Types of Agroforestry
Trees in Agroforestry
paddy-straw mushroom (Volvariella volvacea)
refers to land management systems that integrate agricultural
crops with forest crops. It is a collective term for
all land use systems and practices in which woody perennials
are deliberately grown on the same land management unit
as crops or animals, either in some form of a spatial
arrangement or in a time sequence and in which there
is a significant interaction between the woody perennials
and the crops or animals.
major classes of agroforestry include, agrisilviculture,
silvopastoral, agrosilvopastoral and other (miscellaneous)
to systems in which agricultural crops are integrated
with trees on the same land management unit either in
time or space. Examples include taungya, alley cropping,
multipurpose trees either as woodlots or as scattered
trees on farmlands or on farm boundaries, crop combinations
involving woody perennial plantation crops, growing
commercial crops in association with planted shade trees
or trees in natural forests, shelterbelts, energy plantations,
enriched fallow and so on.
represents land management systems in which forests
including forest plantations are managed for the concurrent
production of wood and livestock. They also refer to
situations in which trees are scattered in pasture/grasslands,
protein banks/cut and carry fodder production system
involving woody perennials and the like.
Sylvopastoral system is a type of land management in
which forests are managed for the production of wood
as well as for the rearing of domesticated animals.
In this system animals are kept and permitted to graze
within the forest. This system therefore distinguishes
from other systems in which forage (either herbaceous
or shrubby) is grown in mixture with forest trees, but
is harvested for feeding elsewhere. For practising this,
vast area of land is required.
the most intensive form of land management, are systems
in which the land is managed concurrently for the production
of agricultural and forest crops and for rearing of
addition, there are many agricultural practices associated
with forest that strictly do not fall under the above
categories. These include, collection of non-timber
forest products from forests, growing trees around wetlands
and other water bodies in which fish culture is practised,
apiculture with trees and multipurpose woodlots etc.
Many tree species (woody perennials) are encountered
in agroforestry. These include common timber species
such as ailanthus (matti), teak, wild jack and multipurpose
tree species such as mango, jack, tamarind, erythrina,
gliricidia etc. Species-specific recommendations for
some important timber (softwood and hardwood) trees
are given below
Shade loving crops such as ginger perform better in
the inter-spaces of tree species such as ailanthus (at
four years of age, planted at a spacing of 2 x 2 m;
with 60% of the light in the open).
tree species like ailanthus, teak, vellapine, silver
oak and green manure yielding trees can be successfully
interplanted in the older coconut plantation (preferably
above 30 years of age), often in association with other
field crops including medicinal plants such as kacholam.
Depending on the space available (between coconut palms),
one or two rows of multi-purpose trees can be accommodated
in the middle (spacing 1-2 m between plants). Tree management
such as lopping / pollarding etc. is important to prevent
any possible interspecific competition between the multipurpose
tree component and the coconut palms.
Aquaculture, the husbandry of aquatic organisms. Aquaculture
provided 20 percent of global fisheries production (and
29 percent of food fish) in 1996. Most aquaculture production
(15.1 million tonnes) originated in freshwater. Of the
remainder, 9.7 million tonnes were produced in marine
environments and about 1.6 million tonnes in brackish
water environments. These figures are excluding the
production of aquatic plants, which amounted to 7.7
million tonnes in 1996 Global production of aquaculture
continues to be dominated by China, which in 1996 accounted
for more than 67.8 percent of world output. However,
given the relatively low value of carp and seaweeds,
which dominate Chinese culture, its contribution to
the world value of aquaculture production was just 45.4
percent. Japan, on the other hand, accounted for 4 percent
of total world aquaculture production by weight but
for more than twice that share by value because of the
high-value species cultured (e.g. amberjack, scallops
from traditional ocean fisheries are decreasing: Due
to over-fishing and pollution.
Demand for quality seafood is increasing: Due to population
increase and health considerations.
Consumers everywhere want consistency in quality and
availability at the right price:
Seafood is the fastest growing food industry
The only solution is aquaculture - The husbandry of
aquatic organisms: Aquaculture supplies of 30 million
tons are produced annually, constituting 23% of world
honeybees belong to the family Apidae subfamily Apinae
and genus Apis. They are social insects living in colonies.
A colony consists of a queen, several thousand workers
and a few hundred drones. There is division of labour
and specialization in the performance of various functions.
They build nests (combs) with wax, which is secreted
from the wax glands of worker bees. The bees use their
cells to rear thin brood and store food. Honey is stored
in the upper part of the comb; beneath it are rows of
pollen storage cells, worker brood cells and drone brood
cells in that order. Some Apis species build single
comb in open, while others build multiple combs on dark
There are four species of honeybees in India. They are:
bee (Apis dorsata): They are giant bees found
all over India in sub-mountainous regions up to an altitude
of 2700 m. They build single comb nests with an area
up to 1 m2 or more. They are good honey gathers with
an average yield of 50-80 kg per colony.
(Apis florea): They are the smallest of the true honeybees
found in plains of India up to the altitude of 500 m.
They build single vertical combs. They are poor honey
yielders and yield about 200-900 g of honey per colony.
(Apis cerana indica): They are the domesticated species,
which construct multiple parallel combs with an average
honey yield of 6-8 kg per colony per year.
[Italian bee] (Apis mellifera): They are also similar
in habits to Indian bees, which build parallel combs.
