Cultivation of Jute (Corchorus spp.) in India


Jute (Corchorus spp.) also known as ‘Golden Fiber of India’ belongs to the family Tiliaceae It is an herbaceous annual it has a plant height of 10-12 ft. Jute is one of the most important fiber crop next to cottonIndia is ranked in 1st position in jute production and accounting for about 62.2% of world production and 59% of the total area in the World. In India Jute is cultivated on 0.71 million hectares with an annual production of 9.98 million bales. The major jute production  takes place in the states of West Bengal, Assam, and Bihar,  which account for approximately 98 % of the country’s jute area and production

The importance of Jute in our economy hardly needs to be emphasized. It is one of the major foreign exchange earners. Exported as manufactured goods and as raw fiber, it earns foreign exchange of around 3,000 million rupees per annum.

The Commercial jute fiber is obtained from two cultivated species namely Corchorus capsularis and Corchorus olitorius. 
Most probably the center of origin of C. olitorius was Africa. The origin of the C. capsularis is believed to be in the Indo-Burma region, as wild types of this species have been found in this region

Uses of Jute Fiber ;



1) The fiber is used extensively in the manufacture of gunny cloth, gunny bags, and other packaging materials for storing and transporting grains, pulses, spices, cement, sugar, cotton, fertilizers, wool, etc., all over the world. 

2) Jute is also used in making ropes, carpets, rugs, and twines.

3) Different types of cloth of different qualities are made out of fiber for the purpose of upholstery, linoleum, tapestries, etc.
4) The jute stalks stripped of fiber are used as fuel 
5) It is also used for making gunpowder charcoal. 
6) The paper industry also uses it as a raw material for coarser paper.

Classification of Jute Crop ;

The cultivated varieties of jute (Corchorus sp.)are classified into two types of cultivated species:
(1) Corchorus capsularis: 

This species of jute is hard in nature and can be cultivated well both on high and low lands and can tolerate waterlogging conditions to some extent. It is more popular and nearly 70 % of the total acreage is under this species. 

(2) Corchorus olitorius: 
It is grown on well-drained highlands only.

Climatic Requirements for Jute Cultivation ;

1) Jute thrives best under a warm and humid climate with temperatures ranging from 24 to 37°C, the optimum being around 34°C.

2)The permissible diurnal variation in relative humidity favorable to growth is between 55 and 90 %. 
3) Well-distributed total rainfall of 150 cms. per year, of which 25 cms precipitation from March to May is the most suitable for jute cultivation. 
4) Alternate periods of sunshine and rainfall are beneficial. 
5) Young jute plants are very sensitive to waterlogging conditions. 
5) Capsularis plants in later stages of growth can tolerate water that does not actually submerge them. 
6) Olitorius plants, however, fail to grow under waterlogged conditions.

Soil Requirement for Jute Cultivation ;

1) Jute can be grown on all kinds of soils from clay to sandy loam but loamy alluvial soil suits it most. 

2) Laterite and gravely soils are not suitable for jute crops. 
3) The new grey alluvial soil of good depth, receiving silt from the annual floods are best for jute cultivation. 
4) Jute thrives best in the normal soil reaction i.e., pH 6 to 7.5.  Below or above this pH, the yield of the crop suffers. 
5) Sandy soils and heavy clays are unsuitable for jute cultivation.

Important Varieties of Jute Crop ;

Some new varieties of jute evolved at the Jute Agricultural Research Institute, Barrackpore, and released for cultivation on farmers’ fields are as follows:


Name of Variety

State(s) of release

Yield q/ha

Salient traits notified



JRO 632 (Baisakhi Tossa)



Suitable for late sowing induces premature flowering if sown before mid-April, pods shattering type.



RO 878 (Chaitali tossa)



Suitable for early (mid-March) sowing, pods non-shattering type, better fiber fineness.



JRO 7835 (Basudev)



Pods non-shattering, suitable for early (mid-March) sowing, can withstand waterlogging to some extent at a later stage of growth.





JRO 524 (Navin)



Pods non-shattering, sowing during the middle of March does not induce premature flowering.  It is least susceptible to yellow mite pests and is resistant to root rot diseases in high rainfall areas.  It rets better than other olitorius varieties and extraction is easy.



TJ 40 (Mahadev)



Premature flowering resistance-absent, pod dehiscence-present ; seed color-green


JRO 3690 (Savitri)



Pods shattering type, better fiber quality, suitable for late sowing.



