Precision Farming in Chilli

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Chilli(Capsicum annuum L.) also called as hot pepper, chilli pepper or green chilli, cayenne peppers, paprika and pimento in different parts of the world. It is an important commercial crop in India and it is produced throughout the year. The crop can be grown over a wide range of altitudes ranging from sea level to 2100 meter height.

Seed Variety.

Variety Arka Meghana, Arka Harita, Arka Sweta, Arka Kyati, Arka Suphal, any popular commercial hybrids/varieties

Land Preparation and Fertigation.

Soil type Well-drained deep fertile loamy soil having adequate aeration is considerable ideal for its cultivation. Optimum soil pH range is 6.0 to 7.0.Water logging conditions increases the incidence of bacterial wilt diseases
Season of planting A frost free period of 4 months with maximum temperature of 35oC and minimum temperature not below 10 oC is optimum for raising this crop. Chilli crop for ripe dry fruits is extensively raised in kharif season (June to October), however, for green fruits, chilli crop is raised throughout the year in India under irrigated conditions.
Seed requirement 80-100 g or 10000- 12000 seedlings.
Quality seedling production Pro-tray method: Trays filled with decomposed and enriched cocopeat (enrich cocopeat with azospyrillum or azetobector or microbial consortium, Pseudomonas fluorescens and Trichoderma harzianum @ 10 g/tray) and seedlings raised in protected structures. Seedlings will be ready by 35 to 42 days. Harden the seedlings before transplanting for a day or two keeping trays outside with reduced watering.

(for details on pro-tray:

Land preparation (main field) Prepare raised bed of 10-15 cm height, 90 cm width, convenient length usually of 40-50 meters. Keep 45 to 60 cm inter-bed spacing.
FYM application Apply 10 tones well decomposed FYM along with enriched FYM * or neem cake*
Neem cake application Apply 8% oiled neem cake enriched** @ 250 kg along with FYM and basal dose of fertilizers.
Fertilizer dose The fertilizer recommendation for the hybrid chilli is 50:40:50 kg N: P2O5 : K2O per acre.
Basal fertilizer application Apply 10-16-10 kg NPK (50kg ammonium sulphate + 100 kg SSP, 17 kg MOP) fertilizers in the small furrows opened at 60 cm spacing on the bed along with enriched neem cake and entire amount of FYM, mix well and cover with soil.
Laying of drip line Place one in-line drip lateral of 16 mm diameter (40 cm spaced) at the center of the bed for which 2700 to 3000 meter length of lateral pipe is required.
Polyethylene mulching 2700 to 3000 meter length of reflective mulch (Silver-Black) film of 1.2 m width and 30 micron thickness (about 100 kg) is required. Make holes of 5.0 cm diameter at a distance of 60 cm between the rows and 45 to 60 cm within the row.
Spacing, plant population and transplanting Recommendation is to maintain two crop rows per bed. Depending on spacing adopted 10000 to 12800 seedlings can be accommodated. Transplant seedlings at the center of the hole to avoid seedlings touching the edge of the mulch film.
Irrigation Run the drip irrigation system daily for a duration of 20 to 40 minutes depending on the crop stage, season and agro-climatic region.
Fertigation Schedule fertigation once in 3 days as mentioned below, which requires total 37 fertigations.
Fertigation schedule (using water soluble fertilizers once in 3 days) Sl.No. Days Quantity
1. 0-20 No fertigation
2. 21-36 1.5 kg 19-19-19/fertigation(6 fertigations)
3. 39-57 2.0 kg 19-19-19 +1.0 kg KNO3 + 1.0 kg CaNO3/fertigations(7 fertigations)
4. 60-129 4.0 kg 19-19-19 +1.25 kg KNO3 + 2.5 kg CaNO3/fertigation(24 fertigations)
Total (120 kg 19-all+43 kg KNO3+67 kg CaNO3)
Foliar nutrition Give foliar sprays @ 5g/liter using vegetable special (IIHR Product) or foliar spray grade micro nutrient fertilizers containing Fe, Mn, B, Cu, Zn three to five times starting from 45 days after transplanting at an interval of 15 days.

Insect Pest management

Sucking pests Image result for Mealybugs

Mealybugs are sap-drinking insects that can cause a great deal of damage in a short amount of time. They produce honeydew, which attracts ants and encourages the growth of fungus called black mold. Sucking pests pose serious problem to chilli at all growth stages and also borers namely Helicoverpa armigera, Spodoptera litura and S. exigua at the time of fruiting.


Nursery: Raise the seedlings in well protected poly house or nursery beds covered by insect proof (40 mesh) curtain. A day before transplanting the seedlings spray imidacloprid 200SL @ 0.5 ml/L+ 0.5 ml sticker.

