Production Technology of Coconut
Botanical Name: Cocos mcfferaJj.
Origin and Distribution
The home of coconut might have been some where in south East Asia, most probably in Malaysia or Indonesia. It moved eastwards to the Pacific region, and further to America. Towards the west, it moved to India and Madagakar over the calm tropical waters; Man also played important role, in the spread of this indispensable palm. The crop is grown on an area bf about 9 million ha with the production of 33,700 million nuts.
In India, the area under this crop is 1513 thousand ha and production is 9700 million nuts and in Maharashtra, the crop is grown on the west coast on an area of about 9300 ha and production is 50 million nuts.
Soil and Climate
Coconut palm thrives in almost all types of wall drained soils such as coastal sand, red loam, laterals alluvial and reclaimed soils of marshy low lands. Coconut is a crop bumid tropics. Though it is mainly grown in the coastal plains it is possible to grown even at elevation of 600 to 900 m above M.S.L. in areas near the equator where the temperature remains favourable. Among the climatic. factors affecting the palm, rainfall is the most important;. A rainfall of 1000 to 2250 mm per annum evenly distributed throughout the year appears to be most congenial. Regions with long and pronounced dry spells are not suited to its growth.
Coconut palm requires equable climate neither very hot not very cold. The maximum mean annual temp, for good growth is about 27°C with a diurnal vanetion of about 6° to 7°. Persistant high humidity is harmful and incidence of budrot is more under such a conditions. The palm require bright, sunshine of about 2000 hours a year.
Planting Material (Propagation)
Since, it is a cross-pollinated crop which is propagated only by seeds, the selection of planting material is of vital, importance selection has to be made at the mother palm level and at the seedling stage. The mother palm should be between age group of 25 to 60 years, should be healthy, high yielding and regular in bearing. Immature arid under-developed seed nuts should not be used. The selection of seedlings at nursery stage is also important. Generally nuts harvested from January to April are used for raising seedlings.
The seedlings should be.
2) Should have minimum of 5 to 6 leaves when they are one year old.
3) The leaves should have been splited.
4) The girth of seedling at collar region should be more
5) Should have 5 to 6 roots.
Preparation of Land and Transplanting
The depth of pit depends on soil type in sand loam soil pits of 1 x 1 x m is generally recommended. In laterite soils, the pits of 1.2%1.2 x 1.2 M are necessary. The pits are taken at the distance of 7.5 to 9 M apart thus accommodating 177 to 124 palm/ha. The-planting is done by square system, deep planting method is adopted. It is good practice to spread two layers of coconut husk at the bottom of the pits in areas where drought conditions prevail The seedling is placed at the center of the pit in such a way that the top of the husk is just visible from outside. The earth is well pressed down in order to keep the seedling firmly in position.
In well drained soil where water stagnation is not a problem transplanting is done at the beginning of the monsoon. In low lying areas plantingjs .done after monsoon. The trans planted, seedlings should be shaded and irrigated properly during summer. Irrigation with 45 litres of water once in four days has been found to be the optimum especially in sandy soils.
Manure Fertilization and Intercultivation:
Application of fertilizers in general reduces the prehearing age of palms. The pakn generally start bearing at the age of five or Seven years after planting and the stabilized yield is obtained from 10th year onward till the age of 60 years. . Regular intercultivation and manuring is essential – for stepping up. and maintaining the productivity of palm.’ Tillage including digging, ploughing the interspaces, making shallow basins with a radius of 2m and applying fertilizer.
The C.F.CRX Kasargod has recommended an annual application of following nutrients/palm/y ear,
Type of plantation
Ordinary tall varieties
For hybrid and high yielding varieties
Application of the annual dose of fertilizers in two or more splits had been found highly beneficial in increasing the yield and quality of nut. To obtain higher efficiency in the uptake of nutrients of fertilizers are to be applied in circular basis 20 to 25 cm deep and 1.5 to 1.8 m radius round the base of the palm.
Inter and Multiple Cropping
In pure coconut garden when palms are spaced at 7.5 m x 7.5 m, as much as 78% of the available area is not effectively utilized. It is also seen that a pure
coconut grove utilizes only half, of the available light. Introduction of cacao, pineapple and pepper has been found to help increase the dry matter production. from 12.67% to 193% under Kerala conditions. In a crop combination involving coconut, diascorea, cacao and Pineapple 17,500 coconus, 100 kg of diascofes. tubers, 300 kg of dried cacao beans, and 2000 kg of pineapple, fruits were harvested from one ha. The increased income through multiple cropping is about 420% more than that obtained from a pure crop of coconut
Production of Barren Nuts
The phenomenon of the occurrence of barren nuts (without or with imperfectly developed Kernel) is very old. Only Certain trees in the coconut plantation produce large number of barren nuts. The nuts are generally oblong in shape and quantity of husk produce is very much less as compared to normal, nut. – The embryo in the barren nut is mostly absent or when present. It is in varying stage of decay. Fungal infection is also sometime noticed in the embryo resulting in the decay of the kernel and loss of water inside. In the barren nut cracking of shell is relatively more common.
1. Several causes for the phenomenon have been reported :
2. Due to defective fertilization resulting in malformation of embryo.
3. Nutritional deficiency in the palm.
4. Excessive bearing.
Coconut usually ripens in about 12 to 13 months after opening of the infloresecence. In order to get the maximum yield of copra and oil, only full matured nuts should be harvested (The loss of copra is 6%, 16% and 33% in 11 months, 10 months and 9 months old nuts, respectively). Similarly, the reduction in the oil percentage in 11, 10 and 9 months old nut being 5, 15 and 33% respectively.
Generally, harvesting is done once in 45 to 60 days. Tender nuts which are in great demand as a delicious soft drink particularly in West Bengal and Maharashtra are best harvested at the age of six to seven months.
A fully matured fruit will have a composition by weight of about 35% husk, 12% shell, 28% meat or Kernel and 25% water.
The average yield per ha varies from 10,000 to 14,000 nuts per annum. From a well maintained garden an annual yield of 25,000 nuts / ha per5 year can be obtained.