They are bigger than all other honeybees except Apis
dorsata. The average production per colony is 25-40
(Trigona iridipennis): In addition to the above, another
species is also present in Kerala known as stingless
bees. They are not truly stingless, but sting is poorly
developed. They make nests in the ground, hollows of
trees, bamboo, rocks or cracks of walls. Honey and brood
cells are separate in the nest. They are efficient pollinators.
They yield 300-400 g of honey per year.
Swarming is the natural instinct of honeybees to reproduce
its colonies. By swarming, strong colonies are divided
naturally. It occurs mostly when the colony population
is at its peak. Some of the several reasons for swarming
are sudden honey flow, sudden failure of queen to lay
eggs, congestion in the colony, want of breeding space,
bad ventilation etc. Dividing the colonies or keeping
young queen or preventing over crowding of bees or adding
new combs can prevent swarming.
Absconding is the total desertion of colony from its
nest due to incidence of disease / pest attack, too
much interference by human beings or robbing of honey
by bees from other colonies. Proper hive management
can prevent it.
The worker bees communicate with other bees about the
exact location of nectar, pollen, water, next nesting
site etc. by means of dances. Round dance is performed
when the food is located within 100 m from hive and
wagtail dance to communicate the location of food source
when it is more than 100 m away from the hive.
It is the space large enough to permit the free passage
for worker bees but too small to encourage bees building
a comb and too large for bees depositing propolis in
This is the domesticated hive bee in Kerala. A colony
consists of a queen, 20,000 to 30,000 workers and a
few drones. This species is with gentle temperament
and responds to smoking. Lack of flora leads to absconding
and also has a strong tendency for swarming. It yields
8-10 kg of honey per colony per year.
ISI Type-A box is recommended for the state of Kerala.
A division board may be added to the bee box for adjusting
the internal space depending on the strength of the
colony. It can also be procured from beekeepers. Wild
feral colonies can be hived. Beekeepers in different
regions use local hives made of low cost wood. The wood
should not have a strong smell. Kail (Pinus excelsa),
teak (Tectona grandis), toon (Toona ciliata) anjili
(Artocarpus hirsutus), punna (Calophyllum inophyllum)
are some of the suitable woods. The hives should be
preferably painted white on outside to protect the timber
It is done during evening hours. Smoke the colony slightly,
cut out the combs one by one and tie to the brood frames
with plantain fibre. Arrange them in the box.
The apiary must be located in well-drained open area,
preferably near orchards, with profuse source of nectar,
pollen and water. Windbreaks may be provided by planting
shrubs, flowering plants and also creepers like antigonon.
Shade must also be provided. Ant wells are fixed around
the hive stand. The colonies must be directed towards
east, with slight changes in the directions of the bee
box as a protection from rain and sun. Keep the colonies
away from the reach of cattle, other animal, busy roads
Inspect the beehives at least once in a week during
brood rearing / honey-flow seasons preferably during
the morning hours. Bright, warm and calm days are suitable.
If sunrays fall directly on the beehive spread cloth
or a towel over the same. Look for freshly laid eggs
to ensure that the colonies are healthy. Clean the hive
in the following sequence, the roof, super/supers, brood
chambers and floorboard. Observe the colonies regularly
for the presence of healthy queen, brood development,
storage of honey and pollen, presence of queen cells,
bee strength and growth of drones. Look for the infestation
by any of the following bee enemies.
moth (Galleria mellonella): Remove all the larvae and
silken webbings from the combs, corners and crevices
of bee box.
beetles (Platybolium sp.): Collect and destroy the adult
Clean the frame and floorboard with cotton swabs moistened
with freshly made potassium permanganate solution. Repeat
until no mites are seen on the floorboard.
The dead larvae due to Thai sac brood virus (TSBV) in
the comb cells may be removed and destroyed.
during lean season
Remove the supers and arrange the available healthy
broods compactly in the brood chamber. Provide division
board, if necessary. Destroy queen cells and drone cells,
if noted. Provide sugar syrup (1:1) @ 200 g sugar per
colony per week for Indian bees. Feed all the colonies
in the apiary at the same time to avoid robbing.
during honey flow season
Keep the colony in sufficient strength before honey-flow
season. Congestion in the hive must be avoided and surplus
honeybees are drawn to supers. Provide maximum space
between the first super and the brood chamber and not
above the first super. Place queen excluder sheets in
between brood and super chamber to confine the queen
to brood chamber. Examine the colony once in a week
and frames full of honey should be removed to the sides
of the super and such frames can be raised from brood
to super chamber. The frames, which are three-fourth
filled with honey or pollen and one-fourth with sealed
brood should be taken out of brood chamber and in its
place empty combs or frames with foundation is added.
The frame with comb foundation should be placed next
to the brood nest. The combs, which are completely sealed,
or two-third capped may be taken out for extraction
of honey and returned to supers after honey extraction.
This helps the colonies to activate the bees to collect
and store more honey. Two or three such extractions
are possible during a surplus flow. Extraction of uncapped
honey will result in fermentation. Honey extraction,
after the flow is over, should be avoided to save the
bee colonies from robbing. Care should be taken to retain
sufficient combs with honey in the brood chamber or
reduce the lean period.
The moving of bee colonies from one place to another
to capture increased nectar flow of a particular flora
is called migratory beekeeping. Copious flow of extra
floral nectar available on rubber trees during January-April
is exploited by shifting bee colonies to these plantations
during this period.
practice is done in cashew plantations and in other
orchards too. Maintaining bee colonies in orchards will
increase the yield, since pollination is more efficient
in such orchards.
of colonies is done after sun set. Colonies should be
prepared as follows. Extract available honey and fasten
all the weak combs to frames with plantain fibres. Secure
the frames to the chamber with packing. Close the bee
entrance with cotton. Then secure the bee-box (floorboard,
brood chamber, supers and roof) firmly with strong threads.
