The plantation and cultivation technology that is currently practiced for Jatropha needs to be scientifically altered for better growth of the plant and production. By practicing effective management techniques, the growth and yield of Jatropha can be increased.
The main factors that influence the yield of the Jatropha are:
- Quality of soil
- Use of Fertilizers and Pesticides
- Density of the crop
- Inter cropping
Generally, three methods are involved in germination or planting jatropha. They are:
- Propagation through seeds
- Vegetative propagation
- Nursery raising
Utilization of the plantation
Direct planting is best for the fast growth of the plant and to prevent soil erosion. Plantation by seeds is better for long life and also for the good vegetative oil production.
Direct seeding and pre-cultivation of seedlings help in the natural propagation of the Jatropha plant. The seeds should be collected immediately when the capsules split open. Using these fresh seeds will improve the germination. Intervals between pre-soaking and drying, partially removing the testa, gives more successful results than pre-soaking alone.
With the right moisture conditions, it will take 10 days for germination. During germination, the seed shell splits into two emerging radicula. And four small peripheral roots can be seen when the first leaf starts to grow the cotyledons wither and fall away. Then the rest of the growth is sympodial.
Processing and handling
When the fruits start to grow and attain a fully matured state, they are collected in the open bags and are moved to the processing area. There all the fruits are dried. Drying the seeds under the direct sunlight has adverse effects, so it is advisable to dry then in the shade. When the seeds are dried, they are then removed the fruits and are cleaned thoroughly.
Storage and viability
Since the Jatropha seeds are orthodox, they should be dried to lower the moisture content and should be stored in airtight containers. The seeds can maintain their high viability for at least one year at room temperature. Since the seeds contain high oil content, they cannot be stored for a long time, unlike the other orthodox species.
Dormancy and pre-treatment
Dormancy is seen in the freshly harvested seeds. Before germinating the seeds, ripening is necessary. Generally, dry seeds will germinate without any pre-treatment.