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Coconut farming methods

Coconut Farming Methods: From Seedling Planting To Harvesting

This article is about methods of Coconut farming, Seedling Production of Coconut, growing, planting, Care, and harvesting.

It is a tree whose every part is useful in one way or another in public life. The leaves, flowers, fruits, trunks, and roots of this tree are all raw materials for various small and large industries, materials for making all kinds of delicious and delicious food, rich in nutrients, delicious drinks, and food for patients. As well-known and respected by all.

Origin and Distribution:

Coconut is native to the Pacific and Indian Ocean Islands. From these places, it later spread to Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Thailand, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua Guinea, Oceania, Africa, Central and South America, West Indian Islands, Ghana, and about 93 countries of the world. However, Indonesia, the Philippines, and India are the pioneers in coconut production.

Coconut-Farming-Methods

Coconut Tree

Botany:

Coconut (Cocos nucifera L) is the sole species of the genus Cocos belonging to the subfamily Cocoideae which includes 27 genera and 600 species. It is a diploid with 32 chromosomes (2n=32).

The primary classification of coconut based on stature or height is as follows:

Tall

COCONUT FARMING

Tall Coconut Tree

Generally, tall palms are referred to as var. typica (Nar). They are widely planted both for household and commercial uses and grow to a height of 20-30m. They are slow maturing and flower 6-10 years after planting. They have an economic life of about 60-70 years, although much older palms are known to exist and yield well. They are mainly cross-pollinating and therefore considered to be heterozygous.

Dwarf

Dwarf Coconut Palms

Dwarf Coconut

Generally, dwarf palms are referred to as var. nana (Griff). These are believed to be mutants from tall types with short stature, 8-10 m when 20 years old. They begin bearing by the third year at a height of less than 1 meter. They have a short productive life of 30-40 years. They are normally self-pollinating and therefore, considered to be homozygous.

 

Coconut: The Fruit

Once pollination and fertilization occur the set fruits develop to maturity in about 12 months, or less than 1 year for some dwarf cultivars. A count of the bunch and set of fruits can give a reasonable estimate of yield.

The fruit is a fibrous drupe but with a smooth outside skin (exocarp), which may vary from green to red-brown or even ivory. The coat (mesocarp) in the young coconut is white and firm. On the other hand, the ripe nut has a fibrous mass, the husk, from which coir is obtained. Within this fibrous mass is the nut with a hard shell (endocarp) enclosing the kernel (endosperm). Between the shell and the kernel is a thin brown seed coat (testa).

It adheres firmly to the kernel which is the white flesh, about 12mm thick lining the central cavity containing the nut water. Towards the end of maturation, the volume of water in the cavity decreases considerably which may be due to absorption by the endosperm tissue or evaporation. Matured nuts have a sloshing sound of water inside when shaken.

What Are The Nutritional Value and Quality of Coconut?

All parts of coconut and coconut are edible, shell (Copra/Carmel) is very nutritious and tasty. It is rich in fat, meat, sugar, calcium, vitamins, and mineral salts. It is a rare instance that so many food ingredients together produce any result. In some diseases, canned water is one of the foods of the patients. Among these, the contribution of canned water to fill diarrhea, cholera, jaundice, and dehydration is different. If the body is weak due to frequent vomiting and loose stools, the doctor advises continuing to drink bottled water as an alternative to saline.

Table 1: Composition of fresh coconut meat. 

%

LU per 100 g
(Vitamins etc.)

Moisture

ProteinFatCarbohydrateFiberMineralCaOP205Fe2AB1CE
36.34.541.613.03.61.00.010.241.7Trace15.01.0 

0.2

Source: Thampan P.K. 1982. Handbook on coconut.

Table 2: Composition of Water of Tender.

Water

ProteinFatMineralsCarbohydratesCalciumPhosphorusIron
95.50.10.10.44.00.020.01

0.5mg

/100g

Source: Thampan P.K. 1982. Handbook on coconut

What are The Environmental Requirements of these Methods For Coconut Farming?

It is widely adapted to the environment and climatic conditions. Coconut is grown satisfactorily between latitudes 20° N and 20° S; at altitudes of 600 m or below; with temperature ranges of 24-29°C; relative humidity of 80-90%; and rainfall of 1500-2300 mm evenly distribution throughout the year. It is highly productive when planted on deep, well-drained, light to medium texture soil with high water holding capacity, PH 6-7, rich in organic matter, and high in fertility (including soil chloride).

