Pineapple farming

Here is how Dole are farming pineapple.

Aside from being nutritious and delicious, pineapple is a good foreign exchange earner. Statistic show that the pineapple export in 1985 reached 338 million kg valued at $127.6 million. In 1986, the Philippines earned $20,613,625 from fresh pineapple exports alone.

Pineapple can be processed into juice, jam, vinegar, nata de pina, preserves and candies. Its leaves are a source of a remarkable strong and silky fiber that can be processed into cloth and cordage. Even its skin and waste from canning can be pulped and dried for livestock feeds.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the prospects for pineapple are bright. The domestic demand over the next ten years is conservatively estimated to grow by an average of four to seven per cent very year. Moreover, if small and medium-scale growers and processors enlarge their operation, annual growth of pineapple exports could be higher by seven per cent in value and seven per cent in volume.

In 1985, Northern Mindanao produced the largest volume of pineapple, 742,643 metric tons, followed by Southern Mindanao, 625,054 metric tons, and Southern Tagalog, 45,019 metric tons. Northern and Southern Mindanao produce pineapple mainly for processing while Southern Tagalog produces for the fresh pineapple markets.

Pineapple cultivars. Smooth Cayene (hawaiian) is the most favored cultivars for canning and fresh fruit consumption. It matures in 18 months and yields 25,000 fruits per hectare. It is grown in most provinces of the Philippines. Other cultivars grown locally are Queen (Formosa) and Red Spanish (Native Philippine red).

Soil and climatic requirements. Pineapple requires and mild (24 to 30oC) and relatively uniform temperature throughout the year. It also requires evenly distributed rainfall during its growing period. Pineapple grows best at elevations of 150 to 240 meters in well-drained soil with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5 .

Planting materials. Slips and suckers are the most suitable planting materials. Slips bear fruits in 18 to 20 months. They should be obtained six to eight weeks after harvesting.

Choose planting materials similar in size and type to drained uniform flowering and fruiting. Cure the similar by exposing them to sunlight for one week or more depending on the weather conditions. Curing prevents infection and rooting of plant materials.

Soil preparation and planting. In small-scale operations, planting time is between March and August. Plant slips and suckers 8 to 10 cm deep, 25 or 30 cm in row and 80 to 100 cm between rows. These spacing give population density of 33,000 to 50,000 plants per hectare. Planting in doublerows also gives the population per hectare. This method requires distance of 25 to 30 cm in a row, 50 cm within a double row and 100 cm between double rows. This will result in about 44,000 to 53,000 plants per hectare.

Weed control. Hand pulling and hoeing with the aid of suitable implements are the most common methods of weed control. Weeds can be used as mulch (soil covering) to conserve moisture and add organic matter to the soil. The most widely used herbicide is diuron (e.g.Karmex, Diuron BASF). it is applied at 6.4 kg active ingredient (a.i.) per hectare. Spray immediately after planting, Then two-months interval to prevent weed growth. Do not use herbicides that may be toxic to the crop's crown.

Fertilizer use. Adequate nitrogen fertilizer makes plants grow vigorously and produce large fruits. Potassium, on the other hand, increase fruit size and sweetness. Pineapple will require little phosphorus since our soil have generally sufficient phosphorus.

Intercropping. The usual intercropping practice is to plant pineapple under coconut or papaya. Returns from intercropping can be greatly increased by supplying the fertilizer requirements of all crops.

Disease. Heart rot is a disease affecting pineapple. It is the result of extensive rotting of the tissues at or near the central (heart) base of the plant. An early symptom of this disease is when "heart" leaves change their color from yellow to light brown with a reddish tinge. Pineapples produce a pungent smell caused by the rotting leaf bases. As a control measure, avoid contaminating the central base of the plant with disease- infected soil especially during the hilling-up operation. If polyethylene mulch is more practical and economical, use it on raised beds. You can also dip the lower half portion of planting materials into any of these: 8 to 10 g of Diffolate per liter of water; 8 g of Captan per liter of water (other suitable commercial products are Merpen, Orthocide 50 and Stauffer C); and 4 mL Duphar Colloidal Copper per liter of water (another suitable commercial products is CCC Copper Dust). Plants in beds may be sprayed with 9 to 11 per hectare of Difolatan or 3 to 4.5 kg per hectare of Dexon. Use about 1,000 liters of spray per hectare.

Water blister is a postharvest disease but ca also be found in the seedbed. At the early stage of infection, the fruit shows a softy, juicy and watersoaked appearance. At the advanced stage, the fruit is covered with blacks spores and its flesh becomes totally black. To control, treat fruits within two hours after harvesting by dipping into 1 to 2 per cent O- phynelphenate or by dipping half of the fruit in 1 per cent salicylanilide solution. Spraying or painting the cut-end with 2.5 per cent salicylic acid in 30 per cent alcohol solution helps. When refrigerated, fruits do not develop this disease.

Fruitlet core rot or brown rot, another pineapple disease, is manifested by uneven color of the ripening fruit badly affected eyes become brown and sunken as fruits ripen. No control measure has been found yet for this disease. Yeasty rot is also a postharvest disease affecting pineapple but initial infection occurs in the field. Skin turns brown and leathery and later on the whole fruit becomes spongy. To prevent this, protect fruits against sunburn. Be careful not to bruise the fruit when piling, handling and packing.

Marbling is a disease of the ripening fruit. It is characterized by brown speckling and abnormal hardening of the internal tissues. To control, apply potash fertilizers. A very destructive postharvest disease and without external symptoms is called pink disease. Infected fleshy tissues when cut produce an aromatic odor and oftentimes are very watery, exhibiting purplish color. To control this, harvest fruits before 90 per cent of the eyes become yellow. Careful handling minimizes the disease.

Root knot is disease that stunts plant growth. It causes leaves to become narrow and reddish. When infected with root knot, plants produce small fruits. To avoid this, don't plant too frequently in the same field. However, for heavily infected areas, fumigate with 25 liters DBCP (a.i.) per hectare at planting time. After 3 or 4 months, apply 11 liters DBCP (a.i.) per hectare.

Insect pests. Root grub causes withering of the plants. Full grown larvae are pale yellow and adults (beetle) are grayish black. Once observed, they should be dug out and destroyed. Apply 20 to 30 kg per hectare of Aldrin (dust or granule 10%) or 60 to 80 kg per hectare of Chlordane (dust or granule 10%) before planting or after harvest.

Pineapple mealy bugs suck the plant sap and the same time secrete toxins that cause typical wilts symptoms in about two months. In general, plants become sickly in appearance, then wilt and die. As a control measure, you can spray parathion (e.c. 20 per cent ) at the rate of 200 to 250 mL per 100l water. About 100 to 250 mL should be applied at he base of the plants where the mealy bugs are located. If necessary, repeat treatment after four weeks. For heavily infested areas, practice crop rotation.

Armored scale insects, another pest, cause blotches on leaves and stunt plant growth. To control them, spray with Diazinon, Gustathion, or Parathion (e.c. 25%) at the rate of 1 to 1.5 mL per liter of water. Spraying may be repeated after three weeks, if necessary.

Pineapples infested with mites have brownish leaves and, later on, become stunted. You can spray with Chlorbenzilate (e.c. 25%) at the rate of 2 mL per liter of water. Apply at the first appearance of mite damage. Repeat spraying after eight days, if necessary. As a precautionary measure, test the chemical if they are poisonous to the plants. Spay them first on a few plants before using on a wide scale.

Harvesting, handling and picking. When harvesting, remove pieces of the leaves from the base of the fruit. Place harvesting boxes at the end of the plantation rows. See to it that the boxes are free from any sharp or rough projections inside. Also, fruits for the fresh fruit market should not be piled in jeeps and trucks without being place in the containers.

For export marketing, pack in fruit cases with wood wool or protective materials between each fruit and under the butt of the fruit where it touches the case. For export packs, you will need about 1 to 1.5kg of wood wool per case.

When harvesting, the following shell colors of Smooth Cayenne are generally used in determining the various stages of pineapple's maturity.

Number Description

0 All eyes are totally green with no trace of yellow

No. 1 Not more than 20 per cent of the eyes are predominantly yellow

No. 2 Not less than 20 per cent but not more than 40 per cent of the eyes are predominantly tinged with yellow

No. 3 Not less than 40 per cent but not more than 55 per cent of the eyes are predominantly tinged with yellow

No. 4 Not less than 55 per cent but not more than 90 per cent of the eyes are full yellow

No. 5 Not less than 90 per cent are full yellow but not more than 20 per cent of the eyes are reddish orange

No. 6 20 to 100 per cent of the eyes are predominantly reddish brown

No. 7 The shell is predominantly reddish brown and it shows signs of deterioration.

When harvesting fro distant markets, choose pineapples from 0 to 1 stages. Number 2 to 4 are suitable for cannery, fresh consumption and inter island shipment. While for processing, number 2 to 6 are harvested.

Storage. You can prolong shelf life by refrigerating. Pineapples at 0 to 1 stages can be stored for three weeks at 11 C. Such fruit will have a shelf life of eight days at room temperature. Major ripe fruits (stages 2 to 4) can be preserved for the same period at a lower temperature (8 C). At temperature below 7oC, chilling injury occurs.

Fruit intend for storage should be sprayed with or dipped in sodium orthophenylphenate (spray formulation- 1 kg of fungicide to 80 1 of water). Stored fruits need a relative humidity ranging from 85 to 90 per cent.

Marketing. Before marketing, classify fruits according to size (small, medium and large). In general, pineapples should be mature but not overripe, firm, dry, clean and have developed eyes. They should also be free from decay, broken shells, sunscald and damage caused by bruising, disease and insects. Butts should be well trimmed and well attached to the fruit.

Source: Dost

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