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Management Studies Relating to Mechanization of Taro (Colocasia esculenta (L) Schott) Culture

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Title:Management Studies Relating to Mechanization of Taro (Colocasia esculenta (L) Schott) Culture
Authors:Kagbo, Robert Ben
Date Issued:1976
Abstract:There has been a gradual decline in the production of taro, Colocasia esculenta, in Hawaii because of the high labor requirements. Potential young farmers are not attracted by the taro industry. Increased interest among farmers in mechanization of planting and harvesting the crop has thus been enhanced by an inability to meet consumer demand. This study was therefore undertaken to evaluate the influence of three land preparation methods (flat culture, ridges 13 and 26 cm high), three plant spacing (20, 30 and 40 cm; row spacing 100 cm) and two planting depths (8 and 14 cm) on performance of taro in relation to mechanization.
Ridge culture produced significantly greater amount of solids in corms and cormels than conventional flat culture at 12 months.
There was a significant effect of planting depth on corm and cormel lateral growth. Deep planting might therefore require a broader blade or auger for mechanical harvesting. In relation to this was the finding that corms and cormels under deep planting had a longer and slender posterior than those under shallow planting. Furthermore, cormels under deep planting had a hook-like base. Both of these traits would be undesirable to consumers if corms were to be sold fresh.
The highest vertical force required to pull a taro hill for land preparation method was 48.2 kg with the 26 cm ridge height culture; whereas for planting depth, it was 47.6 kg at the 14 cm depth.
The effects of land preparation method and planting depth on yields at 12 months were not significant. However, the highest yield, 62.4 metric ton/ha, was obtained under the 13 cm ridge height culture. Total yields (metric ton/ha) for the 25,000, 33,333 and 50,000 plants/ha were 49 .4, 55. 8 and 66. 0 respectively and were significantly different from each other. None of the interactions were significant for yield except for spacing x planting depth.
The effects of three water regimes (continuous flooding= O; water drained 2 and 4 months before harvest= 2 and 4 respectively) on taro yield, ease of harvesting and corm quality in terms of fermentation, flavor and color were also studied. Total yields for the three treatments, 0, 2 and 4 were 80.0, 75.5 and 57.3 metric ton/ha respectively whereas man-hours/ha required to pull out taro was as follows: 0 = 305.6, 2 = 844.4 and 4 = 300.0. For the removal of roots, man-hours/ ha were O = 938.9, 2 = 1372.2 and 4 = 961.1. Poi from treatment 0 had a slightly faster rate of fermentation, measured on the basis of pH changes, than that from treatments 2 and 4; whereas poi made from treatment 2 had a pinkish to reddish color compared to the somewhat grayish color of poi from treatments O and 4. Results of poi, flavor and color were not significant but there was a slight preference for poi made from treatment 0, the control.
Results of pot studies (Greenhouse+ 51% shade; Outside+ 45% saran shade; Full sun; Planting depth - 5 and 10 cm; Type of huli - main and sucker) showed a significantly higher yield of corms and total yield under greenhouse and saran than full sun.
Within a given level of shade, total yield was significantly higher for main than sucker hulis for pots in the greenhouse and full sun. In relation to planting depth, corm yield was significantly higher under deep than shallow planting for outside+ 45% saran shaded pots. Cormel yield was significantly greater under shallow planting than deep planting for pots in greenhouse and full sun. Shallow planting also significantly out-yielded deep planting for total yield but only for ·pots in full sun.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Agronomy and Soil Science

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