Do not tilt or topple beehives while stacking them in
the conveyance or during transit. Avoid strong jerks
and shocks while transporting.
up the beehives as described above at the new site.
Inspect the condition of combs and tighten loose threads,
if any. This inspection should be done only in dim light.
Next morning remove the cotton plug at bee entrance.
Later provide comb foundation sheets, if necessary and
provide sufficient space for storage of honey.
Honey is extracted only from super combs using honey
extractor. The sealing of cells on combs is removed
with sharp knife before placing in the extractor. Extractor
should be worked slowly at the beginning and at bout
150 rpm at the end for about 1 to 2 minutes. Then the
sides of the frames are reversed and the extractor is
again worked. Extracted honey is filtered through muslin
cloth. Providing a bee escape between the brood and
super on the day prior to honey extraction keeps the
bees away from the super. Remove the escape soon after
Heat the honey to 45ºC by keeping it in a water
bath. Sieve it to remove wax particles, debris, dust
and pollen. Again heat it to a temperature of 65ºC
in water bath and maintain it for 10 minutes. Then cool
and filter it in 80-mesh muslin and store in glass,
porcelain, earthenware, enamelware or stainless steel
containers. Bulk storing can be made in mild steel containers
lined with bee wax.
It is a native of Europe introduced to Himachal Pradesh
and Punjab during 1962-64 and introduced to Kerala on
a trial basis from Haryana in November 1992. It maintains
a prolific queen, swarms less, has gentle temperament
and is a good honey-gatherer. It is known to be resistant
to TSBV. A healthy colony may contain 60,000 to 80,000
worker bees. The following modifications are to be followed
in beekeeping with Italian bees.
Langstroth beehive with ten frames each in brood and
super chambers and a division brood chamber is recommended.
The brood and super chambers are of the same size.
Colonies can be obtained either by dividing existing
colonies or by buying from other agencies.
Follow the practices as in Indian bees, but use a strong
four-legged stand well protected from ants and other
crawling insects by providing ant wells.
Apart from the management practices followed for Indian
bee, the practices as mentioned below may be followed.
of pure water should be available near the apiary. Stagnant
water or water in a container is not appropriate because
it can spread nosema disease. Flowing water near the
apiary should serve as a good source. As an alternative,
water trickling from a container set on a stand and
falling on a slanting wooden plank can be provided.
the brood rearing season (growth period) from October
to January, replacement of old queens by young healthy
ones, uniting the weak colonies and giving supplementary
feeding as and when required should be done. Colonies
should be provided with enough space for brood rearing
and food storage, by giving comb foundation sheets one
at a time.
areas where queen mating is a problem, especially when
only a few colonies are kept in isolated pockets, the
colony with virgin queen is to be transferred to areas
where more number of colonies are kept so as to ensure
the availability of queen in sufficient numbers and
afterwards returned to the former apiary.
honey flow season (January-April), provide raised combs
in the super and the number of combs to be added depends
on the strength of the colony. Only ripe honey is harvested
when two-third of the comb cells are capped so that
honey contains less than 20 per cent moisture. Care
should be taken to see that the bee colonies are not
stripped of all the honey stores. Enough stores of honey
should be ensured in the hive at the end of honey flow
for use during the following lean period. For migratory
bee keeping, follow the practices as adopted for Indian
The sealing of comb is removed with a sharp knife and
the extraction done in an extractor designed for langstroth
size frames. Extracted honey is filtered through a coarse
cloth to remove the impurities.
To be done as described under Indian bees. During the
lean season (May-September), remove the super chambers,
arrange the available healthy brood combs in the brood
chamber and use division boards to restrict the space.
Provide artificial feeding once in a week by way of
1:1 sugar syrup in water. Each colony may require syrup
prepared from 500-750 g sugar a week depending on the
size of the colony and availability of stored food.
When there is dearth of natural source, pollen substitutes
may be provided in the colony.
mite (Tropilaelaps clareae): Infests the
brood and the infestation is severe during the major
brood rearing season (October-January). These ectoparasites
feed on the haemolymph of developing broods slowly killing
them. Dusting sulphur on the topbars of the frames at
the rate of 200 mg / frame at 7-14 days interval during
brood rearing season is very effective in checking the
wasp (Vespa cincta):
These predatory wasps catch the bees from both the hive
entrance and inside the hives. Locating and destroying
their nests by burning or insecticidal usage is an effective
moth (Galleria mellonella):
Infests weak and unattended colonies. Proper cleaning
of the hives periodically and keeping the hives without
cracks and crevices can avoid infestation.
Various species of black ants intrude beehives and take
away honey and pollen and kill the brood and bees, which
may lead to absconding of colony. The apiary should
be kept clean and the ant nests destroyed by insecticidal
applications. Ant wells should be provided for the beehive
If not protected properly, the red tree-ants can cause
considerable damage to the bees and the brood. The bees
that come in contact with the ground are attacked and
killed by the ants and dragged to their nests by a number
of ants. In the apiary, if the branch of a tree with
these ants happens to come in contact with the hive,
the entire colony is attacked and destroyed. Providing
ant wells will keep away the ants. Care should be taken
not to keep the colonies near or under the trees having
These predatory birds do much harm in certain localities.
