Cultivation of Turmeric ; Curcuma longa L

Cultivation of Turmeric ; Curcuma longa L

Cultivation of Turmeric ; Curcuma longa L.


Turmeric (Curcuma longa L) is one the most sacred ancient spice of every household in India it is also known as “Indian  Saffron” Turmeric is not only used as the most important ingredient of Indian curry and culinary but it is also the most favored traditional medicine of every family in India. Turmeric has a very important place in offerings in religious and ceremonial events.

Turmeric what we use in our houses is a dried form of the rhizomes of Curcuma longa L Which belongs to the family Zingiberaceae a native of South Asia, particularly from India. India has a 78% market share of global turmeric production followed by China (8%), and other countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nigeria, etc. In India, the Major turmeric-producing states are A.P., Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Karnataka, West Bengal, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, and Assam out of which, Andhra Pradesh alone occupies 38.0% of the area and 58.5% of the total turmeric production in the country.

Climate and Soil required for Turmeric Cultivation

Turmeric can be grown in various climatic conditions but primarily, it is a crop of tropical conditions and can be grown at minimum sea level to sea level up to 1500 meters above the ground with a yearly rainfall of 1500 mm and a temperature range of 25 – 35 degrees Celsius.
It can be grown variety of soils but sandy or clay loam with a pH level of 4.5 to 7.5( which has good drainage and a high organic stratum.)

Varieties of Turmeric ;

Variety Duration Av. Yield Fresh Rhizome Tones/Ha Recommended For the Area
IISR – Pragati 180 38 Kerala,Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh
IISR – Pratibha 225 39 All Over India
Suguna 190 29 Kerla, AP
Suvarna 200 17 Kerala, Karnataka, AP
Kedaram 210 5.28 dry RhizomeT/Ha Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and North Bengal
Prabha 205 37 All over India.
Sudershna 190 28 Kerala and Andhra Pradesh
IISR-Alleppey Supreme 210

                              5.28 dry RhizomeT/Ha

Kerala (rainfed) Maharashtra, Karnataka and N. Bengal (irrigated)

 Preparation of Land for Turmeric Cultivation ;

Deeply plough the field 3 – 4 times afterward planking of the field is done afterward prepare the beds of one-meter in width 30 cm. in height with a convenient length size considering the spacing between the two beds of about 50 cm. In the case of the assured irrigation facilities, the ridges and furrow are prepared and the planting is done on the top of the ridges in shallow pits 

Required Seed material for Turmeric Cultivation;

Cultivation of Turmeric ; Curcuma longa L
Rhizomes of Turmeric


1) Select healthy and disease-free rhizomes for the planting purpose (from the already carefully preserved seeds stocks. )
2) In case of the unavailability of high-yielding varieties, local seed material can be used to avoid the delay in sowing. 

3) Mother rhizome and the fingers are used for the turmeric cultivation 
4) Fingers are used after cutting it into 4 to 5 cm. long pieces of two splits and each split should have at least one sound bud.
5) whereas the mother rhizome is sown directly in the field as a whole.
6) Seed rhizomes are treated with mancozeb 0.3% (3 g/L of water) for 30 minutes, shade dried for 3-4 hours, and planted.
7) A seed rate of 2,500 kg of rhizomes is required for planting one hectare of turmeric.

Transplanting of Turmeric ;

1) Conventionally the transplanting of turmeric is not in practice in India But the transplanting technique is found highly profitable. 
2) For transplanting purposes the single bud seed material is used ( 5 Gms in weight ) 
3) Basically in this technique sprouted rhizomes are raised in pro – Tray and thereafter 30 to 40 days old plant is transplanted in the main field. 
4) The main advantage of using this technique is, that it is highly cost-effective which not only reduces the cost of cultivation significantly but through it, we can be able to produce healthy seed material also.

The technique of Raising a Single Bud Turmeric Seedling ;

1) Treat the pre-selected rhizome for seed with the chemical mancozeb 0.3% and quinalphos 0.075% for thirty minutes and store it in a safe ventilated place. 

2) Before one month of schedule, planting cut the rhizomes into single buds (small pieces of 5 to 7 gms).
3) Sprout the buds and treat every single bud with 0.3% solution of Moncozeb for 30 minutes before the actual planting.
4) Fill the pro trays with nursery medium ( containing partially decomposed coir pith and Vermicompost in a ratio of 75:25 and enrich it with Trichoderma/PGPR @ 10 gms/kg.
5) Plant the sprouted turmeric buds in Pro – trays and kept them under the shade ( 50% Net)
6) Irrigate the Pro-Trays as per need
7) After 30 – 35 days the seedling is ready to transport for transplanting.

