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Cashew

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In the Philippines, cashew is called kasoy in Tagalog, balubad in Capampangan, or  balogo in Ilokano. It originated from north-eastern Brazil and was  brought to the Philippines in the 17th Century. At present, cashew is cultivated  in many tropical countries, the main producers are Brazil, India, Mozambique and  Tanzania.

Cashew Production Guide agribusiness The  cashew plant is an evergreen tree that  grows up to 12 meters tall, with a dome-shaped crown or canopy bearing its  foliage on the outside, where flowers and fruits are found.

Mildly sweet yet crunchy, delicious cashew nut is packed with energy, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are essential for robust health! Cashews are high in calories. 100 g of nuts provide 553 calories. They are packed with soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and numerous health-promoting phyto-chemicals that help protect from diseases and cancers.

The growth of the taproot reaches a depth of 1.5-2 times the height of the  plant during the first 4 months. Extensive lateral roots are formed later and  reach far beyond the canopy spread of the tree during the first year of growth.  In mature trees, the root volume is generally confined within the tree canopy.  Very few laterals are formed beyond the 6 meter drip-line of the tree.

The fruit has a kidney-shaped nut, about 3 cm x 1.2 cm attached to a much  enlarged and swollen pedicel or receptacle forming the fruit-like cashew apple. The cashew  apple is pear-shaped, 10-20 cm x 4-8 cm, shiny, red to yellow, soft, and juicy.  The seed is kidney-shaped, with reddish-brown testa, two large white cotyledons,  and a small embryo. The kernel remaining after the removal of the testa is the  cashew nut of commerce.

Favorable Growing Conditions

It can grow successfully in areas with a very distinct dry season or where  the annual rainfall is as low as 50 cm. It can likewise grow well in areas with  high levels of rainfall (as much as 350 cm annually) provided the soil is  well-drained.

Seed System

1. Nursery Site

The nursery site should be well-drained and exposed to sunlight. It should  have a good source of irrigation water for the maintenance of the plant  materials. It should be protected against stray animals.

2. Nut Selection

Nuts for planting should be obtained from mother trees of known performance.  They should be fully matured and of high density (heavy) grade to ensure good  germination and vigorous seedlings. Seeds are water tested; those that sink are  chosen since they have higher viability and germinate quickly.

3. Sowing the Seeds

Cashew seeds expire easily. Dry and newly collected seeds must be  sown/propagated as soon as possible to prevent loss in viability. They are sown  on individual polyethylene bags containing an equal mixture of fine sand and  organic matter.

Seeds are sown 5-10 cm deep with stalk end facing upward in slanting  position. This prevents the emerging cotyledons at the soil surface from being  destroyed by rats, ants, snails, and birds.

4. Care of Seedlings

Seeds will germinate within 1 to 2 weeks after sowing. Excessive watering  should be avoided. If seedlings are week and stunted, urea solution at the rate  of 10 tbsp per gallon of water should be applied.

The seedlings must be properly taken care of until they are ready for field  planting or for use in asexual propagation (grafting). Seedlings are ready for  field planting when they have attained a height of 20-50 cm.

5. Propagation

Cashew can be propagated sexually or asexually. Asexual propagation can be  done through airlayering, inarching, marcotting or grafting. Grafting is the  best method for large-scale asexual propagation of cashew.

With cleft grafting, the seedlings are cut in traverse section (crosswise)  and the remaining stem is cut longitudinally (lengthwise). The scion from a  selected mother tree cut into the shape of a wedge is put between the two  separated parts of the stem of the seedling, and the seedling and the scion are  then wrapped with a plastic ribbon.

Up to 100% success has been obtained with 10-week old seedlings. In Palawan,  plant propagators can get an average of 95% success in cleft grafting.

The use of young seedlings of about two months old result in more rapid  takes, and the plants are ready to be  planted at the age of 3 ½ months.

Sexual propagation is done by sowing the seeds directly on individual  polyethylene bags. It should be done during the dry season so that the seedlings  could be planted in the field at the start of the rainy season.

Land Preparation

For commercial purposes, the land should be thoroughly prepared. Plow the  area 2-3 times followed by harrowing until the desired tilth of the soil is  attained. It should be done before the start of the rainy season. For backyard  or reforestation purposes, just underbrush the area and if possible collect all  cut grasses, shrubs, and other rubbishes and burn them. The soil should be  cultivated properly in order that the seeds may be sown with the required depth  or that holes may be dug deep enough to bury the ball of seedlings. Rows of  cashew trees should be properly laid out with the proper distancing by placing  markers at the desired distance between hills in a row before digging the  holes.

Crop Establishment

1. Distance of planting

Distance of planting varies according to the purpose for which the trees are  planted. For reforestation, 3m x 3m is recommended to encourage early shading  and to aid in smothering weeds.

For commercial plantings in the Philippines use 6m x 6m which is too close  compared to the practice in other countries.

Triangular planting was found to be most productive layout and should be  tried. This method, however, is rather difficult for farmers to follow.

