Precision farming: an integrated approach in developing and managing guava orchards

V. Chawda, R. Ghosh, D. Nagar
A 14-ha guava orchard was planted in Bakawand Village of Bastar, Chhattisgarh, India. Bastar is a tribal province with undulated topography and light soils. The cultivar selected was VNR-Bihi, a high yielding variety with excellent shelf life. The plants were multiplied by wedge grafting, the soil medium was properly sterilized and the rootstock used was a local cultivar tolerant to wilt and nematodes. Trees were trained according to a single leader trellis system, allowing lateral growth of branches for optimum utilization of sunlight and efficient pest and disease management. The pruning of branches was timely ensured for optimum yield. The number of fruits per tree was standardized for optimum fruit weight and quality. Young fruits were bagged using foam-net, anti-drip polythene cover and paper cover at top to avoid damages caused by scraping, fruit fly and sun scorching. The fertilization plan was scheduled on the basis of crop nutrient removal and considering the nutrient availability through soil and irrigation water. The fertilizers were applied through the advanced 'Fertikit' system leading to precise and hassle-free fertilization and efficient use of fertilizers. Pulse irrigation via shallow sub surface compensated non-leakage dripline was adopted for precise fertigation in undulated topography. Thick plastic mulch as well as organic mulch were used for weed control and moisture retention with grass coverage in-between. Integration of all these techniques led to achieve an average annual yield of 80 t ha‑1 with year-round harvesting against the 30 t ha‑1 yield of orchards under conventional management. Mechanical graders were used for selecting harvested fruits according to weight and size and the fruit was shipped to big distances in GPS-enabled air-conditioned vehicles along with data loggers for recording the temperature and relative humidity.
Chawda, V., Ghosh, R. and Nagar, D. (2021). Precision farming: an integrated approach in developing and managing guava orchards. Acta Hortic. 1314, 253-258
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1314.32
fertigation, wilt, single leader trellis system, sub-surface drip irrigation, pruning

Acta Horticulturae