Common Problems Faced in Coconut Farming & Recommendations

Common Problems Faced in Coconut Farming & Recommendations

Coconut farming usually comes with various levels of commitment in terms of its cultivation. Several problems arise in a coconut farm and none of them are particularly about the environment in itself but due to all the external factors that contribute to its overall issues. Some of the prominent factors are stated here:

1.Rejuvenation of existing garden

The really low yield in the large majority of the gardens holding the coconut plantations is probably due to a thick population, as well as a steep lack of overall manuring as well as irrigation purposes. These gardens could be improved if some, if not all of the following measures are effectively taken.

2.Thinning of thickly populated gardens

This is a common issue that arises in most coconut farms. In the farmer’s holdings where there is usually a thick planting that is being adopted, most of the trees tend to give a yield of probably fewer than 20 nuts per coconut palm plant annually. By cutting as well as removing the wide set of trees, the yield could be increased. Besides, there are good amounts of savings in the cost of the overall coconut cultivation and in general, which tends to increase per net profit. After the overall removal of the low-yielding trees, the population of the coconut farming gardens could be maintained at 175 palms per hectare. 

3.Ensuring adequate manuring and irrigation

The yield can also be increased with the existing gardens when taking on the processes of manuring as well as irrigation. This includes the cultural practices that tend to be adopted as per the overall recommendations.

Other ways to rejuvenate the existing coconut farms

The actual rejuvenation process of the existing coconut farms usually tends to be as per the practices followed in the coconut farming gardens. It is usually based on the programs that are under process for the particular plantation and its overall cultivation time. In that aspect, some of the ways to effectively rejuvenate the coconut farms include

● Reviving the traditional coconut gardens which can then be converted into a very modern and Hybrid coconut plantation garden through a special rejuvenation program.

● Plant hybrid seedlings frequently in between the practised and existing traditional coconut trees with an adequate spacing of about 25 ft.

● It can be started with the uprooting process for the existing tall coconut trees from the second year itself to fully give good sunlight to all of the young coconut palm plants.

● Young coconut palm plants begin to give you enough fruit very much from the fourth year itself under good management conditions.

● This will be the goal when the farmers are looking to provide a lifelong increased income from the coconut plantations from almost the same area of planting.

● Irrigation practices as well as effective manuring of the hybrid coconut trees usually tend to be as per the specified schedule, leading up to optimum productivity.

Activities that are eligible for subsidy

Not all activities carried out in the coconut farms tend to make the coconut farmers applicable for the subsidy. There is a wide range of factors that tend to play a pivotal role in the overall integration of the subsidy with the process followed in the coconut plantation gardens. These include 

  1. Cutting as well as the removal of old, poorly performing or unproductive as well as diseased and senile coconut palm plants. The farmers can do this under the process of field sanitation.
  2. Replanting those coconut palm plants which are disease tolerant, mostly the tall ones and the hybrids, with some dwarf cultivars can help to maintain the effective and optimum palm population.
  3. Rejuvenation of the coconut gardens can be done by adopting integrated management practices as adequately recommended by the prevailing CPCRI.

Eligibility Criteria for Subsidy for the Coconut Plantation

  1. All farmers who are located in the contiguous areas within the parameters of a CPS/ ward/Panchayat shall be readily eligible for assistance.
  2. The cluster formed at any particular ward level shall be appropriately transformed into a coconut producer society and can undertake all the existing bylaws and shall also be registered as a community with the Coconut Development Board.
  3. Applicant should necessarily be the owner cultivator of the land.
  4. Complete assistance under the available schemes will be limited to up to 4 ha per farmer.

Though there are a good number of subsidies that are available for usage in the coconut farming gardens it is usually a part of the package that the farmers come with a specific complaint that is raised in the requirement for that particular subsidy, To combat some of the disorders that the coconut plantations may usually face, they will usually seek subsidy as a form of assistance or as a form of aid for the treatment of that particular issue. Some of the prominent issues include 

Pencil point disorder (Micronutrient deficiency)

Because of all the micronutrient deficiency, there is a possibility that the stem will tend to be tapered towards its very tip with so much lesser number of leaves. The leaf size will also be greatly reduced along with the leaves turning out to be fairly pale as well as yellow in color. Along with the overall recommended amount of fertilizer dose which is about 225 g each of Borax in a combination of Zinc sulfate, Manganese sulfate, 10 g of Ammonium molybdate mixed with Ferrous sulfate, and Copper sulfate. This may also be evenly dissolved in 10 litres of water and have it poured into the basin which is usually about a 1.8 m radius. This disorder can also be widely and distinctively visible when undertaken to be corrected if noticed early. Severely affected coconut palm plants also usually tend to be removed and replanted with a good count of new seedlings in the coconut farms. 

3. Button shedding

In this case, there is a large amount of shedding of the buttons from the coconut palm plants and all the premature nuts will start to shed its leaves based on these reasons: Provide regular irrigation, and requested nutrition to reduce the button shedding.

Barren nuts

It is best to apply an extra 2 kg of K2O with the right mixture of 200 g of Borax per coconut palm plant over and above the usual dosage of the sprayed fertilizer to be corrected with the barren nuts in the coconut plantings.

TNAU MN mixture 

It is advised to have the TNAU MN mixture sprayed at about 1 kg per coconut tree for about an entire year. It is also well enriched with FYM that is prepared at about 1:10th of the ratio of the MN mixture and then added with FYM. This is then mixed with the friable moisture and also incubated for about one month in the shade. 

