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Crop Production

Chilli, the hot pepper is one of the most valuable commercial crops grown in India and belongs to the family Solanaceae. Due to its long history of cultivation, out-crossing nature and popularity of the crop, large genetic diversity including local landraces have been evolved in India. Major types, viz., pickle or stuff type chilli in eastern U.P., squash and byadagi types in Dharwad district of Karnataka, mundu types in Tamilnadu, sannam chilli in Guntur district and tomato chilli in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh are popular

Soil and Climate
The chilli crop is raised extensively in black cotton soils under rain fed situations and in red sandy soils under irrigations. Chilli crop raised for ripe dry chilli purpose is mainly concentrated in black cotton soils of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Optimum soil pH for chilli crop is 6 to 6.5.The chilli crop is most sensitive to water logging. It can with stand drought better than water logging. Rainfed chilli crop matures late when grown in black cotton soils because of moisture stress created in light soils. Quality of fruits is better in light soils than in heavy soils. Saline and sodic soils hinder crop and fruit development. A frost free period of 4 months with maximum temperature of 350C and minimum temperature not below 100C is optimum for raising chilli crop. Chilli crop for ripe dry fruits is extensively raised in Kharif season (June-October); however for green fruits, chilli crop is raised throughout the year in India.

Cultural Practices

  1. Seed rate: Depending on the variety 1 to 1.25 kg of seeds are required for sowing one hectare of land.
  2. Transplanting:Transplant 35-40 days old seedlings , Paired row system, rows 60cm (2ft) apart and plants 45cm (1.5ft) apart. Make hole of 3inches deep, add enriched FYM and basal fertilizer mixture (comprising of AS, SSP & SOP/ MOP in 2:5:1 ratio) Preferably transplant hardened seedlings in the late afternoon in moist soil. 
  3. Rainfed: A few days before transplanting, the land is either with plough or with a marker designed for the purpose depending upon the spacing followed, usually 90 X 90 or 75 X 75cm. Chilli seedlings are transplanted and sometimes lightly irrigated depending upon initial soil moisture and weather conditions. 
  4. Irrigated: Ridges and furrows are prepared at 50 to 75 cm distance depending upon the fertility of the soil. Irrigate one day before planting. Seedlings are transplanted 30cm apart from half way on the ridges and followed by light irrigation.
  5. Time of planting: Under rainfed conditions, it is transplanted mainly in June-July, chilli crops transplanted early in June has been found to escape the attack of thrips and mites in Dharwad region. However, late planted or with late varieties crop suffers less of anthracnose fruit rot as the ripening of fruits is after the Sept-Oct rains. Around Bangalore July transplanted crop gives the maximum yield.
  6. Crop care:   Grow border crop of maize,  Use insect sticky traps (yellow/blue) 40/acre.  15 days after planting apply water soluble KNo3 + CaNo3 @ 5g/ ltthrough drip, needs 100lts/acre, apply in weekly interval until the end of the crop.  Foliar application of water soluble fertilizer (19 All @ 5g/ ltr) from flowering stage and micronutrient application @ 3-5g/ltralternatively at 10 days interval.  Weeding 2-3 times during the season. Staking at fruit initiation stage 
  7. Irrigation: Irrigation is given after transplanting. About four to five weeks after transplanting top dressing fertilizer on the sides of ridges and earthing up is done to bring plants to the middle of the ridge. Frequency of irrigation depends on soil type and season, and normally done once in 8-10 days during winter and 4-5 days interval during summer. Excess irrigation during flowering stage to be avoided to reduce flower dropping. During rainy season yields can be substantially increased by providing supplementary irrigations whenever the dry spell exceeds one week period. The most critical stages of moisture stress are initial establishment stage and pre-blooming and fruit development stage.
  8. Weeding: Two to three hand weeding are essential. Among the herbicides recommended diphenamid, EPTC, nitrogen and alachlor are extensively used for controlling weeds in chilli crop. Pre plant incorporation (10 days before planting) of EPTC at 3.75 kg/ ha followed by application of either nitrogen at 1-2 kg a.i./ ha or alachlor at 2.5 kg a.i./ ha or Diphenamid around 4.8 kg/ ha as pre-emergence sprays give good control weeds in chilli plants.
  9. Pinching: As bell varieties grown in India are of temperate origin, they start fruiting before they put up enough vegetative growth under tropical conditions. Hence, pinching of first two buds / flowers / just set fruits helps the plant to put up good vegetative growth and thus the yield.
  10. Harvesting and yield: Harvest matured green/ red fruits in rain free day. The crop starts yielding green chillies 2 months after transplanting and dry chillies 90 days after transplanting. The crop lasts for 5-6 months after transplanting depending upon duration of the variety. Four to five picking of green chillies or two to three picking of red ripe chillies is done. yield /hectre for rainfed is 70-100 q (Green chillies) and 7.5 to 10q (Dry chillies). yield /hectre for irrigated is 200-250q (Green chillies) and 20-25q (Dry chillies).
  11. Precautions: Allow proper drainage to minimize fungal wilts. Follow crop rotation. Judicious use of fertilizers. Alternate sprays of neem/ pongamiaoil or soap. Grow marigold as trap crop for fruit borers and use poison baits for tobacco caterpillars. Timely use of recommended dosage of branded pesticides and fungicides. Avoid use of tonics of unknown composition

Fertilizer dose
(Hot peppers)

For Hot pepper Irrigated (per acre) Rainfed (per acre)
Farmyard manure10t10t
P₂O₅ 75kg20kg
Crop care : Border crop maize