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Okra
 
 
  Home > Package of Practices >Okra
 Package of Practises
bannana
brinjal
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cauliflower guava mango okra
tomato
Banana Brinjal Cabbage Cauliflower   Guava Mango Okra Tomato

 

OKRA
 
  Introduction  
 
Okra, or Ladies finger, which is also known as ‘ Bhindi ', is one of the important vegetables of India. It is grown throughout the tropical and sub-tropical regions and also in the warmer parts of the temperate regions. The nutritional value of 100g of edible okra is characterized 1.9 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 6.4 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g minerals and 1.2 g fibers. Okra has a good potential as a foreign exchanger crop and accounts for 60% of the export of fresh vegetables. It is cultivated in 0.349 M ha area with the production of 3.344 M mt and productivity of 9.6 mt/ha. The major okra producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In West Bengal, 0.662 M mt of Okra is produced from 58,400 ha with an average productivity of 11.4 mt/ha. The crop is also used in paper industry as well as for the extraction of fiber.
   
  Crop varieties  
 

Okra ( Abelmoschus esculentum (L.) Moench.) plant belongs to the family Malvaceae. The crop varieties are Kamini, Pusa Mukhamali, Parbhani Kranti, etc. are commonly cultivated varieties.

 
   
  Conventional practices  
 
Generally farmers grow locally available varieties with check basin or furrow method of irrigation. Standard practices of nutrient and plant protection measures are rarely adopted.
 
   
  Suitable agro climatic conditions  
 
Okra is a warm-weather crop. It can be grown in the temperature range from 22 o to 35 o C. Okra is susceptible to frost and cold injury below 12 o C temperature.
 
   
  Suitable soils  
 

Okra can be grown on a wide range of soils, having good internal drainage. Soils with high organic matter are preferred. Application of lime or dolomite may be done in acid soil to bring the pH in the range of 6.0 - 6.5.

 
   
  Preparation of land  
 
Intensive tillage is required for the land preparation of Okra. Deep (20-25 cm) ploughing followed by cross harrowing is done to make the soil friable and loose. One or two plankings are also needed to make the soil surface smooth and level.
 
   
  Soil sterilization  
 
The sterilization of the soil can be achieved by both physical and chemical means. Physical control measures include treatments with steam and solar energy. Chemical control methods include treatments with herbicides and fumigants. Soil sterilization can also be achieved by using transparent plastic mulch film, which is termed as soil solarization. During soil solarization, the incoming solar radiation penetrates the transparent plastic film and is absorbed in the soil. The absorbed radiation converts into heat energy, which raises the soil temperature and kills many soil-borne organisms including plant pathogens and pests.
 
   
  Planting  
 
Sowing is done in two seasons: end of January for the summer crop and end of May for the rainy season crop. The seed rate for the summer crop is 18 to 20 kg /ha and 10 to 12 kg /ha for the rainy season crop. A spacing of 60 x 45 cm or 60 x 30 cm is generally adopted.
 
   
  Drip system requirement  
 

Area: 1 ha, planting geometry: 60cm x 30cm.
Variable Items: 75 mm F PVC/HDPE pipe-54 m, 75 mm F PVC/HDPE pipe-102 m, 12mm F LDPE Lateral-8400 m, Online dripper (2 l/h)-13,888 Nos., Control valve- 2 Nos., Flush valve- 2 Nos., Tees/bends-1 No., Accessories.
Fixed Items : Screen filter (15m 3 / h) -1 No., Bypass assembly: 1 No., Fertilizer applicator –1 No., Accessories.

 
 
 
  Irrigation scheduling  
 

The crop requires adequate moisture in the soil during summer months for faster growth. Drip irrigation is most suitable to the crop as it provides uniform moisture throughout the season. The daily water requirement of Okra crop is 2.4 l/day/4 plants during early growth stage and 7.6 l/day/4 plants during the peak growth stage. The irrigation system should be operated daily for 75 minutes during initial growth stage and for 228 minutes during peak growth of the crop with an emitter capacity of 2 lph. Irrigation on each day or on alternate days with On-line type of drippers is preferred.

 
 
 
  Advantages of drip Irrigation  
 

•  Saves water.
•  Enhances plant growth and yield.
•  Saves energy and labour.
•  Most suited for soils having low water holding capacity on undulating terrain.
•  Reduces weed growth.
•  Improves fertilizer application efficiency.
•  Improves quality of produce.
•  Reduces salt concentration in the root zone.

 
 
 
  Application of fertilizers  
 

In order to maximize the yield about 30 t of FYM, 350 kg Super phosphate, 125 kg Murate of Potash and 300 kg Ammonium sulphate should be applied in the rows before sowing for one hectare of land. Nitrogen should be applied through fertigation in three split doses.

 
 
 
  Weed control  
 
As Okra is harvested over a long period, weed control happens to be an important cultural operation. Shallow rooted inter-row cultivation and hand weeding may be used to minimize weeds in the inter row zone. Black plastic mulch may be used to suppress weed growth. The black plastic mulch also keeps the soil warm and encourages plant growth.
 
 
 
  Plant protection  
 

The control measures for insects, pests and disease depend upon type and intensity of the problems. The control measures for the main pests and diseases are stated below.
Flea beetles is the major insect for Okra. This can be controlled with row covers or applications of Rotenone or Pyrethrin. Okra is susceptible to diseases such as Verticillium, Fusarium and several other fungal diseases in wet season. These diseases can be controlled by proper crop rotation and good garden sanitation practices.

 
 
 
 

Harvesting, yield and quality control

 
 
Okra is harvested in 60 to 70 days after planting when pods are 2 to 3 inches long. At this stage the pods are still tender. Larger okra pods will tend to be tough and fibrous. Round-podded okra varieties remain tender at larger pod sizes and are good to use for slicing and freezing. Since, Okra grows very fast, it should be harvested every two days. The pods should not be allowed to mature on the plant because this will inhibit more pods from developing and reduce the productivity of the plant. Handling of okra should be done carefully because the pods bruise easily. The yield of Okra varies from 5 - 7 t/ha in summer to 8 - 10 t/ha in the rainy season.
 
 
 
  Post harvest handling and storage  
 
Okra has a short storage life. A fresh good pod can be stored for 7-10 days at 7-10 0 C temperature and 90-95% relative humidity. At temperatures below 7 0 C Okra is subjected to chilling injury, which results in surface discoloration, pitting and decay.
 
 
 
  Cost economics  
 

Area: 1 ha. Planting geometry: 60cm x 30cm.
Fixed cost of drip system: Rs. 99,366
Rate of interest 10.5%, Life of system 7.5 years Annual cost of drip System: Rs. 14,287
Cost of cultivation: Rs. 11,500
Expected yield: 17 t/ha
Expected Benefit Cost ratio: 2.2

 
 
 
  Contact Address:  
 

Dr. K. N. Tiwari
Professor & Principal Investigator
Precision Farming Development Centre
Agricultural & Food Engineering Department
IIT Kharagpur (W.B.) 721 302
Tel: 03222-283150 (O)/ 283151 (R)
Fax: 03222-282244 (O)
mail: kamlesh@agfe.iitkgp.ernet.in pfdc_kharagpur@yahoo.com

 
 
 
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