They pick the bees on wings and 30-43 honeybees have
been found in the stomach of a bird. Attack by these
birds is mostly seen during December-January. These
birds are also very useful in keeping down the insect
population in a locality and hence no large-scale measures
against them can be recommended. Scaring them away from
apiaries is suggested.
All the larval instars are susceptible to the disease,
earlier instars being more susceptible. Affected larvae
appear slightly plumby compared to healthy ones when
examined on taking out of the comb cells. The infected
larvae see stretched on their back in the cells with
the head directed outwards and turned upwards like the
prow of a boat. The dead larvae look like a sac filled
with milky white fluid when lifted up and it ruptures
even with the slight pressure releasing the milky fluid.
The cadavers change their colour from white to pale
yellow and sunk down to the floor of the cell and dry
up in 10-15 days as brownish black boat shaped scales,
which is easily removable from the cells.
sequence of visible symptoms found in the field is:
Presence of unsealed cells in brood area containing
diseased larvae with their head directed outwards like
the prow of a boat.
2. Dead larvae are seen lying stretched out on their
back on the floor of brood cells and look like a sac
filled with milky white fluid when lifted up.
3. Appearance of dead larvae strewn on the floorboards,
hive entrance or on the floor near the hive.
4. Mottled appearance of brood combs with uncapped cells
interspersed with capped cells or cells with perforated
5. Appearance of more and more dead larvae left within
the cells without being ejected by the worker bees.
6. Appearance of sac like remnants of dead larvae within
7. Lack of cleaning activity within the hive.
8. Decrease in egg laying rate and irregular placement
9. Decrease in foraging activity and presence of idling
workers inside the hive.
10. Dwindling of bee population of the colony.
11. Desertion of infected hives by the bees causing
total loss to the apiary.
a virus disease there is no known remedy for its cure.
However, the following measures may help in minimizing
the possibilities of further spread: a) Keeping colonies
strong; b) avoid exchange of hive parts, combs etc.
from infected colonies to healthy colonies; c) avoid
procurement of colonies or swarms from infected areas.
Composting is largely a biological process in which
microorganisms of aerobic (which require air or oxygen
for development) and anaerobic (which functions in absence
of air or free oxygen) decompose organic matter and
lower the carbon-nitrogen ratio of the substrate. Compost
is prepared from vegetable and animal refuses collected
in the farm or in towns or villages.
available refuses in the farm are collected and stored
till they form sufficient mass for compost making. A
trench of suitable size, say, 4-6 m long, 2-3 m broad
and 1-1.5 m deep is dug, the accumulated refuse is well
mixed, and a layer 30 cm in thickness, is spread all
along the length of the trench. This layer is well moistened
by sprinkling cowdung slurry and water over it. A second
layer (30 cm thick) of the mixed refuse is then spread.
The process is repeated till the heap rises to a height
of 45 cm to 60 cm above ground level. The top is then
covered with a thin layer of earth. After three months
of decomposition, the mass is taken out of the trench
and formed into a conical heap above the ground, moistened
with water, if necessary, and covered with earth. After
another month or two, the manure will be ready for application
Vermi-technology is a process by which all types of
biodegradable wastes such as farm wastes, kitchen wastes,
market wastes, biowastes of agro-based industries, livestock
wastes etc. are converted to nutrient rich vermicompost
by using earthworms as biological agents. Vermicompost
contains major and minor nutrients in plant-available
forms, enzymes, vitamins and plant growth hormones.
Species suitable: Eudrillus eugineae has been identified
as the best species of earthworm for vermi-technology
under Kerala conditions.
Vermicomposting of farm wastes
Pits of size 2.5 m length, 1 m breadth and 0.3 m depth
are taken in thatched sheds with sides left open. The
bottom and sides of the pit are made hard by compacting
with a wooden mallet. At the bottom of the pit, a layer
of coconut husk is spread with the concave side upward
to ensure drainage of excess water and for proper aeration.
The husk is moistened and above this, biowaste mixed
with cowdung in the ratio of 8:1 is spread up to a height
of 30 cm above the ground level and water is sprinkled
daily. After the partial decomposition of wastes for
7 to 10 days, the worms are introduced @ 500 to 1000
numbers per pit. The pit is covered with coconut fronds.
Moisture is maintained at 40 to 50 per cent. When the
compost is ready, it is removed from the pit along with
the worms and heaped in shade with ample light. The
worms will move to bottom of the heap. After one or
two days the compost from the top of the heap is removed.
Put back the un-decomposed residues and worms to the
pit for further composting as described above. The vermicompost
produced has an average nutrient status of 1.5%, N,
0.4% P2O5 and 1.8% K2O with pH ranging from 7.0 to 8.0.
The nutrient level will vary with the type of material
used for composting.
The composting area should be provided with sufficient
shade to protect from direct sunlight.
2. Adequate moisture level should be maintained by sprinkling
water whenever necessary.
3. Take preventive measures to ward off predatory birds,
ants or rats.
Depending on the extent of weathering of leaves used
for composting, 70 per cent of the material will be
composted within a period of 60-75 days. At this stage,
watering should be stopped to facilitate separation
of worms from the compost. Compost can be collected
from the top layers, which can be sieved and dried under
shade. Earthworms aggregated at the bottom layers can
be collected and used for further vermicomposting.
Vermicomposting from coconut
Weathered coconut leaves can be converted into good
quality vermicompost in a period of three months with
help of earthworm, Eudrillus sp. On an average, 6-8
tonnes of leaves will be available from a well-managed
coconut garden, which will yield 4-5 tonnes of vermicompost
with about 1.2, 0.1 and 0.5% N, P2O5, K2O respectively.