Which Type of Soil Requirement For Coconut Farming?

Coconut can be grown in any type of soil. There is no difficulty in adapting coconut farming in rocky, gravelly, lava, peat, and sandy areas with special arrangements. Since the roots of mature coconut trees are limited to 4 m wide and 1 m deep, If necessary, coconut seedlings can be planted by removing soil and other existing materials through special methods.

1.2m×1.2m. × 1.2 m in the lower part of the hole with two layers/rows of coconut (equal part down and uneven part of the top) arranged well on its surface one part sandy loam soil, (Top loose soil) one part rotted cow dung powder, The bottom of the pit should be well filled up to 60 cm with a mixture of one part ash and one part cocoa dust.

It would be good to mix 70-80 grams of Furadan/Basudin-10g or any other nematode-killing insecticide in this part. Besides, if the soil is acidic, 500 grams of dolomite (Culsium Carbonate), and if the soil is hard, 500 grams of salt should be mixed.

In the case of normal soil, the size of the pit will be 1m x 1m x 1m. The floor area is 60 cm. Instead, it will be 50 cm and fill this part in the same way. Then fill the remaining part of the hole with loam/sandy loam soil along with manure and plant the saplings there, the plant will grow well and will bear early flowers and fruits from it.

Coconut Varieties:

It is not enough to know the methods of coconut farming because to get a good yield it is necessary to know very well about its variety.

The main concern in the use of improved coconut varieties is their apparent need for high agricultural inputs. Coconut, like any crop, requires proper cultural management and upkeep throughout its lifetime to sustain high production.

Earlier in the expansion of coconut cultivation, open-pollinated varieties were propagated by selecting mother trees. Later, the pioneer countries in coconut Farming (Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, and Papua New Guinea) took initiatives to create improved varieties through hybridization. These are mainly:

Dwarf varieties (D X D), and Tall varieties (Tall)
By taking into account the various needs of these invented varieties (for drinking water, for the need of the inner edible part of coconut (carnal/copra), meeting the needs of various coconut-based industries, and taking into account the aspects of extracting the beauty of the area, the invention of different types/sizes, colored short and partially short varieties of coconuts. The work continues and is spreading rapidly everywhere.

Worldwide there are two distinct types of coconut: the tall and the dwarf. Their basic characteristics and differences are shown in Table 2. Also, there are some outstanding coconut varieties and F1 hybrids available in the world.

Table 2: Basic characteristics of tall and dwarf Variety

Traits / Characteristics

Tall

Dwarf

Geographic distributionMore widely distributed and commercialLess widely distributed and non-commercial
Stem circumferenceLarge and with a bulbous a baseThis and either with a cylindrical or tapering base
Made of PollinationHighly CrossedHighly selfed
Pigmentation of nuts and petiole of leavesMost are mixtures of greens and brownsEither pure greens, browns, yellow and red
Height increment per yearGreater than 50 cmLess than 50 cm
Years to start of reproductive maturityLate (5-7 Years)Early (3-4 Years)
Expected lifespanMore than 50 yearsLess than 50 years
Nut Size (whole)Very small to largeVery small to medium
Genetic variability- within cv between cultivarsHigh

Low

Low

High

Root DistributionGenerally denser and plentifulLess dense and few
Reaction to adverse conditionsGenerally less sensitiveSensitive to hyper-sensitive
Cultural requirementAverageHigh input required
Leaf and Bunch attachmentVery strongFragile

Mostly tall type coconut is found to grow in Bangladesh. This variety is fairly resistant to drought and some diseases and capable to give yield for a long period without any proper care. On the other hand, when it grows higher after primary growth, the underplanting of vegetables and other fruit trees augments the family income. Outstanding farmer’s varieties, ‘Dhutri’ and ‘Altapeti’ are available throughout Bangladesh but in very low numbers. The husk of the former is edible at an early stage while the mesocarp of Altapeti is pink and valued for its medicinal uses.