KOM 62 (Rebati)



Premature flowering resistance-absent, pod dehiscence-present ; seed color-steel grey


JRO 66 (Golden jubilee Tossa)



Pods non-shattering type, fiber quality TD2 grade, ideal for mid-April to early May sowing.



JRO 8432 (Shakti Tossa)



Suitable for early (mid-March) sowing, premature flowering resistant, non-shattering pod.



JRO 128 (Surya)



Pods non-shattering type can be sown from mid-March to end of April. Very good fiber quality.



S 19 (Subala)



Suitable for early (mid-March) sowing, resistant to premature flowering, tolerant to major pests and diseases,  finer fiber quality with lesser lignin content.



JRO 204 (Suren)



Tall,  cylindrical stem, non-lodging type, non-shattering pod, resistance to premature flowering



AAUOJ 1 (Tarun)



Non-shattering pod, broader leaf with green longer stipule, resistance to premature flowering, better biotic resistance for stem rot, root rot, anthracnose, and yellow mite



JBO 2003H (Ira)



Resistance to premature flowering,  better fiber quality, better biotic resistance to stem rot, root rot, anthracnose, and yellow mite



CO 58 (Sourav)



The suitable time of sowing is mid- March, pods are  non- shattering type, resistance to premature flowering, better fiber quality, resistance to major pest and diseases



JBO 1 (Sudhangshu)



The suitable time of sowing is  mid- March to end- April,  pods are non-shattering type, low lignin content, resistant to premature flowering, better fiber quality, resistance to major pest and diseases




JROM 1 (Pradip)



The suitable time of sowing is  mid- March to the end of April, Stem: Cylindrical, non-branching; Leaf color: Green, laceolate shape; Flower: Petal color; Yellow; Fruit: Pods green cylindrical, non-shattering




JROG 1 (Rithika)



The suitable time of sowing is  mid- March to end- April, non-shattering pod, resistance to premature flowering, resistance  to root rot and  stem rot disease, fiber quality is good, tolerance of abiotic stresses,




JRO 2407 (Samapti)



The suitable time of sowing is early March,  pods are non-shattering type, low lignin content, resistance to premature flowering, better fiber quality, resistance to major pest and diseases.




KRO 4 (Gouranga)



Adapted to Tossa jute growing especially, West Bengal, Assam, Bihar and Odisha for mid-March to mid-May sowing. Tolerant to stem rot disease and insects like semi looper, apion, BHC, and yellow mite.




BCCO 6  (Kisan Pat)



Coppery red stem variety with better fiber tenacity (21.18 g/tex) and fineness (2.81 tex), recommended for the entire Tossa jute growing states for sowing in the 2nd fortnight of April to May.

Source; ICAR


Rotations and Mixed Cropping in Jute Crop ;

a) In irrigated areas; jute can admirably fit in multiple cropping following intensive crop rotations may be followed.
(1) Jute-paddy-wheat 

(2) Jute-paddy-potato 
(3) Jute-paddy-barley 
(4) Jute-paddy-mustard 
(5) Jute-paddy-berseem 
(6) Jute-paddy-gram
b) In rainfed areas; the following crop rotations may be followed with advantage.
(1) Jute-paddy
(2) Jute-barley 
(3) Jute-wheat 
(4) Jute-mustard
(5) Jute-gram
c) Intercropping;
jute can be intercropped with moong and groundnut crops. 1) Moong is sown in lines 40 centimeters apart. After one month, jute variety JRO-878 or JRO-7835 is sown in lines 20 cms. apart in between i.c., 10 cms. from each side of moong rows. 
2) Groundnut is sown in 60 Cms. rows in mid-January (in eastern India only) and Jute JRO-878 or JRO-7835 may be sown 30 cm apart in between two lines of groundnut at the end of March.

Field Preparation for Jute Cultivation;

1) Jute requires a clean, clod-free field with fine tilth for its successful establishment.

2) The field should be ploughed and cross harrowed 5 to 6 times followed by planking until a fine seedbed with good tilth is obtained 
3) Soil moisture between 21 to 45 % is considered ideal for prop germination. 
4) Do not sow jute unless the soil moisture is not sufficient 
5) Soil attains a fine tilth because jute seeds are very small in size. 
6) In acidic soils, liming should be done in jute fields 4 to 6 weeks before sowing Depending upon the soil reaction, 7 to 15 quintals of lime per hectare should be used after every fourth year. This should oil be done when the soil ph is around 6 or below 6.

