Techniques of Pineapple Farming Crop
The following content details about Pineapple farming methods, plantation, and techniques.
Pineapple is one of the commercially important fruit crops of India. It is one of the popular fruits all over the world because of its pleasant taste and flavor. Pineapple is a good source of vitamin A and B and fairly rich in vitamin C and minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. It is also a source of Bromelain, a digestive enzyme. In addition to being eaten fresh, the fruit can also be canned and processed in different forms. Total annual world production is estimated at 14.6 million tonnes of fruits. India is the fifth largest producer of pineapple with an annual output of about 1.2 million tonnes.
Pineapple varieties cultivated in different states of India:
|Assam & other N.E. states||–||Kew, Queen, Mauritius|
|Kerala||–||Mauritius, Kew, Queen|
|West Bengal||–||Giant Kew, Queen|
Suitable Climate for Pineapple Growth:
Areas with heavy rainfall are best for pineapple growth. Optimum rainfall is 1500 mm per year although it can grow in areas having 500 mm to 5550 mm of rainfall. Pineapple is suitable for cultivation in humid tropics. The fruit grows well near the sea coast as well as in the interior; so long the temperatures are not extreme The fruit grows well near the sea coast as well as in inland, so long as temperature ranges from 15.5 to 32.50 C. Low temperature, bright sunshine and total shade are harmful. It can grow successfully up to 1525 m above sea level.
Suitable Soil for Pineapple Crop:
Pineapple grows in almost any type of soil, provided it is free-draining. Slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.0 is considered optimum for pineapple cultivation. The soil must be well drained and light in texture. Heavy clay soil is not preferred. It can grow in sandy, alluvial or laterite soil.
Read: How to Make Clove Oil.
Land Preparation for Pineapple Production:
The land is prepared for planting by plowing or digging followed by levelling. Depending on the nature of the land, trenches of convenient length, about 90 cm. the width and 15-30 cm. the depth is prepared.
Best Season for Pineapple Plantation:
Pineapple is a humid tropical plant. It grows well, both in the plains and also at elevations not exceeding 900 meters. It tolerates neither very high temperature nor frost. Pineapple usually flowers from February to April and the fruits are ready from July to September. Sometimes, off-season flowers appear and they produce fruits in September-December.
Planting Material Required for Pineapple Production:
Pineapple is usually propagated by sucker, slip, and crown. These planting materials of 5-6 months age bear flowers after 12 months of planting except crowns which bear flowers after 19-20 months. Pineapple plants produced through tissue culture are also available for cultivation.
The spacing of Pineapple Plants:
For commercial viability, high-density cultivation is recommended. Planting density of 63,400 plants/ha. (22.5 x 60 x 75 cm.) is ideal for sub-tropical and mildly humid conditions, whereas for hot and humid conditions a plant density of 53,300 plants/ha. spaced at 25 cm. from plant to plant within a row, 60 cm. from row to row and 90 cm. from trench to trench (25 cm x 60 cm x 90 cm.) provides a high yield. In rainfed, high fertile and hilly areas in northeastern states, a somewhat lower density of 31,000 plants/ha. is recommended.
High-Density Planting of Pineapple:
The yield of 70-105 tonnes/ha. may be obtained under high-density planting, the increase in yield/unit area is 45-85 tonnes/ha. Less weed infestation, protection of fruits from sunburn, increased the production of propagules (suckers and slips)/unit area and non-lodging of plants are added advantages of high-density planting.
Planting Method of Pineapple Crop:
Four different planting systems viz. flat-bed, furrow, contour and trench are followed. System of planting varies according to land and rainfall. In the slopes, terracing or contour planting is adopted which helps to check soil erosion. Trench planting is usually followed in Kerala.
Read: Effect of Soil Acidity and Alkalinity on the Crop.
Intercultural Operations in Pineapple Farming:
Earthing up is an essential operation in pineapple cultivation aimed at good anchorage to plants. It involves pushing the soil into the trench from the ridge where trench planting is a common practice. As the pineapple roots are very shallow, the plants are eventually lodged especially under conditions of flat-bed planting in heavy rainfall areas.
Lodging of plants when the fruits are developing would result in lopsided growth, uneven development and ripening of fruits. This operation becomes more important in ratoon crops, as the base of the plant shifts-up, crop after crop. High-density planting would minimize the necessity of this operation, as the plants prop each other preventing lodging.
Irrigation Requirement in Pineapple Farming:
Pineapple is mostly cultivated under rainfed conditions. Supplementary irrigation helps to produce good sized fruits in areas having optimum rainfall. Irrigation also helps to establish an off-season planting to maintain its year-round production. In case of scanty rainfall and hot weather, irrigation may be provided once in 20-25 days.
Insect Pests and Diseases of Pineapple Plants
Pineapple is usually free from pests except for infestation of mealy bugs and scale insects in sporadic cases. Diseases are not common except stem rot in case of pineapple. Control measures include good drainage and dipping the suckers in Bordeaux mixture before planting.
Manures, Fertilizer and Nutrient Management in Pineapple Crop:
Pineapple is a shallow feeder with high nitrogen and potassium requirement. Since these nutrients are prone to heavy losses in the soil, practices relating to the time of application and the form of fertilizer determine their efficient usage. Experts based on research trials conducted at a number of locations advise giving N and K2O at 12 g each per plant. There is no need for P application. However, if the soils are poor in P, 4 g of P2O5/plant can be applied.
Nitrogen should be applied in 6 split doses. The first dose of N can be given 2 months after planting and the last dose 12 months after planting. Potash should be given in 2 split doses. Entire P and half the dose of K can be given at the time of planting and the remaining K, 6 months after planting. Application of fertilizer under rainfed conditions has to be done when moisture is available.
Read: Soil Sterilization Techniques.
Harvesting and Yield of Pineapples:
Pineapple plants flower 12-15 months after planting and the fruits become ready 15-18 months after planting depending upon the variety, time of planting, type and size of plant material used and prevailing temperature during the fruit development. Under natural conditions, pineapple comes to harvest during May-August. The fruit usually ripens about 5 months after flowering. Irregular flowering results in the harvesting spread over a long period. In order to get uniform flowering (over 80%) in the main season, Ethrel (@ 100 ppm.) solution is applied to plants one month before flowering.
The fruits are harvested for canning purpose when there is a slight change at the base of developing fruits. The fruits used for table purpose are retained until they develop a golden yellow color.
The plant crop after harvest can be retained as ratoon crop for three to four years depending upon the soil condition. Ratooning in high-density planting reveals that the average fruit weight in the first and second ratoon is 88% and 79% respectively of the plant crop. The plant stand is also reduced gradually resulting in the reduction of fruit yield by 49 and 46% (approx.) in first and second-ratoon crops respectively.
The average yield is 50-80 tonnes/ha. depending upon spacing and cultural practices. The economic life of a pineapple plantation is expected to be around 5 years. After this, the plot should be uprooted and replanted.
Marketing of Pineapple:
There is always a very good demand for Indian pineapples in the internal markets. It is in high demand from the processing industry as well. Indian pineapple is exported to Nepal, the U.K., Spain, and U.A.E. The main products of export are canned slices, titbits, juice, etc.
With good cultivation practices and crop management, one can easily go for profitable pineapple farming.