Essentials of moringa farming

ESSENTIALS OF MORINGA FARMING IN INDIA
To clarify doubts of many hundred drumstick farmers from Odhisa and MP who keep calling me over phone , I write this post .

  1. Avoid sowing moringa seeds in clay soil , during heavy rain , excessively wet soil .
    2.Ensure drainage , choose any well drained soil , weed free cultivation in early stage
    3.Pinch off growing point of central stem in about 60 days after sowing seeds when plants are about 75 cms height .
    4.In case of drip irrigation 4 lit water per tree per day is enough
    5.Always sow 2-3 treated seeds per hill in problem area and retain 1 or 2 strong plants and remove weak or poorly germinated plants in one month after sowing .
    6.Spray panchagavya @3% or GA3 hormone@20 ppm in about 90 days after sowing to induce heavy flowering in moringa .
  2. Spray neem oil @ 5 ml in one lit water or emamectin benzoate @0.5 ml in one lit water as preventive spray against pod fly or leaf caterpillar
  3. Where rainfed cultivation is followed ,use only ODC 3 moringa variety
    9.Direct seeding is always better preferred to transplanting of germinated potted seedlings
  4. Use more seed rate in problem soil and optimum seed rate in normal soil
    11.where soil is cleyey , irrigation at wide frequency is advisable
  5. Avoid urea after 90 days .

ODC 3 MORINGA - MAHARASTRA FARMERS ARE SO HAPPY WITH MILLION FLOWERS IN WINTER
Maharastra farmers are so happy to see their ODC 3 Moringa trees with millions of blooms this winter after cessation of monsoon rain .
ODC 3 moringa ,unlike other ecotypes , is a heavy flowering perennial moringa variety with tasty , nutritious , long and robust pods measuring above 75 -80 cms .
The special characteristic of ODC 3 moringa is drought tolerance .Under prolonged drought situation , without irrigation and chemical fertilizers application , the ODC 3 Moringa grows well and produces millions of flowers in each tree
In summer , during mid day when sun is over head ,the leaf of ODC 3 moringa tested 80% water content .
The testimony attesting amazing facts about ODC 3 Moringa is seen in this video .
Courtesy : Excellent effort has been taken by Mr.Chaithanya Gandhi ,‍karmala Tehsil ,Sholapur District , Maharastra - Consistent and extensive research on ODC 3 moringa by Mr.Chaithanya Gandhi and documentation of growth and performance of ODC 3 moringa in different agro-climatic region by him is appreciated .
For more info : Sheti Udyog farmer producer company 75886 10001/ 8275156393

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…MORINGA IN ZBNF …
" ZBNF is a chemical free farming rooted on traditional agricultural practices " . But actually ZBNF is only based in Zero Tillage Farming ( ZTF ).ZTF is a traditional method of farming where in " seeds of indigenous varieties are sown by drilling in the stubbles of previous crop with wooden dagger , without tilling soil ( Zero budget ) . Here land is not plowed , stubbles of previous crop conserve soil moisture and prevent weeds growth , soil microbial population ( 1 gram soil contains 10 billions bacteria) restore natural soil fertility , intercrop / border crop prevents pest and diseases , animal waste along with urine collected from the backyard adds manure to soil as it gets decomposed together with stubbles and farm waste .

MORINGA IS THE BEST FIT IN ZBNF
ODC 3 is an indigenous , early flowering , high yielding , hardy perennial moringa variety producing tasty and palatable pods and nutrient dense leaf biomass as long as 50 years. With well developed network of roots it grows fast even in less fertile soil and moisture . The comparatively thick leaves of ODC 3 moringa variety survive drought and resist pest and diseases ,without reduction in growth and yield of pods .
This way moringa farmers can earn more income with less or Zero cost .

…ODC 3 versus PKM 1…

ODC 3 is a perennial with economic production life of 10 years and total yielding life of over 50 years - PKM 1 is a bushy quick flowering annual with total life of 1-3 years

ODC 3 is a drought tolerant indigenous variety requiring less water and less nutrients .PKM 1 is a heavy demanding pureline selection with more requirement of water and nutrients .

