Organic Cultivation Boosts Castor Crop Yield

New cultivation technique boosts castor crop yield in Gujarat.

Gujarat based castor farmer has used organic fertilizers for castor crop cultivation and has reaped nearly six to eight tons of crop compared to four tons by others, with minimal amount being spent. He hopes that organic cultivation will help him reap atleast 20 quintals of castor seeds by the end of the season.castor

Initially the farmer had experimented this technique with a variety of paddy and had success. Later he tried the technique with castor crop and cultivated Palem Hybrid Castor EI-111 variety after consultation with the scientists in that region and now he has succeeded.

Agriculture department officials have predicted good price for the organically cultivated castor oil in the market. Government has allotted funds exclusively for vermicompost units to enable farmers cut costs and earn profits.  These have enabled more farmers to shift to natural farming.


New Farming Methods Attract Castor Cultivation among Farmers

Castor cultivation which had lost interest among farmers since 2012 is now attracting farmers with new farming methods and cropping patterns. Castor cultivation was at its peak during 2010-11 due to high castor seed prices at around Rs. 6200 per quintal. The crop had become the most preferred for the kharif sowing.

But during 2012, as the prices started falling, the castor cultivation decreased and since then it has been decreasing, with prices of castor seed falling to Rs. 3325 – Rs. 3400 per quintal.

To increase castor yield and attract farmers, SEA started a Castor Yield Increase Programme where around 60 farmers and scientists of Dantiwada Agricultural University joined. The main objective was to reduce the use of water, pesticides, fertilizers and cut costs while raising the yield by changing the cropping pattern.castor-seeds_10421148_250x250

The new cropping pattern has attracted farmers as the castor seed yields have doubled. The Dantiwada Agriculture University has provided GCH 7, a new hybrid variety of castor seeds, free of cost to farmers.

SEA has also planned the pilot project to five districts of Gujarat and Rajasthan by including more farmers.


Castor Yield Doubles to 4,000 Kg per Hectare under SEA’s Program

Castor seed yield has doubled from 2000 kg to 4000kg/hectare in two villages of Gujarat under SEA’s castor seed development program.castoroil-seed

Buoyed by the success, SEA will be extending this program to Rajasthan. While the first program saw sowing over 300 hectares, under the extended program SEA aims at castor sowing on over 1,500 hectares of land.


New Disease Resistant Castor Seed to Yield 1800 Kg / hectare


  • The new HCH-6 seeds have been developed by scientists at UAHS, Shivammoga
  • Yield in the case of traditional varieties said to be declining by the year owing to disease
  • Farm trial of new varieties have been completed and the hybrid castor seeds could yield up to 30% higher output
  • They are awaiting official approval for release

Scientists at the University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences (UAHS), Shivamogga (Karnataka), have developed disease-resistant varieties of castor seeds.

Castor seeds are widely cultivated in dry regions of Chitradurga, Davangere and Tumakuru districts. However, the yield of castor seed has been waning owing to fusarium wilt and white fly infection.

Scientists at zonal agricultural and horticultural research station of the university at Hiriyur have developed a disease-resistant and high-yield variety of castor seed named HCH (Hybrid Castor Hiriyur)-6, which is a fusion of DPC-9 and TMV-6 varieties. If cultivated as a solo crop, the yield of HCH-6 variety is said to be around 18 quintals a hectare of land, while it was around 13-14 quintals a ha in other existing varieties.

(A quintal equals 100 Kg)

As part of the farm trial, Lakshmanappa, a farmer from Holalkere in Chitradurga district, who had cultivated HCH-6 variety of castor in his land, said that the yield had increased by around 22 per cent and the plants were free from wilt infection.P. Narayanaswamy, Director of Research, UAHS, Shivamogga, said that KPR-1 paddy and HCH-6 castor seeds would be released after getting approval from the State-level Variety Release Committee and the Central Sub-committee on Crop Standards, Notification and Release of Varieties. The seeds of both the varieties would be released by June, 2016, he said.

If indeed the castor seed yields could be increased to 1.8 tons/hectare, this could be a big boost to farmers, as the country’s average is hovering only about 1.3-1.4 T/hectare as mentioned earlier. And with the castor seeds seeing an overall upswing in prices in the past few years and hovering at about Rs 40/Kg (though 2015 saw slightly lower prices than 2014), such increases in yields could result in many more farmers taking up castor cultivation.

