Jute is considered as the golden fibre of India. It is the commercially available natural fibre which is utilized mostly as packaging material, nowadays facing a steep competition from cheap synthetics in packaging sector. Besides the traditional packaging sector, jute has been used in both textile and non-textile sectors in large and small industries. Jute is eco-friendly, biodegradable and has much higher CO2 assimilation rate which is creating an opportunity for the survival and growth of jute industry in the era of environmental concern. Global production of jute and allied fibres is around 3.0 million tonnes, 92.5% of which comes from India and Bangladesh alone. India ranks first in area and production of jute followed by Bangladesh and earns approximately Rs. 1400 crores/annum through export of jute goods mainly Jute diversified products (JDPs). Emergence of technologies for quality improvement and diversification of jute includes blending of jute with other natural or man-made fibres for furnishing, interior decoration, garments, dress materials, geotextiles, agrotextiles, handicrafts, soft luggage etc. Adoption of these technologies will create employment opportunities and income generation by small entrepreneurship in the rural areas. Jute based geotextiles and agro textiles have potential applications in soil conservation, protection of river bank, road construction etc. The crop is also emerging as potential alternative source of fibrous material for paper and pulp industries. It is also used as leafy vegetables for improving the nutrition of poor household in India. Evaluation of the nutritional properties of jute genotype revealed that jute is richest source of anti oxidant such as beta carotene, vitamin C and disease fighting phenols. Jute is also used as a source of ethanol. Therefore, it can be said that jute has a future provided we can encash the opportunity by exploiting many of its unique characteristics.
During the last six decades, the total raw jute production in India has increased from 36 lakh bales to 100 lakh bales. The productivity of jute had also doubled from 11.0 q ha-1 during 1950-51 to 23.53 q ha-1 during 2012-2013. This significant increase in productivity of jute was made possible through introduction and spread of high yielding and premature flowering resistant varieties along with location specific improved crop production, protection and retting technologies. Over the last few years jute cultivation area has remained constant at about 9 lakh hectares in India. Increased cost of production particularly due to enhanced cost of labour and fertilizers and lack of sufficient water for retting are the key factors that stand in the way of area expansion. India has produced approximately 108 lakh bales of jute in the last fiscal. Jute growing tracts of India have been classified in to nine agro-climatic zones comprising the states of West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura. West Bengal covers 63% of jute growing area, 67% of the total jute fibre production of the country and 1.4% of total cropped area. The potential yield of jute is up to 40 q/ha in Indian climatic condition. There is a yield gap between potential yield and national average yield. Therefore, there is a scope to bridge the yield gap through proper nutrient management and other agronomic practices.
The fibre is extracted from the stem of two cultivated species of jute. The species are Corchorus olitorious L. (tossa jute) and C. capsularis L.(white jute). Till early seventies, white jute varieties occupied more than 80% of the jute growing areas as they were suitable for mid-March to mid-April sowing. Development of pre-mature flowering resistant tossa jute varieties namely ‘JRO 878’, ‘JRO 7835’ and ‘JRO 524’ in 1967, 1971 and 1977, respectively, enabled the tossa jute to be sown early and be fitted before kharif rice in the rice based cropping sequence of eastern India. As a result, 80% of the jute area came under tossa jute owing to its higher fibre yield.
Climatic requirement and soil
Jute requires a warm and humid climate and can be grown within a temperature range of 24 to 370C and a relative humidity of 57 to 97%. Jute crop thrives well with alternate rains and sunshine. The amount of rainfall and its distribution have marked effects on the growth of crop and ultimately yield of fibre. In the ideal situation, 120-150 mm pre monsoon rain followed by a dry period of 30-40 days and 1200 to 1500 mm of precipitation over last 75-80 days is considered to be the most ambient condition for growth of jute crop.
