PINEAPPLE RESEARCH STATION (KERALA AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY), VAZHAKULAM, MUVATTUPUZHA
Preparation of land
An area with 30-40% slope is generally selected for pineapple cultivation. Cow dung is then incorporated into the soil by hoeing. The land is levelled after ploughing to facilitate uniform distribution of water & nutrients. Alternate criss cross rows are made using bamboo across the slope, which helps in soil and water conservation. However, in most hill areas of north east India, the fields are not ploughed but uniform rows are demarcated either across the slopes or along the slopes where the suckers are planted at uniform spacing.
Pineapple is propagated vegetatively through suckers, slips, crown and disc. Plants grown from suckers produce fruit in 15-18 months, whereas those from slips, crown and discs take 20-22 months after planting. Suckers and slips are cured by stripping off the lower leaves followed by drying in the sun or in partial shade for about a week before planting. This curing is done to avoid rotting of plants after they are planted. Suckers can be treated by dipping them in a mixture of a Cow pat pit/ Amrit Pani/ Jeevamrut/ Panchgavya etc as per convenience. Then they are dried for 6-10 hours. When such treated suckers are used for planting, it may result in healthy plants and high yields.
Planting is done either in flat beds where there is no danger of waterlogging, or in shallow trenches that are filled as the suckers grow and develop. Care should be taken to see that the bud or heart of the sucker does not get buried. Single or double row system of planting is followed. Planting is done in about 8-10 cm deep holes with perfect alignment.
In single row system of planting, plants are spaced 30-60 cm apart with a spacing of 75 cm between rows. In double row system, the spacing is 30 cm between plants, 60 cm between rows and 1-1.5 m between double rows from centre.
The best time for planting of pineapple suckers is during the rainy season between June to August. Suckers are planted directly in the main field after giving treatment. Many farmers in the region generally plant without any treatment.
Crop specific agronomic practices
An optimum planting density is important for obtaining fruits of good size and quality. For cultivation of pineapple in flat beds, a planting density of 43,000 plants per hectare is considered optimum, keeping a distance of 30 cm between plants, 60 cm between rows and 90 cm between beds. The interspaces are intercropped with seasonal pulses or vegetables of short duration.
In double row system, planting is done with a spacing of 25 cm x 50 cm x 80 cm for a total plant population of 61,538 plants per hectare. Close spacing pattern is suitable for hill areas on terraces to prevent soil erosion.
The plantation is allowed to remain on the same site for 4-5 years after which the plants are removed and new plants are planted.
Incorporation of farm yard manure/composts as per their availability, and application of microbial enhancer are effective in improving physico, chemical and microbial properties of the soil.
Specific crop requirement and source
Sufficient quantities of biodegradable material of microbial, plant or animal residue should be returned to the soil to increase or at least to maintain its fertility and the biological activity within it. The following doses of nutrients are required for pineapple:
A dose of 25 t/ha of compost / cattle manure can be applied as basal dressing for pineapple. The green leaf and compost or cattle manure may be broadcasted around the plant after weeding and mixed with soil by light hoeing or forking.
During summer months, pineapple should be irrigated wherever possible. It requires five or six irrigations during dry months at an interval of 20- 25 days.
Growing of green manure crops at the onset of monsoon in between two rows help to suppress weed growth, prevent soil erosion and add organic matter to the soil. Cover crops like sweet potato can also be grown to conserve moisture in the soil. Mulching with straw and other plant materials is an important method practiced by the farmers.
Organic farming system should be carried out in a way that ensures that those losses from pests, diseases and weeds are minimized.
Weeding is generally done twice a year, the first a month or two after planting in the month of August or September and the second in the month of October – November. It is carried out periodically to keep the area clean. The uprooted weeds are either used for making organic compost or as mulch to conserve water/moisture during winter/dry months. Growing green manure crops/ cover crops/ green legume crops and mulching with weed slashing and shade tree leaf litter etc also suppress weed growth.
