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Post-ratoon growth and yield of three hybrid papayas (Carica papaya L.) under mulched and bare-ground conditions

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Elder, R.J., Reid, D. J., Macleod, W.N.B. and Gillespie, R. L. (2002) Post-ratoon growth and yield of three hybrid papayas (Carica papaya L.) under mulched and bare-ground conditions. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 42 (1). pp. 71-81. ISSN 0816-1089


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/EA01032


At Yarwun (151.3°E, 23.75°S), a trial was conducted to compare 3 papaya hybrids (Hybrid 29, Hybrid 11 and Hybrid 13) under mulching with grass hay or in bare ground. The viability of ratooning a papaya crop was also investigated. After a 16-month cropping season plants were cut to a 750-mm stump (ratooned) about monthly over a 3.5-month period and, following a 4.5-month regrowth period, were harvested for a period of 11 months (post-ratoon). Hybrid 29 yielded (by weight) 54% more than Hybrid 11 and 92% more than Hybrid 13 during the 3.5-month ratooning period. At the commencement of ratooning, Hybrid 29 plants were 41–58 cm shorter than Hybrid 11 and 13 plants, allowing the Hybrid 29 plants to be retained for longer before being ratooned. Hybrid 29 also returned to fruiting more quickly with a greater proportion of plants (97%) with fruit at the first post-ratoon harvest compared with Hybrid 11 (87%). Following regrowth (post-ratoon) the 3 hybrids produced similar yields. All 3 hybrids were equally susceptible to the 3 phytoplasma diseases and to nematodes. The plots mulched with coarse grass hay yielded 70% more during the ratooning period and 116% more post-ratoon than the plots with bare ground. This difference was attributed in part to fewer root-knot nematodes, the roots being more heavily infected with vesicular arbuscular mycorrhiza, the use of the complete upper soil profile by the roots, reduced rainfall run off and less soil loss in the mulched treatment. The highest yielding treatment, mulched Hybrid 29, averaged the equivalent of 55 t/ha.year during ratooning, 43 t/ha.year over the 11-month post-ratoon harvest period and 65 t/ha.year over the entire plant–ratoon cycle. These yields were achieved in spite of drought conditions and quite severe outbreaks of the phytoplasma diseases, dieback, yellow crinkle and mosaic, with 60% of plant positions infected with dieback during the post-ratoon period. Theoretical yield estimations using the data from the plant and post-ratoon crops indicated that ratooning may give superior average monthly yields compared with 2 successive plant crops because of the reduced time required for the ratooned crop to return to production. The study demonstrated the benefits of mulching, the superiority of Hybrid 29 and that ratooning may be successfully used in papaya. In environments similar to Yarwun, Hybrid 29, or similar hybrids, with mulching is recommended for commercial production. If land, time or finances are limiting, consideration should be given to ratooning the plant crop based on monthly cut outs over a 3–4-month ratooning period with vacant plant positions replanted during ratooning.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Plant culture > Harvesting, curing, storage
Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture
Live Archive:12 Jan 2024 05:59
Last Modified:12 Jan 2024 05:59

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