ODC 3 is a dual purpose variety producing tasty pods and nutritious leaf biomass .PKM 1 produces comparatively less tasty pods and bitter leaves .

ODC 3 is relatively tolerant to pest and diseases than PKM 1

ODC 3 produces big canopy with number of pods increasing every year from 300 - 2000 .PKM 1 produces small canopy with standard numbers of 150-200 pods in all three years

ODC 3 has shelf life of one week in ambient room temperature .PKM 1 has shelf life of 3-4 days .

ODC 3 adopt to varied Agroecological condition .PKM 1 grows well where water and nutrients are dispensed under intensive care .

ODC 3 develops a bulge in the bottom of stem just beneath soil surface as a natural mechanism to tide over extreme weather .PKM 1 produces normal green stem of uniform girth with relatively small white surface roots and shallow tap root .
ODC3 seeds are bigger than PKM 1 seeds .

FUSARIUM WILT DISEASE IN MORINGA IN JAFFNA ,SRILANKA
One of our LinkedIn connections Mr Shanshyam sent me this image seeking info on the infection and remedy for his 90 days old PKM 1 moringa planted in Jaffna ,srilanka .
Diagnosed it to be Fusarium oxysporum f.sp.moringae , a soil borne fungal pathogen causing wilt disease in moringa . Enters the plant through roots , block vascular conducting tissue and prevents uptake of water and nutrients , so lower leaves turns yellow first and gradually spread up reaching branches and new flush in the top , causing discoloration and wilt of whole plants .Damage is irreversible .
It develops during hot weather and high atmospheric humidity . Dry weather and very low soil moisture ( draught ) also favours disease development.
Remedy : Uproot and burn diseased moringa trees . Copper Oxy chloride / Benomyl fungicide is drenched where moringa tree is uprooted .
Spray Azoxystrobin fungicide over adjacent moringa trees to prevent spread to neighbouring trees
Remove weeds and keep the moringa field weed free .
Grow ODC 3 Moringa that resists disease
Root knot nematode ,Meloidogyne infection is also diagnosed thro’ galls. So also apply carbosufan as soil drench .
After harvest of pods , remove all moringa trees and grow non host crop.

POD FLY / FRUIT FLY IN MORINGA - AN INSECT PEST OF ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE
Pod fly is a serious pest spoiling and damaging pods / fruits in Moringa . Infestation is noticed from April to October coinciding with development of moringa pods . Moringa flowers in February - March to produce summer pods and August - September to produce winter pods .
The fly lays eggs in the grooves of pods , maggots ( larvae) hatched from eggs bore into terminal part of pods , eats on flesh and soft developing seeds , pods rot , oozing gummy fluid that turn the pods brown , dry and fall down .
In Karnataka , Tamilnadu , Andhra , flies emerge more in numbers following pre- monsoon shower and extensively damage fruits .
Control : Fly traps@ 5 Nos are set up in moringa field . Eucalyptus ,citronella oil or acetic acid is used to attract flies since Methyl eugenol lure does not attract male flies
During pods setting , spray Neem oil or neem seed kernel extract
Or Spray Dichlorvas 76SC / Malathion 50 EC @ 500-750 mil in 500-750 lit water or Emamectin benzoate @ 125 ml in 500 lit water at 50% pod set and repeat 35 days after first spray for effective control . Since flies infect pods / fruits , economic part of moringa , moringa farmers should take up preventive spray to avoid loss of yield of pods

