Cassavais one of the plants calledtobe relevant in the future of humanity and in this article we will see how to successfully carry out its cultivation.
The cultivation of cassava
The climate in the cultivation of cassava
The cassava plant in its area of origin grows in a wide range of climatic conditions; from the humid and warm tropics of the lowlands to the areas of medium altitude (1,800 masl) characterized by cold winters and high rainfall in summer.
- Temperature Cassava can grow in a wide range of temperatureswhich oscillate between 15 and 40ºC, being the optimal growth between 25-30ºC. Temperatures below 15ºC affects the final production due to the lower production of leaf mass by the plant, which translates into a lower photosynthetic rate and therefore lower production of photoassimilated.
- Relative humidity Cassava grows in relative humidity between 50 and 90% but the optimum of the crop is between 70 and 75%.
- Water needs Although, as we have mentioned before, cassava is able to withstand periods of drought not without affecting the quantity and quality of its final production, the optimal water needs are between 6,000 and 9,000 m3 per hectare and cycle, coinciding with the maximum needs during the 5th and 6th month after transplantation. Periods of drought cause the plant to consume the starch reserves it had previously stored in the root. An excess of moisture causes fungal diseases in it.
- Yucca is a short photoperiod plant and its needs are between 10-12 hours of light per day, causing long days and with high temperatures a lower thickening of the roots.
- Light intensity It is a plant that needs to be directly exposed to the sun’s rays.
- Wind Cassava is a plant tending to break due to the winds so in areas prone to them windbreaks must be installed.
Yucca soil needs
Cassava can grow in almost any soil, but very clay soils can cause fungal problems and very stony ones prevent the normal development of the root system. The ideal soil is a loamy soil, loose, deep, with good drainage and a pH between 5.5-7. In areas of high rainfall or flooded soils, cultivation should be done on a plateau or horse to promote water drainage.
Cassava plantation on plateau
How is the yucca cycle
The cassava cycle lasts between 8 and 12 months and is divided into four stages:
1.-From the transplant until the end of the second month. It is a stage of slow growth; the root system begins to emerge between 5-7 days after planting the stakes and at 10-12 days the first leaves appear.
2.- Maximum growth. From the beginning of the third month to the end of the fifth; during this stage the final structure of the plant is fully developed, reaching at the end of this stage the maximum leaf area. In the middle of the third month the thickening of the roots begins. It is the stage of greatest physiological activity, due to the remarkable and rapid increase in biomass.
3.-Stage of filling the roots. During this stage the leaf surface begins to senescer and the leaves become smaller, but do not fall off. The translocation of the photoassimilated to the root is increased and goes from the end of the fifth month to the beginning of the fall of the leaves.
4.-Resting phase. The plant begins to lose the older leaves and completely stops vegetative growth; this phase lasts about a month. Although the plant decreases foliar activity, it continues with the process of starch accumulationand can be harvested at any time.
As for the process of root thickening, this is also divided into 4 phases:
- Differentiation phase. In this phase, the roots that will thicken and those that will not begin to be differentiated, and it happens between the third and fourth month after the transplant. The accumulation of starch begins.
- Thickening phase. It starts in the last third of the differentiation phase and lasts until the middle of the seventh month of the cycle.
- Accumulation phase. It starts in the seventh month and lasts until the end of the cycle. Maximum accumulation of dry matter occurs at the root and the final result is determined by keeping the largest leaf area in the best possible state.
The planting season of cassava
ranges from mid-spring to early summer, that is, November-January in the southern hemisphere and May-June in the northern hemisphere.
Preparation of the land This is the most important work in the cultivation of cassava, since the soil is the medium in which the most important part of the plant will be developed, commercially speaking:we are two passes with subsoil perpendicular to each other and depending on the texture of the farm one or two milling machine passes. Then we finish if the soil is heavy or we are in a high rainfall area; if we have a soil with good drainage and we are in a normal rainfall zone we can plant flat.
The vegetative material that is used as a “seed” in cassava cultivation is called a stake, which is nothing more than a portion of the stem of a mature plant; it is necessary to use mature plant so that each knot of the stake contains stored sufficient reserves that are used for the budding ofthe root system and the aerial stems. Stakes of a length of about 20-30 cm containing 5-6 knots are used.
The most common planting frames are 120 x 100 cm, 100 x 100, 100 x 80 and 80 x 80. We can sow vertically, vertically but inclined with an angle of 45º with respect to the ground or by burying the stem horizontally. If we do it vertically or inclined, the first thing to take into account is to put the yolk facing upwards because if we invest it will use a lot of time and energy to emerge; this is the most usual system and guarantees a rapid budding and a greater resistance to the plant breaking due to the action of the winds. Vertically we will bury 4 buds and 3 in inclined. In this system the root comes out of the buried end of the stake.
Horizontal planting is used in mechanized planting systems and the stake is buried 8-10 cm. In this system a greater number of roots is produced which results in stability of the plant, but it is not recommended for soils with poor drainage or areas of high rainfall because the rot of the stake could occur.
Cassava fertilization Cassava is a plant with a strong extraction of nutrients and it is estimated that for a production of 30,000 kg of fresh root the extractions of nutrients in UF are: