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Agriculture > Plantation Crops > Coconut (Cocosnucifera)

Crop Management

Harvest and Storage

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. On an average, we can have eight harvests, though the coconut palm produces inflorescence every month. For oil extraction, nuts are generally sun dried for copra making. In this case there is a chance of dirt accumulation followed by oil quality deterioration, nuts can be dried in various types of driers available (Kiln, electric and solar driers). Good quality copra can be obtained in short time by using these driers. Moisture content in copra for final use should be around 5-6%. The oil yield of WCT palms under rainfed condition will be around 1.7 to 2 tons/ha.

Safe storage of copra

Copra obtained from commonly cultivated varieties / cultivars is attacked by various insect pests in store. Among these ham beetle, Necrobia rufipes and saw toothed grain beetle, Oryzaphilus surinamensis are of major importance, which can cause more than 15 per cent loss to copra when stored for more than six months.

Following precautions are to be taken for the safe storage of copra for more than three months:

(1) Dry the produce to 4 per cent moisture content.

(2) Avoid heap storage, which causes maximum damage.

(3) Store copra in netted polythene bags or gunny bags.

Shell fired copra dryer

A new type of dryer working on indirect heating and natural convection principles using coconut shell as fuel has been designed and developed by CPCRI. The overall dimension of the dryer is 2.25m length, 1.5m breadth and 1.5m height. The capacity of the dryer is 1000-1200 nuts per batch. The dryer has two heating chambers which are arranged in parallel. Specially developed rolling in type of fuel trays are used for burning the fuel. The dryer consists of a drying chamber, a burning chamber, a plenum chamber and ventilation holes. Each full tray produces heat for 6 hours, with a temperature of about 80-82o C. Generally after 6 hours, when the temperature drops below 60oC, the fuel trays are removed from the dryer, cleaned and reloaded with fuel, refired and replaced into respective burning chambers. About 4 loads of fuel are required with a capacity of 80 shells per tray to dry the copra to about 6.25 per cent moisture content. The total drying time is 24 hours. The cost of the dryer is approx Rs.35,000/-. Farmers and entrepreneurs interested to purchase this dryer can contact, Agricultural Technology Information Centre (ATIC), CPCRI, Kasargod, for further details.

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