AN INSIGHT INTO DWARF Vs TALL HYBRID COCONUT PLANTATION AND WAYS FOR MORE YIELD

AN INSIGHT INTO HYBRID COCONUT PLANTATION AND WAYS TO INCREASE THE YIELD OF FRUITS / NUTS
The lovely plant Coconut ( Cocus nucifera ) belongs to plant family  “ Arecaceae”  and being in use since 5 lac years .
In the world 95 % of the coconut are Tall varieties and only 5% are dwarf varieties that are Niu Leha, Village Dwarf ,Malayan or Nias Dwarf …Srilankan Dwarf , Chowghat orange Dwaf ( India )
Almost all of the Tall varieties are cross –pollinator ( out breeder ) and dwarf varieties are imbreeder ( self pollinator ) except Niu Leha that is cross pollinator …
The fruits of dwarf varieties are in different shades of color like green, orange, yellow and brown …
The Tall coconut varieties start producing inflorescence in 4.5 to 9 years after planting ,where as dwarf coconut varieties are producing inflorescence in 2-4 years after planting …
The coconut plant initiate flowering 1.5 to 2 years in advance before it is visible to human eyes after its emergence …
Every month one frond( leaf ) is produced accompanying with one spadix ( flower bunch )
The crown of healthy coconut bears 20 to 35 leaves ( fronds ) and each frond measures 25 to 30 feet long …so we give 30 feet spacing between 2 coconut plants …
The spadix ( spear like sheath approximately 1 M long ) will split and yellowish white inflorescence will emerge …the inflorescence bears so many rachis ( branches ) and 0-3 female flowers will be placed at the base of each rachis and the male flowers that are small will be seen at the top of rachis …so the button like female flowers will be seen at the bottom of the inflorescence and tiny male flowers at the top of the inflorescence…
HOW CROSS POLLINATION IS EFFECTED AND WHY YIELD IS LOWER IN INDIA ?
Immediately after opening of sheath ( spadix  that covers inflorescence ) the male flowers only at the top most start producing and shedding pollen ( male part of flowers necessary for fertilization ) and other male flowers below produce pollen successively downward and this continues  ( downward from top to bottom )  shedding  pollen  for over 3 weeks …
Only after all the pollen grain is produced and lost , the female flowers will become mature and receptive …so the male flowers could not fertilize the female flowers in the same inflorescence…Hence out breeding and outsourcing of pollen from other coconut plants are needed
Here to assist out breeding ( cross pollination ) the plant needs assistance of winds and insects mainly Bees …the wind helps only to the certain extent say 10-20% and most of the cross pollination is effected by bees …
Generally every inflorescence produce 40 to 60 female flowers in 13 to 17 spadix in a coconut tree but mostly one third of female flowers sets in fruits ie.,13 to 20 in each bunch . In one year it produce 12 bunches @ one bunch per month…The expected yield of nuts per tree per year is  12 * 13 = 160 nuts / 12*20=240 nuts

In case of Dwarf varieties that is predominantly self pollinated ( imbreeding ) …the female and male flowers mature simultaneously ( 90 % self pollination ) and inflorescence produce more flowers say 60 to 120 and also more numbers of spadix per year…The dwarf coconut varieties produces more leaves ( fronds )  and bunches in rapid succession that even the pollen produced in the successive bunches can fertilize the female flowers in the lower bunches in the same coconut tree …This is the reason why the dwarf coconut variety produces more nuts / fruits per tree per year …40 fruits per bunch …for 17 bunches ( dwarf under ideal condition produce more bunches and more leaves )  in a year it is 40 * 17=680 fruits / nuts per tree…Even it produces 1000 fruits / nuts although the size of the fruits are medium to small depending on the number of fruits per tree…