Vermicomposting of household
Select a wooden box of 45 x 30 x 45 cm or an earthen/plastic
container with broad base and drainage holes. Keep a
plastic sheet with small holes at the bottom of the
box. Add a layer of soil of 3 cm depth and a layer of
coconut fibre of 5 cm depth above it for draining of
excess moisture. Add a thin layer of compost and worms
above it. About 250 worms are sufficient for the box.
Spread daily vegetable wastes in layers. Cover the top
of the box with a piece of sac to provide dim light
inside the box. When the box is full, keep the box without
disturbance for a week. When the compost is ready, keep
the box outside in the open for 2-3 hours so that the
worms come down to the lower fibre layer. Remove compost
from the top, dry and sieve. The vermicompost produced
has an average nutrient status of 1.8 % N, 1.9 % P2O5
and 1.6 % K2O, but composition will vary with the substrate
Earthworms can be multiplied in 1:1 mixture of cowdung
and decaying leaves taken in a cement tank or wooden
box or plastic bucket with proper drainage facilities.
The nucleus culture of earthworms is to be introduced
into the above mixture at the rate of 50 numbers per
10 kg of organic wastes and properly mulched with dried
grass, straw or wet gunny bag. The unit should be kept
in shade. Sufficient moisture level should be maintained
by occasional sprinkling of water. Within 1-2 months,
the earthworms multiply 300 times, which can be used
for large-scale vermicomposting.
The system consists of a plastic basin having a capacity
of 20 litres, a plastic perforated waste-paper basket
and a PVC pipe of 5 cm diameter and 30 cm length. The
waste-paper basket is covered with a nylon net and placed
at the centre of the basin upside down. A hole is made
at the bottom of the waste paper basket so that a PVC
pipe of 5 cm diameter can be placed into the basin through
the hole in such away that one end of it touches the
basin. The PVC pipe is perforated so that the leachate
from the basin seeps through the waste-paper basket
and collects in the PVC pipe, which can be siphoned
out by a kerosene pump. In the basin outside the waste-paper
basket, a layer of brick pieces are placed and a layer
of coconut fibre of 2-3 cm placed above it. After moistening
this, 2 kg worms (about 2000) are introduced into it
and 4 kg kitchen-waste is spread over it. After one
week the kitchen-waste turns into a black well-decomposed
compost. Two litres of water is sprinkled over the compost
containing worms. After 24 hours, the leachate collected
in the PVC pipe is removed by siphoning. The collected
leachate is called vermiwash, which is actually an extract
of compost containing worms. This is used for soil application
and foliar spray in different crops. Vermiwash is honey-brown
in colour with a pH of 8.5 and N, P2O5 and K2O content
200, 70 and 1000 ppm respectively. For large-scale collection
of vermiwash, a cement tank of size 80 x 80 x 80 cm
is constructed. A layer of small brick pieces or gravel
is placed at the bottom of the tank. Above it a layer
of fibre of 3-4 cm thickness in placed. A definite quantity
of biowaste (4 kg) is added to the system along with
2 kg of earthworms. After two weeks, the entire mass
of biowaste will turn to brownish black compost. Then
add 2 litre of water. Vermiwash is collected through
the side tap after 24 hours. Again biowaste is added
to the system and the process is repeated.
This is a simple and economical technique to collect
vermiwash. The system consists of an earthen pot of
10 kg capacity, which is filled, with pieces of stone
up to 10 cm height from the bottom. Above this, a plastic
net is placed and spread out. Then a thick layer of
coir fibre along with humus containing 1500-2000 worms
of species Eudrillus euginae or Isenia foetidae is laid
down. The hole situated at the bottom of the pot is
fixed with a water tap through which vermiwash is collected.
Every day, the kitchen waste is put into the container.
Allow the composting process to continue for one week
or more till brownish black mask of compost is obtained.
Occasionally, two or three tablespoons of fresh cowdung
slurry is poured on the humus as feed for the worms.
After the formation of compost, soak the entire mask
with two litres of water. After 24 hours, about 1.5
litre of vermiwash can be collected. This process can
be continued for one or two weeks till the brown colour
of wash disappears. The less enriched compost that remains
in the pot can be collected and used as fertilizer.
Later, the pot can be emptied and set up again to continue
The potential of vermiwash as a biocide either simply
or when mixed with botanical pesticides can be very
well exploited for household vegetable cultivation.
When vermicompost is applied as organic manure instead
of FYM, the quantity of in-organic fertilizers can be
reduced to about half the recommended dose.
Coirpith, one of the agricultural wastes is produced
and heaped in large quantities as waste material from
the coir industry. Approximately 2.5 lakh tonnes of
coirpith accumulate in Kerala as waste. Coirpith has
wide C:N ratio and its lignin rich nature does not permit
natural composting process as in other agricultural
wastes. Pleurotus spp. have the capacity to degrade
part of the cellulose and lignin present in coirpith
by production of enzymes viz., cellulases and lactases.
The C:N ratio of coirpith is reduced from 112:1 to 24:1
as a result of composting. The lignin content also reduces
Method of composting
Materials required: Coirpith 1 tonne, urea 5 kg, mushroom
(Pleurotus) spawn 1.5 kg.