High density planting gives more kernel per hectare up to age 7 years. Low  density planting gives less per hectare but more per tree.

a. Triangular (12m x 12m x 12m) = 79 plants/ha An alternative and easier  method is the quincunx arrangement and should also be tried. b. Quincunx  (15m x 15m) = 76 plants/ha c. Square The simplest recommended planting distances are 9m x 9m at the less fertile  lower slopes and 10m x 10m at the more fertile lower slopes.

2. Lining, Stacking and Digging of Holes

Rows of cashew should be properly laid out by placing markers between rows  and between hills in a row.

The holes should be dug a month before the planting of seedlings. The holes  should have a dimension 20 cm x 20 cm.

3. Planting Time

In places with distinct dry and wet seasons, planting is best done at the  start of the rainy season.

4. Planting

There are two methods of establishing cashew that may be employed. These are  direct seeding and transplanting of seedlings or sexually propagated  materials.

In direct seedlings, 2 to 3 seeds are planted 5-10 cm deep with the stalk  end facing upward and in a slanting position. This prevents emerging cotyledons  at the soil surface from the ravages of field rats, ants, snails and birds.

Seeds are planted 30 cm apart in a triangular position when 3 seeds are  used. The seeds will germinate 1-2 weeks after sowing provided that the soil has  sufficient moisture.

Thinning should be done leaving only the most vigorous plant to develop 1-2  months from germination. Thinning is preferably done during the start of the  rainy season.

When transplanting seedlings or sexually propagated materials, remove  carefully the polyethylene plastic before setting the seedlings in the  holes.

Fill the holes with surface soil first and firm the soil at the base of the  seedling carefully allowing the roots to remain in as natural as possible.

5. Weeding and Cultivation

The plants should be cultivated and free from weeds at a distance of 1 meter  around the trunk. The orchard should be weeded as often as necessary. Cut  grasses should be left in the area between the hills to dry and to used later  for mulching. Mulching helps conserve moisture around the plant during the  summer months, keep down the weeds and increase the amount of humus in the soil  when decays.

6. Intercropping and Covercropping

A considerable part of the land is available for intercropping during the  early years after the establishment of the cashew orchard.

To provide sufficient protection from the heavy growth of weeds and grass,  the spaces between rows may be used for planting cash crops. This would enable  the grower to earn additional income.

Annual crops can be interplanted between rows of cashew provided they are  not closer than 2 meter from the cashew tree.

When the growing of intercrops is no longer feasible, the field should be  planted to leguminous covercrops. The planting of covercrops will prevent  further soil erosion, conserve moisture, and add organic matter to the soil. The  area within 1 to 1 1/2 meters from the trunk should be kept free from weeds and  covercrops should not be allowed to cling to the tree.

7. Pruning

Little pruning is practiced in cashew. However, it may be necessary to prune  regularly to get the desirable shape of the tree and to facilitate cultural  operations.

It is also necessary to remove the diseased and infected branches and  unnecessary water sprouts.

It is also necessary to remove the diseased and infected branches and  unnecessary water sprouts.

8. Cut wounds should be properly treated with chemicals (coaltar) to  facilitate healing and avoid infections.

Nutrient Management

It is advisable to apply fertilizers especially when soil analysis dictates  specific soil nutrient deficiencies.

The general recommendations are the following:

Seedlings – At planting time apply complete fertilizer  (14-14-14) before the seedlings are set in the holes at the rate of 200-300  gm/plant.

Young Trees – Apply complete fertilizer at the rate of  300-500 gm/tree plus Urea (45-0-0) at the rate of 200-300 gm/tree.

Bearing Trees – Apply complete fertilizer (14-14-14) at the  rate of 1.5 to 3.0 kg/tree.

Recommended rate of fertilizer application is applied two times a year. One  half of the total requirement per tree should be applied at the start of the  rainy season and the remaining half should be applied toward the end of the  rainy season.

On established trees, fertilizer should be dug with a depth of 1-10 cm. The  fertilizer is then distributed equally. Cover the holes/canal properly with soil  to prevent the fertilizer from evaporating or from being washed out by heavy  rains.

Water Management

Irrigation is needed during the first dry season. Unlike in the subsequent  years, when the root system has already been established and have reached the  layer with sufficient moisture. For better yield, it is advisable to irrigate  the field regularly especially during summer.

Pest Management

Major Pests

Twig Borer (Niphonoclea albata N. /N. capito P.)

This insect pest are common during the dry season. The adult beetle girdles  the small branches causing them to dry up or break and drop to the ground. Its  creamish larvae bore into the pith of the branches. As they feed, they move  downward until they pupate. All affected twigs and small branches may eventually  die.

Control Measure: Remove or collect all affected twig as well as  dried twigs on the ground. Dispose them properly by burning before applying  chemical sprays. In using spray chemicals, mix 3-5 tbsp of Malathion, Carbaryl  and/or Methyl Parathion per 5 gallons of water. Repeat application at 7-10 days  interval when necessary.

