Harvesting of Coconut

 

Deciding harvest time Twelve months old nuts are harvested for seed as well as copra making. However, for tender nut purposes 7 to 8 months old nuts are harvested. In case of tall the nuts harvested for seed purpose can be stored for 2 to 3 months period before sowing, whereas in case of dwarfs and hybrids, nuts should be sown with in a period of 10 15 days of harvest.

Harvesting cycle In practice, the harvesting cycle varies from 45 to 60 or 90-day periods. However, considering the hired labour cost, the recommended harvesting cycle is every 45 days for practical and economic reasons. Two to three bunches of coconuts could be harvested from each palm if this cycle is followed. This harvesting cycle has been found to yield a good number of mature nuts with high copra and oil recovery.

Method of harvest

The methods of harvesting coconuts vary among countries or even among provinces within the same country. Producers from certain countries, especially in the Pacific, do not harvest their coconuts. Mature nuts are just left to fall on the ground and gathered by the farmer or the members of the farming family at regular intervals.

There are two common methods of harvesting coconuts. These are the pole and the climbing method. A third method is only practised in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. This procedure involves harvesting of mature coconuts using of trained monkeys.

The palm-climbing device is useful and advantageous for harvesting operations in places where traditional palm climbers are not available. The device is more efficient than manual climbing. With its use around 80 trees are harvested a day. There is also no risk of falling from the tree. In research stations and seed farms, the gadget could be useful for breeding purposes.

Although both the pole and the climbing method of harvesting require considerable experience and skill to be performed safely and efficiently, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Harvesting using bamboo poles is generally faster, more efficient, less tedious, and less dangerous when compared with climbing. With bamboo poles, a harvester could also harvest more nuts per unit of time from more trees.

On the other hand, the advantage of harvesting by climbing is that the climber/harvester could clean and inspect the crown of the palm for pest and disease attack. However, the cuts made to construct steps in the trunk in certain countries to facilitate climbing make the trees less suitable for timber purposes and fractures serve as entry points for pests.

References Kerala Agricultural University. 2011. Package of Practices Recommendations: Crops. 14th edition. Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur- 360 p.