Loquat Farming – Introduction
The loquat is an oval, round or long fruit having a yellow skin. The fruit is very uncommon among other commonly grown fruits. The loquat has been cultivated for more than a thousand years. It also grows naturally as a wild plant in many regions of the world. Later on, the fruit has been cultivated in many parts of the world.
The loquat is also grown as an ornamental plant. It is due to the sweet smelling beautiful flowers. The plant is a shrub or a small tree. The fruits are borne in clusters. The fruits have a sweet taste when they are ripe. Loquats are also used for medicinal purposes and for making syrups. The ripe fruits are eaten fresh. They can also be made into jams, jellies, pickles etc. The extract of loquat fruit is also used in confectionaries. The loquat tree can grow well in certain elevations. if the proper growing conditions are not met, the fruit quality will not be good. There are some very good varieties of loquat in the market. Such high yielding varieties must be cultivated. Only then, a good yield can be achieved.
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Scientific Name of Loquat: Eriobotrya japonica
Top Loquat Producing Countries In The World
The loquats are chiefly grown in Japan. After Japan, the main loquat producing countries are Spain, Brazil, China, Israel etc. The loquat naturally grows in Japan and Central America. In India, the main state growing loquat is Punjab. It is also grown in other regions too. It is mainly cultivated in colder regions. In the hilly areas of Sri Lanka and Pakistan, it is grown too.
Common Name Of Loquat In Other Languages And Countries
- China- mispilus
- French- bibassier
- Portugal- ameixa do japan
- Florida- Japan plum
- Chinese: 枇杷
Different Varieties Of Loquat Available In Market
The Tanaka variety of loquat fruit is small in size. It is oval in shape. The fruit has sweet-sour The fruit has an orange colored skin. There are 2-4 seeds which are medium in size inside the fruit.
This variety of loquat produces large fruits. The fruits have a conical shape. It can also be round. The fruit has white colored flesh which has a sweet and sour taste. The number of seeds inside the fruits may be 3-5.
Improved Pale Yellow
This variety is actually the improved version of a pale yellow variety of loquat. The size of the fruit is medium. The fruit has a pyriform shape. Like the name, the color of the fruit skin is pale yellow in color. The pulp of the fruit tastes sweet and sour and has a creamy and thick texture. The number of seeds inside the fruit is 3-4.
This variety has its origin in California. The fruits are medium in size and have a conical to round shape. The fruit has white colored flesh. It has a yellow colored skin. The fruits contain 2-3 seeds.
The fruit skin has a very attractive golden yellow colored skin. the fruits are medium in shape and are shaped like an egg. The flesh of the fruit is yellow in color and is sweet and sour in taste. The fruit contains 4-5 seeds.
Improved Golden Yellow
This variety is the improved version of the golden yellow variety. The color of the fruit is same like that of the golden yellow variety. The shape, however, is pyriform. The fruit pulp is orange in color and has a crisp texture. The taste of the fruit is slightly acidic. The fruit may have 3-5 seeds.
This is the type of loquat which has white flesh. The size of the fruit might be large to medium. The shape may be oval or pyriform. The skin of the fruit is deep yellow in colour. The skin is also tough and is thick. The flesh is soft and very juicy. This is a variety of good quality loquat and the taste is mildly acidic but pleasant. This is a variety of late maturing variety of loquat. The yield of this variety is very good. There are 3-4 seeds in the fruit.
The fruit size is large and the shape is oblong. The skin is thin and is yellow-orange in color. The skin is also tender in texture. The pulp is orange in color. It is fleshy and juicy. The flesh is sweet tasting and the fruit quality is good. This variety is late maturing. The trees give a very good yield. The fruits contain 4-5 seeds.
The size of the fruit is medium to large. The shape of the fruit is elliptical or like a pear. The fruit skin is thick and yellow in color. The pulp of the fruit is creamy in texture and has a very good flavor. The color of the flesh is cream and it is very juicy with a slightly acidic taste. The seed inside the fruit is 3-4. The tree is of dwarf variety and is late maturing. This variety is also resistant to the blight disease.
Cultivation Of Loquat
For commercial cultivation of loquat, they must be grown in specific conditions. This will only help to produce a good yield and good quality. A good variety must also be cultivated. Modern and scientific methods must be used for loquat cultivation.
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Soil Conditions For The Loquat Farming
The loquat plant is hardy. It can be grown in a variety of soil conditions. The ideal soil for loquat cultivation is sandy loam to clay loam. The plants cannot tolerate waterlogged conditions. Therefore the soil must be well drained. The soil also must be fertile. The loquat grows well in fertile soils.
Loquats can grow in soils with moderate fertility too. But, for a good yield, such conditions must be avoided.
Climatic Conditions For Loquat Farming
The loquat produces better fruits when grown above 1000m above the sea level. If it is grown below 1000m, the fruits become acidic. The loquats can be best cultivated in colder regions. a full sunshine and a warm weather are needed for growing loquats, especially during fruit ripening stage. The loquat plant cannot tolerate frost or extreme cold climatic conditions. The plant can tolerate drought and heat conditions. Partial shady conditions can also be used for loquat cultivation.
