1. Agriculture World

Perennial ODC 3 Moringa for Sustainable Yield and Income

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
moringa
Moringa cookies

It is high time that we collated our ideas about natural immunity boosters like Moringa in these unprecedented times of Corona Pandemic. Moringa tree was a part and parcel of olden times and the each part of the tree offers amazing health benefits. Moringa is now beginning to gain more popularity as a new nutritious superfood. The Moringa Variety ODC 3 is being cultivated at Cumbum Valley in TN and has caught the attention of global buyers at present. 

The Perennial Moringa ODC 3 variety is preferred by farmers across India for Sustainable Yield and Income. Once sown, it continues to produce yield of fruits in an increasing trend year after year, with number of fruits reaching over 1000 per tree. Adequately spaced @ 3.6 M × 2.7-3.0 M between and along the rows, ODC 3 variety pick up growth very fast in early vegetative phase and the terminal growth of all stems/ branches are cut off frequently until each tree produces minimum around 20 branches.  

Drumsticks are produced in  blooms borne on current season. Since economic life of trees last more than 10 years , after every harvest of pods , weak /twisted / unproductive/dry / diseased and overgrown stems and branches should be removed and enriched manure applied @ 10 kgs per tree , once after pruning and next during pre-flowering period. 

Moringa Drumsticks

Water Management in Perennial Moringa  

Optimum Irrigation is very essential for successful and sustainable production of drumsticks in perennial Moringa variety ODC 3, as the water in leaves and pods constitutes 80% of its total weight. Each tree requires 4 lit of water daily to meet its physiological needs and about 500 trees in an acre require about 2000 lit per day and 7.30 lac lit per year.  

1 inch rainfall generally in 1 acre yields 1 lakh litres of water. However in areas where annual average rainfall measures 600 mm, 24 lac lit of rain water is received in an acre in a span of 45-50 days and 10% of this quantity say 2.4 lac lit of rain water is used effectively by moringa plants in about 90 days during monsoon period. As 500 Moringa trees require about 7.30 lac lit per year the balance quantity 4.9 lac lit of water (7.3 lac lit - 2.4 lac lit) is supplemented through irrigation, that too during sowing and early vegetative period and during flowering and fruiting of the moringa trees in summer.  

Generally, 1-inch rainfall in 1 acre yields 1 lakh litres of water. However in area where annual average rainfall measures 600 mm , 24 lac lit of rain water is received in an acre in a span of 45-50 days and 10% of this quantity say 2.4 lac lit of rain water is used effectively by moringa plants in about 90 days during monsoon period and balance quantity say 4.9 lac lit of water ( 7.3 lac lit - 2.4 lac lit ) is supplemented through irrigation,that too during sowing and early vegetative period and during flowering and fruiting of the moringa trees in summer.  

The moringa tree roots occupy just 1/4 th of field ( 4048 sqm ) so the available water near around the root zone only is accounted for and water / moisture held in other area away from root zone is not considered available for plants . 1/4 of 24 lac lit is 6 lac lit water. 40% of 6 lac lit as effective rainfall available for use of moringa trees is 2.4 lac lit. This 2.4 lac lit water is available for 120 days (4 months) for use by 500 moringa trees. 

seeds
Moringa Seeds

In rainfed/ semiarid area soil ripping/ summer plowing is done to increase the infiltration and reduce runoff loss of rainwater. By trash mulching / natural farming practices soil moisture can be conserved and actual water requirement of plants is further reduced by half. For profuse flowering in moringa, alternate wet and dry spell is essential and panchagavya spray acts as a fillip in breaking more buds, its retention and fruit set. 

Protective spray of pesticides/ biopesticides/organic pesticides is done soon after pruning and when new flush comes out in profusion and finally when pods are tender without groves. 

Information Courtesy - Ramu ThampalayagowderAssistant Director of Agriculture at Department of Agriculture,Tamilnadu  

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