Planting  of Tumeric Plant; 

The turmeric plants can be transplanted during the month of April to July with a spacing of 25 cm. to 30 cm. between Row to Row and Plant to Plant respectively. 
For the Transplanting of turmeric prepare shallow pits with the help of a hoe and covered them with the rotten cow dung or oil cake mixture. For furrow and ridge planting the distance between row to row should be 45 – 60 cm and plant to plant distance should be 25 cm.

Required Manuring and Fertilizers in turmeric cultivation ;

1) Apply 30 – 40 tonnes FYM per hectare or Compost at the time of field preparation or spreading the FYM / Compost over the pits as a basal dose at the time of turmeric planting may also be followed.
2) Organic manure like neem cake can be applied at the time of planting@ at 2 tonnes per hectare by reducing doses of the FYM/Compost accordingly. 
3) The recommended doses of NPK in turmeric cultivation is 120:60:275 kg per hectare in three equal split doses at 45- 60-120 days of interval respectively. 
4) Under zinc-deficient soils apply 5 kg of zinc per hectare ( 25 kg of zinc sulphate per hectare) 

Mulching in Turmeric Crop ;

1) Immediately after the planting covers the crop with green leaves @10 – 12 tonnes per hectare. 
2) The mulching process should be repeated at 40- 45 days and 85 – 90 days respectively with green leaves @ 7.5 tonnes per hectare 
3) It should be done after the cultural practices like weeding, earthing up, and fertilizer doses application.

Irrigation in Turmeric crop ;

Depending upon the prevailing atmospheric conditions and soil types the irrigation should employ to the turmeric crop. In general clay soil requires 15 to 25 irrigation whereas sandy soil requires 35 – 40 irrigations.

Disease and Pest Management in Turmeric ;

A) Disease Management in Turmeric ; 




Leaf blotch

Leaf blotch is caused by Taphrina maculans and appears as small, oval, rectangular or irregular brown spots on either side of the leaves which  soon become dirty yellow or dark brown. The leaves also turn yellow. In severe cases the plants present a scorched appearance and the rhizome  yield is reduced

can be controlled by spraying mancozeb 0.2%.

Leaf spot

Leaf spot is caused by Colletotrichum capsici and appears as brown spots of various sizes on the upper surface of the young leaves. The spots are irregular in shape and white or grey in the centre. Later, two or more spots may coalesce and form an irregular patch covering almost the whole leaf. The affected leaves eventually dry up. The rhizomes do not develop well

controlled by spraying carbendazim  (0.5 kg/ha) or mancozeb (0.2 %) or copper oxychloride (0.2%).

Leaf blight

Leaf blight is caused by Rhizoctonia solani. The disease is characterized by the appearance of necrotic patches with papery the white centre of varying sizes on the lamina which spread on the whole surface leaving a blighted appearance. The disease occurs during the post-monsoon season

Can be controlled by spraying  Bavistin 0.2% or Bordeaux mixture 1% with the initiation of infection.

Rhizome rot

The disease is caused by Pythium aphanidermatum. The lower leaves of the infected pseudostem show yellowing, collar region of the pseudostem become soft and water-soaked, resulting in the collapse of the plant and decay of rhizomes. Treating the seed rhizomes with mancozeb 0.3%  for 30 minutes prior to storage and at the time of sowing prevents the disease

When the disease is noticed in the field, the beds should be drenched with COC 0.2% or Metalaxyl-mancozeb 0.125%.

Root-knot nematodes

Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) and burrowing nematode (Radopholus similis) are the two important nematodes causing damage to turmeric. Root lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus spp.) are of common occurrence in Andhra Pradesh.

use only healthy, nematode-free planting material. Increasing the organic content of the soil also checks the multiplication of nematodes. Pochonia chlamydosporia can be applied to the beds at the time of sowing @ 20 g/bed (106 cfu/g) for management of nematode problems.

B) Pest Management in Turmeric Crop ;




Shoot borer

The shoot borer (Conogethes punctiferalis) is the most serious pest of turmeric. The larvae bore into pseudostems and feed on internal tissues. The presence of a bore-hole on the pseudostem through which frass is extruded and the withered central shoot is a characteristic symptom of pest infestation. The adult is a medium-sized moth with a wingspan of about 20 mm; the wings are orange-yellow with minute black spots. Fully-grown larvae are light brown with sparse hairs.

