As monsoon is approaching, arecanut farmers are busy in prophylactic spraying to protect arecanut from fruit rot disease. In view of the scarcity of skilled climbers, it was a long-standing demand from arecanut growers to have a mechanized sprayer which can be used to spray solutions from the ground.
The Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasaragod, Kerala, in collaboration with ASPEE has developed a tractor-mounted blower for spraying prophylactic solutions to control kole roga or mahali (fruit rot disease) in arecanut plantations.
It was demonstrated for the first time in the CPCRI’s regional station in Vitla, Dakshina Kannada, on May 30 at 11.30 a.m. for farmers, according to P. Chowdappa, Director, CPCRI.
Farmers can spray recommended prophylactic solutions to arecanut palms from the ground. Under the conventional method, skilled climbers went up palms and sprayed solutions directly on arecanut bunches.
Mr. Chowdappa informed that the blower could be fitted to a 22-25 horse power garden tractor or a mini tractor. When the tractor is driven, the blower mounted on the rear of the vehicle sprayed the solution from the plastic tank fitted on it.
A scientist of the CPCRI said that the solutions could be sprayed up to 90 ft high from the ground. The tractor could be driven easily in such plantations having arecanut as mono crop without inter-crops such as cocoa, banana, cardamom, coffee and the like. It would be difficult to deploy the vehicle in plantations having inter-crops. The tractor could be used in such plantations having undulating terrain.
The scientist said that unlike in the conventional method, the tractor-mounted blower did not spray the solution directly on the bunches. It sprayed the solution on the canopy in the plantations covering the bunches as well. Mr. Chowdappa said that farmers can witness the demonstration and offer suggestions on improving it. The conventional method of spraying required two or three persons. But using the tractor, one person can spray the recommended solutions.