Jute grows well on the new alluvial soils having higher silt content but can also grow on various other types of soil. In India, it is grown in mainly colluviums, red and lateritic, calcareous soils. Acidic to neutral soils are suitable for jute cultivation. The response of jute to applied N, P and K varies with soil type, fertilizer dose, time of application, location, crop combinations, etc. which indicates that blanket fertilizer recommendation will affect the soil fertility as well as the cost of production of fibre.
Sowing and spacing
The crop can be sown with the first showers in March to April. Under rainfed condition, sowing is often delayed up to late April or early May due to late onset of monsoon. Seed should be treated with carbendazim @ 2 g/kg or Trichoderma @ 10g/kg seed for control of seed borne diseases. The olitorious and capsularis jute are sown at a spacing of 25 cm x 5-7 cm and 30 cm x 5-7 cm with a seed rate of 4-6 and 6-8 kg/ha, respectively.
Application of fertilizers should be done according to the fertility status of the soils. Application of manure is not necessary for soils where silt is deposited normally but application at the rate of 5-10 t/ha before sowing will not only maximize the yield but also promote sustainable agriculture. Recommended fertilizer doses both for olitorius and capsularis jute are given below.
- Low fertility : N : P2O5 : K2O (80 : 40 : 40, kg/ha)
- Medium fertility : N : P2O5 : K2O (60 : 30 : 30, kg/ha)
- High fertility: N: P2O5: K2O (40: 20: 20, kg/ha)
- Low fertility : N : P2O5 : K2O (80 : 40 : 40, kg/ha)
- Medium to high fertility: N: P2O5 : K2O (60 : 30 : 30, kg/ha)
In potato based cropping system basal application of P fertilizer may be avoided.
Nitrogen is the major yield determining nutrient for jute crop. Ammonium sulphate was found to be the better source of nitrogen for jute. Studies showed that a crop of olitorious jute (cv. JRO 632) producing 3.1 t /ha fibre removed 65 kg N, 23 kg P, 136 kg K, 91.4 kg Ca and 20 Kg Mg /ha while capsularis jute (cv. JRC 212) producing 2.0 t /ha fibre removed 84 kg N, 16.2 kg P, 97.5 kg K, 85.7 kg Ca and 29.6 kg Mg /ha respectively. Further studies revealed that olitorious jute removed 60 kg N, 24 kg P and 142 kg K/ha in acid soils of Coochbehar. Urea @ 20 kg N ha-1 + Gliricidia compost @ 2.5 tonnes ha-1 (~20 kg N ha-1) yielded on par with 40 kg N ha-1 applied as urea. On an average, about 15 tonnes of green jute leaves per hectare are added in to the field during growing period. Sulphur stimulates root growth, seed formation and helps in various enzymes synthesis. It also improves the fibre quality of fibre crops. Nearly 18 kg extra jute fibre was obtained by the application of one kg of S in the sulphur deficient soils of Bangladesh and 21 kg extra jute fibre yield was reported from the soils of Barrackpore by application of 1 kg sulphur. Sulphur @ 30 kg/ha was found to be optimum for higher productivity and improvement in quality. In an interaction study, Chaudhury (1989) observed that K (@ 40 kg K2O ha-1) and Mg (@ 10 kg MgSO4.7 H2O ha-1) favourably influenced growth and yield of both the jute varieties (JRO 632 and JRC 212). Hence, inclusion of Mg (@ 10 Kg ha-1) as secondary nutrient along with prescribed doses of NPK is suggested. Continuous application of boron (B), Copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo) and manganese (Mn) increased the fibre yield. It was found that Cu, B and Cobalt (Co) positively influence the seed yield of jute.
Liming is necessary if jute is grown in acid soil. Application of lime affects phosphate and micronutrients availability, nitrification and nitrogen fixation of soil. In a study on the acid soil of Sorbhog, Assam, it was observed that application of lime improved the soil pH and subsequently increased jute fibre yield by 24% compared to no lime treatment.