Source: The Hindu

Evofuel Expands Castor Activity in Brazil with Insolo

Evogene Ltd. has signed an agreement between its wholly owned subsidiary Evofuel Ltd. and Insolo Agroindustrial S.A. for the selection and optimization of Evofuel’s propriEvogene Ltd.etary castor bean varieties in Insolo farms.

The two-year collaboration will examine the sustainability and adaptability of the growing castor varieties in the farms. The two companies will jointly evaluate the economic and agronomic benefits of castor seed varieties in this area, selecting the best varieties and developing the agronomic know-how to integrate the castor seed varieties into Insolo’s production system.


Castor Cultivation and Yields in China

The table below provides the production rate of castor seed in china, during the years 2011-12 and 2012-13.

  Production (‘000 T) Area Harvested(‘000 Ha)        Yield  (T/H)
175 180 210 210 0.86 0.86

It can be seen from the above table that the yields of castor seeds in China are almost on par of those in India (which is about 1 T/ha/year. An earlier post showed how the yield is far lower in Brazil.

China is the second largest producer of castor. It contributes about 7-10% of the world‘s castor seeds production.  It uses about 60% of its castor oil for the production of Sebacic acid.

In 2011, China exported 0.13 million T of castor oil, which increased to 0.18 million T in 2012 and estimated to be 0.17 million T in 2013.

Yield, Productivity and Toxicity Challenges in Castor Industry

There are three major issues with respect to castor yield and productivity challenges. They are

  • Castor cultivation of crop on marginal lands without inputs (fertilizers and irrigation) produces poor yields
  • Lack of improved varieties and hybrids
  • Lack of mechanization in cultivation & harvesting

Toxicity Challenge

  • The ricin in castor crop is a barrier to its cultivation in many developed countries – especially US and parts of Europe
  • GM castor with no ricin could be a solution

Apart from this, there are other challenges faced in castor industry. They are:

  • Difficulty in further expansion of area in India primarily due to lack of seed marketing to non-traditional areas
  • Grown under rain-fed condition without following improved package of practices
  • Lack of suitable cultivars for intercropping system
  • Lack of resistant/ tolerant varieties/hybrids for eating caterpillars and macrophomma disease

Possible Solution to Overcome Price and Supply Volatility Challenge

With India dominating castor production with over 80% of the total global production, it gives rise to a number of constraints and challenges. One of them being the price and supply volatility owing to the entire world depending on one country for supplies.

Thus, one of the ways to overcome the price and supply volatility challenge is to increase the geographical diversity of cultivation.

Emerging Geographies are


  • Mexico


  • Ethiopia
  • Angola
  • South Africa

Asia & Middle East

  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Philippines
  • Israel

Emerging Techniques and Research to Increase Yield in Castor

Increasing the yield of castor from 1 T/hectare per year (the average right now in India) to something much higher is a highly desirable outcome, but not very easy.

The best way to overcome yield challenge in castor industry is to concentrate more on research and development (R&D) area.

Many techniques are emerging in R&D sector to increase the yield of castor. These include

  • Hybrids: Selection of Hybrids to increase yield, branching, non-shattering and high oil content. e.g.- HC1, HC2,…8 also, advanced hybrids like TSP 10R VP1 lata, etc.
  • Cross Pollination: Under natural conditions, cross pollination in castor can exceed 80%, but the actual level of cross pollination is dependent on both genotype and environmental conditions. Germplasm storage under cryogenic conditions keeps up the viability of seeds even after 30 days
  • Other techniques like enriching the soil with zinc content

Castor Farming in India – Structure, Constraints and Contract Farming

Castor Farming Structure in India

In India, there are both independent farmers and contract farmers, but the significant majority comprises independent farmers. There are thousands of small, independent castor crop farmers in India, ownership ranging from just a couple of hectares to hundreds of hectares.

Constraints Faced by Indian Castor Farmers

The constraints reported by farmers include

  • Poor monetisation of their crop
  • Harvesting problems
  • Occurrence of pests and diseases

Castor Contract Farming in India

Even in contract farming, it has been seen that contract periods are not long duration, typically a couple of years.  However, some recent efforts are made by corporates to do contract farming in Gujarat, AP and Odisha.

It is observed that the cultivation of castor under contract farming is a profitable proposition under dry land condition, and estimates suggest that the returns are more remunerative than in the case of independent farming.