Precision Farming in Muskmelon

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Precision Farming in Muskmelon

Muskmelons are rich in potassium which helps in regulating the blood pressure and keeps hypertension at bay. They have high doses of vitamin A and beta carotene, which helps sharpen the eye sight as well as reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Eating muskmelon gives the tendency of full stomach and discourages the desire of more eating. On the other hand, the fruit is associated with no fat, no cholesterol, less calories and sugar. If you desire of weight loss, it is better to start with this summer fruit.

Variety Popular hybrids.
Soil type Well drained fertile soils with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0.
Season Jan-February
Seed requirement 125 grams
Land preparation Raised bed method: 10-15cm height, 90 cm width, convenient length, 90 cm inter-bed spacing (1.8m from bed center to bed center).
FYM application Apply 10 tonnes of enriched FYM.
Neem cake application Apply neem cake @ 250kg.
Fertilizer Dose 30:25:30 kg N:P:K
Basal fertilizer application Apply 8-8-6 kg NPK (38 kg Ammonium sulphate + 50 kg Single super phosphate + 10 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 2200 meter length of lateral pipe is required.
Polyethylene mulching 2200 meter length of mulch film of 1.2m width and 30micron thickness is required (75 kg)
Spacing and plant population Single crop row at the center of the bed. Make holes of 5cm or 7.5cm diameter at a distance of 45cm. 4900 seeds 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 after sowing and ending at 90 days after transplanting for a 3½ month duration crop, thus requiring 26 fertigations.
Water soluble Fertilizers per fertigation (Once in 3 days) 0-14 days: No fertigation

15-30 days: 2.0 kg 19-19-19 /fertigation (6 fertigations)

33-51 days: 3.0 kg 19-19-19 +1.0 kg KNO3+1.0 kg CaNO3/fertigations (7 fertigations)

54-90 days: 4.0 kg 19-19-19 +1.0 kg KNO3+1.0 kg CaNO3/fertigation (13 fertigations)

(85 kg 19-all + 20 kg KNO3+ 20 kg CaNO3)

Foliar nutrition Give foliar sprays @5g/litre using foliar spray grade fertilizers containing Ca,Mg, Fe, Mn, B, Cu, Zn three times starting from 45 days after transplanting at an interval of 10 days

Insect Pest management

Red pumpkin beetle Image result for Muskmelon Red pumpkin beetle

Adult beetles are mainly responsible for the damage of the plant above ground, attacking on the leaves, flowers and fruits. Making holes and causing death or retardation of growth. In case of heavy infestation, re-sowing is required to be done. Larvae live in the soil and feed on the roots and stem of the plant. Fruits and leaves are also damaged when they come in contact with soil.


Preventing measures like burning of old creapers, ploughing and harrowing of field after harvest of the crops are recommended for the destruction of adult, grubs and pupae.

Collection and destruction of beetles in early stage of infestation.

Use wood ash. Add ½ cup of wood ash and ½ cup of lime in 4 L water; leave to stand for some hours and then strain; test on a few infested plants first to make adjustment to the strength before going into large-scale spraying.

Spray Dichlorvos 76 EC (1.2 ml/l)

Leaf miner Image result for leaf miner in cucumber

Leafminer adult Adult leafminers are small (2- 3 mm, 1/12- 1/8 in.), shiny black and yellow flies Eggs are laid in the leaves, leaving small bronzed puncture marks Females pierce the leaves to feed on plant sap Larvae tunnel within the leaf tissue forming the characteristic mines



Monitor plant leaves closely. At the first sign of tunneling, squeeze the leaf at the tunnel between two fingers to crush any larvae. Done soon enough, this killing larva can allow plants to survive minor outbreaks. Pick off and destroy badly infested leaves in small gardens. Repeat at weekly interval 3-4 times.


Use yellow or blue sticky traps to catch egg laying adults. Cover soil under infested plants with plastic mulches to prevent larvae from reaching the ground and pupating.

Apply neem cake (containing 8-10% oil) @100 kg/acre in 8-10 heaps 25 days after germination.

Spray pulverized neem seed powder extract (PNSPE) (4%) or neem/pongamia soap (1%), if required only.

Fruit fly Related image

The female melon fruit fly pierces the skins of the young fruits to lay the eggs just below the surface. After hatching, the grubs begin to bore into and feed on the pulp of the fruit causing soft rot in part or all the fruit in case of serious infestation.


Remove all the infested fruits and destroy.


Bagging: Each fruit is enclosed in an appropriately sized bag tied around the fruit stem. Alternatively, newspaper of an appropriate size can be rolled to enclose the fruit, then tied both around the fruit stem and at the free end. Bagging should begin when the fruit is small, shortly after the flower parts have fallen. This is one of the most effective method even though it is tedious. Highly recommended for your kitchen garden.

Soil application of neem cake @ 250 kg/ha immediately after germination and repeat at flowering followed by sprays of neem soap 1% or PNSPE 4% at 10 days interval after flowering.

Erect cuelure (para pheromone trap) 12 per acre to attract and trap male fruit flies.

Crush pumpkin 1 kg and add 100 gm jaggery and 10 ml Malathion and keep in the plot (4-6 places per acre). Adults are attracted to the fermenting pumpkin and lay eggs and get killed. Repeat the process 2-3 times in the cropping season.


Give bait splash, 10g jaggary + Deltamethrin 1.0ml/l; 40 splashes/acre.

Red spider mite Related image

Spider mites usually extract the cell contents from the leaves using their long, needle- like mouthparts. This results in reduced chlorophyll content in the leaves, leading to the formation of white or yellow speckles on the leaves. In severe infestations, leaves completely desiccate and drop off. The mites also produce webbing on the leaf surfaces in severe conditions.


Check the undersides of leaves for mites, their eggs, and webbing; you’ll need a hand lens to identify them. To observe mites more closely, shake a few off the leaf surface onto a white sheet of paper. Once disturbed, they will move around rapidly.


Prune leaves, stems and other infested parts of plants well past any webbing and discard in trash (and not in compost piles).

Spray Pulvarized Neem Seed Powder Extract (PNSPE) (4%) or Wettable Sulphur 80WP (3g/l) or Dicofol 18.5 EC (2.5 ml/l) or  Quinalphos 25 EC (1.5ml/l)  or  Fenazaquin 10 EC (2.5 ml/l) or Fenpropathrin 30 EC (0.3 ml/l).

Spray lower surface of the leaves where mites are generally found.


Thrips The adult and larval stages feed by piercing the plant surface with their mouthparts and sucking the contents of plant cells. This causes white or brown spots on the leaves where the plant cells have been destroyed. In cucumber fruit, feeding creates severe distortion and curling as well as white streaks.


Spray Pulvarized Neem Seed Powder Extract PNSPE (4%) or neem/ pongamia soap ( 8-10g/l) at 10 days interval


Spray Fipronil 5 SC (1.0ml/l) or Emamectin benzoate 5 SG (0.125g/l)  or Dimethoate 30 EC (2.0 ml/l)

Leaf eating caterpillar Cucumber Moth Caterpillar

Larva folds the leaves and scrapes the green matter. As a result the leaves get dried up. It can also feed on ovaries of flower; sometimes bore into young developing fruits.


Soil application of neem cake @ 250 kg/ha immediately after germination and at flowering followed by sprays of neem soap (1 %) or NSPE (4%) at 10 days interval

Disease management

Anthracnose Image result for Anthracnose on Musk melon Related image

Disease appears on all foliar part as white to dull white, powdery growth. This white growth quickly covers most of the leaf surface and leads to heavy reduction in photosynthesis area.


Apply Wettable Sulphur (3.0g/l) or Flusilazole (0.3 ml/l) or Dinocap (1.0 ml/l) or Hexaconazole (0.5 ml/l) or Difenconazole (0.6 ml/l) three-four times at 15 days interval

Powdery mildew

Disease appears on all foliar part as white to dull white, powdery growth. This white growth quickly covers most of the leaf surface and leads to heavy reduction in photosynthesis area.


Spray pre packed mixture of Pyroclostrobin + Metiram (2.5g/l) or Chlorothalonil (2.0 g/l) or Mancozeb (2.0 g/l) or Fosetyl-Al + Propineb (2.0g/l) or Cymoxanil+ Mancozeb (2.0 g/l) at 10 days interval

Downy mildew

Symptoms of downy mildew on cucumber begin as light yellow spots with a water-soaked appearance on the leaf underside. At this early stage some spots already have the characteristic angular shape for this disease as symptoms do not expand past major veins. The white spot is physical injury.


Follow Bio-Intensive Disease Management practices. Drenching of Bordaux mixture (1.0 %) or Pre packed mixture of Carbendazim+ Mancozeb (2.0 g/l)

Fusarium wilt Image result for Fusarium wilt on +Muskmelon

Infection of older plants is more common usually leading to wilt of the entire plant. Initially, the lower leaves of the plant wilt at mid-day and recover during the evening and at night. Eventually more and more leaves wilt until the plant is totally affected.


Follow Bio-Intensive Disease Management practices. Drench pre packed mixture of Carbendazim+ Mancozeb (2.0 g/l).

Harvesting and yield Harvest at tender stage during cool hours. About 15 tonnes can be realized.

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.