Cultivation of Castor; A Complete Information Guide

Cultivation of Castor ; A Complete Information Guide
Cultivation of Castor; A Complete Information Guide

Castor (Ricinus communis L.) belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family It is a tall glabrous annual or perennial shrub or a small tree growing to a height of 3 to 8 meters. It is cross-pollinated crop 

Castor is an important commercial oilseed crop its seeds contain 45-47% non-edible oil. Due to its deep root system, drought hardiness, and quick growth, it has an important place in the cropping systems of dryland agriculture in semi-arid zones of India.

India occupies the first position in the world in regards to acreage (5.4 lakh hectares) and production (2.6 lakh tonnes) with the productivity of 19.77 q/ha India contributes about 28 % of the world’s acreage and 36 % of total output.  

castor plant is indigenous to the eastern region of Africa, and most likely it is originated in Ethiopia. In India castor is known from very early days and is referred to in Sanskrit literature. In the Susruta Ayurveda, said to date from 2000 B.C., it is referred to as indigenous, and two varieties, red and white-seeded are described. It is possible that castor originated in the tropical belt of both India and Africa.

The major castor growing states in the country are; Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, and Rajasthan. It is also grown in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar.

Uses of Castor oil ;

Cultivation of Castor ; A Complete Information Guide
1) Castor oil finds a number of uses for domestic, medicinal, and industrial purposes. 
2) Castor oil contains a very high percentage (approximately 85 %) of hydroxy fatty acid known as recinoleic acid.
3) Recinoleic acid can be treated by dehydration. This dehydrated castor oil has a high demand for paints and varnishes because of its non-yellowing quality. 
4) Castor oil is the chief material for the production of sebacic acid which is the basic ingredient in the production of synthetic resins and fibers.
5) Castor oil is used as a lubricant in all moving parts of machinery and for internal combustion engines especially those used in airplanes. 
6) It is also used as an illuminant, giving a bright and steady flame and burning much longer than any other vegetable oil. 
7) Hydrogenated castor oil is used in polishes, ointments, waxes, printing inks, cosmetics, hair dressings, soaps, and disinfectants. 
8) Castor oil is very useful as a purgative. In dyeing industries, Castor oil is used for the preparation of ‘Turkey red’.
9) Castor oil is used for many veterinary uses. It is used externally as an emollient. It is also used as a soothing medium when dropped into the eyes of animals after the removal of foreign bodies.
10) The castor oil cake is valuable manure, but owing to the presence of the poison ‘ricin’ it is unfit for cattle feed. 
11) It contains about 5.5 % nitrogen, 1.8-1.9 % phosphorus and 1.1 % potash.

Medicinal Importance of Castor Oil;

1) A Strong Laxative; Castor oil increases the movement of the muscles and is commonly used to relieve temporary constipation.
2) A Natural Moisturizer; Castor oil can be used to moisturize the skin and help in preventing water loss through the outer layer of the skin. Castor oil often added to products like lotions, makeup, and cleansers.
3) Helps in Wound Healing; Application of castor oil to wounds creates a moist environment that promotes healing and prevents sores from drying out.
4) A Good Anti-Inflammatory Effects; The pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory qualities of castor oil is helpful to those with an inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis
5) Reduces Acne
6) Keeps Your Hair and Scalp Healthy; Castor oil helps in lubricating the hair shaft, increasing flexibility and decreasing the chance of breakage
6) Fights Fungus; Very useful in dental in plaque overgrowth, gum infections, and root canal infections.

Climatic Requirements for Castor Cultivation ;

Cultivation of Castor ; A Complete Information Guide

1) The castor plant grows throughout India up to an elevation of 2500 meters. 

2) Castor requires a moderately high temperature of 20-27°C with humidity throughout the growing season.
3) It grows best in areas there are clear warm sunny days.
4) Prolonged cloudy weather with the temperature at the time of flowering results in a poor seed set. 
5) High temperature above 41°C at the flowering time even for a short period results in the blasting of flowers and a poor seed set. 
6) The plant is considered to be very resistant to drought but even then about 80-100 mm evenly distributed rainfall is required for optimum growth. 
7) Heavy rainfall at flowering reduces the yield. 
8) The Castor plant is very susceptible to frost.

