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Lab to Land- Proven Soilless Technique increases Turmeric Yields 10x

17 Apr 2024
An experiment was conducted to evaluate a variety of turmeric. Popularly grown in Tamil Nadu state of India, the Salem Variety was tested for yield, curcumin enhancement, presence of heavy metals, microbiological contamination and quantity of clean saleable material at time of harvest using the soilless cultivation method - media culture, cocopeat. The turmeric finger rhizomes were trialled in HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) Grow Bags, black within and without. The research was conducted in three conditions from day one with same batch of seed finger rhizomes of Var. Salem. Agronomy practices as followed in soilless cultivation methods were followed as per Industry best practices. Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) a part of the Zingiberaceae family is a favourite spice in India and has been grown in India for more than 5000 years. The compelling reason for taking up this experiment was that while India is the largest producer of turmeric in the world, the amount that is exported is barely 10-15 percent of its overall production because a) domestic demand is very high, and b) Indian Turmeric fails to match up with stringent international quality standards with many consignments being rejected by the importers. Therefore, the idea was to use the soilless cultivation (media culture) technique to see how one can grow world-class turmeric to match international standards and thereby increase money earned by exports. One of the important things considered at a base level was that turmeric is a shade lover, and loves hot and humid conditions. Notwithstanding these challenges, the results achieved were simply more than initially imagined. Var. Salem turmeric was trialled in Bangalore, South India, with a semi-hot and dry climate challenging the ideal growth conditions for turmeric. Despite the unconventional environment, the experiments revealed that a white shade net house provided the best conditions for turmeric cultivation. Opting for Integrated Pest & Disease Management, the crop reached its genetic potential using safe natural methods, resulting in a curcumin content of 5.91%/wt—exceeding the typical range for var. Salem. Remarkably, heavy metal and microbiological testing showed near-zero traces. The harvested turmeric exhibited robust roots, devoid of pests or fungal attacks, with 100 percent being saleable material. The success, achieved without foggers to increase humidity, has led to proven Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) applicable in commercial farms in India.
Speakers
C.V. Prakash, Chief Visionary and Founder - CV Hydro Australia

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