It was observed that integrated use of 75% N through urea and 25% N through organics increased fibre yield and enriched soil fertility. Dependence on inorganic fertilizers could be reduced up to 75 percent with the application of organic nutrient like neem cake. Seed treatment with the fungal culture of Trichoderma viridi (local strain) exhibited a beneficial effect in jute fibre production. Soil health has become a cause of concern for sustainable agricultural production in the new millennium, so balanced nutrition of crops with fertilizers are needed. Balanced nutrition is a key component to increase yield and quality of fibre, maintenance of soil productivity, soil health and protection of environment. Fertiliser application based on integrated soil test and targeted yield is advantageous for good jute crop yield.
Figure1. Jute in the field at its growing season
Jute is predominantly grown as a rainfed crop. Low fibre yields of the rainfed crops are due to erratic rainfall distribution in crop growing season coupled with improper agronomic management practices. Over the last 25 years, climate has been changing appreciably. Rainfall deficit in the jute growing areas of India have been found to the order of 40 – 50% from mid march to 1st week of June. Jute requires about 500 mm water for its growth and development. Fairly good crop of jute is raised under rainfed condition particularly when the north western showers are timely and in adequate amounts. Since rains are uncertain at the time of sowing the crop, irrigation becomes very helpful for sowing and establishment of the crop. Yield is increased if irrigation is provided. Irrigation treatment has recorded an increase of 20.8% fibre yield of jute over the no irrigation.
The irrigated crop is given pre-sowing irrigation and the first post sowing irrigation is applied at about 15 days after sowing. Four irrigations including the pre-sowing irrigation were required for jute to supply 26.78 cm of water. It was found that 1.98 cum or 1980 liters water is used to produce 1 kg jute fibre. Line sowing of jute seed @ 8-10 kg/ha in open furrows, developed by nine tyne cultivator (ridge base 20-25 cm wide and furrow depth 8-10 cm) helps to collect rainwater in furrows and assure germination under low rainfall.
Water logging reduces plant height by 14-32%, basal diameter by 11-29% and biomass yield by 31-48% of both olitorius and capsularis jute. It generated poor quality, rooty fibre. Jute fields should be connected with a safe outlet to remove excess water.
Weed infestation is a great obstacle for higher jute production. The magnitude of yield loss due to weeds in jute ranged between 52-70% in C. casularis and 59-75% in C. olitorious. Maximum weed infestation is found up to the 3rd to 6th week of crop age. The critical period of crop-weed competition in jute was found to be between 15 and 60 days after sowing. It was found that in jute 35% of total cost of cultivation is due to manual weeding which is carried out after 20 days of sowing and at five to six weeks of crop age . Pre-emergence application of butachlor (50% EC) @1.0 -2.0 kg a.i./ha within 24 to 48 hours of sowing following rain or irrigation is beneficial. Application of post emergence herbicides like propequizafop (10%EC) @ 150 g a.i/ha or quizalofop ethyl 5% EC @ (60 g a.i/ha) at 21 DAE followed by one hand weeding recorded better control of grassy weed.
Pest and disease management for jute
Yellow-mite, stem weevil, semi-looper, hairy caterpillar are the major pests of jute. Resistant/ tolerant varieties (JRO 524, JRO 7835 and JRC 212 for yellow mite; NDC 8812 and NDC 9101 for stem weevil and semilooper) may be preferred to avoid the immense lose due to insect pest. Important cultural practices like optimal date of sowing, proper weed management, plucking of infected leaves before spraying insecticides are to be followed for proper management of jute pests. Spraying of insecticides should be recommended if the infestation crosses the economic threshold level (ETL). Insecticides such as fenvalerate 0.02%, or cypermethrin 0.03% or carbaryl 0.1% are quite effective in managing the semilooper. Cypermethrin 0.03% or carbofuran (1kg a.i. /ha) are used to control the stem weevil. Application of dicofol (0.04%) or fenazaquin (0.02%) proved to be effective in managing the yellow mite.
