Here is a Stepwise Guide on Starting Cauliflower Cultivation
Cauliflower cultivation is a profitable agriculture business in the vegetable segment. Even it is profitable with a small piece of land. However, selecting the right cultivars, proper farm management, and efficient plant protection management is important. Here in this article, we intend to explore how to start a cauliflower cultivation business with small capital investment.
The scientific name of the cauliflower is Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis. Furthermore, the plant belongs to the family Cruciferae. Major cauliflower producing countries are China, India, Spain, Italy, France, and Mexico. In the USA, California is the major cauliflower producing state in the United States.
Economic Importance of Cauliflower Cultivation in India
Cauliflower belongs to the same plant family as cabbage, broccoli, kale, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts. In addition, it is a highly nutritious vegetable, ranking among the top 10 foods in regards to ANDI score (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index). It measures vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient content in relation to caloric content.
It is low in calories and an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber, as well as provides two core conventional antioxidants. Apart from domestic consumption, the crop has promising export potential also. The crop is also an essential item in the pickle manufacturing industry. Some of the value-added products are dehydrated cauliflower and frozen cauliflower.
Cauliflower is one of the most important winter vegetables in India. And in India, the major cauliflower producing states are Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Haryana, and Maharashtra. Due to the usage of hybrid quality seeds and drip irrigation system, the cauliflower production is increasing rapidly.
Health Benefits of Cauliflower
- First of all, cauliflower is a good source of choline, a B vitamin. This is very useful in brain development.
- Cauliflower helps your body’s ability to detoxify in multiple ways. It contains antioxidants that support Phase 1 detoxification along with sulfur-containing nutrients important for Phase 2 detox activities.
- Furthermore, this is an important source of dietary fiber for digestive health.
- In addition, cauliflower is a heart-healthy vegetable. It helps in maintaining the heart and the cardiovascular system.
- Cauliflower is also a good source of vitamin C. Also it contains zinc, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and also selenium and sodium.
Things To Consider in Cauliflower Cultivation
Cauliflower is a very profitable commercial cash crop. However, there are some important aspects that you need to consider seriously.
- First of all, choose the right variety. According to your agroclimatic condition and other available resources, you must plant right cultivar.
- Start planting in the right season. High temperatures during cauliflower production delay maturity and increase vegetative growth and cool temperatures hasten maturity and may induce ‘bolting’.
- Furthermore, this is an annual crop. You must craft a right business plan with a financial assessment. In addition, you must have a marketing plan.
- Finally, the availability of water is critical to successful production. You must arrange the proper irrigation system and resources for your cauliflower farm.
Best Varieties For cauliflower Cultivation
Cauliflower varieties are very responsive to temperature and photoperiod. Therefore, it is very important to sow the appropriate variety at the right time. If you sow early varieties in late, you will find “button” head and late varieties if sown early will go on giving leafy growth and will produce curds very late. Pusa Katki and Pusa Deepali are early varieties whereas Pusa Subhra, Pant Subhra are mid-season varieties. The late varieties are Dania, Pusa Snowball and Indam 19.
Furthermore, in hills, you can try Ooty 1, Pusa Dapoli, Cuba Giant, Snowball, Second early, Early Kunwar and Second early Kunwar cultivars. Whereas, Early Synthetic, Pawas, NS131, Tropi cross Marval, Patna mid-season, and Arka Kanti are the popular cultivars for plains.
Agroclimatic Condition For Cauliflower Cultivation
The brassica family is quite a cold-resistant, making them well adapted to cool-season production. With most cole crops, a cold period is necessary for flowering. However, each crop has its own temperature tolerance. Young, hardened cauliflower plants can withstand temperatures of 0 °C for less than 36 hours.
The minimum and maximum growing temperatures for cauliflower are 0 and 30 °C, with the optimum growing temperature for this crop between 15 and 22 °C.
And the minimum, optimum and maximum germination temperatures for cauliflower are 7, 27 and 29 °C respectively. The early varieties require higher temperatures and longer day lengths.
Suitable Soil For Cauliflower Cultivation
When other conditions are favorable, you can grow cauliflower with any good soil. However, a fairly deep loamy soil is most desirable. It is sensitive to high acidity. The optimum soil pH for maximum production is 5.5-.6. A soil with high organic matter content and good drainage are suitable for cauliflower cultivation.
Cauliflower Cultivation Basic Steps
First of all, you must sterilize the soil by both physical and chemical means. You must plow the field deep (20-25 cm) with soil turning plow. Bring the soil to the fine tilth. Furthermore, you must take the pits at a spacing of 45 cm either way in hills. Form ridges and furrows at 60 cm in plains.
First of all, you can sow the cauliflower seeds in raised nursery beds of sterilized soil. For early season crop, You must treat the seeds with some mercurial fungicide. It helps to save the young seedlings from damping off. The seed rate is 600 to 750 g/ha for early varieties and 375 to 400 g/ha for late varieties. Finally, you can transplant four to six weeks old seedlings in the field.
Cauliflower is sensitive to stress, and it needs proper irrigation. For early sowing the field, you must irrigate three times at an interval of four days. However, you can do watering whenever necessary. For late sowing, it needs irrigation twice at an interval of one week.
Cauliflower is a shallow-rooted crop. Its roots are confined to 45 to 60 cm soil depth. Therefore, drip irrigation is the most suitable irrigation method for uniform head size and high-quality produce.
Cauliflower requires a large quantity of fertilizer. One month before sowing, you must mix FYM in the soil. During the sowing period, you can apply two bags of DAP, one bag of potash and two bags of ammonium sulphate per acre. In addition, you can apply lime to maintain the soil pH in the range of 6.5 to 7.0.
Weed management is a major field problem for commercial cauliflower production. Weeds compete with the intended crop for nutrients. Even it can lead to a reduction in harvest as well as a delay in plant maturation. In addition, weeds provide a habitat for insects, nematodes, and diseases.
Furthermore, it can reduce the efficacy of spray-applied pest control materials by interfering with pesticide deposition.
Different types of herbicides are available to use on a cauliflower crop.
Plant Protection System In Cauliflower Cultivation to Prevent Challenges to Cauliflower Cultivation
Effective management of any pest requires the use of multiple pest control techniques. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a system that integrates managerial, cultural, physical, biological and chemical control techniques to manage pests. A key to IPM is to understand what pests are in your crop, through scouting and adjusting production practices to discourage pests from becoming problems. IPM is a proactive approach to pest management, rather than just a reaction to pests as they occur.
- Clubroot: It is a soil-borne disease which affects cauliflower. Early infections are difficult to detect as symptoms begin underground.
- Grey leaf spot and black leaf spot: Alternaria Brassicae (grey leaf spot) causes small and light brown or grey lesions and A. Brassicola (black leaf spot) causes larger and darker lesions. These diseases are seed and soil borne.
- Rhizoctonia: The soil-borne fungi Rhizoctonia and Pythium cause two diseases of cauliflower, namely damping off and Wirestem.
Harvesting & Yield In Cauliflower Cultivation
You must harvest cauliflowers with fully developed curds, solid, clear white and its leaves are healthy and green and of normal size. If you do not take proper care, the colour of cauliflower will be damaged and it will remain of no value in the market. The average yield of cauliflower should be between 1,400 and 1,600 kg/acre. Finally, you can pack cauliflowers in crates, cartons. Then you must move to market rapidly or you can store under 32 °F.
Finally, to make a substantial profit from cauliflower cultivation, it is mandatory to follow on the best practices usually maintained in this business.