Precision Farming in Cauliflower
Author:Dr M.Prabhakar (IIHR retd)
|Variety||Any popular commercial hybrids|
|Soil type||well drained soils with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0|
|Season||June-July, October – November|
|Seed/ seedling requirement||100g seeds or 18000 plants|
|Nursery raising||Pro-tray method: Trays filled with enriched cocopeat and raised in protected structures.|
|Seedlings age||25 days old seedlings. Harden the seedlings before transplanting.|
|Land preparation||Raised bed method: 10-15 cm height, 75cm width, convenient length, 45 cm inter-bed spacing.|
|FYM application||Apply 10 tonnes of enriched FYM.|
|Neem cake application||Apply neem cake @ 250kg.|
|Fertilizer Dose||30:20:30 kg N:P:K|
|Basal fertilizer application||Apply 8-7-8 kg N:P:K (40 kg Ammonium sulphate + 40 kg Single super phosphate + 15 kg Muriate of potash). Mix well and level the beds properly.|
|Laying of drip line||Place one in-line drip lateral at the center of the bed for which 3330 meter length of lateral pipe is required.|
|Polyethylene mulching||3330 meter length of mulch film of 1.2m width and 30micron thickness is required (110kg)|
|Spacing, plant population and transplanting||Double crop row is maintained per bed of 75cm width. Spacing between the row is 50cm. Make holes of 5cm diameter (7.5cm diameter in hot sunny day) at a distance of 38cm along the crop row. 18000 seedlings can be accommodated in one acre.|
|Irrigation||Run the drip irrigation daily for a duration of 20 to 40 minutes depending on the crop stage, season and emitter discharge.|
|Fertigation||Schedule fertigation once in 3 days starting from 15 days and ending at 69 days after transplanting for 80 day sdurationcrop, thus requiring 19 fertigations.|
|Fertigation schedule (using water soluble fertilizers once in 3 days)||0-14 days: No fertigation
15-30 days: 2.0 kg 19-19-19/fertigation (6 fertigations)
33-48 days: 4.0 kg 19-19-19 +1.0 kg Sulphate of potash + 1.0kg urea/fertigations (6 fertigations)
51-69days: 5.0 kg 19-19-19 +2.0 kg Sulphate of potash +2.0kg urea/fertigation (7 fertigations)
(70 kg 19-all + 20 kg Sulphate of potash + 20 kg urea)
|Foliar nutrition||Give foliar sprays @ 5g/litre using foliar spray grade fertilizers containing Ca,Mg, Fe, Mn, B, Cu, Zn three times starting from 30 days after transplanting at an interval of 15 days|
Insect Pest management
|General||Sow one row of Indian mustard for every 25 rows of cabbage. Protect the mustard foliage by spraying neem soap/pongamiasoap (10 g/l) 3-4 times at10-15 days interval. This is compulsory under organic farming.
Trap crops such as mustard and rape can are useful to reduce diamondback moth attacks. Fifteen rows of cabbage followed by mustard rows have been shown to be most effective (HDRA, 2000). Bold seeded Indian mustard could also be sown densely all around the area 10 days before the crucifers are planted. The plants attract up to 80% diamondback moths (IPM Bulletin of Pest Management, Undated). However, trap crops should be frequently monitored so as to control this pest before it can move to the main crop. Once the trap crop is infested it can be ploughed in or removed. Unattended trap crops can generate large populations of diamondback moth.
Planting rows of tomatoes alternately with rows of cabbage is reported to reduce damage but it does not prevent the attack completely. Kenya Institute of Organic Farming recommends this method as effective. In addition, cabbages would repel the tomato bollworm, making this practice serve a double purpose.
Intercropping with chillies is said to repel diamondback moth adults (Dobson et al, 2002).
|Diamondback moth and head borer (stem borer)
The diamondback moth (DBM) (Plutella xylostella) is the world’s worst insect pest of brassica crops (cabbages, canola, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc.) – costing farmers $4-5 billion annually worldwide. The moths are small, about the length of two grains of rice, but females can lay upwards of 150 eggs during their lifetime and a generation can be produced in as little as two weeks. Larvae chew on leaves resulting in ‘windows’ or holes and severe defoliation can mean reduced yield and quality. Larvae may also feed on pods.
Dip pro-trays in neem soap (10 g/l) solution and then plant the seedlings without disturbing the roots or spray any neem formulation or insecticide registered for diamondback moth in cabbage one day before transplanting.
Spray crop with Bt(Bacillus thuringiensis) formulation or PNSPE (pulverized neem seed powder extract) or neem/pongamia soap (10 g/l) at 7- 10 days interval after 15 DAP( days after planting) according to requirement.
Chemical Treatment: spray Chlorfenapyr 10 SC (1.5 ml/l) or Chlorfluazuron 5.4 EC (3.0 ml/l) or Cypermethrin 10 EC (2.0 ml/l) or Diafenthiuron 50 WP (1.2 ml/l) or Emamectin benzoate 5 SG (0.4ml/l) or Fenvalerate20 EC (0.5 ml/l) or Flubendiamide 20 WG (0.1 ml/l) or Indoxacarb 15.8 EC (0.4 ml/l) or Spinosad 2.5 SC (1.4 ml/l) or Thiodiocarb 75 WP (0.75 g/l)
Young larva feeds gregariously on leaves, later webs together the leaves and feeds. Due to gregarious feeding, rotting of cabbage heads and cauliflower curds are common. Regular pest of minor status but occasionally turn to serious proportions
Grow mustard as trap crop. This will attract leaf webber. Spray neem soap or pongamia soap (10 g/l).
Locate leaf webber eggs and leaves attacked with leaf webber and destroy them.
|Stem borer (head borer)
The caterpillar first mine into the leaves. Later on, they feed on the leaf surface, sheltered within the silken passage. As they grow bigger they bore into the heads of cauliflower and cabbage. When the attack is heavy, the plants are riddled with worms and outwardly the heads look defofmed.
Grow mustard as trap crop. This will attract the moth. Spray neem soap or pongamia soap (10 g/l) on mustard trap crop.
Dip pro-trays in neem soap (10 g/l) solution and then plant the seedlings without disturbing the roots
or spray seedlings with an effective botanical or contact insecticide like Quinalphos 25 EC (2.0 ml/l) before planting followed by one more spray at 10 DAP
|Painted bug (Bagrada)
Bagrada bugs damage plants by feeding on young leaves. Both adults and nymphs suck sap from leaves, which may wilt and later dry. Considerable damage is caused to young plants, which may die or have the growth points severely damaged. Significant damage may also be caused to older plants.
Grow mustard as trap crop. This will attract the bugs.
Manually collect and destroy the adults of the bug, if noticed on the main crop.
|Aphids (white aphid and green aphid)
All aphids are sap feeders, meaning they feed on plant sap with their needle like mouthparts rather than eating leaf tissue.
Aphids, mealybugs and scales are the most common sap sucking insects in the garden. They appear on plant parts in clusters and feed on the sweet sap by inserting a needle-like sucking tube into the plant and drawing out the juice. After the sap has been used by the insects, it is excreted as honeydew, which forms the base on which a black fungus grows. This fungus is known as sooty mould and its presence reduces photosynthesis and discolours affected fruit.
Honeydew is used as a food source by ants, which actively transport the insects (aphids, mealybugs and scales) and position them on the plant. Ants may spread sapsucker infestations between plants via underground tunnels.
Aphids can be removed from plants with a jet of water or sprayed with garlic and chilli sprays. Spray PNSPE (pulverized neem seed powder extract) PNSPE (40 g/l)
Aphids are especially attracted to mustard. You can plant these near more valuable plants as traps for the aphids.
or spray Dimethoate30 EC (2.0 ml/l) or Fenvalerate 20 EC (0.5 ml/l) or Phosalone35 EC (2.5 ml/l).
|Alternaria leaf spot
The most common symptom of Alternaria diseases is yellow, dark brown to black circular leaf spots with target like, concentric rings.
Avoid overhead irrigation during head development.
Copper has been widely used in both conventional and organic production for some time. Copper was one of the first elements used as a plant fungicide (the other was Sulfur). Its discovery can be traced back to the famous origin of Bordeaux mixture, containing a mixture of copper sulfate (CuSO4) and slaked lime, and used for downy mildew control in French vineyards.
Foliar application of Copper hydroxide (2.0 g/l) or Copper Oxychloride (3.0 g/l)
The spray solution is actually a suspension of copper particles, and those particles persist on plant surfaces after the spray dries. Copper ions are gradually released from these copper deposits each time the plant surface becomes wet. The gradual release of copper ions from the copper deposits provides residual protection against plant pathogens. At the same time, the slow release of copper ions from these relatively insoluble copper deposits reduces risks of phytotoxicity to plant tissues.
or spray Mancozeb (2.5 g/l) or Chlorothalonil (2.5 g/l)
This is one of the biggest causes of problems in the cabbage industry. Symptoms of black rot generally begin with yellowing at the leaf margin, which expands into the characteristic “V”-shaped lesion. The bacterium commonly enters the plant through the hydathode, or water pore, on the margin of the leaf; however, damage to leaves due to insect feeding, hail, or mechanical injury can also enable pathogen entry.
Use resistant varieties. This management practice has been shown to be more effective than weekly applications of fixed copper or copper hydroxide beginning before development of symptoms. Resistant varieties have fewer infection sites and/or the affected area is much smaller compared with susceptible varieties.
Avoid overhead irrigation. Avoid wet, poorly-drained soils. Growing on raised beds helps eliminate conditions that induce black rot.
Hot water treatment of seeds at 50 0C for 30 minutes.
Drenching nursery with Formalin (5%) before sowing, followed by two sprays of Copper oxychloride (3.0 g/l) at 15 days interval.