Stem rot is most important disease of jute caused by Macrophomina phaseolina. Anthracnose is of regular occurrence especially in Capsularis belt. Minor diseases reported in jute fields are black band, soft rot and Hoogly wilt. Jute mosaic, chlorosis and yellow vein are the viral diseases reported to occur on jute. Adoption of cultural practices like appropriate crop rotation, deep ploughing, clean cultivation, use of healthy seeds, seed treatment, line sowing, optimum spacing, timely weeding, and application of soil ameliorants (lime or gypsum 2-4 t/ha if the soil ph is above 5.8) can control occurrence of diseases. Spraying of carbendazim @ 2g/l of water or copper oxychloride @ 4g/ l of water and mancozeb @ 5g/l of water is recommended for disease management in jute.
Harvesting and retting
Harvesting is done in July-August at any time before flowering between 120 and 150 days after sowing. The plants are cut at the base very close to the ground with the sickle. Harvested plants are kept in the field in 2-3 days to desiccate the foliage and the whole plants are preferably retted in slow moving clean water. Retting is completed between 12 – 16 days depending upon the climatic condition and fibre is extracted from the woody part of the stem. The fibre recovery in jute varies from 6-7% of the green biomass. The quality of jute fibre (strength, fineness and colour) depends upon proper retting which depend on different factors like age of plant, fertilizer dose, quality of retting water etc. Efficient retting microorganisms like Bacillus subtili, B. polymixa (aerobic bacteria), Clostridium sp.(anerobic bacteria), Aspergillus niger, Macrophomina phaseolina, Phoma sp. (fungi) have been identified.
Jute seed production
To make the raw jute farming a viable, remunerative and competitive one, quality seed production is of major concern now. West Bengal contributes more than 80% of the fibre production; Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra take the lead in jute seed production. The seed yield of jute is very low and can be increased by optimum sowing time, proper spacing, weed control, balanced use of fertilizers and manures, good field management involving drainage and irrigation, pruning and control of mould fungi attacking the fruits. The optimum date for sowing of seed crop is mid-May to mid-June in India. In seed crop wider spacing is desirable to promote branching and have as many capsules per branch as possible. Thus 30-45 cm between rows and 10-15 cm between plants has been found to be appropriate. In high rainfall areas more intensive growth of weed occurs as comparative to low rainfall areas. Weeding should be done at 21, 45 and 60 days after sowing. NPK @ 40:60:60/ha may be applied depending upon soil nutrient status. To induce branching, pruning (detopping) or clipping is to be done only once when the seed crop grows vigorously and attains a height of 45 to 50 cm in 45 to 48 days. After July pruning is not advisable. Date of harvest cannot be specified, the practice is to harvest at a time when the majority of capsules are ripe and loss is likely to be the least. Jute seed normally harvested between November and December and some in January are stored for 5 to 6 months prior to sowing in March-May of the next year. Presently efforts have been made for producing seed in the red lateritic belt of West Bengal, parts of Bihar and Orissa to cope up the shortage of seed and for sustaining jute farming in India.
Technologies developed by CRIJAF
It is beyond doubt that the innovative production-cum-post harvest technologies developed by the CRIJAF contributed a lot to achieve higher productivity of jute. Several advanced technologies were developed for favour of reducing the cost of cultivation, enhancing the production and thereby improving the standard of living of resource-poor jute farmers. Several machineries were designed and developed to make field operation like sowing, weeding and fibre extraction cost effective. For line sowing of jute a multi row manual jute seed drill has been designed and fabricated at CRIJAF. This seed drill needs near about 5 hours to cover one hectare of area (Shambhu, 2007). Use of seed drill not only decrease the seed rate by over 50 percent but also increase yield 10-15 percent and decrease the cost of cultivation by 20-25 percent. CRIJAF developed a herbicide applicator to deliver non selective herbicide in line sown jute crop. It is cheaper than manual weeding and suitable for places where availability of labour force is less. This herbicide applicator has been filed in the name of ‘Herbicide Brush’ (Ghorai et al., 2010). The herbicide brush can also be used for other row crops. A manually-operated weeder (Nail Weeder) has been designed and fabricated at CRIJAF, to remove the weeds even at 3-4 days after sowing with minimum disturbance to the germinating crop seedlings. It could reduce the labour requirement for weeding by 65 percent (Ghorai et al., 2010). CRIJAF has developed a mechano microbial retting and in situ microbial retting technology for jute at water scarcity areas.