Mealy bug is the most widely distributed and probably also one of the most damaging pests. The rapid spread of this malady in field is due to feeding habit of bugs. Often before visual symptoms appear, mealy bugs leave infected plants and move to nearby healthy ones. Symptoms first appear on roots, and they are seldom observed because of being underground. The roots cease to grow, eventually leading to collapse of tissues. The predominant symptom is wilting of leaves, commencing from leaf tips. Reddish yellow colour develops in the wilting areas.
Other pests that appear sporadically in eastern India are stem borer (Metmasius ritchiei) and scale insect (Diaspis bromeliae). Other minor pests are fruit and stem borer (Tecla echion), termites, pineapple bug (Carpophilus hemipterus) and pineapple mite or red mite (Stigmacus floridanas) and pineapple scale (Diaspis bromeliae)
Common animals that attract pineapple are the rodents, monkeys, squirrels, wild boar, porcupines, and birds.
Rats affect mature or ripe pineapple fruits. Spreading pieces of colocassia in the field or in storage gives a reasonable control.
In hilly terrain monkeys, eat and destroy pineapple. Squirrels affect the pineapple field. Wild boar and porcupines feed on the roots of pineapple. A number of birds, especially crows and peacock feed on ripe pineapples. Mechanical trappings are the traditional and effective ways of controlling these menaces.
Reductions in crop yield, particularly in ratoon crops are caused by root knot nematodes of Meloidogyne genus. The other genera that cause root lesions or penetrate into roots of pineapple are Pratylenchus and Rotylrnchus. Initially when nematode population is low, plants do not exhibit any symptoms. But later with increase in population, plant growth is restricted and finally chlorosis appears on leaves. Plant material infested with nematodes should be destroyed and only healthy plant material should be used for new planting.
Butt rot/ Leaf Rot / Base Rot/ Fruit Rot
The fungus Ceratostomella paradoxa cause rotting in planting material, fruits, plant stem and leave under high moisture and high humidity. Base or butt rot of planting material occurs when they are not dried properly and are packed with little aeration. Fungus also destroys older plants by entering through wounds caused in the collar region during weeding or other intercultural operations. Leaf rot, base rot and fruit rot are caused by Ceratostomella paradoxa throughout the pineapple growing areas. Treatment of suckers in biodynamic liquid pesticides prepared from fermentation of cow dung, urine and leaves a from local materials should be evaluated.
Black Rot or Soft Rot
This occurs in ripe fruits mostly after harvest, if there is delay of some days between harvest and utilization. The casual organism is same as butt rot. Occurrence of black rot is common. The fungus makes its entry through wounds caused during picking and packing. Infestation starts at the stalk end of the fruit, resulting in small, circular, water soaked spots that are soft. Gradually, fruit rots and emits foul smell. Avoiding injury to fruit during harvest and transit will prevent disease occurrence.
Heart Rot or Stem Rot and Root Rot
The disease is caused by Phytophthora cinnamoni and Phytophthora parasitica. Infection due to P. cinnamoni is limited to areas of warmer and low rainfall areas. On the other hand, P. parasitica causes heart rot in warmer and somewhat drier areas. This organism is commonly seen in India. Poor physical condition of the soil and inadequate drainage are responsible for spread of the soil and frequently associated with alkaline soils but is not limited to them only. In this, green leaves turn yellowish green and tips turn brown. The central whorl of leaves when affected will come out with a gentle pull. Basal portion of the leaves shows signs of rotting and emits foul odour. Providing adequate drainage in the field, selection of healthy material for planting and treating suckers with cowdung slurry or biodynamic preparation could manage the disease.
Leaf Spot/Yellow Spot
Leaf spot occurs frequently in moist, warm, climate of eastern India. Small water soaked areas developed on leaves, which gradually enlarge. The affected portions become pale yellow in colour and gradually dry up. This disease is also caused by Phytophthora spp. Control measures are similar to heart rot.
Yellow spot affects both plants and fruits and is caused by a virus (tomato spotted wilt), which is transmitted through thrips from hosts such as Emilia sanchifolia, a well-known composite weed. Eradicating weed hosts may help in checking spread of this disease.
Majority of the pests and diseases can be effectively kept under check by judicious maintenance of microclimate. The pests can be controlled by an integration of physical, cultural and biological methods including plant-based preparations permitted.
