Climate Information for Cumin Farming.
The crop requires a bit less than the average temperature range of India for its optimum growth. The range stays between 15°C to 30°C. However, the plant can still survive in a wider range of temperature than this. Temperatures less than 5°C and more than 35°C can pose harmful impacts on the crop and reduce the yield.
Cumin tree requires a lot of dry climate with a very little but evenly distributed and a well-drained annual rainfall of about 500 mm to 600 mm. Physical conditions like very low relative humidity, evenly distributed but less amount of rainfall and cold temperature conditions are ideal for the conditions for the voracious growth of the plants.
Cumin trees are grown best in the tropical and sub-tropical climatic regions of the world. These trees require good sunlight during the critical stages of the growth period. In tropical climates, the trees remain evergreen. The moderate climate with cold temperature and dry conditions is best for the crop.
Suitable Soil for Cumin Farming.
Cumin trees can be cultivated in a wide range of soils starting from sandy loam or alluvial soils of north India to clay loam or deep clay loam or lateritic/acidic soils in the Deccan plateau and north-eastern hills. But, the best suitable soil conditions are well-drained and highly fertile sandy loam to medium-heavy soils with a high percentage of organic matter content. Soils with poor drainage should be avoided. The optimum range of pH is from 6.5 to 7.5. pH value of 10 and more as well as 4 and less would result in very poor yields and would require appropriate soil treatments. For commercial cultivation of cumin, a field in which cumin crop has not been taken up at least during the last 3 years should be selected.
Recommended sowing times for Cumin Farming.
Since it is not primarily a food crop, thus it can be sown practically at any time of the year. Cumin trees are propagated only by means of seeds. For large scale commercial cultivation, seeds are sown in the months of November (Rabi season of crops) during the first weeks or in the last weeks just before the commencement of winter season since cumin plants require cold temperature for ideal growth.
Land preparation for Cumin Farming.
Like all other commercial cultivations, an important task required for Cumin Farming is proper land preparation. At least 2 to 3 thorough ploughings are necessary for making the field weed-free as well as for obtaining fine tilth of the soil. This would also level and clear the previously grown crops vegetation. The remaining soil clods after these ploughings should be crushed manually by country ploughs or other instruments since it favors germination. After opening up the topsoil, the land is left as it is for 15 days in the sun for sun-drying. This will ensure the elimination of the weeds and potential weed seeds. After that, about 10 tonnes of well-rotted farmyard manure (FYM) should be applied and spread evenly on the soil. Then, it should be properly mixed with the soil by means of further ploughing. After that, irrigation ridges, furrows and channels are created for further operations.
Sowing methods and tips for Cumin Farming.
The propagation of Cumin plants takes place only by means of seeds. No vegetative methods of propagation are practiced. The seeds are sown by means of broadcasting or line sowing method. The seeds should be sown 1 cm to 1.3 cm deep into the soil for proper nutrient availability and better chances of germination. The distance between plant to plant should be 10 cm and the distance between the rows should be 25 cm for optimum growth of the plants.
Irrigation methods for Cumin Farming.
Light irrigation is provided to the plants just after sowing and the subsequent irrigations are provided 7-10 days after irrigation. Cumin plants require more or less dry climatic conditions only. So, depending upon the climatic and soil characteristics, the frequency of the irrigation can be altered. Irrigations at a later stage can be provided at intervals of 15-25 days. The sprinkler method of irrigation should be applied for the purposes of saving water. Last heavy irrigation should be given at the time of seed formation which will ensure proper yield and irrigation should be avoided at the time of active seed filling because it increases the incidences of diseases like powdery mildew, bight and aphid infection.
Fertilizer Requirements for Cumin Farming.
10-15 tonnes of FYM per hectare of land is added during the time of land preparation. Afterwards, compost of 2 tonnes can be added per hectare of land for superior yield. The ratio of Nitrogen : Phosphorus: Potassium (N:P: K) provided through inorganic fertilizers should be 12:8:8 kg per acre of land. Besides those, micronutrients like Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Iron, Boron, etc. are also necessary.
Seed requirements for Cumin Farming.
Cumin seeds have a fairly high percentage of germination and a mere amount of 5-10 kg seeds is more than enough for covering one hectare of land.
Best Varieties for Cumin Farming.
The improved varieties of cumin include GC-1, RZ-19, RZ-209, GC-2, GC-3, RZ-223 and so on.
Seed treatment required for Cumin Farming.
Seed treatment with carbendazim, thiram and captan at 2.5-3 g per kilogram of seeds yields better results and provides better resistance towards diseases.
Best practices for Cumin Farming.
Weed control or intercultural operations – For Cumin plants, 1 weeding at intervals of one or two months is necessary for controlling unwanted weeds since they affect the overall yield of the plants. After every harvest, weeding should be carried out to prepare the field for the upcoming batch. Chemical weedicides like fluchloralin at the rate of 2 kg per hectare, terbutryn at the rate of 1 kg per hectare, pendimethalin at the rate of 1 kg per hectare or oxcadiazone at the rate of 0.5 kg per hectare can also be used in these limits for better results. Mulching by means of 100-micron recyclable black polythene sheets is also a good alternative for controlling weeds. For organic mulching, 12 to 15 cm thick mulch should be used which will also facilitate penetration of water to the roots of the plants.
Harvesting – The field is first cleaned and the diseased and wilt affected plants are removed manually. Harvesting is done by cutting down the plants with sickles or other modern implements. The plants are then stacked on clean threshing floor for sun drying for 5-6 days. After drying, the seeds are separated from the plants by means of winnowing or threshing and are transported to spice industries for further processing.