Land Preparation For Loquat Farming
Like any other type of fruit cultivation, the land must be ploughed several times. After ploughing, well-decomposed farmyard manure must be provided. Drainage channels must be made in the field so that excess water can be drained out. Pits must be dug and filled with manure and topsoil. The land must be left out to dry for at least a month.
Propagation Methods For Loquat Farming
The loquat is propagated through seeds. However, seedling trees take time to bear fruits. It is also propagated through many types of grafting methods such as veneer grafting, shield budding, cleft grafting etc. The grafted trees take less time to bear fruits. In case of seedlings, healthy seeds must be selected for planting.
Planting Methods For Cultivation Of Loquat
Pits must be dug one month before the planting. The diameter and depth of the pits must be one meter. The pits must be filled with topsoil and manure. The planting density for loquat cultivation is 200-250 plants per hectare. After planting in the main field, the plants must be watered. Only healthy seedlings must be selected to be planted in the main field.
Planting Season And Spacing For Loquat Farming
The loquat can be planted in two seasons. It can be planted in February- March or in August- September. The spacing of usually 6-7 meters is applied in loquat cultivation.
Fertiliser Application In Loquat Cultivation
In case of loquat farming, the nitrogen must be applied carefully. If nitrogen is applied in high quantities, it becomes harmful. The phosphorus and potassium must be applied in proper quantities. Too much fertilizer application must be avoided. A soil test must be done. Farmyard manure must be applied at the time of field preparation.
Irrigation Methods For Loquat Farming
The loquat plant is sensitive to waterlogging. So, over irrigation must not be done. Irrigation must be done properly and to keep the soil moist. For saving water, drip or sprinkler irrigation can be given. The trees can tolerate drought. But, to get the highest yield, the trees must be watered regularly. Irrigation must be given especially at the time of flowering and fruit formation. During the rainy season, regular irrigation is not needed. In case of excess rainfall, the water must be drained out of the field. In summer and in case of excessive heat, the irrigation must be done properly. The roots of loquat trees are shallow. So, regular watering is important.
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Intercultural Operations In Loquat Farming
The weeds must be removed from the loquat farm regularly. Hoeing and weeding must be done for weed control in loquat crop. Chemical pesticides can also be applied to loquat crop if needed. The training and pruning also must be done. The pruning must be done after the first harvest. Regular pruning and training make sure that the yield is good.
The loquat can be intercropped with a variety of crops such as pulses and various other types of rainy season crops.
Pest And Disease Control Management For Loquat Farming
The most common pests and diseases affecting the loquat trees are black scales, fruit flies, fire blight, bees, crown rot, cankers etc. These diseases and pests may be controlled by spraying appropriate pesticides and fungicides. Most of them can be controlled by seed treatment. Another serious problem in loquat cultivation is bird attack. The ripe fruits may be destroyed by birds and squirrels. Therefore they must be protected. Nets may be used to cover the trees or the fruits. Regular monitoring must be done for protecting the fruits from monkeys.
Yield Of Loquat
The average yield of fruits is about 10-25 tonnes per hectare. The yield is different for different varieties.
The loquats can be harvested when the fruits are ripe. When the skin color of the fruit has changed its color, it is time to harvest them. Mature fruits must be harvested. The maturing time for loquat varieties is different for each variety. The grafted plants bear fruits earlier than seedling plants. The fruits are difficult to separate from the stalk. So, while harvesting, a knife must be used for cutting the whole cluster of loquats. After that, individual fruits may be separated and sold in the market.
Post-Harvest Management For Cultivation Of Loquats
The loquat fruits must be cleaned after harvesting. They must be sorted and graded based on size and quality. The damaged and immature fruits must be rejected. The fruits can be kept for ten days after harvest. Under cold storage, they can be stored for about 60 days.
Marketing Of Loquats
The fresh fruits can be sold in the market. The fruits must be packed carefully otherwise they might be damaged. They can be packed in boxes or cartons to be sold in the market. For long distance marketing, the fruits must be packed in proper packaging.
Benefits Of Loquat
- Loquat is rich in compounds which may help to lower the blood pressure. So, it is beneficial for people having high blood pressure.
- Loquat fruit contains important minerals. The minerals help the body to function properly. It also protects the body from diseases.
- The loquat has mild sedative properties. It is used in making cough syrups.
- Loquat is full of dietary fibers. The fibers help to digest the food better. It also keeps one from getting hungry all the time.
- Loquats can help to prevent diabetes. It is beneficial for the diabetic patients.
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Loquat Farming – Conclusion
Loquats are lesser-known fruits. But, they are important for cultivation. With proper farming methods, they can be made popular in the international market. The fruit has many benefits which many people do not know about. Only its proper cultivation will spread the awareness.