These are the important factors that have to be kept in mind and have to be checked properly before cultivating.
- Minimum altitude – 0 to 500 m
- Annual temperature – 2o to 28 degree Celsius
- Annual rainfall – 300 to 1000 mm
Has the ability to with stand sever heat and light forest. During the cold season the jatropha plant will shed its leaves. Extreme frost will damage the younger plants and black frost will kill the young plants and cause severe damage to the older plants.
Jatropha can grow well in well drained soil as well as poor and saline soil. But in general the plant prefers growing in the alkaline soil. Growing jatropha plant in the poor soil can give good yield by using organic fertilizers.
Proper irrigation is needed during the first two years of plantation. The necessary of water depends on the type of soil and the climate. In that case drip irrigation is the best to keep the soil moist at all times. The plant can survive on dryness by using the humidity present in the air
Timely weeding like four times a year is very important and proper fertilization and manual cultural practices like ploughing and pruning is also necessary. When all these practices are done properly a yield of about 15 to 20 kg of jatropha fruit can be got from a single tree.
Use of fertilizer
Jatropha is a highly disease resistant plant and it is not attacked by any insects. Since the jatropha plant and leaves have poisonous materials within them they act as an effective fence against any pest.
Hence jatropha is adapted all types of soil, planting it in a poor quality soil requires additional amount of calcium, sulfur and magnesium to give a good yield.
To get a good crop density the recommended spacing of about 15 15 or 25 25 in one / two rows correspondingly 2m x 1.5m to 3m x 3mm for plantation. Thus in a single hedgerow there will be about 4000 to 6500 plants per km. The amount will be doubled when they are planted in two rows.
To get the maximum sprouting, flowers and seeds jatropha has to develop side shoots. So between 90 to 120 days plants that are 25 cm needs to be cut at the top cleanly to make it produce 8 to 12 side branches.
It is always suggested that to get the facilitated harvesting it is necessary to keep the plant less than 2 m.
Generally pruning is done during the first year when the plant is 40 to 60 cm and it is also done in the second year and third year to give the tree a shape.
Inter-cropping refers to the process of planting more than one crop in the same field.
Depending on the topography, soil quality and climatic condition the jatropha can be combined with other agricultural crops like red and green peppers, tomatoes, herbs, and horticulture. This is done to achieve profit in both the terms like ecological and economical.
Yield of the plant depends on nutrients, water, age and ability to withstand the heat of the plant. The other factors like different methods of farming and harvesting also play a considerable part in the plant yield.
Generally the plant yield ranges from 2t/ha/year to 12.5t/ha/year. But it very difficult to estimate the actual yield since the plant is able to grow on different situations.