Two to three sprays of Copper hydroxide (2.0 g/l) or 1 % Bordeaux mixture at 15 days intervals.
|Harvesting and yield||Harvest the curds when they are firm/compact without raciness. About 20 tonnes yield can be obtained.|
Note: All recommendations and yields are for one acre area
*FYM Enrichment with Bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticide
Well decomposed Farm yard manure (one tonne) is thoroughly mixed Azotobacteror Azospirillum, Phosphate Solubilizing bacteria (PSB), Trichodermaharzianum or Trichodermaviridae, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Bacillus subtilis, Paecilomyceslilacinus or Pochoniachlamydosporia each @ 1 kg. This is then moistened by sprinkling water and covered with wet gunny cloth kept to incubate for about 3- 4 weeks (15-20 days). For better aeration and decomposition it is advised to give a turn in between at around 10-12 days. This enriched FYM should be mixed with remaining nine tonnes of FYM before applying to the main field.
**Neem cake Enrichment with Bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticide
Powdered neem cake (100 kg) with oil content (>10 %) is thoroughly mixed Azotobacteror Azospirillum Phosphate Solubilizing bacteria (PSB), Trichodermaharzianum or Trichodermaviridae, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Bacillus subtilis, Paecilomyceslilacinus or Pochoniachlamydosporia each @ 1 kg. This is then moistened by sprinkling water and covered with wet gunny cloth kept to incubate for about 10 days. If it is to be stored for a few more days, for better aeration and decomposition it is advised to give a turn. This enriched neem cake should be applied to the main field along with farm yard manure application at the time of bed preparation for planting. This enrichment is required, if enriched FYM was not used/applied.
***Poison baiting: Mix rice bran (10-12 kg/acre) with jaggery (gur) or molasses (2 kg) in the morning. Allow it to ferment till evening. In the evening, mix this with an insecticide like methomyl or thiodicarb (250 g) and broadcast in main plot. Cutworms get attracted, feed on the fermented poison bait and get killed. Baiting has to be repeated 2 or 3 times more if the incidence of the cut worm or armyworm is high.
Baking soda spray: Baking soda is a white soluble compound that has fungicidal properties when used as spray on diseased plants. It also serves as protectant (on plants) from disease-causing pathogens. Mix 1 tbsp of baking soda and 1 tbsp of dormant oil or vegetable oil. Add 4 liters of water and stir well. Add one tbsp of dish washing liquid soap and stir it again. Fill-in water can or sprinkler and spray. Stir or shake the container from time to time to prevent soda from separating. Repeat application every after 2 weeks. Apply baking soda spray as soon as the symptoms appear. Be sure to include the undersides of the plants’ foliage. Spray in the early morning or late afternoon.
Bordeaux mix: There are many copper compounds that are used as fungicides. The most common is Bordeaux mix which is a combination of copper sulphate and hydrated lime.
Copper sulphate, lime and water in the ratio 1:1:100 are used for preparing one per cent Bordeaux mixture. In order to prepare 100 Litres of mixture one kg of copper sulphate is dissolved in 50 Litres water. In another vessel one kg of fresh quick lime is slaked by sprinkling water and the volume of lime solution is made up to 50 Litres water. The copper sulphate solution is poured into lime solution by stirring the mixture. Both solutions can also be poured into a third vessel with constant stirring. The prepared Bordeaux mixture should be strained through a cloth/strainer before spraying.
Spray plants thoroughly preferably early in the morning, in a dry and sunny day. In this way, the plants have the time to dry and the solution can not penetrate into the leaves’ tissues. Constantly shake the sprayer while in the process of application to prevent the solution from clogging.
Cattle-dung and Urine Extract: Mix Cattle-dung (5 kg) and urine (5 liters) thoroughly in 5 liters of water in a container and allow this mixture for 4 days by keeping a lid over the container. After 4 days, filter and add 100 grams of lime to this solution. Dilute the solution in 80 liters of water, which is sufficient for spraying an acre. Spraying cow dung urine solution prevents eggs laying by the moth, e.g. Helivoerpa and Spodoptera, etc. It is found to give protection against some diseases and the sprayed crop looks green and healthy.
Tobacco Decoction: Boil 1 kg tobacco dust in 10 liters of water for 30 minutes to attain coffee red colour. Add water to the boiling solution to make 10 litres volume. Cool and filter the decoction using a thin muslin cloth. Add soap @ 2 g/l and dilute to 80 to 100 litres for spray. This preparation is effective against whitefly, aphids, and leafhoppers. Tobacco decoction should not be used frequently as it is toxic to natural enemies.
Precision agriculture, as the name implies, means application of precise and correct amount of inputs like water, fertilizer, pesticides etc. at the correct time to the crop for increasing its productivity and maximizing its yields. Precision agriculture management practices can significantly reduce the amount of nutrient and other crop inputs used while boosting yields. Farmers thus obtain a return on their investment by saving on water, pesticide, and fertilizer costs. Applying the right amount of inputs in the right place and at the right time benefits crops, soils and groundwater, and thus the entire crop cycle. Consequently, precision agriculture has become a cornerstone of sustainable agriculture, since it respects crops, soils and farmers.