In General the average yield of Tall coconut in India is 60 fruits / nuts per tree per year and it is in the range of 80 to 100 in some states and individual tree yield is noticed upto 240 fruits / nuts per year …
Hybrid gives more yield ?
Dwarf Vs Tall hybrid can be resorted to increase the single tree yield …
When Dwarf coconut is bred with fertile and well performing Tall coconut the resulting hybrid possess characters of both the parents …
1.Earliness say 2 – 4 years flowering unlike 5 to 9 years waiting period in Pure tall varieties
2.More kernel and copra and oil content that is the characters acquired from well performing Tall coconut varieties
3.More number of bunches and fruits per tree per year that is the characters acquired from dwarf varieties …
4.Life period of coconut tree 40 to 50 years that is acquired from Tall coconut tree that lives upto 100 years …whereas Pure dwarf varieties have only 25 to 30 years only …
5.Hybrid can have 40 to 60 % self pollination that enhance individual tree yield upto 350 to 700 numbers
6.The hybrid can tolerate or resist disease and drought that are mostly the characters acquired by tall tree growing in specific location and this characters can well be built up in  new hybrids …
Besides the above , other factors also control yield of the coconut tree like
1.Temprature -21- 27 degree Celsius ideal but even grows well in temperature 25 to 36 but certainly temperature beyond 37 degree Celsius will have its negative impact on yield and also cool season with temperature below 21 degree Celsius affect yield …
2.Humidity
3.Wind speed
4.Disease and pest –
a) In the recent past one serious pest called Eriophyte mite devastated entire coconut plantation
b) Black headed caterpillar ( BHC ) that skeletanize the leaves by eating all the chlorophylls ( green part ) and makes coconut plants looks dry and withered canopy
c) Corid bugs that eats new female buttons that fall down
d) Rhinocerous beetles that cut tender leaves ( Zero leaves exactly at the growing point inside the crown of the growing coconut plants )
e) Stem weevil that feeds on the trunk making holes and splits that oozes gumming liquid
f) Bud rot disease killing plant soon
g) yellowing disease ( kind of mycoplasma ) that infect coconuts and is noticed and visible when the plants are totally sick and about to loose vigour and finally die
g) Nutrients – Major nutrients like Nitrogen, Phospohrus , Potash ( Kcl ) – Secondary nutrients like Calcium ( roots and crown development ) , Manesium ( fronds growth and development ) Sulphur ( the deficiency of sulphur will choke the crown and new leaves will not come out quickly and leaflets will not split away in the fronds )
And most essentially micro nutrients like Boron ( the deficiency of which make the female flowers that produce fruits/ nuts fall down easily by cutting and closing the root canal supplying water and nutrients from mother trunk to newly formed and fertilized female flowers and also poor kernel setting and oil …
Next Zinc, Copper ( the deficiency of which reduce fronds growth and development that looks bluish yellow and wavy )
Molybdenum and chlorine also most important in coconut plant physiology …
Last but not the least , the altitude – The coconut can grow upto 1000 MSL above the limit it grows but does not produce yield …Because every 100 meters increase in altitude the temperatures goes down by 0.6 degree Celsius …If plain land temperature is 27 degree Celsius , the temperature at an altitude 1000 MSL will be 21 degree Celsius below which the yield of coconut will be less or nil …

HOW TO IDENTIFY THE HYBRIDS
Generally female coconut tree used in breeding is dwarf coconut that looks orange, yellow  that are controlled by recessive genes in homozygous condition ( rr is excessiveness and RR denoted as dominant ) …when the dwarf coconut variety is bred with Tall coconut variety that generally looks green everywhere , the resulting hybrid will not show either orange or yellow color because the color will be disguished by dominant gene from Tall tree ( Rr genes ) …Hence the Hybrid seedlings from the nursery can be selected by noting the color , stoutness of the crown , early splitting of leaflets and girth of seedlings that are significantly well formed and robust .Such a hybrid only can produce more yield per tree per year …
AVOID SPURIOUS COCONUT SEEDLINGS
Some nursery are selling spurious coconut seedlings …These days men power has become costly and trained labor was not available …so the dwarf coconut trees are planted among the tall coconut trees and are allowed natural cross pollination through winds and insects …Most of the cases , not all the nuts are fertilized and nuts collected are sown in nursery and sold as hybrid…So the it needs utmost care while selecting hybrid coconut seedlings …
OTHER HYBRIDS
Tall Vs Dwarf
Tall Vs Tall
PURPOSE OF BREEDING
1.To increase number of fruits per tree per year
2.To increase kernel/ oil content
3.To instill the characters like disease and drought tolerance and resistance etc…






Amazing insight ramu sir, but is it really possible to get 650 to 1000 nuts in a hybrid tree per year??. What about Deejay variety of hybrids… Can they also yield more than 500 tender coconuts in a year…??