Seed and Sowing for Jute Crop Cultivation ;

a) Seed Treatment; 
Before sowing seed should be treated with Agrosan G.N. or Ceresan at the rate of 5 gms per kg of seed against the attack of seed-borne pathogens. 
b) Sowing Time ;
1) The sowing of jute generally starts from the month of February and extends in some parts of India to the middle of June.
2) The optimum period of sowing for capsularis types (white jute) in March-April and for olitorius types (Tossa jute) is April May.
3) Early sowing of olitorius types in March results in premature flowering which reduces the yield and quality on account of branching.
4) JRO-878 is fairly resistant to premature flowering and can be sown earlier. 
5) Generally, April sowing gives the best results in both types of jute.
c) Seed Rate, Spacing,and Method of Sowing ;

1) Sowing of jute should be done in lines with the help of hand pushed seed drill.

2) Before sowing, the seed drill should be thoroughly checked for regular seed fall and depth of furrow. 
3) Tossa jute (C. olitorius) is to be sown with the closer spacing of 20 cms between rows 
4) White Jute (C. capsularis) the distance is to be increased to 30 cms. 
5)The distance between plants within a row has to be maintained at 5 to 7 centimeters for both. 
6) In the absence of seed drill, seeds may also be sown behind the plough maintaining the same space between two rows. 
7) Do not Sow seeds deeper than 2 to 3 centimeters. 
8) For line sowing, the Seed rate is 6 to 8 kg per hectare for white jute and 4 to 5 kg per hectare for Tossa jute.

Manures and Fertilisers Requirement for Jute Crop;

1) Compost or farmyard manure, if available, should be applied at the rate of 5 to 8 tonnes per hectare and incorporated into the soil at least a month before sowing. 

2) In addition to the organic manures, 20 to 60 nitrogen per hectare for olitorius and 40 to 80 kg nitrogen per hectare capsularis is required. 
3) Response to phosphatic and potassic fertilizers a not universal. Depending on soil requirement 20 to 40 kg P2O5 and 20 to 60 kg K2.0 per hectare may be applied. 
4) Phosphatic and potassic fertilizers should be drilled before sowing or at the time of sowing.
5) Nitrogenous fertilizers are usually top dressed in one or two installments at four to five weeks of crop age when the nitrogen requirement of the jute plant is highest.
6) Nitrogen is generally applied after weeding and thinning operations. 
7) Fertilisers should be applied either in moist soil or irrigation should be given after its application. 
8) In lighter soils, under high rainfall conditions, split application in two to three doses is desirable.
9) A single application is permissible in heavy soils under moderate to low rainfall areas.

Water Management in Jute Crop;

1) Jute is generally grown under rainfed conditions. 

2) The crop receives great setbacks when there are no timely rains or there is excessive rain causing waterlogging conditions.
3) During the rainy season, excessive water should be drained. 
4) Jute yields are high under irrigated conditions. 
4) One pre-sowing irrigation and three post-sowing irrigations before the onset of monsoon, have been found optimum for increased fiber production of early sown jute.

Weed Control and Thinning in Jute Crop;

1) The weed infestation in jute is maximum up to the sixth week of crop age. 

2) The first weeding is usually done two to three weeks after sowing when plants are 7-10 cm high.
3) Thin out extra seedlings along with the first weeding operation to a spacing of 3-4 centimeters between two plants.
4) Give the second weeding and thinning after five to six weeks of crop age 
5) when plant height is 14-15 centimeters and maintains the plant-to-plant distance of 5-7 centimeters within a row.
6) Remove all diseased, weak, and dead seedlings during weeding and thinning.

Diseases and Pest Management ;

Disease Management ;

