Cassava is similar to other crops such as sweet potatoes and yams. However, farmers grow this vegetable mainly for its tubers. Cassava is a woody plant with spirally arranged simple lobed leaves with petioles (leaf stems) up to 30 cm in length.
The plant produces petal less flowers on a raceme. The edible plant roots are usually cylindrical and slender and are white, red or brown. Cassava plants can reach up to 4 metres in height. Cassava is popularly called “yuca” or “manioc”, or “tapioca”. You can process cassava into products like flour, starch, chips, ethanol and glucose syrup, and bread. These products are in high demand locally and also have significant export potential. Cassava belongs to the family of the genus “Manihot” and “Euphorbiaceae”.
How to Start Cassava Farming?
Starting commercial cassava cultivation is easy and simple, just like growing other crops. Cassava plants are very hardy and strong, requiring less care. When you begin developing a cassava plant, you need to know the essential sections that would be useful for profitable cassava cultivation. The tractor is the most prominent farm equipment with attachment for farming operations. You can choose the Sonalika rx 50 tractor because it is a renowned brand model suitable for cassava farming, and you can choose any other famous tractor model.
Climate and Soil Requirement
Cassava is a tropical root crop and needs at least 8 months of warm weather to grow the crop. You can grow it in extremes of rainfall. In most areas, it does not tolerate flooding. In dry areas, it loses its leaves to produce new leaves and conserve moisture when it starts to rain. To produce a crop, it takes 18 or more months under adverse conditions such as dry or cold weather. Cassava does not withstand cold conditions and gives poor yield. It withstands a wide range of soil pH 4.5 to 8.0 and is most productive in full sun.
You can cultivate the cassava under both irrigated and rainfall conditions. Under irrigated conditions, you can cultivate this crop throughout the year. The best time is May-June before the monsoon season starts. Planting cassava without prior ploughing in poor soil can result in low yields in the early years. However, cultivated land can produce higher yields at a lower cost to the farmer and the farm’s natural resources. Mulch and cover crops help reduce weed infestations and condition the soil, thereby improving yield. Loosening the soil by tractor ploughing to a depth of 20 to 25 cm is recommended.
Different methods are followed while preparing the land, depending on the soil’s condition. For example, in the case of light-textured soils, levelling method; In the case of heavy textured soil, the mound method is being practised. In the case of irrigated conditions, ridge and furrow methods are being followed.
Regarding the planting material, it is recommended to plant pest and disease-free plants with a thickness of 2 to 3 cm between the ages of 8 to 9 months. To produce better steak (stem cuttings) or root yield, cutting off 1/3 of the total length of the stem from the top is preferred to steaks obtained from the bottom and middle of the stem. Create smooth, rounded sections of cut instead of irregular cuts.
A stake 25 to 30 cm in length should be beneficial, and shallow planting allows more roots to be produced. After the soil is sufficiently loose and friable, you can plant the sticks (stem cuttings) at a depth of 5 cm. Avoid planting the sticks deeply in the soil as this can cause stem swelling and damage the yield.
Planting and Spacing
When it comes to planting in cassava cultivation, vertical, slanted, and horizontal can be practised. However, we recommend vertical planting, resulting in a more uniform formation of callus tissue around the cut surface. In addition, it helps form the tubers uniformly all around the base of the cassava plant.
Plant density and spacing in cassava farming depend on the cassava genotypes. For best tuber yield, semi-branched and branched types require 90 x 90 cm, while non-branched types require 75 x 75 cm. Planting one stake per hill is recommended. However, 2 cuttings per mound may increase yield but reduce tuber size, which may not be good for export market quality. Therefore, excess shoots should be removed, and trying to retain 2 per plant on opposite sides is best to allow more tubers to be produced per plant.
Manures and Fertilisers
You should apply a basal dose of 15 tonnes of farmyard manure (FMY) along with Nitrogen ( N:50kg), Potash (P:50kg) and Phosphorus (P:50kg) per hectare at the time of land preparation. Subsequently, you should apply an “N” dose of 50 kg and a “P” dose of 50 kg. After planting in the field, apply first intercultural operations for 50 – 60 days.
You can cultivate this tropical crop as irrigated and rainfed. However, to establish the stake cuttings and produce healthy tubers, it is essential to have sufficient moisture in the initial 3 weeks period. Therefore, for proper growth of cassava tubers, provide frequent irrigation in drought conditions. Under irrigated conditions, an irrigation schedule, a 25% reduction in available moisture during the growing season.
Harvesting and Yield
The cassava crop is ready after 10 – 12 months of sowing, and the short-duration crop can be ready in 6 – 7 months. Timely harvesting is more important as delay can reduce the quality of the tubers. Most often, cassava is harvested by hand, lifting the lower part of the stem, pulling the roots out of the ground, and then removing them from the plant base. The upper parts of the stems, along with the leaves, should be removed before harvesting. Farmers use levers and ropes to aid in harvesting.
Need the Equipment
For better cassava farming operation and productivity, you should do the cultivation modernly. Therefore, the cultivation of cassava required better tractors and implements. And users/farmers can choose the best tractor according to their budget. We recommend the new holland 3230 tractor model. Also, you can find John Deere 5050D, Mahindra Yuvraj 215 NXT and any other tractor that fits your budget.