how to start a cabbage farming business

How to Start and Grow Cabbage Farming Business

Do you want to grow cabbage and start a cabbage farming business? Here in this article, we list down the steps associated with creating a cabbage farming business plan.

Cabbage is a popular vegetable throughout the world. Because it has the adaptability to a wide range of climatic conditions and soil. In addition, ease of production and storage, and its food value gives another boost in production.

Another popular name is Khavhishi. The scientific name of cabbage is Brassica oleracea var. Capitata. Cabbage has an adventitious root system. Major cabbage-producing countries are China, India, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine, and Indonesia.

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Cabbage consumption varies widely around the world. However, Russia has the highest annual per capita consumption at 20 kilograms. Cabbage is a very important winter crop in India. Therefore, the major cabbage-producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Assam, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Furthermore, Cabbage is rich in minerals and vitamins A, B1, B2, and C. Cabbage cultivation is a profitable farming business and it assures quick returns.

Economic Importance of Cabbage Farming

Cabbage is an economically important vegetable in commercial trade. The consumption of cabbage includes eating the vegetable raw or steaming it.  Pickling is one of the most popular ways of preserving cabbage, creating dishes such as sauerkraut and kimchi. Farmers generally produce cabbage as a cash crop. Cabbage has a strong footprint in domestic and international trade.

Cabbage is used raw in salads, such as coleslaw, as a cooked vegetable, or preserved in pickles or sauerkraut. Cabbage is 90% water and an excellent source of minerals, Vitamin A and C, and the B vitamins. Fresh cabbage juice has been shown to promote the rapid healing of peptic ulcers. Therefore, the fresh produce market, processors, restaurants, hawkers, retailers, and chain stores are the value chain distribution systems for cabbage.

Things to Consider in Cabbage Farming

  • First of all, site selection plays an important role. Therefore, minimizing potential production problems is essential in cabbage farming.
  • Field topography has a significant influence on crop production and management.
  • Soils consist of decomposed mineral matter (sand, silt, and clay) and decomposed organic matter. Pay attention to land preparation.
  • Water is the lifeblood of vegetable production. Cabbage generally requires more water and more frequent irrigation than most other agronomic crops.
  • In addition, choose the right variety. It is a make-or-break decision in cabbage farming.
  • Like any vegetable cabbage is also perishable.  To achieve profitability, a producer must have a well-thought-out production and marketing plan based on sound scientific and business principles.
  • In conclusion, craft a proper business plan with marketing and financial calculations. Most startup vegetable operations generally fail due to the lack of market development or marketing skills.

Health Benefits of Cabbage

  • Cabbage is very rich in fibre, the main health benefit of roughage. This helps the body retain water and it maintains the bulkiness of the food as it moves through the bowels.
  • In addition, it is a good remedy for constipation and other digestion-related problems.
  • Furthermore, cabbage is rich in sulfur. So, it helps fight infections in wounds and reduces the frequency and severity of ulcers.
  • Cabbage is frequently recommended for people who want to lose weight healthily.
  • Cabbage is a rich source of beta-carotene. It improves eyesight and promotes good eye health.
  • The presence of potassium in cabbage protects from high blood pressure.
  • Cabbage acts as a good detoxifier too, meaning that it purifies the blood and removes toxins.

Best Varieties for Cabbage Farming

You can group several types of cabbage into conical or sugarloaf-headed, ball-headed, and drum-headed based on the shape of the head and the savoy. Therefore, you can also classify them according to their colour and growth cycle. The leaves may be green or purple and smooth or wrinkled. The savoy types are tolerant of cold conditions and they have deep-wrinkled dark green leaves.

  • Green cabbage: Varieties vary in their earliness and mature size. However, you can grow smaller varieties at close spacing.
  • Red Cabbage: It provides higher levels of vitamins A and C than other types of cabbage, and its bright colour is always beautiful on the plate.
  • Savoy cabbage: It produces a crisp heart and crinkled dark green outer leaves.
  • Pointed Cabbage: It develops conical instead of rounded heads. Its upright growth habit and tight outer leaves protect pointed cabbage from insects and the sun.
  • Napa Cabbage / Chinese Cabbage: It matures quickly and produces crisp, mild-flavored leaves.

