Ginger Production in India and Other South Asian Countries: Nutrient Requirements

For ginger crop, the requirement of nitrogen (N) is the most critical among the major nutrients. Although the nutrient is directly available to the plant in nitrate form, it is easily lost by leaching. Under tropical conditions, the loss by leaching and denitrification is very high. At the same time, the nitrate N moves upward with the capillary rise of water during drought. Ammonium ions perform better than nitrates under heavy leaching situations. Unlike N, phosphorus, (P), is highly immobile in the soil because of its reaction with iron and aluminum hydroxides. Therefore, the amount of phosphatic fertilizer needed for the crop is relatively high. For a short-duration, quick-growing crop like ginger, fertilizer containing a high proportion of water-soluble P205 is needed for a better yield. When ginger is grown as a homestead crop, potassium, (K), nutrition plays an important role. Only under high rates of K application can the crop be grown successfully under shade conditions.

Secondary nutrients are also essential for the healthy growth of ginger. However, deficiency of secondary nutrients is less general. Since very large quantities of FYM and leaf mulch are applied to a ginger crop, the micronutrient requirements will be met from them and deficiencies of micronutrients are seldom reported.

The nutritional aspects of ginger have been subjected to detailed studies by various workers. Samad (1953) reported no significant response to fertilizer application. However, the fertilizer trials conducted by the Agricultural Department of Kerala, India, in collaboration with Indian Potash Limited during 1957 to I960 revealed that application of 5 0 kg each of N and P2O5 and 100 kg of K2O/ha produced the highest yield in ginger.

A significant increase in the yield was observed by Loknath and Dash (1964) with the application of 60 kg N, 40 kg P2O5, and 60 kg K2O/ha in Orissa state, India. Trials conducted by Randhawa and Nandpuri (1965) indicated that combination of 100 kg N, 50 kg P2O5, and 50 kg K2O/ha was the best for realizing the highest yield in ginger. Aiyadurai (1966) indicated that N at the rate of 50 to 100 kg/ha significantly increased the yield by 18 to 32 percent and improved the dry matter content of rhizome. Randhawa and Nandpuri (1969) further reported that application of 50 kg and 100 kg/ha of N, and 50 kg each of P205 and K20 increased the plant height, tiller production, and yield of rhizome. Nair (1969) and Paulose (1970) recommended 60, 60, and 150 kg of N, P205 and K20/ha, respectively. Dasaradhi et al. (1971) emphasized the need for application of N at the active growth and tillering stages during which the foliar N content will go up to 3 percent. However, a poor response of ginger to K was reported by Muralidharan and Kamalam (1973). Muralidharan et al. (1973) indicated that application of N at the rate of 70 kg significantly increased the tiller production and yield of ginger.

With an application of P2O5 at 20 and 40 kg/ha, Saraswat (1974) obtained an increase of 21.5 and 11.5 percent yield respectively, whereas N and K were ineffective. The oil content was adversely affected by N application. Nair (1975) observed that foliar application of a combination of 2 percent urea and Piano fix 400 ppm was beneficial for growth and yield of ginger.

According to Johnson (1978), high levels of N (80 kg/ha) had a significant effect on number, length, and breadth of leaves and number of tillers in ginger. However, there was a yield reduction when the N level was increased from 80 to 120 kg. A fertilizer dose of 80:30:40 kg/ha of N, P2O5, and K2O (NPK) was found optimum for ginger. Phosphorous and K did not have any significant effect on morphological characters. The uptake of N, P, and K increased progressively with advancing period of growth. There was marked uptake of these nutrients by the plant during the active plant growth (90 to 120 days after planting). Sadanandan and Sasidharan (1979) recorded the highest yield with 50 kg N/ha. Pawar and Patil (1987) observed that the highest yield of green ginger (16.4 t/ha) during the first year of cultivation was obtained from plots that received 225 kg N, 90 kg P2O5, 180 kg K2O, and 30 t FYM/ha. In the second year the highest yield was obtained from plots fertilized with same quantity of NPK and 20 t FYM/ha.

Maity et al. (1989) reported that the optimum fertilizer dose of ginger was N at 100 kg, P2O5 at 60 kg, and K2O at 90 kg/ha. Studies on the response of manure and different sources of N, P, and K by Saha (1989) at Meghalaya, India, had shown that the highest yield (8.3 t/ha) of fresh rhizomes was obtained from plots that received NPK at the rate of 90, 60, and 90 kg/ha, respectively as urea, diammonium phosphate, and muriate of potash. Haag et al. (1990) recorded the accumulation of macronutrients in the decreasing order of N, K, calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sulfur (S), and P, and that of micronutrients as iron (Fe), magnesium (Mn), zinc (Zn), boron (B), and copper (Cu).