Mechano-microbial retting: In order to reduce the cost of retting process instead of whole jute plants, green ribbons/ dry ribbon extracted by “CRIJAF Jute Extractor” can be easily retted. The power operated jute fibre extractor can extract 25 kg dry fibre per hour with broken sticks, while manually operated jute fibre extractor can extract 15 kg dry fbre per hour with unbroken sticks. CRIJAF had developed a microbial consortium consisting of three pectinolytic bacteria having very high pectinase and xylanase activity without any cellulose activity. The consortium reduces retting duration to 5-7 days, improves fibre quality by at least 2 grades (TD 6 to TD 4) and increase net return by Rs. 3000-4500/ha (Majumdar et al. 2009 a, b).The consortium should be sprayed over the green ribbons extracted after harvest by either of the two extractor and should be kept inside polythene for an hour. These sprayed ribbons should be kept vertically in polythene-lined retting tank for 7-9 days depending upon the climatic condition. The fibre is then washed in clean water and dried. For easy handling a talc based formulation of microbial consortium has been developed.
Whole plant retting: CRIJAF has recently developed an in-situ retting technology for favour of retting the whole jute plants with less volume of ground water. A circular micro pond of 6.5 m floor diameter, 7.5 m top diameter and 1 m depth is sufficient to ret jute plants harvested from one bigha (0.13 ha) of land. The harvested jute bundles should be placed radially (upto three layers) over the polythene lined bottom, which is again protected by a layer of paddy straw. Then the microbial consortium developed at CRIJAF should be sprayed over the jute bundles in the pond followed by watering to the retting tank. The jute bundles need to be covered with straw/ aquatic weeds. After retting, the fibres can be washed in the retting pond itself and sun dried on the embankment of pond (Ghorai et al., 2009).
In the era of environmental concern, jute is potential carbons sequester mitigating the negative impacts of climate change. In addition to this, development of technologies for yield enhancement at lower costs and successful dissemination of these technologies can effectively bridge the gap between researchers and farmers level and improve the production and productivity of jute fibre. Information is particularly deficient among poor peasants regarding jute diversified products, therefore there is a definite need of popularization campaign on various advanced technologies for favour of reducing cost of cultivation and enhancing the income generation, thereby improving the standard of living of resource-poor jute farmers.
Chaudhury, J. (1989). Studies on interrelationship of potassium, calcium and magnesium in jute with respect to their availability, yield of fibre and its quality, Ph.D. thesis, Calcutta University.
Ghorai, A. K., Majumdar, B., Chowdhury, H., Hembram P. K., Suparna Das Mahaptra, B. S, Ramasubramanian, T. and Saha, S. (2009). In-situ jute retting in low volume water with microbial consortium – A novel technology.Jaf News, 7 (1):13-14.
Ghorai, A. K., De, R. K., Chowdhury, H., and Mahaptra, B. S, (2010). Mechanical weed management in jute.Jaf News, 8 (1): 20-21.
Majumdar, B., Suparna Das, Saha, A. R. Maitra, D. N. Chowdhury, H. (2009a). Development and use of a promising microbial consortium for jute retting.Jaf News, 7 (1): 14-15.
Majumdar, B., SuparnaDas, Saha, A. R. Maitra, D. N. Chowdhury, H. (2009b). Mechano –microbial retting of jute for water scarcity areas. Jaf News, 7 (2): 25-26.
Shambhu, V. B. (2007). Multi- Row Manual jute Seed Drill (Bulltin No. 6/2007).Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibres (ICAR), Barrackpore, 4p.
S. P. Mazumdar, D.K. Kundu, D. Ghosh, S. Biswas and A. R. Saha
Central Research Institute for Jute & Allied Fibres, Barrackpore,
Kolkata-700 120, India