Thank you Pal…

There are lot of Tall coconut varieties .To tell few …East coast tall, West coast tall, Andaman Tall, laccadive tall , Tiptur tall, Indonesian Tall , carribean tall etc

There are also many Dwarf coconut varieties like Malasian orange dwarf, Malaysian green dwarf , malaysian yellow dwarf , srilankan dwarf , and Indian dwarf called Chowghat orange dwarf …

All the varieties in Tall and Dwarf  are called coconut and all these types invariably carry same chromosome number ( 2n=32 )

see how many variations withing this same chromosome number 2n=32

The cross breeding done between all these tall and dwarf coconut varieties on the choice of permutation and combinations will give rise hundreds of hybrid coconut plants , the yield of all these hybrid coconuts will not be same …do you agree with me ?

So the right selection of Mother palm and male parent determine the yielding character of particular hybrid coconut …

Of course many people might not have exposure to all these types of coconut varieties and hybrids …so doubts and suspicions arise in their mind quite naturally  and they may simply wonder and ask how this much yield could be possible  …

To say truth I personally have seen a coconut hybrid D*T  tree that was carrying 1203 fruits ,both mature and young ones …Also have seen many coconut tree remaining infertile for a decade or two after planting …

I can not recommend any particular company like Deejay as prolific bearer …Because the quality and character of a hybrid coconut is the result of kind and merit of the mother palms involved in crossing and the methods followed in doing crossing - Manual or Natural like wind 7 insect pollination …

If you want to test my proposition / Statement

You can select a high yielding dwarf coconut palm of the age not less than 12 years as female parent
And select good quality tall coconut with desirable character ( age being around 25-30 years ) as male parent

Fix a spadix ( inflorescence) in a mother palm ( dwarf ) and split it open a day before it is being opened on its natural course , remove all the male flowers and cover it with paper/polythene bag so as to avoid cross pollination…

Collect pollen grains from select male coconut ( tall parent )  the previous day evening and dust it over the emasculated female flowers the following morning between 4.0 A.M to 7.00 AM and again cover this flowers with poly/paper bag to avoid contamination …

After 12 months or when the mature nuts falls down from the mother palm , sow it in a separate nursery …It gives you D*T hybrid coconut seedlings…If you transplant this hybrid coconut seedlings in the field , you will see how this new hybrid is performing really well …

Because making people to believe in something that are new to them is like trying to push a mountain an inch away …

Thank you so much ramu sir. I appreciate you taking out so Much time and explaining in detail… Thank you.

Dear Ramu,
Thank you for the wonderful information sharing, it was very informative. Please continue sharing …

On a offshoot note, lot of your pointers are pretty good however, they are quite technical for people like me (folks who are very interested in agriculture, however do not possess the deep biology info …)

could you suggest a way in which we can tap into these methods of farming (precision farming etc), in a way such that we are not totally blindly following advice without knowing what is going on.
[NOTE: hope the question does not sound wrong, genuinely interested to know how we could leverage these practices]

Regards,
Raj

Dear friend…

Thanks …yes it is difficult to understand technical nuances over night…Most of the people are only interested and understand the process and methods .

Reading and relying on literature alone wont help you understand Agriculture but it is also seeing, practicing, interaction and sharing with colleagues that really help you out in the field …

Whether explained in technical term or simple languages it needs complete understanding of the subject matter …so it takes some time for anybody who venture into agriculture afresh…

So better do sail with an experienced farmer until you learn things completely to undertake farming on your own…

Trust you gain a lot in short time and be blessed …

Detailed information! Especially the one about how to pollinate for hybrids.

