Drumstick Farming Detailed Information Guide
The following information is all about profitable drumstick farming techniques, planting methods, seed rate of drumstick per acre. This also covers Moringa cultivation practices, tips, and ideas. Drumsticks or moringa can be grown in pots, containers, backyard, outdoor gardens even on the terrace.
Drumstick is one of the famous vegetable crops in India. Drumstick scientifically called Moringa oleifera is commonly known as Saijan (Hindi), Shevaga (in Marathi), Murungai (Tamil), Muringnga (Malayalam), and Munagakaya (Telugu) in different Indian languages. Drumstick is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Moringa comes from the Moringaceae family. Though the origin of drumsticks is India, due to their medicinal uses it has reached other countries also. Drumstick tree, Moringa is well known for its multi-purpose attributes, wide adaptability, and ease of establishment. Its leaves, pods, and flowers are all packed with nutrients for both humans and animals. Almost every part of the plant is of food value. Foliage is eaten as green salads and used in vegetable curries. The seeds yield 38-40% of a non-drying oil known as Ben Oil, used for lubricating watches. The oil is clear, sweet, and odorless, never becomes rancid and hence, used in the manufacture of perfumes.
Famous varieties of drumsticks (Moringa):
1) Rohit 1
The first yield starts in 4 to 6 months after plantation & gives commercial yield up to 10 Years. (Per year two seasons). Bears are dark green in color, 45 to 60 cm in length, the pulp is soft & testy, keeping quality is very good. From a single plant, one can get 40-135 drumsticks of about 3 to 10 kg. The yield and quality of drumstick are dependent on climate, soil type, irrigation facility, and spacing and market rates are dependent on quality & demand in the market.
2) Coimbatore 2
The length of the stick is 25 to 35 cm. The stick is dark green in color and tasteful. Each plant yields 250 to 375 sticks. Each stick is bulky. Each plant yields the product for 3 to 4 years. If the product is not taken from the plant earlier, the market value of the product is lost.
After plantation, the plant bears flowers and you can yield the product in 8 to 9 months. You can get the production twice a year. Each plant can yield 200 to 350 sticks each plant can yield production for 4 to 5 years. Each stick is larger in length hence the product has demand in the market of big cities rather than local market cost is comparatively less.
The raw stick of this variety is greenish in color and tastes good. The length of each stick is 45 to 75cms. Each plant can yield 300 to 400 sticks. This variety yields a good product but requires more water.
Agro-Climatic Conditions for Drumstick Plantation:
The greatness of drumstick is, it can survive in drought conditions with minimal water requirement. they can thrive in poor soils also. The hot and humid climate is suitable for growth and dry climate for flowering. The temperature of 25 to 30 Degrees Celsius is suitable for flowering in the drumstick.
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Soil requirement for Drumstick Plantation:
The Moringa/Drumstick plant grows best in well-drained sandy or loamy soil with a slightly acid pH of 6.2 to neutral 7.0. It can tolerate poor soil including coastal areas.
Nursery Raising of Seedlings:
In Drumstick Farming, If you want to use nursery raised plants, use poly bags with dimensions of about 18cm in height and 12cm in diameter. The soil mixture for the sacks should be light, i.e. 3 parts soil to 1 part sand. Plant two or three seeds in each sack, one to two centimeters deep. Keep moist but not too wet. Germination will occur within 5 to 12 days, depending on the age of the seed and the pre-treatment method used. Remove extra seedlings, leaving one in each sack. Seedlings can be out-planted when they are 60-90cm high. When out-planting, cut a hole in the bottom of the sack big enough to allow the roots to emerge. Be sure to retain the soil around the roots of the seedling.
To encourage rapid germination, one of three pre-seeding treatments can be carried out in drumstick farming :
- Soak the seeds in water overnight before planting.
- Crack the shells before planting.
- Remove shells and plant kernels only.
Preparing the Land for Drumstick Plantation:
If planting a large plot it is recommended to first plow the land. Prior to planting a seed or seedling, dig a planting pit about 50cm in-depth and the same in width. This planting hole serves to loosen the soil and helps to retain moisten in the root zone, enabling the seedlings’ roots to develop rapidly. Compost or manure at the rate of 5kg per pit can be mixed with the fresh topsoil around the pit and used to fill the pit. Avoid using the soil taken out of the pit for this purpose: fresh topsoil contains beneficial microbes that can promote more effective root growth. The day before our planting, water the filled pits or wait until a good rain before out-planting seedlings. Fill in the hole before transplanting the seedling. In areas of heavy rainfall, the soil can be shaped in the form of a mound to encourage drainage. Do not water heavily for the first few days. If the seedlings fall over, tie them to stick 40cm high for support
Direct seeding of Drumstick Crop:
If water is available for irrigation (i.e., in a backyard garden), trees can be seeded directly and grown at any time during the year. Prepare a planting pit first, water, and then fill in the pit with topsoil mixed with compost or manure before planting seeds. In a large field, trees can be seeded directly at the beginning of the wet season.