Following Preparations are used for Control:
An organic formulation for Bio-composting of farm wastes in coffee plantation
The prosperity of Indian civilization was pivoted around
cow. Cows were the symbol of measure of wealth. A person who possessed larger
number of cows was considered wealthy. At present scientists are rediscovering
the value of the unique combination of five products of the cow. The cow's urine
as well as milk contains micro organisms which are useful in many ways. These
organisms also produce substances, which have wide antibiotic activity and they
kill or inhibit the growth of microbes involved in food poisoning. Urine of cow
contains microorganisms, which help the growth of many plants.
Cow Pat Pit (CPP)
Cow Pat Pit is known as CPP and is a specialized type of compost. It refers to cow manure mixed with crushed egg shell and basalt dust, then put into a 12 inch deep pit lined with bricks. The dung is fermented, together with the preps 502-507, for a period of 3 to 4 months. It is applied in the evenings during the cooler months.
From fungal and bacterial plate tests of the CPP, it
appears there is a wide range of colonies or families of fungi and bacteria
which have proliferated during the fermentation of the original cow dung
material and also from what has been gained from the biodynamic
Uses of CPP
The well made CPP has within it all the energies associated with the biodynamic preparations 502-507. It will also contain a wide range of beneficial fungi and bacteria and growth promoting hormones, which can be very helpful in many areas of agriculture and horticulture. It has a wide range of uses.
Making the Pit
Choose a site with good drainage, well-shaded and aerated. A vegetable garden is ideal. Dig a pit 90cm x 60m x 30mm deep (3ft x 2ft x 1ft)
Making the CPP
Collect 60kgs of cow dung from cows preferably fed on biodynamically grown fodder. No concentrates or grains should be fed two to three days before collecting the dung. Add water by sprinkling it over the cow dung if dry. Cow dung should not be too dry or too wet. The dung should be firm as this facilitates the breakdown processes.It is mixed with 200 grams of powdered egg shell. Heat egg shells in a hot oven for ten minutes which will aid the grinding of the shell into powder and 300 grams of powdered basalt dust. If there is no basalt, use blue granite quarry dust or bore well soil instead. Sprinkle the basalt rock or bore well soil, and crushed egg shells, over the cow dung. Knead (mix) for 10 - 30 minutes.
Place the dung mixture into the pit. When filling the pits
make sure that they are not filled more than a brick and a half deep (12cm). Any
deeper would take too long to breakdown into humus.
Make six holes 2 inches (3-4cm) deep after gently patting the dung into the pit.
Place a wet jute sack over the cow pat pit to maintain
moisture. (Waterproof covers should be raised at one side to allow water to run
off and air to circulate.)
AD-HOC RECOMMENDATION FOR ORGANIC PRODUCTION OF THE PINEAPPLE VARIETY MAURITIUS
Kew and Mauritius are the varieties grown in Kerala. Mauritius is recommended for commercial cultivation for table purposes and distant marketing, due to its shorter duration, better fruit quality, keeping quality and transportability. Kew is recommended for processing industry
Main season of planting is April-May and August-September, but can also be planted in all months except during heavy rain of June-July. The best time for planting is August to get higher yield. During summer months, if there are no summer showers after planting, irrigation should be given three weeks after planting for proper establishment
Mauritius can be grown as a pure crop in garden land, reclaimed lowlands and wetlands and as an intercrop in coconut and newly planted rubber plantations. In rubber plantation, it can be grown for the first 3-4 years only.
Prepare the land by digging the area to be planted at 90 cm width in rows/ strips, leaving the interspaces undisturbed. However, ploughing can be adopted in level land. Planting is done in paired rows of 45cm distance between rows and 30cm between suckers. Suckers may be planted in triangular method in the paired rows. Interspace between the paired rows is kept at 120-150cm. Contour planting is ideal in sloppy areas to prevent soil erosion. About 30000 suckers can be planted in one ha.
Intercropping in coconut garden
Land preparation, spacing and planting are the same as described above in pure crop. There can be three-paired rows in between two rows of coconut. Coconut tree basin should be kept free. About 20-22000 suckers can be planted in one ha.
