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Yield and fruit quality of litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) under the influence of organic and inorganic nutrient management practices

Kumar, M., Ray, P. K.
Acta horticulturae 2018 no.1211 pp. 53-64
Litchi chinensis, aril, burning, economic sustainability, fertilizer application, fruit cracking, fruit quality, fruiting, leaves, mineral fertilizers, neem cake, nutrient management, organic production, pests, poultry manure, shelf life, sugar content, trees, vermicomposts, India
An experiment was conducted to assess the impact of organic and inorganic nutrient management practices on yield and fruit quality of litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) and to ascertain the economic viability of organic production in north Bihar where the crop has been under cultivation as a major fruit crop occupying about 31000 ha land area (NHB, 2015). Irrespective of organic and inorganic nutrient management practices, fruit bearing patterns of all the litchi trees under the experiment was similar. Fruit growth in terms of length and diameter was found to be comparable under the two nutrient management approaches. Yield and yield attributing characters like fruit weight, aril weight, seed and peel weight did not show any significant variation in different treatments. However, fruit quality parameters with respect to classified fruit grades, TSS, sugar content and shelf-life at ambient conditions showed significant improvement with the organic treatments. Organic treatments did not show any marked reduction in incidence of pests and diseases except in fruit borer infestation which was significantly reduced in organic fertilization, particularly when Neem cake was used as one of the components of organic nutrient source. Fruit cracking was also reduced significantly with organic treatments but there was no impact of the treatments on sun burning on fruit skin. Economically, the organic litchi production proved as remunerative as compared to inorganic production. The B:C ratios were higher in case of organic treatments like 100% FYM, 100% FYM + Fallen leaves, and 50% FYM +20% Neem cake +15% vermicompost +15% poultry manure than the 100% inorganic fertilization. FYM integrated with reduced rate (50%) of inorganic fertilizers also resulted in higher B:C ratio than the control (100% inorganic fertilization).