Mohanty et al. (1993) at Orissa, India found that the yield of ginger rhizomes increased with the increasing rate of fertilizer application and highest yield (10.16 t/ha) was recorded in the treatment with the highest fertilizer dose of N at 125 kg, P2O5 at 70 kg, and K2O at 150 kg/ha. Xu et al. (1993) observed that N fertilizer (ammonium sulfate) utilization by ginger plants increased with a delay in application, being greatest with application as a dressing during the middle of the vigorous plant growth stage (42.24 percent for 300 mg N/plant). Chatterjee et al. (1992) reported that plant height (84.6 cm), number of tillers/plant (7), number of leaves/plant (66.7), and rhizome yield per plant (268 g) increased with application of urea (2 percent) and 20 mg NAA/1.

Studies conducted at the All India Co-ordinated Spices Improvement Project, Vellan-ikkara, Kerala, India, showed that application of N, P2O5 and K2O at 50, 40 and 40 kg/ha increased the yield as compared to no fertilizers. Kerala Agricultural University recommends 75 kg N, 50 kg P2O5, and 50 kg K2O/ha. The full dose of P and half dose of K are to be given as basal and one-half N applied 60 days after planting. The remaining half dose of N and half dose of K20 are to be applied 120 days after planting (KAU, 1993).

Govind et al. (1995) reported that 90 kg of P2O5/ha produced taller plants, more tillers and leaves per plant, more secondary rhizomes per plant, and higher fresh and dry yields of rhizome in cv. Nadia in Meghalaya region. Sixty kg P2O5/ha showed more primary rhizomes per plant. Different P205 rates (104.6, 83.7, and 90.8 kg/ha) gave an almost similar yield (147.3 to 149.0 q/ha). Joseph and Jayachandran (1996) emphasized the necessity of increasing the quantity of fertilizer to 150 percent of the recommended dose (75:50:50 kg NPK/ha) where ginger is grown under low to medium shade (25 and 50 percent). Under intense shade (75 percent), there was no response to fertilizer treatment.

Thakur and Sharma (1997) showed that N and P up to 100 and 60 kg/ha, respectively, increased the rhizome yield significantly. N, P, and K uptake by ginger increased with the increase in application of N and P rate up to 150 and 90 kg/ha. Chenghat (1997) studied the influence of organic manures and Azospirillum on uptake of N, P and K and found that the uptake was more in plots incorporated with FYM (48 t/ha) followed by Azospirillum + 75 percent N. The soil nutrient status in terms of available N and K was found to be high in plots inoculated with Azospirillum + 75 percent N, whereas available P was higher in plots receiving recommended NPK. Per plant yield was better under farmyard manure treatment.

Ai et al. (1998) reported that N application at 40 kg/ha resulted in the higher content of protein and amino acids and favored the formation of sugar, starch, ascorbic acid and volatile oil, but when too much N was applied, all the above constituents decreased. The sugar content increased with P application in the range of 0 to 15 kg/ha. Potassium promoted the formation of starch and fiber but was detrimental to ascorbic acid. Rhizome quality was the best at 40:75:40 kg NPK/ha. The quality of ginger was also superior under low shade and was unaffected by fertilizer treatments. The need for an increased fertilizer requirement under shade has been confirmed in another trial wherein application of 150 kg N, 100 kg P2O5, and 100 kg K2O/ha gave higher yield, and net profit for ginger raised as an intercrop in coconut gardens. Gowda et al. (1999) reported that the yield of ginger cv. Rio de Janeiro could be increased by application of 150:75:50 kg NPK/ha under Bangalore conditions. The uptake of N, P, and K in the leaf and pseudostem progressively increased up to day 180 and then decreased while their uptake in rhizome steadily increased until harvest. The graded doses of N, P, and K failed to influence the oleoresin content of ginger.

An investigation to determine the fertilizer requirement of ginger under varying shade intensity using ginger cv. Rio de Janeiro was laid out in strip plot design with four shade levels (0, 25, 50, and 75 percent) and four fertilizer levels (75, 100, 125, and 150 percent of the recommended dose of 75:50:50 N, P205, and K20/ha) and was replicated five times. Under open conditions, a significant increase in the dry ginger yield was obtained, up to 125 percent, and the highest profit was also realized from this treatment. The growth and yield of ginger were highest under 25 percent shade. The response to fertilizer treatments in terms of growth characters and yield were highest under this shade level. A significant increase in green and dry ginger yield was obtained with each increment of fertilizer dose up to the highest level.

E. V. Nybe and N. Mini Raj “Ginger Production in India and Other South Asian Countries” (2005)