Physiological disorders in a coconut palm plant

Deficiencies in nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and several other micronutrients are usually very common in the case of coconut cultivation. Symptoms are in most cases often observed in the coconut plantation gardens where the trees are not so properly fertilized with organic manures.

Major Nutrients and the Deficiencies

1. Nitrogen (N) Deficiency

N deficiency is typically caused by insufficient N in the soil. Nitrogen deficiency begins as a uniform light green discolouration/yellowing (uniform chlorosis) of the oldest leaves. Yellowing starts from the tip to the base of the lower leaves and will proceed up. As the deficiency progresses, younger leaves will also become discoloured. Older leaves are a golden yellow colour. Growth virtually stops when N deficiency is severe and becomes the shedding of leaves.

Nitrogen deficiency is easily diagnosed by symptoms alone, although leaf nutrient analysis can also be helpful. Nitrogen deficiency can be confused with Fe or S deficiency, although the chlorosis in those deficiencies is typically most severe on the youngest leaves. The reverse is true for N deficiency.

To manage this deficiency there must be adequate Foliar application of 2% urea thrice at fortnightly intervals or soil application of 1-2 kg urea/tree or root feeding of 1% urea (1 g/litre of water) 200 ml twice a year One of the most common deficiency symptoms apart from the yellowing of the leaves as well as the entire coconut planting from the tip to the base is when the coconut palm plant faces any deficiency. This can lead to a serious disease called Uniform Chlorosis.

Uniform Chlorosis

Lack of an essential nutrient element in plants will result in the expression of nutrient deficiencies and can be determined from visual symptoms. The correct diagnosis of the deficiency is important to correct the problem. In general, nutrient deficiency symptoms are expressed either in the new or older leaves. For immobile nutrients in plants like zinc, iron, copper, manganese, boron, chlorine, nickel, calcium, and sulfur, the deficiency symptoms first show up in the younger leaves. Deficiency symptoms for mobile nutrients in plants like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium are first expressed in older leaves. Molybdenum deficiency symptoms in plants first appear between the old and new leaves. 

Plant analysis has played a significant part in determining several strong tendencies of nutrient deficiencies, while most growers rely primarily on visual symptoms, plant tissue analysis, and soil analysis. Plant analysis and several other soil tests can go hand in hand. A soil test provides an index of the nutrient that is potentially available for the crop. Plant analysis tells how much of that potentially available nutrient is taken up by the plant.

Some of the common nutrient deficiency symptoms include leaf declaration, extensive necrosis of the leaflet and its margins along with its tips, the leaflets and its tips, Necrosis and curling along with some small Chlorotic and necrotic new leaves. Cases of trunk tapering as well as translucent yellow-orange spotting are visible on coconut farms.

Potassium (K) Deficiency

Potassium deficiency can be a serious problem for the coconut palm plant as it may not have enough nutrients to effectively produce many fruits. In this case, it is generally observed that the coconut plant is said to experience a potassium deficiency. As far as the symptoms are concerned, 

● Symptoms first appear on the very oldest leaves and then later spread to young leaves as well.

● Translucent yellow or bright orange spots tend to develop on the leaflets.

● Older leaves start to show necrotic spotting as well as some amount of curling on the leaflet tips.

● Leaflets with these necrotic areas tend to come along the distinctive margins which will later wither. 

● The tree tends to appear yellow with the trunk turning slightly slender with few short leaves.

Regular applications of K fertilizers will surely help to prevent K deficiency and treat all these coconut palm plants that are already extremely deficient. On sandy soils, or those having little cation exchange capacity, controlled-release K sources are much more effective than the easily leached water-soluble K sources. Application of proper and adequate resin-coated K2SO4 about four times a year along with 2 kg MgSO4 per coconut tree can help reverse the damage gradually. It is also advised to practice root feeding for about 200ml for about 1% KCL per coconut tree about thrice a year.

Phosphorus Deficiency

Phosphorus deficiency is usually visible with purple prominent discolouration in the leaves and hues that stand out as a problem that has occurred on the coconut planting. Some roosts have restricted diets and may turn yellow before even drying as a sign of prematurity. Some other symptoms include: 

● Sluggish growth

● Leaves stay upright

● Premature leaf shedding

The growth, leaf size and leaf number can also be greatly reduced. The root growth is severely restricted if phosphorus deficiency is also considerably recorded. There are no clear visual symptoms of having added phosphorus deficiency other than just plain stunting and a decrease in its yield.

To effectively manage this situation it is advised to spray Foliar spray of DAP 2% twice at fortnightly in regular intervals as well as to focus on the even soil application of the FYM per coconut tree. 

Sulfur Deficiency

In this case, there are typical symptoms that tend to be visible such as yellowish-green or yellowish-orange leaflets. Even though the old leaves tend to remain green these leaves can eventually droop as the stem becomes weak. In older palms, leaf number, as well as its size, are greatly reduced. Sometimes a large apron of dead fronds tends to be developed around the stem due to the actual weakness of the rachis. Nuts may even tend to fall prematurely. Copra will also be rubbery and of really poor market quality.

The management technique followed is to focus on the Soil application of gypsum for about 2 - 5 kg per coconut tree annually. Some of the common nutrient deficiency symptoms include aprons of dead fronds developing around the stem due to the weakness of the rachis and the leaf Number as well as a reduced size.