Cherry farming and cultivation in india

Cherry cultivation is a profitable and expanding industry in India, with an increasing demand for cherries in both domestic and international markets. The temperate climate of the northern states of India provides suitable growing conditions for cherry cultivation. Farmers in these regions have successfully adopted modern horticultural practices, resulting in higher yields and improved fruit quality. With the availability of advanced technology and support from various government initiatives, cherry cultivation in India is expected to grow in the coming years.

  1. Climate: Cherries require cool weather conditions with temperatures ranging between 15°C to 25°C during the growing season. They also require a period of winter dormancy with temperatures below 7°C to induce flowering.
  2. Soil: The soil should be well-draining, rich in organic matter, and have a pH between 6.0 to 7.5. Adding compost or manure to the soil before planting can help improve soil fertility.
  3. Planting: Cherry trees can be propagated by grafting onto rootstocks. The ideal time for planting is during the winter months from December to February.
  4. intercropping: Some suitable intercropping crops for cherry cultivation in India include legumes, such as peas and beans, and leafy vegetables, such as spinach and lettuce.
  5. Irrigation: Cherry trees require regular watering, especially during the early growth stage. Overwatering or underwatering can lead to problems such as root rot or poor fruit quality.
  6. Fertilization: Fertilizers rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium should be applied in adequate amounts to promote healthy growth and fruit development. Organic fertilizers like compost or manure can also be used.
  7. Pest and disease management: Cherries are prone to pests and diseases such as cherry fruit fly, powdery mildew, and bacterial canker. Regular inspection and the use of appropriate pesticides and fungicides can help control these problems.
  8. Training and Pruning: it is recommended to train and prune cherry plants for better growth and yield. Training and pruning help in shaping the tree, improving sunlight penetration, and increasing fruit production. The training and pruning techniques depend on the cherry variety and the growing conditions.
  9. Harvesting: Cherries can be harvested when they reach maturity, usually in late May to early June. The fruits should be picked carefully by hand to avoid damage.
  10. Area of Cultivation : Cherries are primarily grown in the northern regions of India, particularly in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. In Jammu and Kashmir, the districts of Srinagar, Anantnag, Budgam, and Baramulla are the major producers of cherries. In Himachal Pradesh, the districts of Shimla, Kinnaur, and Kullu are known for cherry cultivation. In Uttarakhand, the districts of Nainital and Dehradun are the major cherry-producing areas. Additionally, some parts of Punjab and Haryana also have small-scale cherry cultivation.

Varieties of Cherries grown in India

There are several varieties of cherries that are grown in India, mainly in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Some of the popular varieties of cherries grown in India include:

  1. Sweet cherries: Sweet cherries are the most popular type of cherries grown in India. Some of the common varieties include Lapins, Bing, Rainier, and Stella.
  2. Sour cherries: Sour cherries, also known as tart cherries, are also grown in India, but are less common than sweet cherries. Montmorency is a popular variety of sour cherries grown in India.
  3. Wild cherries: Wild cherries are also found in India, particularly in the Himalayan region. They are smaller in size compared to cultivated cherries and have a sour taste. The wild cherry varieties found in India include Prunus cerasoides and Prunus avium.
  4. Hybrid cherries: Hybrid cherries are also grown in India, which are a cross between sweet and sour cherries. The hybrid varieties include Regina and Kordia.

The choice of variety for cherry cultivation depends on factors such as climate, soil type, and market demand.

Propagation of Cherry Plants

  1. Grafting: This is the most common method of propagating cherry plants. In this method, a scion (a young shoot) of the desired variety is grafted onto a rootstock of a compatible cherry tree. The graft union is wrapped with a grafting tape and allowed to grow until the two parts have fused together.
  2. Budding: Budding is another method of grafting, in which a bud from the desired variety is grafted onto the rootstock. This method is usually done in late summer or early fall.
  3. Cuttings: Softwood cuttings can be taken from cherry plants in early summer and rooted in a propagation bed or a pot filled with potting mix. Hardwood cuttings can also be taken in the winter and rooted in a greenhouse or propagation bed.
  4. Layering: In layering, a low branch of the parent tree is bent down and covered with soil. The branch will root and can be cut off from the parent tree to form a new plant.

Planting and Harvesting seasons for cherry in India

Cherry Plants with Fruits Ready to harvest

The season for planting and harvesting cherries in India varies depending on the region and the variety of cherry being grown. Generally, cherry plants are planted in late fall or early winter, after the leaves have fallen off the trees. This allows the trees to establish a strong root system before the hot summer months.

In India, the cherry harvest season usually begins in late April and lasts until mid-June, depending on the region and weather conditions. The exact timing of the harvest can vary depending on the variety of cherry being grown, with some varieties ripening earlier or later than others.