MORINGA - DISEASE - TWIG CANKER .
Diagnosis and identification of Moringa diseases are essential for undertaking right control measures or else not only cost of plant protection unnecessarily increases but crop and yield loss also occur .
Seen in this image is moringa plant - PKM 1 infected with twig canker , a disease caused by a fungal pathogen called fusarium .
Symptoms are clearing of veinlets , yellowing of young leaves , discoloration of next level of leaves , browning of branches and stems due to damage of vascular conducting tissues .
The infected part of stems or branches looks discoloured locally and sunken lesions appears prominent
The wounds and injuries made on bark and cambium in the branches and stems allow the entry of pathogen into vascular tissue .
Also spread through seeds , irrigation water , implements and survives on soil and debris .
Control : Remove the infected stems and branches safely and burn it
Treat the cut portion with fungicide like copper oxychoride / spray Benomyl or carbendazim systemic fungicides
Treat the seeds before sowing
Prepare the field well and plow soil to fine tilth if field is hard . .
Apply more organic manure / green or Greenleaf manure to soil before sowing seeds
Sow moringa seeds on bed raised by atleast 20 cms high

TEA MOSQUITO BUG ( TMB ) - A NEW THREAT TO MORINGA CROP
A mirid bug resembling mosquito in appearance , first seen on Tea plantation , has now started feeding and devastating moringa plantation in large area and causing 80-100% crop and yield loss . This insect actively feeds in the morning hours between 6-10 am and late evening.
Female TMB lays 80-100 eggs in tender shoot , inflorescence , leaves and petioles. Nymphs ( hatched from eggs ) and adult feed on plant by inserting stylet and injecting saliva that contains phytotoxin into plant tissue . The toxin kills the cells and moringa plant goes drying and dead causing economic loss.
Moringa farmers mistake this symptom of damage by TMB to some other causes and resort to wrong plant protection chemicals .
CONTROL OF TMB
1.Avoid sowing moringa near alternate host like cashew , Neem , guava , tamarind , silk trees
2.Spray neem oil @3% or neem seed kernel extract @5%
3.Biopestiicide spray of Beauveria bassiana @ 10 grams / lit of water in the evening hours
4. In alarming condition , do chemical spray with any one of the insecticides - Lamdacyhalothrin / Thiocloprid / Thiomethoxam / Profenofos / Acetamprid
5. Herbal extract can also be prepared from the weed plants that are not eaten by insects and sprayed on.

MORINGA & CHALLENGES OF WEED CONTROL IN DIFFERENT SOIL TYPES
" Moringa is a fast growing plant & Weeds are super fast growing plants "
Moringa needs weed free growing environment for first 3 months or else be suppressed and smothered by weeds to go sick with poor growth and uneconomical yield of pods and poor quality leaves
OVERCOMING CHALLENGES OF WEEDS
1.Plow/ Harrow/ disc the field well , expose the weeds to get killed in sun ,let the fallen weed seeds germinate and grow and plow it once again before weeds flower and set seeds and then sow moringa seeds.
2.If rained , cultivate the interrow spaces after rain stops.
3.Spread trash mulch on the bed or around the base of moringa only after it germinated and grown 12 inches high
4.Dont sow moringa seeds during rain especially in black cotton soil and problem soils .
5. Apply only well decomposed and treated cow manure Bcoz it contains lots of grass seeds
6. To outgrow weeds , Moringa seeds should be treated 72 hours before sowing so that it grow very fast and escape wrath of weeds
7. Grow short duration intercrops like pulses , groundnut, soybean, sweet potato, onion
8. Use black mulching sheet if extent is more .
9. Checking weeds during early growth phase of moringa is better than doing it late
10. Drip irrign checks weeds

MORINGA CULTIVATION IN ALKALINE WATER - A CASE STUDY
A moringa enthusiast from Mumbai sent this water test report, curious to know if this water is suitable for moringa cultivation . Well this report reads water PH 7.8 , EC( iw) 2.48, Bicarbonate (HCO3-) 7.6 , carbonate( CO3 ) 1.6 , Sodium (Na)1.52 ,TDS ( Total dissolved salts ) 1200

INFERENCE

Irrigation water is alkaline .More bicarbonate in water will react with Calcium & Manesium ,both of which are essential secondary plant nutrients vis-a-vis a good soil flocculate and make these two precipitated and unavailable to plant and soil particles are charged with “Na” ions .