Agro Climatic Condition For Cabbage Farming

Cabbage and leafy greens. It adopts a wide range of environmental conditions. Cabbage grows best in a relatively cool and humid climate. Therefore, you will find a poor yield and quality in summer. It is also difficult to control insect pests. The optimum temperatures for growth and development are from 18 °C to 20 °C.

It is fairly resistant to frost and can survive temperatures as low as – 3 °C without damage. However, you can grow cabbage throughout the year in most regions. Organic cabbage always gives a better profit margin to the farmers.

Water requirements vary from 380 to 500 mm per crop, depending on the climate and length of the growing season. However, crop water use increases during the growing period with a peak towards the end of the season. The susceptibility of different varieties to different climatic conditions is also an important point to consider.

Suitable Soil For Cabbage Cultivation

You can grow cabbage on a wide range of soils. However, it thrives on well-drained, moisture-retentive loamy soils well supplied with organic matter. It does not grow well in highly acidic soil.

The ideal soil pH ranges from 5.5 to 6.5. It does not grow well in highly acidic soils. However, small-growing cabbage varieties do well in sandy soils, while large and late-maturing varieties do in heavy soils. Soils intended for cabbage growing should have good drainage.

Cabbage Cultivation Basic Steps

Soil Preparation

You must adopt the proper soil preparation method. You must clean the land eight weeks before planting. Plough deeply, immediately before planting, with a disk harrow or other suitable implement to a depth of 450 to 600 mm. However, you must fumigate the soil to control nematodes. in addition, you can sterilize the soil by both physical and chemical means.

Planting

You can plant cabbage by direct seeding or transplanting seedlings. However, you must maintain the seed rate of 500 g/ha for the early crop and 375 g/ha for the late crop. Also, you can use the poly house to provide a favourable climate for the germination of seeds and seedlings.

Layout & Spacing

You can use the ridges & furrow type of layout for the crop. Before that, you must prepare the seedlings in the nursery bed (Raised bed) & transplant them into the main field after 3-4 weeks. Spacing for the early crop is 45×45 cm and the late crop is 60×60 cm.

Irrigation

You must irrigate immediately after sowing or transplanting. Thereafter, you must apply irrigation at intervals of 10 to 12 days in heavy soils or eight days in light soils. And you must follow the schedule until the heads are fully developed and firm. Young plants should receive enough water for vegetative growth before forming heads. Excess moisture when the heads have formed may cause them to crack.

Manuring

Cabbage is a shallow-rooted crop with high nutrient requirements. It is a heavy feeder and requires supplemental fertilization in the form of manure or compost, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Therefore, you must develop a fertilizer program based on soil analyses for each field.

For the best results, you can apply 20-25 t/ha of FYM in the soil about three weeks before transplanting. Cabbage also needs micronutrients for proper growth and development. The crop has a high requirement for calcium. Deficiencies of this nutrient may occur on acid soils, on soils with very high potassium, or on very dry soils.

Weed Control

You can control weeds mechanically or by hand as well as chemically through the application of registered herbicides. You will need to do mechanical cultivation during land preparation until the plants are about half-grown. You can do the first cultivation two to three weeks after transplanting.

Plant Protection System In Cabbage Cultivation

Pest Control

  • Aphids: Several aphids attack cabbage. However, the grey cabbage aphid (Brevicoryne Brassicae) and the green peach aphid (Myzus Persicae) are the most common.
  • Diamond-black moth (Plutella Xylostella): They suck sap from tender growth, resulting in a whitish, scarred appearance.
  • Bagrada bug (Bagrada Hilarus): They suck sap from tender growth, resulting in a whitish, scarred appearance.
  • American bollworm (Helicoverpa Armigera): The larvae feed on the leaves. They cause severe damage in the early stages of growth.
  • Nematodes: Several nematodes affect cabbage. Plants infested with nematodes are unthrifty
    and may become stunted.