Land Preparation Steps to follow Prior to Cherry cultivation

  1. Soil Testing: Conduct a soil test to determine the soil’s nutrient levels, pH, and organic matter content. This information can help in the selection of the right fertilizers and soil amendments.
  2. Site Selection: Choose a site that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day and has good drainage. Avoid sites that are prone to flooding or waterlogging.
  3. Clearing the Land: Clear the land of any weeds, debris, or rocks that can hinder the growth of cherry plants.
  4. Tilling and Levelling: Tilling the soil helps to loosen the soil and make it easier for the cherry roots to penetrate. Level the soil using a rake or harrow to ensure even growth of the cherry plants.
  5. Adding Organic Matter: Incorporate organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure into the soil. This improves soil fertility and helps retain moisture in the soil.
  6. Fertilization: Based on the soil test results, add the required amount of fertilizers to the soil.
  7. Irrigation System: Install an irrigation system that can deliver water evenly throughout the field. Cherry plants require consistent and adequate watering for optimum growth.

Plant density and Spacing for Cherry plantation

Generally, the spacing between the cherry plants ranges from 12 to 20 feet, with a plant density of about 150 to 250 trees per acre. However, high-density planting techniques can also be used, which can increase plant density up to 700 trees per acre. In India, the recommended spacing for sweet cherry plants is 20 x 25 feet, which can accommodate about 100 trees per acre. For sour cherry plants, the recommended spacing is 18 x 20 feet, which can accommodate about 125 trees per acre.

Weed Control in cherry farms

  1. Hand weeding: This is a manual method of weed control where the weeds are removed by hand using tools like hoes, sickles, or cultivators. It is effective but labor-intensive and time-consuming.
  2. Mulching: This method involves covering the soil around the cherry plants with a layer of organic or inorganic material like straw, sawdust, plastic, or weed mat. The mulch helps to suppress weed growth and also conserves soil moisture.
  3. Chemical weed control: This method involves the use of herbicides to control weeds. Herbicides can be applied as pre-emergence or post-emergence treatments. Pre-emergence herbicides are applied before the weeds emerge, while post-emergence herbicides are applied after the weeds have emerged.

Fertilizer Schedule for Cherry Plants

  1. Pre-planting: Before planting, it is recommended to apply well-rotted farmyard manure or compost to the soil to improve soil fertility.
  2. First year: During the first year, apply 100 grams of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium per tree in two equal doses. The first dose should be applied in March, and the second dose should be applied in September.
  3. Second year: During the second year, apply 200 grams of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium per tree in three equal doses. The first dose should be applied in March, the second dose in June, and the third dose in September.
  4. Mature trees: Mature cherry trees require 400-500 grams of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium per tree per year. The fertilizer should be applied in three equal doses, with the first dose in March, the second dose in June, and the third dose in September.

Harvesting of cherries

Cherries are harvested when they are fully ripe and have developed their characteristic color. The harvesting time for cherries varies depending on the cherry variety and the growing conditions. In India, cherries are generally harvested from May to June.

Cherries are delicate fruits and should be handled carefully during harvesting to avoid any damage to the fruit. They should be harvested by handpicking and should not be shaken from the tree. The harvested cherries should be placed in shallow containers to avoid crushing and bruising. It is advisable to harvest cherries in the early morning or late afternoon when the temperature is cooler to avoid sun damage.

After harvesting, the cherries should be sorted and graded based on their size, color, and quality. The grading helps in determining the market value of the fruit. The cherries should be stored in a cool and dry place to maintain their freshness and quality.

Post harvest process after cherry picking

  1. Sorting and Grading: After harvesting, the cherries should be sorted and graded based on their size, color, and quality. The cherries should be free from any damage, diseases, or insect infestation.
  2. Washing: The cherries should be washed with clean water to remove any dirt, dust, or debris.
  3. Pre-cooling: Cherries are highly perishable and should be pre-cooled immediately after harvesting. The pre-cooling process helps in reducing the temperature of the fruit and maintaining its quality and freshness.
  4. Packaging: The cherries should be packed in a suitable packaging material that protects them from physical damage and allows for good air circulation. The packaging should also have proper ventilation to prevent moisture buildup.
  5. Storage: The cherries should be stored in a cool and dry place to maintain their freshness and quality. The ideal storage temperature for cherries is between 0-2°C. The storage area should be free from any odor, ethylene gas, and other fruits or vegetables.
  6. Transportation: Cherries should be transported in refrigerated trucks or containers to maintain their temperature and quality during transit.

Cherry Yield and Profit per acre

The average yield per tree varies from 15 to 20 Kg per tree. With an average of 250 trees per acre, you could expect anywhere between 3750 kg to 5000 kg per acre in yield. with an avearage price of 150 (Mandi price) You could expect anywhere between 562,500 to 750,000 Rs per acre in gross income .

Expense/ProfitAmount (in INR)
Saplings (including planting)30,000
Fertilizers and manure20,000
Pesticides and insecticides15,000
Irrigation10,000
Labor cost1,00,000
Miscellaneous expenses5,000
Total Expenses180,000
Yield and Revenue
Yield per acre (in kgs)3750
Market Price (per kg)150
Total Revenue
Gross Profit562500
Net Profit (after expenses)382500

The time it takes for cherry plants to bear fruit can vary depending on several factors, including the cultivar, growing conditions, and management practices. In general, sweet cherry trees can take anywhere from 3 to 7 years to start bearing fruit, while sour cherry trees can bear fruit in as little as 2 years.

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