Collection and Storage of Seed Nuts

 

Importance of seed nuts

In coconut, seedling vigour is highly correlated with adult palm characters such as early flowering, nut yield and copra production. If the seed nut happens to be of poor quality, the new plantation will prove to be uneconomic, causing considerable loss of time and money to the grower. Therefore, proper selection of seedlings are very much important.

Selection of mother plants

Select mother palms having the following characters:
  • Regular bearing habit and yielding not less than 80 nuts / annum.
  • Age 20 years or more (5 years after reaching full bearing capacity). If the mother palms are the progeny of elite planting material and gives consistently higher yields for a period of not less than 6 years, seed nuts can be collected from such palms. There is no need for insisting 20 years as minimum age for mother palms in such conditions.
  • More than 30 fully opened leaves with short strong petioles and wide leaf base firmly attached to the stem.
  • Bearing at least 12 bunches of nuts with strong bunch stalks.
  • Bearing nuts of medium size and oblong shape.
  • Husked nuts should weigh not less than 600 g.
  • Mean copra content of 150 g per nut or more.
    Avoid palms which (i) have long, thin and pendulous inflorescence stalks (ii) produce long, narrow, small sized or barren nuts (iii) show shedding of immature nuts in large numbers and (iv) are grown under favorable environmental conditions.

Collection of seed nuts
 

Collect mature nuts (above 11 month old) during the period from December to May. Lowering of bunches by means of ropes may be done when the palms are tall and ground is hard. Discard nuts, which show improper development or other undesirable features.

Storage of seed nuts
 

Store seeds in shade for a minimum period of 60 days prior to sowing in nursery. For storing, arrange the seed nuts with the stalk-end up over an 8 cm layer of sand in a shed and cover with sand to prevent drying of nut water. Up to five layers of nuts can be arranged one over the other. The nuts can also be stored in plots, provided the soil is sandy and the ground is sufficiently shaded. In the case of nuts harvested in May, heap them in partial shade, till husk is well dried and then sow them in the nursery.
References Kerala Agricultural University. 2011. Package of Practices Recommendations: Crops. 14th edition. Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur- 360 p.