a) Seedling Blight 
This disease is caused by the fungus Macrophomina phascoli. The fungus being seed-borne in nature, the seedling may initially develop black lesions on cotyledons that rot and wither, the tender stem then dries brown. Ultimately the seedlings die and the field looks blighted.
(1) Seed treatment for 10 minutes in a closed container with either of the following: 
(a) Agrosan G.N. or Captan at the rate of 5 g per kg of seeds.
(b) Dithane M-45 at the rate of 2.5 g per kg of seeds.
(c) Bisdithane at the rate of 2 g per kg of seeds. 
(2) Apply lime and potash in areas with red and/or acid soils.
b) Root Rot;
This disease is also caused by M. phaseoli. Root rot infected plants with wilting as the first recognizable symptom. Tips of the affected plants Top and the color of the stem gradually turns brown Finally, the plant looks dry and withers completely. An infected root shows rusty brown coloration while healthy roots are light yellow to buff colored.
Control; same as seedling blight
c) Stem Rot;
This disease is caused by M. Phaseoli. Though the disease is denoted by stem rot, the infection starts from leaves. The pycnospores of M. phaseoli fall on the leaf surface, germinate and the hyphal system penetrates the leaf tissue causing necrosis. The disease spreads towards the petiole and through it reaches the node of the stem. The node becomes black and the infection patch spreads upwards and downwards. Minute black dot-like bodies develop on the stem and leaf.
same as seedling blight
d) Collar Rot;
This disease is also caused by M. phaseoli. The collar region of the plant, viz., four to six inches of the stem from the base is affected. A brownish-black scar-like lesion is developed which may encircle the stem.
Control Measures; 
same as seedling blight
e) Anthracnose of Capsulari;   
This disease is caused by Colletotrichum corchorum. Tiny, moist, brownish-black spots appear on the stem which later coalesce to form a larger necrotic lesion. In an advanced stage of the disease, the necrotic become dark, dry, and cankerous. When pods are attacked, they turn brown and shrivel.
Control Measures; 
(1) Seed treatment with Agrosan G.N. or Captan at the rate per kg of seeds. 
(2) Spray the crop twice a week with copper oxychloride solution (0.75%).
f) Anthracnose of Olitorius ;
The causal organism is Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. At about the month’s stage of the crop, many dark spots become visible on When the disease is severe, necrosis goes deeper, spots coalesce to form canker, and yield is affected.
Control Measures;
(1) Limiting the application of nitrogen to 20 kg per hectare has been found to restrict the incidence of the disease. 
(2) Spray the crop once a week with copper oxychloride such as Blitz or Fytolan (0.75%) since the first appearance of the disease.
g) Stem Gall;
The disease is caused by Physoderma corchori. The disease is found on late sown olitorius crop subject to submergence in low lying areas during monsoon. Galls may be initially green, but gradually turn pink to brown and finally rusty brown. Each infected plant may have innumerable galls, some of which coalesce to form a large blister with lacerated fibre Finally, the dead plants turn into black sticks.
Control Measures;
(1) Avoid submerged conditions. 
(2) Grow capsularies types in such areas.
In addition to above important diseases, there are several other diseases like Hoogli wilt, soft rot, black band or die-back, leaf mosaic, the shooty mould of pods etc., of minor importance.
2) Insect Pests Management;
The jute plant from its seedling stage to maturity has to face attacks from various insect pests. Of all the insect pests of jute, semi-looper, stem weevil. Bihar hairy caterpillar, tobacco caterpillar, jute girdler, yellow mites, and red mites cause considerable damage to jute crop. The nature of the damage and appropriate control measures of some of the important insects and mite pests are given below:
a) Jute Semi-Looper;
The incidence of semi-looper starts in the middle of June and continues up to the middle of August. The caterpillars are green in colour and their length ranges from 5-8 centimetres. They attack the soft leaves of the apical region of a plant. They devoured apical leaves and cause retardation in growth in the apical region which reduces side branches.
Control Measures;
Spray Endosulfan 35 EC at the rate of 428 millilitres in 500 liters of water per hectare
b) Jute Stem Weevil ;
The incidence of jute stem-weevil starts from the seedling stage of the plant The female makes a hole at the base of the stalk of the leaf (petiole) With the help of its snout, turns and lays eggs singly in holes. After three lavs. the eggs hatch and the grub is inside the hole. The grub being stationary takes food causing wounds from within the plant and grow old day by day. The mucilagenous substance of the plant oozes out from the wounds, gets mixed with the excreta of the grubs and harden with adjoining tissues and form a knot. The quality of the fibre thus gots deteriorated.
Control Measures;
Spray crop with Endosulfan 35 EC at the rate of 428 milliliters in 500 liters of water per hectare.
c) Bihar Hairy Caterpillar; 
The caterpillars in their young stages remain congregated. After two months they scatter themselves throughout the field. These caterpillars attack both capsularis as well as olitorius jute. At first, as a result of its attack, the skeleton of the leaf only remains, denuded of green color. In the later stages of growth, the whole leaf is eaten by them.
Control Measures ; 
(1) Young caterpillars can be killed by dusting 10% BHC dust at the rate of 25-30 kg per hectare. 
(2) For full-grown caterpillars spray 1.5 liters of Endosulfan 35 EC in 1000 liters of water per hectare.
d) Tobacco Caterpillar;
Deep green caterpillars devoured the upper leaves of the plant and thereby retard the growth of the plant and induce side branches which are not desirable in jute crops.
Control Measures;
Same as for jute semi-looper.
d) Indigo Caterpillar ; 
Indigo caterpillars damage the leaves of the jute plant when its age is 25. 30 days. Yellowish-green caterpillars damage young leaves. They, of course, do not damage much. At the time of thinning, the damaged plants may be uprooted.
Control Measures;
In case of severe damage spray Endosulfan 35 EC at the rate of 428 millilitres per hectare in 500 litres of water.
e) Yellow Mite ;
Yellow mite mainly attacks olitorius jute. Light yellow coloured mite with their immature stages (nymphal stages) collectively damage the apical leaves of the jute plant by piercing their stylet and sucking of the leaf juice  As a result, the leaves crumple and ultimately turn coppery brown. The growth of the plant gets arrested. Thus the jute plants become weak. They prefer to remain on the undersurface of a leaf.
Control Measures;
Apply Endosulfan 35 EC at the rate of 650 millilitres in 500 litres of water per hectare or 2 litres of lime sulphur in 500 litres of water per hectare.
f) Jute Girdler;
This pest attacks olitorius jute only. The female adult cuts two rings at the apical region of the plant and lays eggs singly. The grubs grow inside the stem. The apical portion at its attack gets withered or gets detached at the gush of wind.
Control Measures;
Spray Metasystox 25 EC at the rate of 800 millilitres or Rogor 30 EC 600 millilitre in 500 litres of water per hectare.
g) Red Mite;
Red mite damages more in the month of May-June when hot humid weather is prevalent. They prefer to remain on the undersurface of the leaf and pierce their stylets to take the juice from the leaf. Yellow mites restrict their attack to upper tender leaves whereas red mites attack both younger as well as older leaves. As a result of injury, the leaves appear to be white spotted. After this, the leaves turn yellow and fall off prematurely,
Control Measures;
Apply Kelthane or Dicofol at the rate of 1100 millilitre or Morocid at the rate of 800 millilitres in 500 litres of water per hectare.
h) Root-Knot Nematode
The attack of root-knot nematode is more on the capsularis jute than on olitorius. As a result of their attack, the roots become swollen and uptake of nutrients from soil becomes less. Leaves appear light green and dull in appearance.
Control Measures;
Apply Nemagon as pre-plant at the rate of 37.5 litres per hectare irrigation water.

