Grape Farming information guide for beginners in India:
A little bit about Grape farming:
Grape cultivation or farming is one of the most lucrative and profitable farming in India.
Regions of Grape cultivation:
Grape is cultivated under a variety of soil and climatic conditions in three distinct agro-climatic zones, namely, sub-tropical, hot tropical and mild tropical climatic regions in India. Grapes are grown in both temperate and tropical climate. In a tropical climate, vines remain evergreen. Grapes perform well where there is no or little rain at the ripening time of the grapes.
In the Sub-tropical Region:
This region extends the northwestern plains corresponding to 28° and 32° N latitude including Delhi; Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh; Hissar and Jind districts in Haryana; & Bhatinda, Ferozpur, Gurdaspur, and Ludhiana districts of Punjab. Vines undergo dormancy and bud break starts in the first week of March while the rains start in the first week of June, and therefore, only 90-95 days are available from the initiation of growth to harvest. Consequently, ‘Perlette’ is the only early ripening type cultivated in this region. Rain is harmful and this damage is a problem with Thompson Seedless in this area. Single pruning and a single harvest is the accepted practice here.
In Hot Tropical Region:
This region covers Nashik, Sangli, Solapur, Pune, Satara, Latur and Osmanabad regions of Maharashtra; Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Mahbubnagar, Anantapur and Medak districts of Andhra Pradesh; and Bijapur, Bagalkot, Belgaum, Gulbarga districts of northern Karnataka lying between 15° and 20° N latitude. This is the main viticulture area accounting for 70 percent of the region under grapes in the country. Vines do not undergo dormancy and double pruning and a single harvest is the general practice in this region. Maximum and minimum temperature is 42°C and 8°C, respectively. The main problems in this region are soil type and water salinity and drought. Berry growth is impaired and in some locations, pink blush sometimes develops on green berries due to temperatures that drop to a low of 8°C. Thompson Seedless and its clones (Tas-A-Ganesh, Sonaka), Anab-e-Shahi, Sharad Seedless, and Flame Seedless are the types of grapes grown in this region.
Land Preparation for Grape Farming:
Suitable Soil for grape farming : Types: Grapes are found cultivated on a variety of soil types. The best soil types for grapes are known to be well-drained loam to sandy loam with good organic matter. Poorly drained, alkaline soils should be avoided. Grapes are grown well on soils having less than pH 8.7 and EC up to 1.5 mmhos/cm, calcium carbonate up to 10 percent and lime concentration up to 20 percent.
The land is tilled and laid into plots of 120 m x 180 m separated by 3 m wide roads. Land within a plot is leveled perfectly to have a gradient of less than 1 percent in any directional manner to make sure the uniform distribution of water through the emitters of drip irrigation systems.
Trenches of 75 cm width, 75 cm depth and 118 m length in a north-south direction with a gap of 3 m between trenches are opened with heavy machinery. They are closed with topsoil, up to a height of 45 cm after 15 days exposure to the sun. The remaining gap is filled with a mixture of soil, cattle manure, single superphosphate, sulphate of potash and micro-nutrients. Usually, 50 kg of cattle manure, 2.5 kg of superphosphate, 0.5 kg of sulphate of potash and 50 g each of ZnSO4 and FeSO4 are added to the soil for every running meter length of the trench.
Best Planting Season for Grape Farming :
The best season for planting the rooted cuttings of cultivated varieties in the main field is September-October whereas for rootstocks it is February-March.
Spacing in Grape Farming :
Distance generally varies with the varieties and soil fertility.
System Planting Distance Number of Vines Per Hectare
Head system 2m X 1.5m 3300
Kniffin system 3m X 3m 1089
Bower system 3m X 6m 561
Pruning of Vines in grape farming:
Pruning should be done in January every year when the vines are still dormant. Keep only healthy fruiting canes with the recommended number of buds per cane depending upon the cultivar.
The rest of the shoots are pruned to one or two buds. These are called renewal spurs. These spurs sprout to give healthy shoots which are selected as fruiting canes in the coming years. A balanced 1: 2 is kept between fruiting cane and renewal spurs. In Madurai area staggered pruning is done to get fruit all along the year.
In the mild tropical areas, vines are pruned two times & the crop is harvested twice. In varieties like Gulabi and Bangalore Blue, which are fairly resistant to rain damage and in which fruit bud differentiation is not impaired by cloudy weather and rains, pruning is done at any time of the year. As a result, five crops are harvested every two years.
In hot tropical areas, vines are pruned two times but only one crop is harvested. All canes in a vine are pruned back to single node spurs in March-May to develop canes and the canes are forward pruned in October-November for fruiting. The number of nodes retained on a cane varies with the variety and cane thickness. There is no scope to prune earlier than October and later than November due to unfavorable climate conditions.
Manures and Fertilizers used in grape farming:
As vineyard soils are either sandy loams or heavy clays, the usage of organic manure has assumed critical and high importance in India. To the recently planted vines, apply 20 gm of urea in March and repeat the dose in May and July to complete the growth up to the bower in one season. From second year onward for vines planted at 3 x 3 m distance the following fertilizers doses and schedule may be adopted.
Apply whole farmyard Manure (FYM) and superphosphate as well as half N and half K fertilizer just after pruning. Apply remaining N and K after fruit set in April. Use of these does have encouraged excessive vegetative growth on all vines irrespective of the system of training adopted, particularly in clay loam soils.
Read: Papaya Grafting Methods.
Weeding control in grape farming:
Vines are planted closely and normally on bower system, hence due to shade weeds could make little growth. But in vineyards trained on Kniffin and head system, the weeds get ample irrigation, nutrition, and light to flourish. Therefore, it is very necessary to control the weeds
Weeds between the rows of vines are removed mechanically by tractor-drawn implements. Within the rows, weeds are manually hoed and removed. Sometimes the post-emergent weedicides, main glyphosate at about 2.0 kg/ha or paraquat at about 7.5 kg/ha is sprayed in fully grown vineyards.
Intercropping in grape cultivation:
No intercrop should be grown in vineyards as the growing of intercrop shall be at the cost of training of vines.
Harvesting and Yielding of grapes:
Grapes must be harvested only when all the berries have developed the unique color and desired TSS of the cultivar.
Grapes are harvested by repeated pickings since the bunches do not ripen at one time. Taste is the most valuable indicator of the ripeness of the bunch. The berries at the shoulders ripe first followed by center and tip of the clusters.
|Period of Harvest
|February-May, July, November-December
|Thompson Seedless and other seedless varieties
Pests, Disease Management, and Control:
The most important pests of grape farming in India are flea beetles, thrips, mealy bugs, and leafhoppers. The important grape diseases are anthracnose, downy mildew, powdery mildew, and bacterial leaf spot. In recent years, Alternaria is also becoming a serious pathogen.
- Anthracnose is prevalent in all grape growing areas of the country. The disease is characterized by little light brown or greyish black lesions on tender shoots, young leaves, flowers, and young berries. Bordeaux mixture at 0.8 percent, copper oxychloride at 0.25 percent or carbendazim at 0.1 percent is used to control this disease.
- Downy mildew is the most devastating disease of grapes in the tropical area of the country. The disease mainly appears on the leaves, but also attacks the flower clusters and young fruits. The losses are very high when it attacks the clusters before fruit set. Entire clusters decay, dry and drop down. Properly neutralized Bordeaux mixture at 1 percent, copper oxychloride at 0.2 percent, Mancozeb at 0.2 percent, metalaxyl (Ridomil Mz at 0.2 percent) or Phosethyl-Al (aliettle at 0.2 percent) are used against this disease.
- Powdery mildew is prevalent in all the grape growing areas. It is next in importance to downy mildew in its devastating severity. The disease is characterized by the presence of white powdery (ash-like) coating in patches on two sides of the leaves, young shoots and immature berries. Powdery mildew is managed and controlled easily by wettable Sulphur formulations. A wide range of fungicides, namely, Calaxin at 0.07 percent, Karathane EC at 0.04 percent, Myclobutanil (Systhane at 0.05 percent), Triademifon (Bayleton at 0.1 percent) and Penconazol (Topas at 0.025 percent) are used to control this disease.
Bacteria infects leaves, shoots, and berries. The symptoms appear as minute water-soaked spots on the lower surface of the leaves, especially along the main and lateral veins. These spots coalesce and form larger patches. Severely infected leaves give a blighted appearance. Streptocyclin at 500 ppm is used as a prophylactic spray, while Bordeaux mixture at 0.8 percent or copper oxychloride at 0.15 percent is used to check its spread.
Marketing of Grapes:
More than 80 percent of the aggregate creation is expended as table grapes in India, and more than 70 percent of the aggregate generation is gathered in March-April, yet the cold storage spaces are lacking. Accordingly, market overabundances and fall of costs of grapes in March-April are basic. Roughly, 2.5 percent (22,000 t) of new grapes are sent out to the Middle East and European nations. Whatever remains of the produce is advertised inside the nation. Grapes are sent out through three separate offices viz., Grower Exporters, Growers’ Cooperatives and the Trader exporters. These organizations have created their own offices for pre-cooling and icy stockpiling in the region of significant generation locales.