Select a shaded place of 5 x 3 m dimension and level
it after removing weeds. First spread 100 kg coirpith
uniformly. Spread 300 g (one bottle or cover) of Pleurotus
spawn on this and cover this with a second layer of
100 kg coirpith. On the surface of the second layer,
spread 1 kg urea uniformly. Repeat this sandwiching
process of one layer of coirpith with spawn followed
by another layer of coirpith with urea up to 1 m height.
Sprinkle water if necessary to keep the heap moist.
Allow the heap to decompose for one month.
The coirpith is converted into good manure after 30-40
days and the lignin content is reduced from 30% to 40%.
Another significant change is the lowering down of C:
N ratio from 112:1 to 24:1.
This coirpith compost contains macronutrients as well
as micronutrients. It has the unique property of absorbing
and retaining moisture to about 500-600 per cent. It
improves the water infiltration rate and hydraulic conductivity
It is the business of producing, processing and distributing
milk and milk products.
Species of Pleurotus commonly known as oyster mushrooms
grow saprophytically under natural conditions on trees,
dead wood, stumps and branches. Today several species
of Pleurotus are commercially grown in many parts of
the world. Kerala enjoying a typical tropical climate
is found to be the most suitable place for mushroom
cultivation. Species of Pleurotus and Volvariella can
be successfully cultivated in the State all round the
year on a variety of agro-wastes like saw dust, vegetable
and paper wastes, oil palm pericarp waste and straw.
But the best suitable substrate is found to be paddy
Ananthan is a short duration variety released from KAU.
It is an inter-stock hybrid of Pleurotus petaloides;
tough fleshed, pure white in colour, pest and disease
resistant; and yields about 100-120 g per harvest. It
has good cooking quality and consumer acceptability
and can be grown in wheat, paddy and sorghum straw.
On an average, it takes eight days from spawning to
harvest. Yield potential is 800 g per kg straw.
Method of cultivation
Polythene bags or tubes of 30 x 60 cm size with 150-200
gauge are taken for filling the substrate. If the tubes
are used, the free-end is tied with a string. Seven
to eight holes of 0.5-1.0 cm diameter are made all over
the bag for aeration. One kg of well dried, one-year-old
paddy straw is cut into small bits of 5-8 cm in length
and immersed in water for 18 hours. Then the soaked
straw is taken out from water and kept inside the basket
for 1-2 hours to drain away excess water. The soaked
straw is kept under boiling water (100ºC) for 30-40
minutes for surface sterilization or to achieve pasteurization
and then taken out and kept inside the basket to drain
excess water and allowed to cool down. The pasteurized
straw is ready for filling the bags. Instead of straw
bits, small round bundles of 20 cm diameter are also
used for filling the bags. This method is followed to
save time and labour. Now the perforated polythene bag
is filled for about 5 cm height with the above processed
straw and pressed with hand for making it even. Care
should be taken to fill the bags as compactly as possible
for the proper growth of mycelium. For getting maximum
yield, 2-2.5% (125 g) of spawn is used. Spawn is taken
out from packets and kept inside a clean container or
paper. From this, one tablespoon full of spawn is sprinkled
over the filled straw around the peripheral region.
A second layer of processed straw is filled and spawned
as above. Repeat the process as above until the soaked
straw is finished. Every time before spawning, press
the straw with hand for making it compact. If bundles
are used for filling the bags care should be taken to
keep the bundles inside the bag as compact as possible
without leaving any space in between the bundle. Finally
the bag is closed tightly with twine and beds are kept
undisturbed for spawn running for about 15-20 days inside
the rooms, thatched rodent-proof sheds or in verandas.
The best temperature and humidity for spawn running
ranges from 28-30ºC and 80-85%, respectively. The
beds can be arranged over a platform or in shelves.
The spawn running can be judged from the whitish growth
covering the straw completely. Periodically observe
the beds and discard the contaminated ones. After 15
days when the spawn running is complete, remove the
polythene bag by cutting it with blade and keep the
bed for sporocarp formation. The opened beds are kept
in well-ventilated rooms. Relative humidity of the room
should be 80-85%. If temperature inside the room rises
above 30ºC, the room should be sprinkled with water
to lower the temperature. Diffused light is essential
for normal fruiting. Pinhead formation starts on 20th
day and 2-3 days are required for the maturation of
the fruiting body.
Cropping and yield
Matured and fully opened sporocarps are harvested by
placing the thumb and forefinger near the base of the
fruiting body and twisted in clockwise direction to
get detached from the mycelium. An average yield of
500-700 g can be harvested from 1 kg of straw. The spent
straw can be used as enriched cattle feed.
The paddy straw mushroom can be successfully cultivated
in the plains of Kerala throughout the year where the
temperature ranges between 28-32ºC. The straw beds
can be laid out in sheds, veranda of buildings and during
summer under shades of trees. Beds should not be kept
under direct sunlight. Prepare a raised platform of
1 m long and 0.5 m broad with wooden planks or bricks.
Ten to fifteen kg of well-dried and hand-threshed straw
is required to raise a single standard bed. For spawning
this bed, two bottles of spawn and about 100 to 150
g of red gram powder are needed. First the straw is
made into twists of about 5 to 8 m long and 20-25 cm
diameter. The twists are tied into small bundles and
are kept immersed in clean water in tanks for about
6 to 12 hours. After this, the bundles are taken out
and kept aside for some time to drain the excess water.
The bundles are untied and the straightened twists are
placed length-wise over the platform in a zigzag fashion.
The twists are placed as close as possible. Keep another
layer over the first layer crosswise. These two layers
form the first layer to be spawned. Break open the spawn
bottles and carefully divide the spawn into small bits
of 2-2.5 cm thick. Place these bits of spawn all along
the periphery of the bed, about 5-8 cm away from the
edge and 10 cm apart. Sprinkle a teaspoon full of coarsely
powdered red gram powder before and after spawning the
first layer. Build the next layer with one row of twist
as done before and spawn it. Make successive layers
until the straw twists are finished. After placing the
last of twists, press the bed thoroughly from the top
in order to drain excess water. Make the bed as compact
as possible and cover with a transparent polythene sheet
to maintain the temperature and relative humidity within
the bed. Place another wooden plank over the bed and
keep 4-5 bricks above the plank to get more compactness.
Keep the bed undisturbed for 6-7 days. Slowly remove
the sheet and observe the moisture level of the straw.
If the moisture is excess remove the sheets for half
an hour and then cover it again as before. Small white
round pinheads appear all along the sides of the bed
after 7 days and mature into button and egg stage on
9th day. Harvest the mature sporocarps in eggs stage.
About 2-3 kg of mushrooms can be harvested from 10 kg
of straw. Cropping lasts for 2-3 days. After the harvest,
the spent straw can be sun-dried and used as cattle
Instead of twists, the beds can be laid out using small
bundles of straw each weighing about one kg. Place four
such bundles of straw side by side over the platform
with loose ends towards the same direction. Over this,
place another four bundles, the loose ends towards the
opposite direction. These eight bundles form one layer,
which is to be spawned as in the case of twists.
Mulberry can be grown under various climatic conditions
ranging from temperate to tropical. Its growth depends
on many climatic conditions such as temperature, humidity,
rainfall etc. A temperature range of 24-28ºC, humidity
range 65-80% and 600-2500 mm rainfall are optimum for
the good growth of mulberry. The soil should be deep,
fertile, well drained, clay loam to loam, with good
moisture holding capacity. Slightly acidic (6.2-6.8
pH) soil free from injurious salts is ideal for good
growth of mulberry.
The field is levelled and ploughed deeply before the
onset of monsoon. FYM may be applied @ 10 t/ha for the
rainfed crop and 20 t/ha for the irrigated crop during
of planting and spacing
(1) Pit system (rainfed crop): Spacing 75 x 75 cm (pit
size 30 x 30 x 30 cm)
(2) Row system (irrigated crop): Spacing 60 x 60 cm
(ridges and furrows)
The variety K2 gives higher yield and better quality
leaves. Cuttings must be prepared from shoots of proper
maturity (6-8 months) and thickness with well-developed
buds. Cuttings of 7-10 cm length and pencil thickness
with 3 or 4 active buds are ideal.
For irrigated crop, two cuttings should be planted at
each spot along the margin of the ridge.
rainfed crop, three cuttings are to be planted per pit
in a triangular manner with a distance of 15 cm, keeping
only one bud exposed.
of the garden (1st year)
After 8 months of planting, 50 kg each of N, P2O5 and
K2O per ha should be applied after weeding. First harvest
can be taken six months after planting by leaf picking.
Second dose of 50 kg N per ha should be applied 8 weeks
after the first leaf harvest. Two more crops can be
taken at an interval of 3 months, by leaf picking.
For rain fed crop apply FYM @ 10 t/ha as a basal dose
and topdress every year at the time of annual pruning.
Fertilizers are applied @ 130:65:65 kg/ha of N:P2O5:K2O
in two split doses. For irrigated crop, FYM is given
@ 20 t/ha as basal dose. Fertilizers are applied @ 300:120:120
kg/ha of N: P2O5: K2O in five split doses.
For rainfed crop, bottom pruning is done in May-June.
Two top clippings in August/ September and December/January
are also practised. Middle pruning is done in October/November.
For irrigated crop, bottom pruning at 15-30 cm height
in May, two top clippings in August and December and
two middle pruning at 60 cm height in October and February/March
caterpillars (Euproctis fraterna)
Larvae eat the leaves of the mulberry plant. Their incidence
is frequent during March to August. Collection and destruction
of egg masses and spraying 1% DDVP are effective. Waiting
period is 3 days.
Greenish hoppers feed on the underside of the leaf,
sucking sap causing hopper burn. Spraying 0.1% dimethoate
is effective. Waiting period is 10 days.
These are frequent during summer season. Attack is severe
in rainfed gardens. Spraying 0.02% DDVP is effective.
Waiting period is 3 days.
bugs (Maconelliococcus hirsutus)
It causes 'tukra disease'. The affected leaves show
curling and stunted growth at the growing point. Application
of methyl demeton (0.05%) is effective. Waiting period
is 15 days.
When attack is severe, branches dry and become yellow.
Spraying lime sluphur solution is effective.
eating caterpillar (Diacrisia obliqua)
Appears frequently between November and January. Collection
and destruction of egg masses, deep ploughing and flood
irrigation to kill the pupae and application of 0.2%
DDVP on the leaves can prevent the attack.
knot disease (Meloidogyne incognita)
Common in sandy loam type of soil under irrigated conditions.
Controlled by applying neem oil cake @ of 400 kg per
ha per year in four equal split doses.
mildew (Phyllactina corylea)
It is more common during November-February. White powdery
patches appear on the lower side of the leaves. Can
be controlled by spraying dinocap 0.2%.
rust (Ceratelicum fici)
The attacked portion of the leaves has whitish brown
pustule on both sides and is deformed and also not nutritive.
