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Cultivation of Banana

24th Feb Saturday at 7.30 pm we have arranged for Krishi Jyoti session on Banana plantation with intercrops by our esteemed member Shri Suresh Anna.

Climate: Banana grows well in a temperature range of 15ºC – 35ºC with a relative humidity of 75-85%. Chilling injury occurs at a temperature below 12ºC. The high velocity of wind which exceeds 80 km /hr. damages the crop.
Cyclone damage.

Depending on the requirement can go for staking or tying with ropes or plastic tape. can be done after some months of planting...

Soil: Deep soils(min 75 cm topsoil), rich loamy(black loam, Red loam, sandy loams) soil with pH between 6.5 – 7.5 is most preferred for banana cultivation. Soil for banana should have good drainage, adequate fertility(Rich in organic matter) and moisture.

Land preparation: The land can be ploughed 2-4 times and leveled. Ratovator or harrow is used to break the clod and bring the soil to a fine tilth.

During soil preparation, basal dose of FYM (about10 - 15 tonnes/Acre. before the last harrowing) is added and thoroughly mixed into the soil

Prior to planting banana, green manuring crop like dhaincha, cowpea etc. may be grown.

Duration: Min 12 months crop

Planting season: The planting time may be adjusted so as to avoid high temperature and drought at the time of emergence of bunches (i.e. approx.6-7 months after planting). Plan such that fruit harvest is done in the month of Feb-March-April, which fetches good price as no other fruits come to market at that time. Also It depends on the duration of variety we select. There are long and short duration variety in each area. In AP June – sept 15th and Feb-March most of the planting is done. Ccan be planted in june-july, sept-oct, jan-feb but according to local demand and supply, suitable climate we can plan. may-june we have lot of mangos come in to market so it is not good banana fetch low price..

Suckers: so we have prepared the land, grown green manures and now have to select planting material, that is called as suckers. Sucker selection: The small pups/baby plants develop at base of the main banana plant(mother plant) are called Suckers. These are used as seedling material to plant next crop. They develop at the base of mother plant from 3-4 months of planting main crop. Always select Sword suckers (soodi pilakalu in Telugu). Avoid water suckers with large leaves.

Sword suckers with well developed rhizome, conical or spherical in shape having actively growing conical bud and weighing approximately 450-700 gm are commonly used as propagating material
Base of sucker look like coconut..
As per Palekar select suckers from banana fields which harvest bunches in the months of Aug-sept-oct months.(90 % survival rate and yield 3 weeks early).
Collect suckers from opposite side of the bunch on plant.

sucker opposite side of the bunch..

Treatment of suckers: The roots and base of the planting material may be removed. The suckers are dipped in cow dung slurry and smeared with ash. sundry it for 3 days and in shade dry for about 10 days before planting. Can also treat with panchagavya. or Beejaamrutam . Any one of the above can be done
series of sucker treatment.Avoid carbofuran given in list..

Planting: Generally pits of 50 x 50 x 50 cm are taken for planting suckers. Another method is pits of depth equal to sucker length is taken and suckers are planted in the middle of the pit in such way that top 5 cm of stem is above ground level. Add GA(both hands full) and some soil in the pit around plant and press gently ..Add some JA to pit and sprinkle on the plant. Give light irrigation for 3 weeks and follow the irrigation schedule as usual from there on.. Thats about how we plant banana in general. Instead of collecting suckers, most of the farmers are purchasing Tissue cultured plants from outside. Each plant cost you around Rs 12 - 15/-. Suckers from healthy field cost you less than 5 Rs

Spacing: Traditionally banana growers plant the crop at 1.5m x 1.5m with high density (1700 pl / Acre ). however plant growth and yields are poor because of competition for sunlight. The region like north India, coastal belt and where humidity is very high and temperature falls down up to 5-7ºC, the planting distance should not be less than 2m x 2m or 2.1m x 1.5m (.Around 1000 plants / Acre Approx.).Most of the farmers of the opinion that around 1000 plants per Acre gives good yield also... There are some other combinations also in spacing..
see right side pic on slide , 3 plants per pit with 2 x 2 m spacing

Another design
Tissue culture plants.

Intercrops: For growing intercrops Palekar ji advised spacing in banana is for 4’.5” x 4’.5” x 9’ Double row system. pl note it is in feets.. almost same as 1.2 x 1.2 x 2 meter given on blue color slide. for beginners 2 x 2 mts is good with sufficient space between plants for inter crops. Approx 1000 pl / Acre. Palekar ji is recommending 12' x 12' for Desi varieties. Banana having shallow root system, so should not disturb soil at base of plant after flower emerging.. also plant intercrops 65 cm away from base of plant any how we mulch at the base so if we follow 1.8 x 1.8 x 2 mtrs or 4.5' x 4.5' x 9 ' as per Palekar ji. Best intercrops are legumes legumes, we can choose from Redgram, ground nut, green n black gram, soya bean, cow pea, french bean, field bean etc.. we have to plant these inter crops in 9' area between 2 rows. I prefer cow pea..Bobbarlu or Alasandalu. it can be grown round the year, in any kind of soil rought tolerant, nitrogen fixer, good bushy plant, so acts as live mulch, gives good amount of dry matter to incorporate3 months crop only.., can be grown another crop after this. Though Palekarji recommends growing vegetables like chilli, grams, creeper vegetables like gourds - i don’t prefer them .They are prone to virus attack. Banana is susceptible or sensitive to virus

Mulch the base of the plant thickly with a local available material. Can be rice straw, sugar cane, sunflower, coconut fronds, groundnut leftover plant parts, dry leaves etc..

Irrigation: Irrigate crop accordingly in Rainy season depending on requirement once in 15 days or so.In general once in 8-10 days. In summer once in 3-5 days.