BARI recommended two varieties for nationwide cultivation by the name of BARI Narikel-1 and BARI-Narikel-2 in 1996. The salient features of these two are as follows:

Traits / Characteristics

Cultivar

BARI-Narikel-1BARI-Narikel-2
Bearing habit

Round The Year

Round The Year

Fruit Per Palm

65-70

65-70

Single Fruit Weight

1270-1400g

1500-1700g

Kernel Weight 

370-570g

475-525g

Oil Content

55-60%

50-55%

Best Coconut Varieties in The World For Farming:

The following 12 varieties of coconut are accepted all over the world for Farming…

    1. Malayan Yellow Dwarf Coconut
    2. Golden Malayan Dwarf 
    3. Green Dwarf Coconut
    4. Chowghat Orange Dwarf 
    5. Fiji Dwarf
    6. King Coconut
    7. VHC1 Coconut
    8. Jamaican Tall Coconut
    9. Panama Tall Coconut
    10. Chandrakalpa 
    11. Macapuno 
    12. East Coast Tall Coconut

Selection Methods of Seed Coconut For Best Result of Farming:

Coconut is mainly propagated through seed and takes a long time before it attains a stable level of production. Proper selection and planting of good quality seed nuts must be done to ensure a productive plantation.

Seed nuts should be selected from a block of uniform palms producing an average of at least 1500 nuts per ha every 45 days (or 2.8 tons of copra per ha annually). Within this block, the selected mother palms should have at least 40 to 50 full-size nuts any time of the year under ordinary farm conditions.

Breeding / Propagation of Coconut:

All types of palm trees are propagated by producing seedlings from seeds. However, it is possible to produce billions of coconut seedlings at a time even by tissue culture. It will take 3-4 years to grow the seedlings in this way. Seedlings produced in this process are used only for research purposes. Therefore, sexual propagation from mature seed coconuts is the only simple and popular method.

How To Pre-Treatment of Seed Coconut?

To hasten germination, partially brown seed coconuts should be stored in a ventilated or open shed for 3 to 4 weeks. Storing completely brown seed nuts is not necessary. Soaking seed nuts in water for 2 weeks, especially during the dry season, is desirable because it enhances germination.

Germination And Germination on The Bed of Coconut:

A germination bed enables the selection of uniform and fast-germinating seedlings. The germination bed should be located on a level, a well-drained place near a water source, free from natural hazards, and with friable soil. The area should be first cleared of weeds, stones, etc. A well-pulverized cultivated soil is essential.

As much as 240 coconuts should be sown for every 160 seedlings needed. After four months, ungerminated nuts are rejected but these could still be processed into copra.

A hectare of germination nursery holds about 150,000 to 180,000 seed coconuts. To avoid excessive heat and evapotranspiration of seed nuts, resulting in drying up to nut water, the nursery should be partially shaded and/ or mulched with readily available plant materials (straws, coconut leaves, etc.)

Seedling Production Methods of Coconut:

Seed coconuts should not be collected from areas where coconut seedlings are to be produced. Seedlings grown from coconut seeds collected from unknown sources will yield poor-quality of dab/coconut from trees. By knowing the genetic potential of the tree from which the seeds will be collected, healthy, good-quality seed coconuts can be collected from trees of superior quality and variety and can be used for seedling production. Since the production of coconut seedlings is very easy, it is better to plant seeds of good variety and make seedlings as required. By selecting a number of mother trees and collecting ripe coconut seeds from them, placing them in sandy soil, and watering them occasionally, seedlings will grow within a few days. These grown seedlings will be suitable for planting after 8-9 months.

Nursery Management Methods of Seedling Growing For Coconut Farming

Coconuts should be reared first in the nursery for six to ten months before they are planted in the field. A nursery provides the opportunity to select the best seedlings based on the speed of germination and general vigor. Seedlings are also better established as they are tended with more care than those directly planted in the field. More vigorous seedlings are better raised and selected in the nursery than in the field.

Types of Nursery

Germinating coconuts can be grown either in polyethylene bags or in a field nursery.

Polybag Nursery

Black polyethylene bags with holes punched at the lower side to permit drainage are used. The size of the bag would depend on the seed nut size and whether set tilted or upright in the germination bed. Polybags of 41cm x 41 cm are suitable for small nuts and 46cm x 46cm bags if the seed nut is bigger. Place loamy soil in the polybag and transfer seedlings therein. A hectare of this type of nursery can accommodate 18000 seedlings.

 

Growing coconut seedlings in black-color polybags.

Coconut seedlings

Conclusion

Coconut farming is a crucial aspect of agriculture and livelihoods in many tropical regions. There are several methods of farming coconut, including traditional techniques and modern practices. Factors such as soil type, climate, and the desired yield can influence the choice of method. It is important for farmers to consider sustainable and efficient methods to maximize production and reduce environmental impact. Adopting best practices, such as integrated pest management, intercropping, and using hybrid varieties, can also enhance the profitability and sustainability of coconut farming.