Harvesting of Jute Crop;

1) Jute crop may be harvested for fibre purpose at any time before flowering between 120 and 150 days after sowing. 

2) Early harvesting gives finer fibre of good quality, whereas late harvesting gives a larger yield but a coarser fibre. 
3) The ideal stage of harvest is when the plants are in the small pod stage, viz., 135-140 days after sowing. The other consideration for early harvesting is to accommodate paddy transplanting.
4) Harvesting is done by cutting the plants close to the ground level with sharp sickles. 
5) The harvested plants are tied into separate bundles of 18-20 centimetre diameter and left standing in the field for two to three days for the shedding of leaves. 
6) The apical portion of the plants may also be severed and left in the field.

1) Retting is a process by which the fibres in the bark get loosened and separated from the woody stalk.

 2) It is a microbial process affected by various aerobic and anaerobic microflora.
3) Retting is best done in a shallow canal with slow running clear water: where such facilities are not available, tanks with a depth of about two metres are quite suitable. 
4) The harvested jute bundles should be kept standing in 30-60 centimetre deep water for three to four days before the entire bundle is steeped.
5) Later on, bundles of jute should be placed side by side usually in two to three layers and tied together. 
6) They are covered with aquatic weeds. 
7) The float is then weighed down with seasoned logs or with concrete blocks or is kept submerged at least 10 cms. below the surface of the water. 
8) Retting is best done at 34°C. At the end of the eighth day onwards, the reeds (stems) are to be examined.
8) If fibre slips out easily from the wood on pressure from the thumb and fingers, retting is considered complete.
9) Over retting results in ‘dazed’ weak fibre.
1) Fibre should be extracted from the retted stalks gently, keeping the stalks in water. 
2) Beating stalks of fibre with wood sticks should be avoided, as it spoils the fibre quality. 
3) Extraction should be done from each reed (stem) separately. It gives cleaner jute fibre. 
4) The extracted fiber should be dried in the mild sun over a bamboo frame or clear surface of any sub-stratum for two to three days.

The Yield of Jute Crop;

1) The national average is 13 quintals of fiber per hectare while with improved package and practices, it is possible to obtain 20-25 quintals of fiber yield per hectare from improved varieties. 

2) In case the seed is produced, it is about 4 to 5 quintals in the case of capsularis and 2.5 to 3 quintals per hectare in the case of olitorius jute.

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