General recommendations: Apply one more dose of neem cake @100 kg per acre (containing 8-10 % oil) kept in the form of heaps (8-10 places) throughout the field at 30-40 days after transplanting. (not documented)

Transplant chilli seedlings raised in nursery after dipping roots in imidacloprid 200 SL @ 0.5 ml/L for 5 minutes (if the seedlings are not sprayed with imidacloprid the previous day)

Field management:

Thrips Image result for thrips in chilli Deformed pepper fruit (no economic value) after damage from an infestation of the chilli thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood.

The infested leaves develop crinkles and curl upwards. Elongated petiole

Buds become brittle and drop down. Early stage, infestation leads to stunted growth and flower production, fruit set are arrested


Twenty days after transplanting, spray Fipronil 5 SC @ 1.0 ml/L + neem oil @ 2 ml/L, with sticker @ 1ml/L followed by diafenthiuron 50 WP @ 1g/L or chlorfenapyr 10 SC @ 2 ml/L at fortnightly interval.

Do not follow chilli and onion mixed crop


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. Sprays with horticultural soap will desiccate and suffocate the insects and horticultural oil will smother the insects but these organic products should not be used when the weather is above 32°C as plant leaves can burn.

Aphids are especially attracted to mustard. You can plant these near more valuable plants as traps for the aphids.

Spray PNSPE (40 g/L) or Quinalphos 25EC (2.0 ml/L) or L-Cyhalothrin 5 EC @ 0.5ml/L. Avoid using L-Cyhalothrin very often

Mites (white mites) Image result for white mites in chilli

Downward curling and crinkling of leaves giving an inverted boat shaped appearance, elongation of Petiole i.e. rat tail symptom, stunted growth, on fruit scaring  is very common with reduced fruit size.


Spray pongamia soap @ 10 g/L or Wettable Sulphur 80 WP @ 3.0 g/L when the temperature is moderate to low.

In case of high temperature spray chlorfenapyr 10 SC @ 2 ml/L (controls thrips also) or Milbemectin 40 SP @ 0.75ml/L

Yellow Sticky traps – Whitefly are attracted to the color yellow so by hanging yellow sticky traps near your affected plants will help control their populations.  You need about one trap in every 3m x 3m area.

Borers (Helicoverpa and Spodoptera spp)

Young larvae feed on flower buds and young pod by making a circular hole. Later, the larvae feed on seeds.


Spray specific NPV@ 100 LE/acre in the evening as soon as young caterpillars (egg masses in spodoptera) of the borers are noticed. Mix 1% jaggery and sticker (0.5 ml/L) before spray. Collect and destroy the borer-infested fruits.

Note : NPV (Nucleopolyhedrovirus) belongs to a group of insect diseases called baculoviruses that infect and kill the larvae of moths and sawflies. They do not harm humans, wildlife or other insects. NPV can kill young larvae within 4 days of ingestion, and older larvae within 5-7 days, depending on dose and temperature.

Spray Indoxacarb 15.8 SC (1.0 ml/L) or Thiodicarb 75WP (1.0 g/L) or Emamectin Benzoate 5 SG (0.3 g/L) at 15 and 30 days after transplanting.

Tobacco caterpillar (Spodoptera)

Small holes on leaves. Skeletonized leaves and the affected pods drop off or develop white color on drying.


(Egg masses and young caterpillars): Collect and destroy egg masses and gregarious larvae.

Spray indoxacarb 15.8EC @ 0.8 ml/L or Thiodicarb 75 WP @ 1 g/L

Cutworms Figure 2. Characteristic damage from cutworm, cut seedling.

Cutworms are the larvae of several species of night-flying moths. Cutworms feed at night and will not generally be observed on plants or on the soil surface during the day.


Adopt 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.

Disease management

Damping-off of seedlings

Seed may rot or the seedlings may be killed before they emerge from the soil. Stem of young seedlings may also be attacked after emergence showing water soaking lesions and shriveling of stem which fall over and die.


Damping -off of seedlings: Drench seedlings with Captan 50 W (2.0 g/l) or Copper oxychloride 50 WP (2.0 g/l) or copper hydroxide (2.0 g/l) in nursery stage (15 days after sowing) and once before transplanting and once again two weeks after transplanting.

Powdery mildew

  • White powdery coating appears mostly on the lower surface
  • Sometimes the powdery coating can also be seen on the upper surface.
  • Correspondingly on the upper surface yellow patches are seen
  • Severe infection results in the drying and shedding of affected leaves.
  • Powdery growth can also be seen on young fruits, and branches.
  • Diseased fruits do not grow further and may drop down.