Intercropping in rubber plantations
System of planting is in paired rows at 45 x 30cm. Either one or two paired rows can be planted in between two rows of rubber depending on the spacing of the rubber planting. About 20000 suckers can be planted in one ha.
Wetlands / lowlands
Pineapple is highly sensitive to water stagnation and high moisture regimes. Hence it is important to provide good drainage, if grown in wetlands. In paddy lands, pineapple is planted in paired rows at 45 x 30cm spacing on ridges taken at 60-90cm height, depending on the water table and drainage requirement. The ridges are separated by drainage channels having 60cm width. The width of the ridges varies from 120-150cm. Wherever water stagnation and poor drainage are expected, a wider and deeper channel is given in between ridges. About 25-30000 suckers can be planted in one ha.
Selection of suckers
Suckers are selected from disease and pest free healthy plants. Suckers are to be graded into those having 500-750g and 750-1000g. The graded suckers are planted in different blocks or plots, to get uniformity in growth and flowering. Bigger suckers give early yield.
After preliminary land preparations, planting is done in small pits of 10-15cm depth at a spacing of 45cm between rows and 30cm between plants in the rows. There is no need to plant the suckers in trenches.
Apply compost / FYM at the rate of 500 gm per plant at the time of planting. Also apply rock phosphate at the rate of 20 gm per plant and bone meal @ 50 gm per plant. It will be ideal to apply the compost/ FYM, rock phosphate and bone meal in the pits taken for planting. Six weeks after planting, apply 250 gm cowdung or vermi compost, 50 gm neem cake, 50 gm groundnut cake, one gm azospirillum and one gm phosphobactor for each plant and mild earthing up is done. Apply 1.5 g of SOP in liquid form along with cowdung solution at an interval of 6, 10, 14, 18, 22 and 30 weeks after planting for each plant.
Wherever irrigation facilities are available, providing irrigation in summer months at two weeks intervals results in good fruit size and high yield. If there is no irrigation facility, the crop should be scheduled for harvest before summer months (before March).
Hand weeding can be adopted in between plants and spade weeding in interspaces. Weeds in interspaces can be controlled by intercropping with ginger, coleus, brinjal, bhendi etc. It can also be controlled by sowing green manure crops like sunn hemp or daincha which can be used as green manure for pineapple by 2-3 months.
For inducing uniform flowering, 25 ppm ethephon is applied on physiologically mature plants having 39-42 leaves (7-8 months after planting ). The solution for application in 1000 plants is prepared by adding 1.25 ml of ethephon ( 3.2 ml of 39% ethrel or 12.5ml of 10% ethrel ) in 50 litres of cowdung solution. Pour 50 ml of the prepared solution to the heart of the plant during dry weather conditions (when there is no rain during the time of application ).
Flowering starts by 30 days and completes within 40 days of growth regulator application. Fruits will be ready for harvest by 130-135 days after the application of growth regulator. Harvest over different months / seasons could be obtained by carefully phasing / planning the planting and growth regulator application.
During summer months it is necessary to protect the fruits from scorching sun by putting dried grasses, coconut or arecanut leaves.
Root rot / heart rot / fruit rot caused by Phytophthora sp., Pythium sp., Fusarium sp., etc are common in poor drainage conditions. Providing drainage is most essential. The water table should be at least 60 cm below the soil surface. Badly affected plants should be destroyed. To prevent disease problems biocontrol agents can be used. Two weeks after planting, apply Pseudomonas fluorescens @ 2 g per plant in liquid form. Four weeks after planting, apply Trichoderma @ 2 g per plant in liquid form. Repeat its application if any diseases are observed.
Mealy bugs (Dysmicoccus brevipes / Pseudococcus bromeliae ):
Mealy bug is a serious problem in pineapple. For its control, sanitary measures are to be adopted. The plot should be kept weed free. Apply Verticillium @ 1 gm per plant in liquid form for the control of mealy bug.
The plant crop after harvest can be retained as ratoon crop for two more years. After the harvest of the plant crop, chopping the side leaves of the mother plant should be done for easy cultural operations. The suckers retained should be limited to one or two per mother plant. Excess suckers if any should be removed. Earthing up should be done. Other management practices are same as for the plant crop.
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