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How to grow Drumsticks from Cuttings:
Use hardwood not green wood for cuttings. Cuttings should be 45cm to 1.5m long and 10cm thick. Cuttings can be planted directly or planted in sacks in the nursery. When planting directly, plant the cuttings in light, sandy soil. Plant one-third of the length in the ground (i.e., if the cutting is 1.5m long, plant it 50cm deep). Do not overwater; if the soil is too heavy or wet, the roots may rot. When the cuttings are planted in the nursery, the root system is slow to develop. Add phosphorus to the soil if possible to encourage root development. Cuttings planted in a nursery can be out-planted after 2 or 3 months.
The Drumstick Plant Spacing:
For intensive Drumstick or Moringa production, plant the tree every 3 meters in rows 3 meters apart. To ensure sufficient sunlight and airflow, it is also recommended to plant the trees in an east-west direction. When the trees are part of an alley-cropping system, there should be 10 meters between the rows. The area between trees should be kept free of weeds.
Manures and Fertilizers in Drumstick Farming:
Moringa trees will generally grow well without adding very much fertilizer. Farmyard Manure (FMY) @ 8-10 kg per plant has to be applied to the planting pit 8-10 days before planting of seedlings and 50 kg each of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash per ha. is to be applied at the time of planting and the same dose is repeated at every six months interval for the crop in drumstick farming.
Irrigation supply for Drumstick Plants:
Moringa/Drumstick plants do not need much watering. In very dry conditions, water regularly for the first two months and afterward only when the tree is obviously suffering. Moringa trees will flower and produce pods whenever there is sufficient water available. If rainfall is continuous throughout the year, Moringa trees will have a nearly continuous yield. In arid conditions, flowering can be induced through irrigation. This crop is quite hardy and during dry season requires irrigation once in two weeks and for commercial cultivation, drip irrigation can be adopted with a daily application rate of 12 to 16 liters of water per tree during summer and half this rate during other seasons. Where water sources are scarce life-saving irrigation or pot watering once in two weeks during a dry period will sustain the crop.
You may also check the Drumstick Farming Project Report, Cost, and Profit.
Pruning of Drumstick Plants:
Pruning of plants can be practiced after one and a half years of planting coinciding with winter months at a height of about 3 feet and allow 4 -5 branches per tree 2 feet above the ground level.
Pests and Diseases of Drumstick:
Drumstick is resistant to most pests. In very water-logged conditions, Diplodia root rot can occur. In very wet conditions, seedlings can be planted in mounds so that excess water is drained off. Cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats will eat Moringa seedlings, pods, and leaves. Protect Moringa seedlings from livestock by installing a fence or by planting a living fence around the plantation. In India, various caterpillars are reported to cause defoliation unless controlled by spraying.
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Harvesting of Drumstick:
When harvesting pods for human consumption, harvest when the pods are still young (about 1cm in diameter) and snap easily. Older pods develop a tough exterior, but the white seeds and flesh remain edible until the ripening process begins. When producing seed for planting or for oil extraction, allow the pods to dry and turn brown on the tree. In some cases, it may be necessary to prop up a branch that holds many pods to prevent it from breaking off. Harvest the pods before they split open and seeds fall to the ground. Seeds can be stored in well-ventilated sacks in dry, shady places.
For making leaf sauces, harvest seedlings, growing tips, or young leaves. Older leaves must be stripped from the tough and wiry stems. These older leaves are more suited to making dried leaf powder since the stems are removed in the pounding and sifting process.
The yield of Drumstick:
This basically depends on the seed type/variety cultivated. The yield could be around 50 – 55 tonnes of pods per hectare (220 pods per tree per year).
Drumstick farming is very profitable with minimum Investment and care.
Note: When planting, Always ask a professional local nursery for their opinion and advice about better varieties, risks, and other factors and also fund out local area conditions for Drumstick Farming.
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