1.Spray malathion (0.1%) or lamda-cyhalothrin (0.0125%) at 21 days intervals during July to October.

 2.Initiate spraying when the first symptom of pest, an attack is seen on the innermost leaf.

Rhizome scale

The rhizome scale (Aspidiella hartii) infests rhizomes in the field (at later stages of the crop) and in storage. Adult (female) scales are circular (about 1mm diameter) and light brown to grey and appear as encrustations on the rhizomes. They feed on sap and when the rhizomes are severely infested, they become shrivelled and desiccated affecting its germination.

• Adapt timely harvest of rhizomes

• Before storage, discard severely infested rhizomes

• Treat seed material with quinalphos (0.075%) (for 20-30 minutes) before storage and also before sowing in case the infestation persists.Store rhizomes in sawdust along with dried leaves of Strychnos nuxvomica

Minor pests




Lacewing bug

Adults and larvae of leaf-feeding beetles such as Lema spp. feed on leaves especially during the monsoon season and form elongated parallel feeding marks on them. 

 The lacewing bug Stephanitistypicus) infests the foliage causing them to turn pale and dry up. The pest infestation is more common during the post monsoon period especially in drier regions of the country

Spraying of malathion (0.1%)  undertaken for the management of shoot borer is sufficient to manage this pest.

 Spraying dimethoate (0.05%) is effective in managing the pest


The turmeric thrips (Panchaetothripsindicus) infests the leaves causing them to roll, turn pale and gradually dry up. The pest infestation is more common during the post-monsoon period especially in drier regions of the country

Spraying dimethoate (0.05%) is effective for the management of the pest.

Harvesting and Processing of Turmeric ; 

Harvesting and curing ;
In general, the turmeric crop is ready to harvest 7 – 9 months after the planting (depending upon the time of planting, and the maturity period of a particular variety.) Most commonly turmeric crop is harvested in the month of January to March. When the leaves of the turmeric became dry and turn yellow to brown in color the crop is ready to harvest. Harvesting is generally done by ploughing the field by tractor or by manual operations followed by gathering the clumps carefully either by spade or by manual picking. The average yield of green turmeric is about 25 to 30 tonnes per hectare.
Processing ;
After harvesting of the turmeric rhizome clean all the unwanted adhere material over the rhizomes Before entering the market the rhizomes of turmeric undergoes the process of Boiling, drying, and polishing.
It should be done within 3 to 4 days after harvesting the turmeric crop. Before boiling firstly separate the bulbs and rhizome otherwise it will take more time in the boiling process and boiling will also not properly occurs. By boiling the rhizome in freshwater, the rhizomes loosen their viability and it also reduces the time of drying. Boiling also helps in reducing the raw odor from the rhizomes and the fingers and gives a uniform colored product.
Boiling is traditionally done in galvanized iron utensils until the white fourth forms are not come out of the pan with a characteristic odor and it is also one of the indications that rhizomes are boiled well and ready to dry. Another indication to check the perfect boiling of the rhizomes is that the properly boiled rhizomes become very soft and it can be broken very easily when pressed between the forefingers and thumbs ( interior of rhizomes turns to yellow color)
Perfect boiling takes approximately 90 minutes for the mother rhizomes and 45 to 60 minutes for the fingers. For larger quantities of turmeric, the steam boiling method can be adopted.
Drying; Well-boiled fingers of turmeric spread over the floor in the form of a thick layer of 5 – 6 cm it takes around 15 days to get completely dried. Care should be taken to avoid any kind of contamination and the uniform drying of the rhizomes. The yield of the turmeric varies from 20 % to 25% after drying it (depends upon the variety and location of the cultivation.)
Polishing and coloring; To improve the poor appearance of turmeric which is due to its rough surface ( because of scales and root bits. ) and it is done by polishing the outer surface turmeric rhizomes either by mechanical or manual rubbing. The improved method of polishing is a hand-operated drum or barrel which is mounted over the central axis. Polishing not only improves the color of turmeric but also enhances the appearance of the turmeric as per the market demand and it also helps in fetching the attractive price of the produce.
Preservation of seeds; Rhizomes for seeds are stored under a well-ventilated place by covering it with the help of the turmeric leaves. Sometimes the heaps can also be plastered by earth mixed with cow dung. Another way of preserving the rhizome for seed is by storing it with sawdust in the pits. ( Pits are covered with a wooden plank with certain holes on it for aeration )

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