Disease Control

  • Clubroot (Plasmodiophora brassicae): The disease is soil-borne and the spores can survive for up to 20 years in the soil.
  • Fusarium wilt or cabbage yellows (Fusarium oxysporum f. conglutinans): Fusarium wilt is more prevalent in summer and the fungus persists indefinitely in the soil.
  • Downy mildew (Peronospera parasitica): Downy mildew is common in cool, humid weather. The fungus survives in debris and is spread by air-borne spores in large numbers.

Harvesting & Yield In Cabbage Farming

How Long Does Cabbage Take to Grow

You can harvest cabbage when the head is of suitable size, firm but tender. Generally, you can start harvesting in 80 to 180 days in the case of growing from seeds. And in 60 to 105 days if you grow through transplantation. Also, it depends upon the variety.

The average yield of cabbage varies from 100 to 115 t/ha. If you delay harvesting the heads may split and rots may occur while the heads harvested early may be soft.

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For fresh market selling, you can harvest cabbage by hand with a knife or sickle. However,  for storage and/or processing, you must harvest cabbage at once mechanically. In attaining the quality of cabbage, you must do grading according to the size and quality as per the standards laid down by the Indian Standards Institution.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does Cabbage Earn per Acre

The average yield of cabbage per acre varies, but it typically ranges from 15,000 to 25,000 heads of cabbage, depending on the cultivation practices and local conditions. Cabbage prices fluctuate based on the region and market demand. On average, cabbage prices per kilogram can range from Rs. 10 to Rs. 20, with variations throughout the year.

The earnings from cabbage farming per acre in India can vary based on several factors, including location, climate, cultivation practices, market demand, and the specific cabbage variety grown.

What is the Cost of Cultivation of Cabbage?

The cost of cultivating cabbage in India can vary based on several factors, including the location, scale of cultivation, farming practices, and local input costs. As per this report from Krishi Vigyan Knowledge Network, the cost of cultivation of Cabbage is approx. Rs. 1,38,354/- per hectare and the net return is Rs. 85,646/- per hectare.

What are the best cabbage varieties for commercial farming?

Cabbage varieties suitable for commercial farming vary by region. Consult with local agricultural extension services or seed suppliers to identify varieties well-adapted to your climate and market demands.

What is the ideal planting season for cabbage?

Answer: The ideal planting season depends on your local climate. Generally, cabbage is planted in cooler seasons. Consult with local agricultural experts or use weather data to determine the best timing for your specific region.

How can I control pests and diseases in cabbage farming organically?

Organic pest control methods for cabbage include introducing beneficial insects, using neem oil, companion planting, and maintaining proper crop rotation. Regular monitoring and early intervention are essential for successful organic pest management.

What is the average time from planting to harvesting for cabbage?

The time from planting to harvesting varies depending on the cabbage variety and growing conditions. Typically, it takes about 70 to 120 days for the cabbage to mature. Consult seed packaging or local agricultural experts for specific information.

Can cabbage be grown in containers or pots?

While cabbage is typically grown in the ground, certain dwarf or mini cabbage varieties can be cultivated in large containers or pots. Ensure the containers provide sufficient space for root development and proper drainage.

How do I know when cabbage is ready for harvest?

Cabbage is ready for harvest when the heads are firm, compact, and fully developed. Use a sharp knife to cut the cabbage heads at the base, leaving a few outer leaves intact for protection during transportation.

What post-harvest practices enhance cabbage quality?

Cooling harvested cabbages promptly helps retain freshness. Store cabbages in a cool, humid environment. Proper packaging in sturdy crates or containers prevents damage during transportation.

How do I find buyers for my cabbage produce?

Establish connections with local markets, grocery stores, restaurants, and potential buyers. Networking through agricultural events, farmers’ markets, and online platforms can help you reach potential customers.

What is integrated pest management (IPM), and how can it be implemented in cabbage farming?

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a holistic approach that combines biological, cultural, and chemical control methods to manage pests. In cabbage farming, IPM involves regular monitoring, using natural predators, crop rotation, and judicious use of pesticides when necessary.

What are the common challenges in cabbage farming and how can they be overcome?

Common challenges include pests, diseases, weather fluctuations, and market competition. Overcome these challenges by implementing effective pest management, practising crop rotation, adapting to weather conditions, and differentiating your produce through unique varieties or marketing strategies.