We have tried the deejay and other high yielding dwarf varieties with mixed results, and ended up sticking with the Tiptur tall.

Here are some issues, may be you have solutions
[ul]
[li]Need for more water compared to the tall[/li]
[li]Fertilizing every 3 months[/li]
[li]Need for manual labour to tie the young coconuts with ropes in early stage, if we supplement enough and provide with adequate water [/li]
[li]Doesn’t tolerate minor drought periods[/li][/ul]

But no doubt, for tender coconut and amount of water Deejay has worked out really well.

yes …yo are right about hybrid coconut that need more water , nutrients, initial care …

Generally the tall coconut produce 12 leaves in a year where as hybrid coconut more specifically dwarf VS tall hybrid produce 18 leaves in a year and 18 bunches of coconut every year in lieu of 12 in case of TAll coconut …The plants grow fast that it needs more water and nutrients. when the tall undergoes crossing with dwarf it happens to loose the potential for drought tolerance since the mother plant used in dwarf Vs Tall coconut hybrid is dwarf plant that controls most of the character of hybrid coconut …But if yo produce Tall Vs Dwarf hybrid it will have some tolerance to drought since the crossing program involves Tall coconut as mother plant…

Now no commercial nursery is observing quality control and lot of adulteration due to the tendency of  quick money making …

Dear Mr Senthil,

I have planned around 100 Deejay variety hybrid in my farm. It is now 7 months old. Currently we are facing a problem with rhinoceros beetle but ir seems under control. There is no dearth of water and we have been religiously following the fertilisation schedule provided by the Deejay team.

Can you tell me your experience with this variety regarding

  1. age at first flowering
  2. number of nuts per plant per year
  3. whether spacing makes any difference and spacing followed by you
  4. any other advise/ observation you would like to share

Attached is PIC of one of the trees… Age after plantation is 7  months.
Thank you

Regards


Some of them started flowering around 2 1/2 to 3 years, by 5th year we were able harvest in most of the trees

Got a max of about 200nuts a year per tree, but have to admit we couldn’t follow the exact supplementing schedule since we had issues keeping up with the watering requirements

Spaced them at 30ft

From what we learned, it make sense to market them for tender coconut rather than copra. They get better price and can be harvested early as its known for its water content. Also you mentioned you have enough water, You could look into some inter-crops to utilize the land.

Keep us updated, would really love to see it works out for you

Thanks for your reply Mr Senthil. Will keep you all updated

Dear ramu sir,

I am currently battling a rhinoceros beetle problem in my Deejay hybrid coconut tree plantation…

I have put three phermone traps in which  daily 5 beetles are trapped. I also follow a regular schedule of monochrotopos and copper oxychroride application every 15 days.

Still I m worried because the upcoming new tender shoots dry up and can be removed easily in some trees. They call it “suli” in local language here. My query is do the plants die or new tender shoots will emerge. Also any help in controlling the menace of beetles will be great. Regards

Dear Mr.Vaishak
Well. Rhinocerous beetle is damaging coconut plantation everywhere . These days  monocrotophos ( an Organophosporous  group pesticide ) and copper copper oxy chloride ( a copper based fungicide ) very easily kill human being but not insect pest . So we need to manage these insect pest tactfully .Because insect species are  existing on this earth even before the advent of human being .
Generally the Rhinocerous beetle damage young coconut plants between 6 months – 4 years old plants .
It always eats zero leaf ie, the terminal new leaf that is soft and tasty for the rhinocerous beetle . If the zero leaf is completely damaged , then no use of retaining such damaged coconut plants. Certainly you have to replace it with new healthy coconut seedlings .Such damaged coconut plant may sometime produce ( regenerate new shoots ) new shoot that are tilted and bent  and will not produce fruits and even if it produce fruits that will be useless…
Sometime the Rhinocerous beetle eats zero leaf , leaving meristem ( growing tissue seen at tip ) unaffected .In that case when damaged frond ( leaf ) emerge out of whorl  will show  “ characteristic V shape cut  or diamond shape cut mark “ due to the rhino beetle chewing the leaflet from withing the whorl .
So based on the above description of symptom , please decide whether the damage needs replacement or revival .
Before controlling any insect , we need to understand its life cycle and season of active life that is damaging the plantation …
Rhinocerous beetle – the adult is infective stage …It lays egg that are around 100 -150 numbers per adult .The larva that are “C” shaped ugly worm is mostly found feeding in cow dung manure and rotting vegetable waste and some dead coconut woods …So you need to keep your coconut plantation clean .
The larva that pupates ( stage in life cycle of RHinocerous beetle ) underneath soil . The adult beetle emerge in last number just about the time of rain , mainly summer rain in April-May and South west monsoon in June to septmeber .
So you need to give a summer ploughing  that expose the larva and pupae that are hiding beneath soil surface , to the outer surface where birds will eat it .
Some Beetle may reach the new coconut plants and eat the fresh leaf from within …Until we notice the symptom sometime later , we can not know the beetle is feeding the plant. As soon as you notice any such symptom , you can use a 1 meter long GI rod with sharp and piercing tip that may be inserted into the centre of whorls .The sharp GI rod pierce the beetle through its body that can be taken out and disposed away
Even if it still escape your attempt , Take 3-4 Napthalene balls that are generally used for protecting cloth against moth in the cloths in home , crush it and mix it with some kitchen salt crystal and apply this mixture just between 2 and 3rd leaves from the centre .The Napthalene balls will fume out poisonous vapour that kills the adult beetle and salt when reaches and touches  the body between Elytra ( wings ) it will dehydrate the insect body .
An another method is to use Sevidol , being granule  form of carbomate group insecticide that can be  mixed in river sand and applied @ 100 -150 grams per plant between 2nd and 3rd leafs …
Also you can use light trap and pheromone trap that may have some control by diverting and attracting the beetle that may be collected in an insecticide solution under the light trap .Use Endosulphon or chlorpyriphos just 2 ml per lit water …
Another bio control method is using a entomopathogenic fungi called METARHIZIUM ANISOPHILIAE …that can be sprayed over the manure pit or even directly  over the crown of the coconut plants.The spores of this fungus upon germination pierce the insect body and kill the beetle …Ratio of mixing is 250 ml product in 750 ml water …
So based on the above description you can take action using a suitable methods that best fit your situation

Respected members and Ramu sir
I have around  200 coconut plants of which around 120 were attacked by rhinoceros beetles,if which around 20 plants are bent/dismorphed
Will they grow to be normal/ should I replace them?

Dear Ramu Sir,

You have advised to endosulfan , which is very dangerous and banned in few states kerala, there is a place near kasaragod district in kerala where the side effects of endosulfa is still prevalant ( deformed new borns).

Yes friend …I understand the endosulphon is banned in kerala due to its life threatening impact on human being …Here I have not recommended direct application of endosulphon .It is just dissolved in water in bucket where it kills the insect attracted and befallen .This can be safely disposed later .If you still feel not advisable for you , then you can use chlorpyriphos or otherwlse you can use Neem oil in case of organic farming …Even you can use detergent for killing insect …It is upto you to decide …

Dear Ramu sir
Please read my query too
:slight_smile: ;D ::)

Better please remove and dispose off deformed coconut plants as it will not produce economic yield .It will just eat your money without giving you back anything usefully …

Regarding Rhinocerous damaged coconut plants , allow those plants that recovered to resume normal growth with straight  and single  uniform cylindrical trunk and remove those damaged coconut that are looking more sick and bad than other coocnut plants …

It is sad to note that you have got around 60% of the coconuts trees damaged by Rhino beetle

Thanks for quick reply :slight_smile: Ramu sir
Will replace them
Also I will be planting 100 Deejay sampoorna and 25 kalpataru( tiptur tall)
25 local variety
On field study can be done
I will be planting on thursday16 -06-2016
Also trying out pheromone traps
Last attempt with traps was a disaster

Great…wish you all the best