a tropical plant growing mostly between 20oN 20oS latitudes. However, a rainfall of about 2000 mm per year, well distributed throughout, is ideal for proper growth and maximum production.
Soil is Suitable for Coconut Trees
Coconut is grown under different soil types such as loamy, laterite, coastal sandy, alluvial, clayey and reclaimed soils of the marshy low lands. The ideal soil conditions for better growth and performance of the palm are proper drainage, good water-holding capacity, the presence of water table within 3m and absence of rock or any hard substratum within 2m of the surface.
Varieties of Coconuts:
There are only two distinct varieties of coconut, the tall and the dwarf.
The tall cultivars that are extensively grown are the West Coast Tall and East Coast Tall. The dwarf variety is shorter in stature and its life span is short as compared to the tall. Tall x Dwarf (TxD), Dwarf x Tall (DxT) are the two important hybrids.
There are 10 different combinations of hybrids, developed by Kerala Agriculture University and Tamil Nadu Agriculture University and released for commercial cultivation. They are high yielders under good management conditions. Laccadive Ordinary, Andaman Ordinary, Philippines, Java, Cochin-China, Kappadam, etc. are the other tall cultivars under cultivation.
Preparation of the Soil for Coconut Plantation:
Land Size of the pit depends on the soil type and water table. In laterite soils, large pits of the size 1.2m x 1.2m x 1.2 m may be dug and filled up with loose soil, powdered cow dung and ash up to a depth of 60 cm before planting. In loamy soils, pits of size 1m x 1m x 1m filled with topsoil to a height of 50 cm are recommended. While filling the pits, two layers of coconut husk can be arranged at the bottom of the pit with a concave surface facing upwards for moisture conservation. After arranging each layer, BHC 10% DP should be sprinkled on the husk to prevent termite attack. In laterite soils, common salt @ 2 kg per pit may be applied, six months prior, on the floor of the pit to soften the hard pans. 3.5
Spacing between Coconut Plants:
Generally, a square system of planting with a spacing of 7.5 meters x 7.5 meters is recommended for coconut. This will accommodate 177 palms per hectare. However, a spacing of 7.5 to 10 m is practiced in various coconut growing regions of the country.
In Coconut Farming, spacing depends upon the planting system, soil type, etc. In general, the following spacing is recommended under different planting system in sandy and laterite soils.
|Planting system||The spacing between coconut plants|
|2||Square||7.6×7.6m, 8x8m, 9×9 m|
|3||Single||6.5m in rows – 9m between rows|
|4||Double Hedge||6.5 to 6.5m in rows – 9m between pairs of rows|
Planting Material and Planting Methods of Coconuts Crop:
Planting Material & Planting Vigorous seedlings which are one year old, having a minimum of six leaves and girth of 10 cm at the collar level should be selected for planting in the main field. Early splitting of leaves in the seedlings could be a criterion for selecting good seedlings. However, 18 – 24 months old seedlings are preferred for planting in waterlogged areas.
In Coconut Farming, before planting the pits are filled up with topsoil and powdered cow dung/compost up to a depth of 50 to 60 cm. Then take a small pit inside this, so as to accommodate the nut attached to the seedling. Plant the seedling inside this pit and fill up with soil. Press the soil well so as to avoid water stagnation. If there is a chance for white-ant attack apply Sevidol 8G(5gm.) inside the small pit before planting. In laterite, areas apply 2 kg common salt per pit for improving the physical condition of the soil. Burying 25 to 30 coconut husks per pit in layers will be useful for moisture conservation.
Best Season for Coconut Plantation:
Planting the seedlings during May with the onset of pre-monsoon rain is an ideal time.
Irrigation Requirement for Coconut Plants:
Coconut responds well to summer irrigation i.e. summer irrigation @ 40 liters per palm per week will increase the yield of nuts by 50%. Under basin irrigation, 200 liters per palm once in four days will be beneficial. In areas where water is scarce drip irrigation system can be adopted. The quantity of water recommended for drip irrigation in coconut is 66% of the open pan evaporation.
Manuring Requirement for Coconut Trees:
Regular manuring from the first year of planting is essential to achieve higher productivity. For coconut 20 – 50kg. organic manure should be applied per palm per year with the onset of the southwest monsoon when the soil moisture content is high. Different forms of organic manures like compost, farmyard manure, bone meal, fish meal, blood meal, neem cake, groundnut cake, etc. could be made use for this purpose. In addition to this, the following Fertilizer Schedule is recommended.
Fertilizers Requirement for Coconut Plants:
The fertilizer schedule recommended for the palm at different stages is as follows:-
Intercropping in Coconut Orchard:
In Coconut Farming, to maximize the utilization of soil and sunlight in the coconut garden, intercropping can be adopted with a variety of crops like pineapple, banana, elephant foot yam, groundnut, chillies, sweet potato, tapioca, etc. up to 8-10 years. During 10-22 years of age of the palms, a crop like colocasia which can tolerate shade can be cultivated. In older plantations, perennials like cocoa, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg can be grown as mixed crops along with intercrops. Mixed farming by raising fodder grasses such as hybrid Napier or guinea grass along with leguminous fodder crops in coconut garden has been found to be profitable which can support the rearing of milch animals.
Harvesting of Coconuts:
Coconuts are harvested at varying spans in a year. The frequency differs in different areas depending upon the yield of the trees. In well maintained and high yielding gardens, bunches are produced regularly and harvesting is done once a month. Coconuts become mature in about 12 months after the opening of the spathe. It is the ripe coconut which is the source of major coconut products. Nuts which are eleven months old give fiber of good quality and can be harvested in the tracts where green husks are required for the manufacture of coir fiber. The economic life of the coconut plant is about 65 years.
The yield of Coconuts:
The yield depends on the variety and conditions under which it is grown. The average yield per hectare varies from 10,000 to 14,000 nuts per annum.
Marketing of Coconuts:
It’s very easy to market as it has always in demand. big product companies may buy or you market them to local wholesale dealers.
Bottom Line of Coconut Production:
Coconut Farming is beautiful and is really Profitable Farming. Depending on the yield, your land value goes up in the open market.