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  Crops
   
  Name of the crop
 
Banana
       
  Botanical name
 
Musa Paradisica
     
  Cultivation
 

It grows and crops luxuriantly in the warm humid and rainy climate of the tropical and sub-tropical regions. It requires irrigation.

Off shoots popularly known as suckers and the rhizomes may be used for propagation. Suckers may be of two types
1) Sword sucker, which are considered superior to the
2)Broad-leaved water sucker.
Three months old sucker give better performance. Corms or rhizome are easy to handle. The rhizome must be allowed to dry rest for several days before planting. Planting may be done during the rains and when the night temperatures are not low. The soil depth should be more than 45 cm. The land should be deeply ploughed, harrowed and levelled, and pits of 45cm3 dimensions should be dug at required distance. The distance of planting varies according to height and spread of the banans variety. On rich soils the usual planting distance is about 1.8 x 1.8m to 3 x 3m to give an average of around 3000 to 860 plants per hectare. The best spacing on heavy soils is 3.3 x 3.3m. At no stage in the life of the plant the supporting soil should be allowed to dry.

   
  Type of soil
 
Well fertile as well as productive top soils are needed for profitable commercial growing of bananas. Rich deposits of silt, deep cotton soils with no water stagnation are favourble the growing of banana. Alluvial soil (pH 4.5 and 7.5), more or less evenly distributed rainfall over the entire year and protection against heavy winds should be considered as ideal.
   
  Crop duration 
 
The banana plant under favourable conditions, normally starts flowering in nine to twelve months from time of planting and takes another three to four months to mature its fruits.
    
  Varieties 
 

banana may be grouped into five main categories.

Desert banana consisting of table varieties for consumption as such after they are ripe eg Champa (Poovan), Rasthali (Marathaman), Robusta (Harichal), Dwarf Cavendish , Grand Neyne, Shrimanti, etc.

Culinary bananas can be used only after cooking such as Monthan, Banket etc.

Varieties suitable for making chips Nendran.

Varieties for jam making eg Virupkshia

Varieties fit for making powders such as Kunnan

Regional Distribution-

Western and Central India Basarai, Harichal.

Southern India Poovan, Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Nendran, Rasthali, Chakkarakeli, Virupakshi, Monthan.

Northern India Champa, Rasthali, Bankel, Batheesa, Kothia.

Eastern India Kabali, Champa, kothia, Batheesa, Marthaman, Amrit Sagar.

   
  Package of practices
 
Irrigation In the hot weather, banana has to be natered at shorter intervals than in the cold weather. A closely spaced orchard accomodating a large number of plants would need irrigation at shorter intervals than a widely spaced one containing a smaller number Basarai banana orchard during its life time of 18 months in the Poona climate requires about 40-45 irrigation.
    
  Earthing up
 
Earthing up of the stems of banana from time to time is very important feature of the cultivation. Further propping or supporting the bunches, protection of developing fruits from sunscorching by covering the bunch by leaves or gunny bag is necessary.
    
  Weeding
 
In the first four months after planting it is necessary to remove weeds. Once the ground is fully shaded by the leaves weeds will not appear
   
  Seed rate/ha or No. of grafts/ha
 
Varies based on type of variety and soil type
     
  Plant Protection measures
   
  Panama disease
 
The panama disease or wilt is caused by Fusarium oxysporum. The affected plants should be removed and burnt. Cereasan supplied in irrigation water controls the spread of the diseases.
   
  Bunchy top
 

The bunchy top disease is a virus disease, transmitted to healthy plants by the aphid Pentalomia nigro-nervosa. The leaves of a badly infested plant are bunched together at the top, forming rosette. Distruction of infected plants alongwith root system, and planting of healthy disease free suckers has been recommended.

Application of phorate granules in the leaf bases to control aphids is advised. Banana leaf spot Longitudinal oval brown spots appear on the leaves. Spraying with Bordeux mixture.

   
  Fertilizer applied
 
Being a heavy feeder it needs good quantities of fertilizers which varies from place to place and with variety to variety. Generally a dose of 10kg FYM, 200g N, 100 g P2O5 and 500 g K2O. plant is recommended. Nitrogen dose should be given in three split doses at 60, 90 and 120 days after planting. All fertilizer dose should be given within 120 days after planting.
   
  Harvesting
 
Banana flowers in about 9 12 months and the fruits mature in another 3-4 months with change in colour from dark green to light green, and fingers become plump and round then the fruit bunches are harvested.
    
  Yield
 
The yield is roughly 30 to 40 tons in Cavendish dwarf, 35-45 tons in Robusta and 20-30 tons in the case of other varieties per hectare.
 
 
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