Mealybugs (Gray Mealybugs – F. vigata) and Thrips (Red-banded thrips – Selen othrips rubrocintus Glard)

These pests sucks the sap of young leaves and shoots. When severe  infestation occurs, the tree is weakened and the leaves and fruit may fall  prematurely.

Control Measures: Spray trees with any insecticide commonly  available at manufacturer’s recommended dosage when there are signs of early  infestation.

Leaf Miner (Acrocercops syngramma M.) – Young plants in the  nursery and in the orchard are more affected by these pests. Caterpillars of  this silvery gray moth mine through the tender leaves, thus, severely damaging  them.

Control Measures: Spray 0.05% Phosphamidon at manufacturer’s  recommended dosage as soon as infestation is detected on new leaves.

Tea Mosquito (Helopeltis Antonil S.) – A reddish-brown  mirid bug which normally appears at the time of emergence of new growth and  panicles. Nymphs and adults suck the sap from tender nuts.

Control Measures: Spray Malathion, Phosphamidon and/or Endosulfan  at emergence of new growth and inflorescence. A third spray may be done at the  time of fruit setting to reduce immature fruit drops.

Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle (Cryzaephillus surinamensis L.) – This pest is known to attack the nuts during storage.

Control Measures: Nuts should be thoroughly dried and placed in air  tight containers. Surface treatment is recommended. For finished products,  fumigation is recommended.

Slug Caterpillar (Lamantridae spp.) – The caterpillar feeds  on the leaves causing semi-defoliation.

Termite – Termites attack the roots and the trunk of cashew  trees. They burrow on the bark of roots and branches especially of old trees.  They build their soil mounds or nest on dead parts of the tree.

Control Measures: Soil mounds must be destroyed to locate the queen  termite. The queen should be killed either mechanically or by spraying with 2%  Chlordane. Chlordane should not be applied on living parts of the tree because  of its long residual effect. Cistin powder could be applied to any part of the  tree infested with termites at the rate recommended by the manufacturer.

Major Diseases

Dieback or Pink Disease – This disease is caused by fungus  Corticium salmonicolor B. that usually occurs during the rainy season. Affected  shoots initially show white patches on the bark; a film of silky thread or  mycelium develops. Later, the fungus develops a pinkish growth which are the  spores that make the bark split and peel off. Affected shoots start drying up  from the tip.

Control Measures: All possible sources of innoculum should be  removed. Affected shoots are pruned and burned. Cut surfaces must be protected  by applying Bordeaux moisture paste. The tree should also be sprayed with  fungicide at manufacturer’s recommended dosage.

Anthracnose – This disease is cause by fungus  Collectorichum gloeospoides that usually infect tender leaves, shoots,  inflourescences, young fruits (apples) and young nuts. This disease is most  prevalent when there is excessive rainfall coinciding with the appearance of new  growth and flowering. Infected parts in its early stage show shiny, watersoaked  lesions which later turn reddish-brown. At the lesion site, resinous exudation  can be seen. As the disease progresses, the lesions enlarge in size, all  affected tender leaves wrinkle, and the young apples and nuts become shrivelled.  Inflorescences become black.

Control Measures: Remove all infected parts (source of innoculum)  before spraying the tree with fungicide at manufacturer’s recommended dosage of  application.

Damping-off – This disease is caused by fungus Fusarium.  This disease normally occurs in the nursery and effects cashew seedlings  especially when the soil medium gets too wet.

Control Measures: Seeds for planting should be treated with Arasan  75 at the rate of ¼ tsp per ganta of seeds before sowing. Soil media for potting  should be treated with soil fumingants.

Harvest Management

In the Philippines, cashew trees flower from November to March, while the  harvest season is from February to May and may extend up to early June. The  quality of nuts and yield is dependent on weather conditions during the fruiting  stage. If it rains during the reproductive phase, poor quality nuts are  produced. Fruits are usually harvested manually, although a number of farmers  wait for the fruits to drop as the main concern of farmers is the nut. Nuts are  picked from the ground, separated from the cashew apple, cleaned and dried.

In places where cashew apples are processed into juice, wine and other  delicacies, fruits are harvested using a pole with a wire hook attached to its  end. The pole is provided with a shallow net or cloth bag to catch the detached  fruits.

Processing and Utilization

Nuts are roasted and eaten. At present, the only commercial scale use for the  cashew apple is for livestock feed. However, the cashew apple is now being  processed into juice, candy, wine, jam, etc. but only to a certain extent since  the market for these end products is still in the development stage.

Sources of Cashew Planting materials

Palawan Seed Farm Puerto Princesa City Bureau of  Plant Industry Nursery Visayas Avenue, Quezon City

Guimaras Seed Farm Jordan, Guimaras, Iloilo

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Author: qdfriends

QDfriends bonded together for the purpose of helping others, and respecting themselves, their culture and the environment.

2 thoughts on “Cashew

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