Spray Wettable Sulphur (2.0 g/l + 2.0 ml neem oil) (avoid sprays during hot period) or Tridemorph (1.0 ml/l) or Hexaconazole (1.0 ml/l) or Dinocap (1ml/l) or Flusilazole (0.3 ml/l) or Myclobutanil (1.0 g/l) or Tebuconazole + Trifloxystrobin 75 WG (0.7 g/l) or Propiconazole 25 EC (1.0 ml/l) or Difenconazole (0.5 ml/l) or Strobilurin (2.0 ml/l) or Neem oil emulsified (7.0-10 ml/l) at 10-15 days interval from the onset of the disease.

Phytophthora blight

Caused by a water-borne fungus called Phytophthora capsici and is generally found in wet waterlogged areas. The fungus invades all plant parts causing the syndromes leaf blight, fruit rot and root rot. Plants suffering from this conditions often wilt and die very quickly.


Spray Mancozeb (2.0 g/l) or Copper oxychloride (3.0 g/l) or Bordeaux mixture (1%) or Copper hydroxide (2.0 g/l) or Fosetyl-Al (2.0 g/l) or Dimethomorph (2.0 g/l) or Mandipropamid (0.8 ml)combination of Pyraclostrobin + Metiram (2.0 g/l) or Mefenoxam + Copper hydroxide (2.0 g/l) or Metalaxyl 8% + Mancozeb. 64% (2.0 g/l) or Cymoxanil + Mencozeb (2.0 g/l) or Dimethmorph + Amitocctradin (2.0 ml/l).

Anthracnose Image result for Anthracnose in chilli

Anthracnose disease has been reported to be a major constraint in chilli production in tropical subtropical countries causing huge losses. Symptoms are seen on leaf, stem and fruit. Small, circular spots on the skin of the fruit and expanded in the direction of long axis of the fruit. The fruits with many spots drop off prematurely resulting in heavy loss of yield. Fungus may also attack the fruit stalk and spread along the stem causing dieback symptoms.


Spray Carbendizim (1.0g/l) or Thiophanate methyl (1.0g/l) or Tricyclozole (0.6g/l) or comination of Tricyclozole +Mancozeb (2.0 g/l).

Leaf spot

The leaf spot disease is seen both in nursery and main field. The disease causes loss due to defoliation and reduction in photosynthesis. The disease first manifests as small brownish spots on the leaves and graduallydevelops into the big circular grayish spots with whitish center. Later they form into large lesions due to coalescing of the spots. Infection on fruit stalk and calyx is also very common in severe cases.


Spray Carbendizim (1.0g/l) or Mancozeb (2.0g/l) or combination of Carbendazim+ Mancozeb (2.0g/l).

Alternaria Blight Management:

Drench seedlings with Copper oxychloride (3.0 g/l) 12days after sowing and repeat one day before transplanting. Spray Copper oxychloride (3.0 g/l) or Chlorothalonil (2.0g/l) or Mancozeb (2.0 g/l) or Propineb (2.0 g/l) or Metiram (2.0 g/l) or Pyraclostrobin + Metiram (2.0g/l) or Tebuconazole + Trifloxystrobin 75 WG (0.7 g/l) at 10-15 days interval or as and when required.

Bacterial wilt Image result for Bacterial wilt chilli

The first symptoms start with the wilting of the leaves. After a few days the entire plant will wilt with no leaf yellowing.


Drenching of seedling with Pseudomonas fluorescens


Leaf curl (White fly management)

Leaf curl disease is transmitted by white flies ( Bemisia tabaci). The disease is characterised by puckering of leaf blade, and gradual reduction in the size. Diseased plants flower poorly with low fruit set.In case of leaf curl the disease is characterised by curling of the leaves, and thickening and swelling of veins. In advanced stages the whole plant appears bushy, with stunted growth and fewer flowers.


Uproot and destroy leaf curl infected plants as soon as noticed. Spray Denotefuran @ 1 g/L or fenazaquin @ 1 ml/L. Repeat above chemicals or Lamda cyhalothrin 5 EC (0.5 ml/L) or Acetamiprid (0.2 g/l) or Diofenthiuran 50% WP (1.2 g/l) after 15 days of planting in main field.

Chilli Veinal Mottle & CMV (Aphid management)

Leaves of infected plants show dark-green mottles, with dark-green spotting, patching and banding adjacent to the veins. These viruses are transmitted by aphids.


Uproot and destroy the infected plants as soon as noticed. Follow spray schedule mentioned for aphid management.

Harvesting and yield:

The crops starts yielding green chillies two months after transplanting and dry chillies 90 days after transplanting. The crop lasts for 5-6 months after transplanting depending upon duration of the variety. Four to five pickings of green chillies or two to three of red ripe chillies is done. Harvesting begins 60 days after transplanting.

Yield: 1.5 tonne dry chilli or 15 tonne of green chilli.

*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.