Cultivation practices:
Suckers emerge from base of the plant regularly from 3 month onwards, keep on removing them by cutting up to soil level and utilise that leaf parts for mulching. Farmers in Kerala add few drops of kerosene on the surface after cutting sucker).This permanently stops the growth of sucker.

JA can be added along with drip or can be sprayed as per schedule once in fortnight.

Once in 2 months give 6 lt of fermented butter milk in 200 Lt of water..for controlling leaf spots, common in Banana

For good fruit quality,s ize and color, saptankura dhanya kashayam is sprayed on bunches 3 weeks before harvesting..

Flower start emerging out from 6-7 month onwards..male flower followed by fingers/female flowers..

Male Flower Female flower emerging

After all fingers emerge out, some farmers remove male flower..some retain as it is which dimnishes later..
Each bunch weighs aprox 20 - 25 kg. but agents dont pay on kg basis, they pay per bunch basis. lowest is around 65 / bunch and highest can be up to 150 - 175/bunch. depends on quality,size etc.. so if we have 1000 plants in 1 Acre we get 1000 x Rs 150 / bunch = 1,50,000/ Acre in 1 year. So in Natural farming we have to keep our cost of cultivation lower.. Always see that cost of cultivation is below 50,000/-.. For large quantities some agents are paying by weight also.

The left over sucker(ratoon crop) bears in 8 months.. ie second cropwe can take 1 main crop and 2 ratoon crops.. how ever yield are little lower in ratoon crops

Along with JA some farmers are also applying Oils with drip60 Ltrs of oil per crop / Acre.

Soil strength decrease for ratoon so we have to grow legumes continuously..

People are now protecting bunches with polythene cover. Can do it with the help of leaves on plant also..

Post Harvest: Ratoon crop / Kaarshi panta : Raising second crop, from one of the sucker after harvesting main crop. After harvesting bunch, leave the plant as it is.dont cut the old plant and allow sucker to grow.. imain plant gradually die after supplying required nutrients to sucker plant..

Banana need more water? People say that for Paddy, sugarcane, banana cultivation need more water
Yes, but no need of excess irrigation.Irrigate at regular interval. Should not miss during fruit formation.

Why oils?
Oils are nothing but Lipids, for nutrition and have some pesticidal properties too..

Why should or shouldn't the male flower be removed?
If we retain male flower, it takes nutrients. After pollination and fruit formation we dont need it.Some farmers discard male flower and tie a polycover with Panchgavya for quality / quantity fruit production.

Is Banana and clay soil a bad combination. Can anything be done?
Banana is suitable to almost all soils.Loamy soils are best, but grows in black clayey soils also. Should be given proper drainage facility, and in summer given irrigation. without water in summer, black soil develops cracks, thereby killing roots of plants. If needed, sand can be mixed to black soil

How long the suckers survive without planting ?
Survives for quite a number of days, as it is a stored food in corms.But better to plant with in a month to obtain a vigorous and uniform growth. If we collect suckers of more than 3 months old, uneven growth in main field, leads to un even ripening of fruits, irregular harvesting, more labour charges.etc.

Won't water intake be less in clay soil?
Plant having shallow roots. Little bit of intake is sufficient enough at regular intervals.

What if suckers are not removed and transplanted but allowed to grow next to the mother plant?
If not Removed, suckers compete with mother plant for Nutrients.Also it will affect fruit size, quality and yield.But there are farmers who allow one sucker to grow along with main plant and take yield from both plants.

If we are doing in a large scale cultivation, staggered planting is advised.. with a gap of every 3 months.
After 5 - 6 months shade increases. so plan short duration intercrops, should harvest before 5 months

How do we know when to cut the bunch from the tree?
Thumb rule is 3 months after flowering(differs with varty). they are free from angular shape and produce metallic sound..

After male flower emerges should we stop watering?
No, we should continue. Irrigation during bunch development is critical

What are the common diseases encountered in banana?
Sigatoka Leaf Spot disease and wilt

How to remove suckers without harming mother plant they seem so thick n endlessly fibrous?
Usually done with a sickle, cut at ground level.For seed material purpose, skilled labour uses a crow bar to dig out suckers.

The bulb kind is used for planting do we have to remove top leaf structures? Pls excuse my ignorance
Yes, remove all matured roots, leaves and damaged portions if any

No need to give ja or gja? Only water suffice?
Have to add GJ n JA as usual. once in fort night.

Sl no


Karpur Chakkarkeli
2.5 to 3 mt plant Ht. 12 - 13 months crop
Needs staking as tall variety.
2 x 2 mt spacing

Avg 18kg bunch wt, 12 - 15 Tons/Acre yield
Bright yellowMed size fruit,

Drought tolerant and Disease resistant.
cream color pulp.

Tella chakkarkeli
2.5 to 3 mt plant Ht. 11 - 12 months crop

Avg bunch wt is 8 kg and low yield varty
Good qity, taste n aroma
1.8 x 1.8 mt

fetches high price in mkt

Yellow color pulp

Dwarf cavendish /
Pl ht is 1.5 mt. 11 months crop.Bunch wt 15 kg

1.4 x 1.4 mt

vamanakeli /
20 Tons / acre yield

Basrai /
cant with stand drought

Potti patcha arati
suitable for coastal areas

Robusta /

Pedda patcha arati
Big and slightly angular fruits

1.8 x 1.8 mt

semi tall varty

Grand Nine /
 semi tall, high yielding varty from Israel.
Famous Tissue culture varty

G 9
11 months crop. Bunch wt is 30 kg and yield is

30 tons/Acre

Martaman /

Bengal Amrutapani
Good commercial varty 20 Tons / Acre

(‘000 Ha.)
(‘000 MT)
Tamil Nadu
Andhra Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh

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