Infection is more in November-February. This can be
controlled by spraying carbendazim 0.1% or tridemorph
spot (Cercospora moricola)
Diseased leaves have a number of circular or irregular
brownish black spots of varying size. Infection is more
common in rainy season. This can be controlled by spraying
0.1% of carbendazim.
Rainfed crop: 12000-15000 kg / ha / year
Irrigated crop: 25000-30000 kg / ha / year
for silkworm rearing
Good quality mulberry leaves
2. Rearing house of approximately 20 m2 for 100 dfls
(disease free layings), with good ventilation, mild
temperature (24-28ºC) and humidity (65-85%).
3. Rearing equipments like chawki stand (one), wooden
trays (10), rearing racks (5), chopping board (one)
and knife, wooden / bamboo rearing trays (50), chandrika
/ netrika (mountage) (40), leaf chamber, feeding stands,
ant wells, rocker sprayer, wet and dry bulb thermometer
and materials like formaldehyde / bleaching powder,
paraffin paper, cleaning nets, foam rubber strips, and
RKO powder are required.
Disinfect the rearing house and equipments to prevent
silkworm disease, two-three days before rearing. First,
wash the rearing house and the equipments with 2% bleaching
powder. Then spray the room and equipments with 5% bleaching
powder or 2% formaldehyde. Close the houses for 24 hours
for the fumes to get diffused.
incubate the dfls (egg card) at a temperature of 24-26ºC
and RH 75-80%, one day prior to hatching (blue egg stage);
cover the eggs with black paper (black boxing). Next
day morning, open it and expose to diffused sunlight.
As the larvae emerge out, fresh tender leaves collected
from the plant are chopped into 0.5 x 0.5 mm size and
sprinkled over the hatched larvae. After half an hour,
transfer the larvae to the paraffin paper spread in
the chawky trays (wooden trays) using fine brush. Provide
wet foam strips around and prepare a compact bed. Give
another feeding in the bed. Cover with paraffin paper
and stack the trays one over the other on the stand.
Up to 20 laying can be brushed in a tray of 90 x 60
schedule (for 100 laying)
Instar Leaf position from the tip Quantity of leaf,
1 2nd and 3rd 2-2.5 3-4
2 3rd, 4th and 5 th 6-7 2-3
3 5th, 6th and 7th 25-30 3-4
4 Lower leaves 75-80 4-6
5 Still lower leaves 600-650 6-7
At the end of each instar, larvae stop feeding and cast
off old skin in 18-30 hours. When the worms set for
moulting, paraffin paper should be removed and spread
on the bed to dry up. If there are more feeding worms,
a light and thin feeding may be given. All the worms
settle in 6-8 hours. During moulting, worms should not
be disturbed and full ventilation should be provided.
Feeding is resumed when 90% of worms have moulted. RKO
powder is dusted over the worms 30 minutes before feeding.
After two consecutive feedings, the larvae with the
net are transferred to a new tray. Mature larvae stop
feeding and prepare themselves for spinning. Its body
becomes translucent, shrinks in length and constrictions
appear on fourth and fifth segments. They move towards
the periphery of the trays. Such worms are picked and
transferred to Chandrika / Netrakae. About 1000 worms
(400-450 larvae/m2) can be mounted in a mountage. Mount
the entire larvae within a maximum period of 48 hours
and provide sufficient ventilation during spinning.
Cocoon should be harvested on the fifth and sixth day
after mounting. In rainy and cold seasons, it should
be delayed for one more day. The cocoons are collected
from Chandrika and transported in light gunny bags to
cocoon market. The cocoon should be marketed immediately
after harvest, so as to avoid adult emergence. Under
average conditions, 100 dfls of bivoltine will yield
40-60 kg cocoons and cross breed will yield 30-50 kg
It is the most destructive disease caused by protozoa,
Nosema bombyscis. The worms become very dull and they
have poor appetite, irregular moulting and the skin
Caused by bacteria, promoted by high temperature, high
humidity and ventilation, bad leaf quality, over feeding
and low alkalinity of the gut. Digestive and circulatory
systems are damaged and the symptoms are loss of appetite
Mostly seen in riping larvae. Caused by Borrlina virus.
Infection is induced by extreme low and high temperature.
Swelling of the inter-segmental region, shining skin,
rupture of body wall, oozing of body fluid and endless
crawling are symptoms. Such worms do not moult and spin.
The fungi Beauveria bassiana, Spicaria prasina and Isaria
farinosa are causal agents. The infected larvae lose
appetite. Specks of oozing oily substance without any
clear-cut margins appear on the skin. Body generally
hardens and becomes stiff.
1. Disinfect the rearing room and equipment before rearing.
2. Use only disease free layings from authorized agencies.
3. Dip the egg cards in 2% formalin solution for 20
minutes before incubation.
4. Collect undersized larvae and destroy regularly by
burning or burrowing in soil.
5. Feed good quality leaves of correct stages.
6. Avoid over feeding and under feeding
7. Clean the bed every day and burn the infested litter.
8. Use RKO powder at every moulting before resumption
9. Maintain humidity only to the desired level.
It is a serious parasite of silkworm larvae and pupa
causing heavy loss. Adult is a large fly with prominent
black and gray stripes. The fly prefers later instars
to the earlier ones for oviposition.
the entry of fly into the rearing room by providing
wire mesh or nylon net on doors and ventilators. Burn
the pest-affected larvae. Apply chlorpyrifos on the
ground and crevices of walls of rearing house. Other
pests are ants, lizards, rats