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Current Category » Production Technology Plantation Crops

Production Technology of Arecanut

Botanical Name: Areca eatechu

Family - Palmae

Arecanut (Betel nut) is an extensively cultivated tropical palm the nuts of which form a popular masticatory in India, the Middle East and the far East. It belongs to the family Palmae and originated in India and South Eastern Countries.

It is a tall stemmed erect palm reaching a height of 30 m. It is one of the important cash crop of India-after, coconut. Nearly 4 million peoples in India are engaged in production and processing of arecanut

Origin:

India and South Eastern countries.

Soil:

The arecanut palm is grown in a variety of soils such as laterite soils of the West Coast, the red loamy soils of the Mettupalayam (Tamil Nadu), the alluvial soils of Assam and West Bengal and the loam of Orissa. The largest . area is lateritic soils. The soil also should be deep and well drained. Water logged, soils should be avoided. The depth of soil should be at least 1 m with 4.5-7.6 pH. An adequate irrigation facilities are required for its satisfactory production.

Climate:

Arecanut is a tropical crop. It is capable of growing under variety of climatic conditions. It grows well from sea level upto an altitude of 1000m in areas, of abundant and well distributed rainfall. It is grown in high rainfall area about 200 to 400 cm. the cultivation is mostly confined to 20° North and South of the Equator. It is unable to withstand extremes of temperature and wide diurnal variations. The optimum range of temperature is 15 - 38°C for its good growth. High humidity and areas free from cyclonic wind and sun scorching are congenial.

Propagation:

It is propagated by seeds. The selection of proper planting material is of almost importance as it is pemnial crop.

Selection of Mother Palms:

Select mother palms showing earliness in bearing and high percentage of fruit set. The age of the palm should 20-40 years and have a regular bearing habit. Less than 10 leaves and 4 bunches per year and poor yielding mother trees should be rejected.

Selection of Seed Nuts:

Select fully tree ripe nuts for use as seeds. Discard nuts which are undersized, malformed and low in weight.

Raising of Seedlings:

Sow selected seednuts soon after harvest in nursery bed with stalk end up and with a spacing of .5-6 cm. Cover the seedniits with sand and irrigate daily.  Germination starts about 40 days after sowing and the sprouts are ready for transplanting wien they are about three rnonths old having 2-3 leases.

Prepare secondary nursery beds of 150 cm. width and a convenient length. Apply FYM @ 5 t/kaas basal dose. Transplant sprouts at a spacing of 30x30 cm with the onset of the monsoon. Partial shade to the seedlings can also be provided by banana, Coecinia indicd or by means of artificial pandal. Provide irrigation during hot and dry periods and drainage during monsoon Periodical weeding and mulching are necessary.

Selection of Seedlings:

Select good seedlings for transplanting in the main field when they are 12-18 months old. Selection of seedlings can be based on me Selection Index, which is calculated by multiplying leaf number by 40 and substracting the seedling height

Example          :           Seedling height 90 cm. Leaf numbers 5
                                    Selection index (5x40) - 90 = l10

Select seedlings with higher Selection Index Values i.e. if index values range between 50 and 150, select seedlings with higher values.

Remove seedlings with ball of earth attached to them for transplanting.

Planting:

Plant tall, quick growing shade trees on the Southern and Western sides of the seedlings to provide protection from sun scorching. This helps for better stand of crop hi the initial stage.

Dig pits of 90 x90 x 90 cm at 2.7 x 2.7m and fill up with rich top soil to a , level of 15 cm from the bottom. Plant seedlings in the center of pit, cover with soil upto collar teel and press around.

The planting is to be done during May - June in well drained soils while in illdrained soils (Clayer) planting is done in August - September to avoid the plantation in water logging.

Banana is raised between rows to provide shade to the seedlings in the initial stages upto 4 - 5 years.

Manuring:

A steady and high yield will depend much on the adequate availabity of plant nutrients in the soil. Since almost all the arecanut growing areas are in heavy rainfall tracts, the soils are liable to leaching and erosion thus making them poor in major plant nutrients and organic matter. 

The application of NPK fertilizers for adult palms @ 100:40:146 gm/palm/year and 12 kg. of each of green manure and compost is recommended and for variety Mangala NPK may be applied @ 150:60:210 gm per palm per year

Apply 1/3 dose of fertilizer and full dose of green manure and compost during first year, 2/3 dose of fertilizer and full dose of green manure and compost during second year and full dose-from third year onwards during September-October.

Under irrigated conditions, apply fertilizers in two split doses, the first during September-October and the second during February. Under rainfed conditions apply the second dose during March-April after receipt of summer rains.

Apply manure and fertilizers in circular basins of 15-20 cm depth and . with a radius of 0.75-1 m from the palm. Apply second dose of fertilizer around the base of palm after weeding and mix into soil by light forking.

In acidic soils, broadcast lime @ 0.5 kg per palm once in two or three years and incorporate into soil during April-May.

Irrigation and Drainage:

Palm respond well to irrigation. Irrigate the palms during hot and dry periods at regular intervals of 3-5 days.

In West-Coast where major area of arecanut gardens are irrigated, wateing the garden once in 7-8 days during November-December, once in 6 days during January February and once hr 3-5 days during March-April is recommended. In each irrigation give about 175 litres of water per palm. Application of organic mulch, to the garden help conservation- of soil moisture.

Construct drainage channels (25-30 cm deep) between the rows and drain out water during periods of heavy rainfall to prevent water logging.

Cultural Operation:

Keep the garden free of weeds and break up surface crust by light forking or digging after ceaseastion of monsoon during October-November. Where the land is sloppy, terracing has to be done to prevent soil erosion. The raising of green manure-cum-cover. crops in April-May with the onset of pre-monsoon rains and cutting burying the same in September-October was found to be advantageous.

Intercropping:

Owing to the long pre-bearing age of the plam, practically no income btained during the first 3-4 years. Intercropping with elephant foot yarn, pineapple,-pepper, betel vine, banana, cocoa, ginger and cardamom can be grown. In al{ cases, the intercrops, should be manured adequately and. separately. .While planting cocoa, a spacing of 5.4x2.7 m is recommended.                                      

The cutting out of  uneconomic trees and   replacing   them   with . good seedlings is important in mamtaining a high level of productivity of the garden.

Harvesting:

The prehearing age of the palm ranges from 4-5 years. The plant is. monocipus, producing both male and female flowers on the same tree. The spadix of a grown up palm produces on an average 294 female flowers. The colour of the fruit during its growth changes from green to different shades of yellow and red during ripening. Nut matures after 8-9 months after fertilization! 4-5 spadix are produced by the palm per year.

The stage of which-nuts are to be harvested depends upon the type of nuts required for the market. Where tender processed nuts are required as finished product, the tender nuts are harvested from July to December. In places where "Chali" or "Gota" (Sub dried whole nut) is required fully ripe nuts are to be - harvested from December-March or from May to July. There are found plucking are done during the whole season.

Current Category » Production Technology Plantation Crops