Start a Subabul Cultivation Business


(262). Start a Subabul Cultivation Business

Farm forestry can be one of the best means for afforestation of wastelands especially in areas with no assured irrigation which will in turn provide  raw material to industries. NABARD, as an apex institution with regard to policy, planning and operation in the field of agriculture and rural credit, is actively involved in extending credit support for development of rural areas along with other financial institutions. Development of wastelands through pulpwood plantations is identified as a thrust area for which NABARD is extending 100% refinance to banks at concessional rate of interest.
The National Forest Policy, specifically encourages Company-farmer Partnerships and states :
“As far as possible, a forest based industry should raise the raw material needed for meeting its own requirements, preferably by establishment of direct relationship between the factory and the individuals who can grow the material ………… the practice of supply of forest produce to industry at concessional prices should cease” 

Common Names: Subabul, Leucaena & ipil-ipil, etc.
Subabul ( Leucaena leucocephala) is a popular farm forestry tree in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh. It is estimated that in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh alone, Subabul is planted in area exceeding 50,000 ha.

It is one of the fast growing hardy evergreen species. It is a vigorous coppicer and responds well to pollarding, lopping & pruning. It has deep and strong taproot and even the seedlings are deep rooted. There are four types of subabul viz,
Hawaiian type: The plants are short bushy and remarkably drought tolerant. It is suited to hilly terrains in drought prone areas. It is a prolific seed producer and is good for fodder purpose.
Salvador type: Tall, tree like and fast growing having maximum annual biomass production. Possesses large leaves, pods and seeds than Hawaiian types. Responds to high fertilization.
Peru: Tall and extensively branching type and is ideal for fodder purpose.
Cunningham: It is a cross between Salvador and Peru types.

 Agro-climatic conditions
i. Ecology
Subabul is best suited for warm regions and grows well between 22 and 30ºC in regions of 500 to 2000 mm annual rainfall. Because of its strong and deep root system, the tree is highly drought resistant. It is restricted to elevations below 500 m but withstands variations in rainfall, sunlight, windstorm, slight frost and drought.
ii. Soil
It cannot withstand water logging. It requires deep well drained neutral soil and can tolerate saline and acid soil. It can also be grown in steep slopes, hilly terrains, gravelly areas and sandy loams. It can grow under a wide range of conditions as a range plant, roadside plant, in pastures, etc. The land should, however, be cleared of bushes, ploughed and levelled before sowing for better performance.
The tree grows very well under alkaline soils and also performs under dry clayey soils. The growth is average under sandy, acidic & dry gravel soils. The performance is poor under marshy, usar lands & in high altitudes.

iii Botanical features
The leaves are bipinnate, 15 to 20 cm long with 10 to 15 pairs of pinnate leaves. Inflorescence is globular and the flowers are white.

Commercial Uses:
Subabul wood can be used for light construction, poles, props, pulp, furniture, flooring and fuel wood. Subabul wood is an excellent fuel wood with a specific gravity of 0.45-0.55 and a high heating value of 4000 kcal/kg. Subabul forage has a high protein and carotene content and pellets or cubes are internationally marketed as animal feed.

 Silviculture / Cultivation practices
i. Planting of seedlings can be done with the onset of rains in May-June or Sept-October. Seed viability is high, but the hard seed coat posses dormancy. To hasten germination seeds are to be dipped in concentrated sulfuric acid for four minutes and then washed or put in hot water at 80ºC for four minutes. The seeds should be sundried afterwards for about one hour before sowing.
ii. A seed rate of 3-4 kg/ha is recommended. Sowing is preferably done during February-March in a nursery or in polythene bags or in situ at 2-3 cm depth. Seedlings (1.5 to 3 months old with 6-8 leaves) are planted in the main field. A spacing of 1 x 0.1 m is recommended for a pure crop of fodder, 1.5 x 0.2 m for planting in boundaries and borders of coconut gardens and 2 x 0.2 m when raised along boundaries.
iii Planting Material
Methods of propagation for raising plantation are : (i) Direct sowing of seeds; (ii) Bag Plantation; (iii) Naked seedlings collected from existing plantation regeneration.
iv Spacing adopted
The most common spacing adopted are 1.27m x 1.27m (50” x 50”) (i.e. 6200 plants/ha);  2m x 2m (2500 plants/ha);  3 x 1.5m  (2222 plants/ha). However, the recommended spacing is 1.5m x 1.5m (4445 plants/ha). Inter cultivation may not be possible from second year onwards.
v Weeding / Soil working
Two weedings / soil workings are required per year for the first 3 years of sowing / planting.
vi. Pests and diseases
Subabul generally has been free of serious insect & diseases, but is susceptible to jumping plant lice (psyllids) which have caused serious defoliation and mortality in some areas. Some varieties are susceptible to gummosis, which is most likely caused by Fusarium or Phytophtora species. Leaf spot fungus also can cause defoliation under wet conditions.

 Yield & Rotation
Harvesting is done at the end of fourth year. The average yield is 70 ton/ha. Farmers adopt a rotation of 4 year. Normally they go for 3 coppice crops. During second rotation, only 2 coppice shoots are  retained in each stem. The sale price for pulpwood is considered at Rs. 1000/ton.
The stumps removed from plantations after three rotations may fetch a rate of Rs. 350/- to Rs. 400/-ton for usage as fuel wood for tobacco barns.

 Markets & Marketing Arrangements
There is enormous demand for Subabul wood for pulp (raw material) from many paper industries.

 Unit Cost
The cost of cultivation of Subabul in one hectare at an espacement of 1.5mx1.5m i.e. 4445 Subabul plants per ha has been worked out at Rs. 40200/- per ha.  The details of various items of expenditure are viz., land preparation, digging of pits, plant and material, manure and fertilizer, plant protection, etc

You can get the whole information from Tropical Forest Research Institute (TFRI)

Tropical Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur


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