  1. This condition prevents absorption of nutrients and water from soil by roots through reverse osmosis .
  2. Soil structure collapse and water infiltration becomes poor
    3.Moringa growth is stunted with poor leaf and pod yield

REMEDY

1.Apply Gypsum near root zone over the bed .
2.Grow Daincha as greenmanure and incorporate in soil
3. Apply cow manure
4. Use acid forming fertilizers Ammonium sulphate , sulphate of potash
5. Adopt closer spacing by using more seeds to accommodate double the recommended moringa plant population
6. Use foliar spray of panchagavya
7. Always give light irrigation

IDENTIFICATION OF PEST AND DISEASE IN MORINGA CROP
Two months old moringa plants started showing yellow colour in lower leaf first and younger leaf next .
The yellowing of lower leaf is usually attributed to the deficiency of Nitrogen nutrient . Some of the leaflets appeared pale yellow in color along the margin and interveinal area signifying deficiency of magnesium secondary plant nutrient . The upward rolling of lamina of leaflet also indicate the presence of insect pest . Sometime yellowing of leaves denote the damage of root system due to infection with root rot or wilt diseases in moringa .
Unlike all above causes , the continuous rain saturated the soil around root zone thus choking the tender roots of young moringa plants . Usually soil is constituted of 3 phases like solid mineral matter , water space and air space . This air space is essential for root respiration .when this air space is fully replaced and occupied by water , root can not respire and under extreme suffocation ,root will not absorb either water or nutrients this will lead to yellowing of leaves . If this situation continues , root rot disease will develop later and kill the entire plant irreversibly .
So drainage is most essential and soil should not hold excess moisture especially for moringa .

ODC 3 MORINGA - PINCHING ON 60 TH DAY AFTER SOWING
ODC 3 Moringa , 2 months old now , is being pinched off to prevent the trees from growing high into the sky by removing terminal growing point of central leader / stems to 10-15 CMS .This will promote initiation and development of side shoots that grow horizontally sidewards , to be cut by half of its length when it reaches 30 + CMS long to get secondary and tertiary shoots that produce enormous flowers and fruits / pods .
The removed terminal waste of tender moringa shoots are nutritious that are converted into Moringa soup powder , cattle feed , or plant growth regulators .
By pinching and pruning ,the moringa tree canopy is managed into umbrella shape .This kind of canopy produce more pods and yield of about 50 kgs per trees in the first year and 100 kgs in the following years as perennial
So moringa farmers more particularly ODC 3 moringa farmers may have to use removed waste of leaves and shoots as value added products .ODC 3 moringa leaves and pods are more tasty and palatable and nutritious than other moringa varieties anywhere in the world .
Moringa ODC 3 as cattle feed enhance milk yield by 40% more and meat yield of goat by 50-60% more .
Courtesy
Mr.Chaithanya , Sholapur 7588610001

WEED CONTROL IN MORINGA FARMING WITH INTERCROP - GROUNDNUT .
The farmers have been mooting over an effective method of weed control in moringa cultivation and often end up in failure to check weeds vis-a-vis burn their fingers over escalating cost on labour to remove recurring weeds in the moringa field .
An effective and reliable method is to sow groundnut as intercrop in the inter row spaces of moringa or sow moringa seeds in rows in groundnut field . Since entire field is covered with crop , the shade will suppress the weeds . By the time groundnut is harvested , moringa crop would have grown big enough to cast shadow to prevent further growth of weeds .
Benefits
1.Two crops Moringa and groundnut are grown in the same field simultaneously - income is doubled
2.Cost on weed control is saved
3.The groundnut crop enrich soil fertility level by fixing atmospheric nitrogen in its root nodules and adding it to soil
4.When you grow intercrop in moringa , pest and disease infestation is significantly reduced and this saves cost on spray of pesticides
5.Quality and taste of moringa pods look better than that produced in pure moringa crop .
6.The fertilizers applied to groundnut crop is also used by moringa crop .
7.Intercropping is best way of weed control in organic farming

EXPORT OF MORINGA FRESH LEAVES
Do you own land near any international airport ? Then grow organic moringa and export fresh leaves to countries like Dubai , Oman ,Qatar ,UAE , Bahrain ,London , Malaysia and Singapore …
Organic moringa leaves are harvested fresh in early morning before 7 AM , cleaned , rolled in polysheet in different weight like 150 g, 250 g , 500 g , packed in ice thermacole and airlifted to overseas countries.
One kg of fresh organic moringa leaves sells @ Rs.50 . In one acre , 50,000 kgs of fresh leaves can be harvested . It fetches about Rs.25,00,000 per year . If grown in 4 acres , your annual income is Rs.1,00,00,000 /- . After deducting 50% of gross income for expenses incidental to production , processing and airlifting , Rs.50,00,000 will be saved as net income .
Already many moringa farmers are exporting fresh leaves and my Ghana friend is also exporting to nearby market ,London ,Netherland ,France .
Wisdom and knowledge of organic Moringa production , and quality standards , market intelligence coupled with hard work always bring commercial success in farming . Farming is future .

WHY ALL FLOWERS ARE NOT CONVERTED INTO FRUITS IN MY MORINGA ? is the concern of one of our LinkedIn connections , from Anand ,Gujarat .
In Moringa usually 10 - 11 % of flowers only are converted into fruits and rest fall down . Very low fruit set in Moringa is due to one or more of the reasons noted below

  1. Abortion of flowers - Moringa is a cross pollinated crop & Bees are the main pollinators in moringa .The pistil ( female part ) remains viable upto 72 hours from opening of flowers with 50% probability and actively viable upto 36 hours with 100% probability . If the bees don’t visit flowers with pollen ,then flowers will abort .
    2.Post fertilization abortion - After cross pollination , water stress if prevails , will cause dryness of pistil and flower will drop
  2. Excessive atmospheric temperature
  3. Flower midge - insect pest infestation .
  4. Rainfall and winds
  5. Micronutrient deficiency
  6. Reduced pollen viability ( male reproductive part )
    REMEDY
  7. During active flowering stage give moderate irrigation
  8. Spray mix of asafoetida + curd ( 10 grams white asafoetida in 1 lit curd ) or mix of sour butter milk and coconut milk
    3.Spray honey or sugar solution on flowers ( 100 grams sugar in one lit water ) to attract bees that effect pollination .
    4.Organic manure

MORINGA -ODC 3 GRADED AND PACKED FOR EXPORT & MUMBAI MARKET
Moringa grown in Tamilnadu are mainly purchased for Mumbai market in large volume and transported by train . Part of the production reaches Bangalore , where some goes into local market and major qty is airlifted to Dubai & UK .
In domestic market prices are volatile and determined by market forces like supply and demand . Since drumstick are produced mainly seasonally and major production of pods are made in summer and winter production is less , price goes up high in off-season ,winter . To meet the growing need of overseas market in Asian and European countries ,cold storage @ 10-12°C extend shelf life upto 21-40 days from harvest of pods and Indian moringa products are immensely liked by foreigners for its taste and nutrition values .Global demand for Indian moringa product alone is around Rs.50,000 crores in 2020. Apart pods ,moringa fresh leaves are also being exported in icepacks to overseas market. When produced in organic cultivation method , the quality and shelf life are superior and offered higher prices in market . When the production and markets are organised and integrated with forward and backward linkages through logistics and SCM , the life and livelihood of Indian moringa farmers will be bright.


" EDUCATED ARE LOOKING FOR AN OPPORTUNITY , INTELLIGENT ARE CREATING OPPORTUNITY " - True story of inspiration .
An educated guy named Mr.Subramani ,after having knocked all the doors that were shut on his face while searching for a job over many years , finally settled in moringa farming and is now making Rs.10 lac every month by exporting instant moringa pod soup mix to America’s packaged food company " Natural Mill " . On 5 acre lease land , he cultivates traditional moringa variety and makes powder out of pods . And with this ,he mixes powders of two other herbal plant parts and spices along with bit of salt and corn powder . This instant moringa soup powder contains nutrients , phytochemicals , phenolics and flavonoids ete. Been organically produced , the America’ s packaged food company " Natural Mill " buys it regularly as this instant moringa soup powder mix is a very good health drink with amazing nutrient and therapeutic values and gaining much awareness among American people for its extraordinary natural immunity power against various diseases and more specifically COVID 19 pandemic .
Value addition brings promise of immense business opportunities to the moringa farmers around the world .

WHY INDIGENOUS MORINGA IN RAINFED / LESS RAINFALL AREA ?
The indigenous and traditional variety - ODC 3 develops characteristic conical tuberous tap root and tubular feeder roots with specialized root cells that store enough water to sustain the growth of moringa trees & make it tolerant to drought situation.
Even during mid day, the relative water content of moringa leaves is estimated to be 80%
So farmers in rainfed area / less rainfall area without assured irrigation source can sow treated seeds during pre-monsoon period and Moringa plant grows well in monsoon rain and by the time rain stops , network of roots would have developed well .
Moringa seeds are treated in biofertilizers and biopesticides and sown @ 2 per hill in order to ensure optimum tree population in unit area .
ODC3 possess hardiness to tolerate drought and continue to produce pods as long as 50 years .
Where farmer has vast unirrigated land and growing other crops is not possible due to frequent intervention and investment , rainfed sowing of indigenous moringa crop is a viable option with guaranteed production of yield and income , with minimum investment on seeds alone . It also prevents soil erosion besides being climate resilient. It also absorbs 20 times more carbon dioxide from atmosphere .

WHAT IS THE QUALITY STANDARDS OF MORINGA SEEDS ?

  1. Minimum germination should be 70%
  2. Seeds should be pure ( true to type ) conforming to specific varietal characters.
  3. Moisture content of moringa seeds should be less than 8%
  4. Seeds should be free from pest and diseases
    Apart above quality parameters , seed should be sprouting quick , grow fast and robust and early in flowering ( vigour , vitality and profuseness )
    Why extra seeds are sown ?
    Not all seeds that are sown in soil germinate and not all germinated seeds produce plants of equal potential .So double the quantity of recommended seeds are sown and in about a month after sowing , weak seedlings are removed and only strong and robust plants are retained .
    How is max yield of pods / drumsticks achieved ?
    1 Acre = 4000 Square meters
    Row to row spacing = 3 Meters
    Plant to plant spacing along the rows = 2.4 Meter
    Total moringa population in one acre = ( Area / spacing of moringa )
    4000 Sq.M/ 3 M × 2.4 M = 555 Plants
    No of productive branches / tree = 25
    ( Achieved by right sowing time and regular pruning )
    Minimum no of drumstick per branch / shoot - 10
    Total No of drumstick per tree = 250
    Total no of drumstick per acre { 555 trees × 250 drumsticks } = 138,750
    Yield /acre = 138,750 pods × 150 g = 20 MT

MORINGA SEED PRODUCTION - ODC 3
Genetically Pure ODC3 moringa variety seeds are sown in an isolated field , usually 1000 Meters away from other varieties of moringa .Moringa is a cross-pollinated crop .So when planted close to other varieties of moringa , the pollen grains ( male reproductive part ) of other moringa variety flowers may cross pollinate the ODC 3 flowers and the pods set as a result of this undesirable cross pollination may produce genetically contaminated seeds ,resulting in variations in characters like uneven flowering , pods size , taste etc when sown next .
The moringa seed reaches physiological maturity in about 9 months after sowing and pods are allowed to remain in mother trees until it turn brown and usually harvested by 10 th month when seeds turn dark brown or black in colour. The pods are split open and seeds are extracted . Big sized bottom 10 globular seeds are chosen and other seeds on distal end of pods are discarded .
Moringa seeds don’t carry dormancy and fresh seeds germinate by over 95% and germination percentage decreases as time lapses . However seeds can be dried to 8% moisture and stored in a airtight container for about 9 months without reduction in germination quality .
Minimum seed germination standard for moringa is 70% .