Soil Requirement for castor cultivation;

1) Castor can be raised practically on any type of soil, but as with many plants, a well-drained loam will produce the optimum yield. 

2) Very heavy clays and marshy conditions are unfavorable for proper growth.
3) Its cultivation should, however, be confined to the upland areas as this crop is highly susceptible to water-logged conditions. 
4) The crop can not also tolerate the alkalinity of soil but can withstand slight to moderate acidity of the soil.

 Important  Varieties of Castor ;

Characteristics of important varieties of castor with their suitability for different areas are given below:



Yield potential (kg/ha)

Oil content (%)

Recommended states/regions situations

Salient features/ traits

Jwala (48-1)

1000 (R) 1800 (I)


All castor growing areas under both rainfed and irrigated

Resistant to Fusarium wilt; tolerant to Botrytis, salinity

Chandra prabha



Uttar Pradesh

Suitable for intercropping




Identified for both rainfed and irrigated areas of the country

Resistant to wilt & tolerant to leaf hopper




Irrigated areas of Gujarat

Resistant to wilt, tolerant to Macrophomina root rot



Yield potential (kg/ha)

Oil content (%)

Recommended states/regions situations

Salient features/ traits


2450 (I)


Irrigated areas of Gujarat

Resistant to nematode-wilt complex


1861 (R)


For Tamil Nadu


Source; Directorate of Oilseeds Development

Rotations and Mixed Cropping
Castor is grown either as a pure crop in rotation with wheat, linseed, etc., or is grown mixed with cotton, groundnut, arhar, green gram, jowar, bajra, and cowpea.

Field Preparation for Castor Cultivation ;

1) Owing to its well-developed root system, the plant demands a deep rooting medium. 

2) Deep ploughing is necessary to break up any compact layers in the soil so that roots can penetrate deep in the soil to obtain moisture from depth during dry periods. 
3) Disk harrowing should follow ploughing, to break up clods, level the seedbed, and destroy weeds. 
4) The type of Seedbed required for castor is generally similar to that prepared for cotton or maize.
5)The seedbed should be moist to a depth of 15-20 cms.

Seed and Sowing of Castor Crop;

Cultivation of Castor ; A Complete Information Guide

1) The right time of planting castor varies from 20th June to 5th July. 

2) Sow the seed as soon as the monsoon breaks in the second fortnight of June. 
3) Sowing after 20th July gives poor yields in Kharif season. 
4) Sowing time varies slightly in different states. Sowing time of castor in various states of India are as follows; 


Sowing Time


June- July


June- July (Kharif ) September- October (Rabi)


August – September

Tamil Nadu

June – July



Andhra Pradesh

June- July


June – July

Seed Rate ;

Method of sowing for Castor Cultivation;

1) Under irrigated conditions for dwarf varieties, a row to row distance of 60 cms. and rainfed conditions 90 cms. has been found optimum for good plant growth. 

2) Plant to plant distance should be 45 cms. 
3) The seeds may be sown at 8 cms. depth behind the plough or maize planter at the rate of 18-20 kg seed per hectare.

Manures and Fertilisers Required for Castor Cultivation ;

1) If compost or farmyard manure is available, 10-15 tonnes may be added per hectare about 15-20 days before sowing. 

2) Neem cake is beneficial to this crop because it increases the oil percentage.
3)The fertilizer requirement of the castor crop is 60 kg nitrogen, 40 kg P205, and 40 kg K2O per hectare.
4) Under irrigated conditions half dose of nitrogen and a full dose of phosphorous and potash should be applied at the time of planting and the remaining hall dose of nitrogen should be topdressed at 60 days of crop growth. 
5) Under rainfed conditions, the dose is usually reduced to half and is applied as a basal dose.

Nipping of Axillary Buds;

If all axillary buds on the main shoot are nipped soon after the emergence of the primary spike and thus a single main spike is allowed to develop, not only the duration of the crop is reduced but also yields are increased substantially.

Water Management in Castor Cultivation ;

Cultivation of Castor ; A Complete Information Guide

1) Castor is usually grown under rainfed conditions. However, it has bey observed that it responds very well to irrigation.

2) Castor, being a deep-rooted crop, can extract water from considerable depth in the soil. 
3) Irrigations may thus be relatively heavy and less frequent. 
4) For good yields, wherever possible two to three heavy irrigations may be given. 
5) In case of soil moisture deficiency at the flowering stage, essentially one irrigation be provided. 
6) In heavy rainfall areas proper drainage is essential.

Weed Control in Castor Cultivation ;

1) Conditions during the rainy season are conducive to rapid and luxuriant growth of weeds. Weeds compete with the plants in the early stages of growth. 

2) To keep the weeds down; two hand weedings, one at 30 days of crop growth and the other after 60 days of crop growth should be given. 
3) Eptam at the rate of 3-4 kg a.i. per hectare incorporated in the seedbed three weeks prior to planting gives good control of annual grasses and broad-leaved weeds.

Diseases and Pest Management in Castor Crop;

a) Disease Management;
1) Seedling Blight ;
This disease is of very common occurrence in the young stage when the plant is 15-25 cms. high. The first indication of the disease is the appearance of a roundish patch of an unhealthy dull green color on both the surfaces of cotyledonary leaves. In older plants, symptoms of the disease are localized on the lamina or leaf blade in spots or the spots become confluent often covering almost the whole leaf. Under humid conditions. white web of threads (fungal growth) can be seen on the lower surface of the leaves. The most severe damage occurs when the growing point of the leaf is affected by rot.
Control Measures;

(1) Select well-drained fields as poorly drained soil encourages the incidence of the disease. (2) Grow tolerant varieties like TMV-9, H.C.-6, PC-1, etc. (3) Spray copper-based fungicides such as Fytolan or Blitox @ of 0.3%. Repeat a second spray after 15 days, if necessary.
2) Twig Blight
Symptoms of this disease are noticed on the stems, branches, and petioles. Oval to spherical spots surrounded by a dark brown margin with a white necrotic center appear on various parts. Subsequently, the spots enlarge considerably assuming long patches with white centers in which black bodies a prominent.
Control Measures;
Seed treatment with Thiram at 0.3% coupled with Dithane 0.1% Z-78 spray can control this disease.
3) Alternaria Blight; 
The fungus affects all the aerial parts of the plant including the inflorescence and capsules. Leaf spots are seen throughout the rainy season and become more extensive during rainy weather. The affected capsules are half-matured, small-sized, and half-filled with wrinkled seeds.
Control Measures;
a) Clean cultivation, field sanitation and seed treatment with b)Thiram or Captan at the rate of 3 g per kg seed reduce the initial infection. 
c) Spraying of copper or Zineb-based fungicides can also be used.
d)  Apply Mancozeb @ 2.5g/lit concentration at an interval of 15days commencing from 90days of crop growth.
4) Rust
Castor rust is a major disease. Chlorotic to grey-brown spots appear primarily on leaves. Pustules develop within the spot on both sides of the leaves but are more conspicuous on the undersides. This disease may cause yield reduction to the extent of 50 percent.
Control Measures;
As soon as the disease appears, spray Zineb-based fungicides such as Dithane M-45 or Dithane Z-78 at the rate of 0.3%. If the disease persists, then repeat spraying at ten days intervals.
5) Pod Rot;
It is one of the important diseases of castor which causes a reduction in yield from 20 to 60 percent. The earlier symptoms observed are confined to the fissures of the castor pod. Later on the rotting proceeds. The rotted ears are shriveled, depressed olivaceous black. The capsules crack at the point of infection which proceeds to the interior of lobes. Under low temperature and high humidity, the seeds are also attacked forming water-soaked areas subsequently leading to rotting.
Control Measures;
Seed treatment with Thiram or Captan at 0.3% coupled with the spraying of Zineb-based fungicides give a satisfactory result.
6) Bacterial Leaf Blight;
This disease is seed-borne and caused by Xanthomonas ricinicola which persists in soil on trashes. The disease appears as small, round, water-soaked spots which later become angular and dark brown in color.
Control Measures;
weed-free cultivation, proper field sanitation, and seed treatment with Thiram or Captan at the rate of 3 g per kg seed help in controlling this disease.
b) Insect Pests Management;
There are five major pests of castor which cause considerable damage to the crop. The nature of the damage and their control measures are given below:
1) Castor Hairy Caterpillar ;
The young caterpillars are gregarious feeders and scrape off the green matter of the leaves, leaving behind a network of veins that subsequently dry up and fall down. 
The caterpillars segregate as they advance in instars Mature caterpillars feed on leaves voraciously and only primary veins are left. The peak period of activity is during April-June.
Control Measures;
(1) Properly Collect and destroy the eggs and young larvae. 
(2) The young caterpillars can also be killed by dusting 10% BHC dust at the rate of 25-30 kg per hectare. 
(3)For full-grown caterpillars spray 1.5 liters Thiodan 35 EC (Endosulfan) in 1000 liters of water per hectare.
(4) Chlorpyriphos 2.5 ml quinolphos 2ml or neem oil 5ml/liter of water can also be applied to control Caterpillar
2)Castor Semi – Looper ;
The moth is stout-bodied with pale reddish-brown forewings. The caterpillar is slender and of dark color with stripes of red and white color. The caterpillars feed on the lower side of the leaves and completely defoliate them.
Control Measures;
A spray of Dimecron 0.03% or Thiodan 35 EC at the rate of 1 liter in 800 liters of water has been proved to be effective.
3) Castor Capsule and Shoot Borer ;
This pest is serious at the time of flowering and pod formation. The larvae seed on the tender leaves and flowers, young shoots, and capsules developing the kernels. The affected spike is profusely webbed with entrapped excretal pallets and brownish-black frass. Severe attack results in the failure of the crop. It is more serious in the months of September-October. It prefers those varieties in which spikes are compact and capsules are with thorns.
Control Measures;
Spray Nuvan 100 at the rate of 375 milliliters or methyl parathion (Metacid 50 EC) at the rate of 1250 milliliters in 375 liters of water hectare.
4) jassids;
It is a regular and serious post of castor. Both nymphs and adults such as the sap from the leaves and reduce the vitality of the crop. In case of severe infestation, the leaves dry up and fall from the plant after typical ‘hopper burn’ symptoms.
Control Measures;
(1) Spray of Endosulfan 0.05% gives effective control 
(2) Grow varieties with loose spikes and having leaves with waxy coatings.
5) Red-Spider Mite;
The two-spotted red-spider mite infests the leaves and sucks the sap. By feeding, white specks appear on the lower side of the leaves, and later on these spots join together and white spots appear. Sometimes it becomes so serious that it causes defoliation.
Control Measures;
The red-spider mite can be controlled by spraying the crop with Metasystox 25 EC at the rate of 625 milliliters dissolved in 375 liters of water or Roger 30 EC at the rate of 625 milliliters in 375 liters of water per hectare.

Harvesting and Threshing;

1) Depending upon the variety, the crop matures between 145-280 days after planting. 

2) Harvesting is done when capsules turn yellowish. However, all the spikes of the castor do not mature at the same time. 
3) The central spike on the main rachis matures first and thereafter the spikes on the side branches start maturing. Therefore, usually two to three pickings may be needed for harvesting the entire crop. 
4)The spikes should be dried in the sun for four to five days and then threshed. It is essential to dry the seeds completely before storage.

The yield of Castor Crop;

Depending upon the agro-climatic conditions, varieties used, and cry management practices followed, the improved varieties may yield 20-22 quintals of seed per hectare.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights