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louis14 08-11-2018 09:59 PM

New concept GM high density field
 
As our fruit quality is improving all the time and we are now seeing nice sized bunches growing on the second generation pstems in our Gros Michel fields. And in view of the current state of our fields which were planted 1.80m apart, I decided to test plant these bananas much closer with the option of using the field either as a pup only generating field after decapitation of the mature plant, keeping however my options open for the possibility of this being a fruit producing field if the operation went smoothly; or both.
It all started back in mid-March of this year when we dug up hundreds of pups of GM and nursed them for two and a half months under our new 50% shade polytunnel.







Wanting to recycle PVC piping that had been used previously for sprinklers in lemongrass fields, I decided on a rather new aereal approach to irrigation, made possible by the availability of a small screwable micro sprinkler. One of the problems we always encounter in ground sprinkler systems is that weeds displace or create obstacles which forces us to regularly verify every sprinkler head, a back-breaking exercise for our workers and a source of stunted growth due to lack of water at the right time. The small standard ground-positionned sprinklers also usually have a small hole for the water to pass, a hole which is easily blocked by debris and the growth of green algae.
These newly available screwable micro sprinklers have a much larger passage for the water, allowing for rapid irrigation of a large volume of water and are also less subject to blockage.

The aereal pipe also allowed me to consider watering two rows of bananas with one pipe instead of the usual one row.

This new design irrigation system was easily installed, maintained in place by 1 meter long 12 mm diameter sections of rebar planted into the ground at 5 meter intervals

The planting was very quick as I acquired a new earth drilling machine using an auger of the same diameter as the bags in which we had transplanted our pups. We used as a measuring tool to ensure distance was respected between each plant and made holes at exactly one meter distance from each other, and this in both directions.





Transplanting was extremely quick and efficient, and within two days, four workers had properly transplanted eight hundred plants into the new 800m2 field, a very high density indeed.



After two and a half months in the ground, the plants are looking fantastic. They are folear fed every two weeks with our usual mix. Watered when necessary but it is the rainy season so we have only had to water them half a dozen times.



The field has only needed to be weeded once with a hoe, which was a quick operation as the field is small in surface.
Now after two and a half months in the ground, the leaf cover is providing enough shade to stunt further weed growth which is a blessing I must say.

We are regularly deleafing the lower leaves to push for faster development and this is also proving to work very well, in the same manner we apply to our Namwa

The high density planting allows the plants to protect each other from the elements, and there are some very interesting interactions happening here.



I will keep you updated on developments in the coming months. :bananas_b

edwmax 08-12-2018 04:46 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
The field looks great. ... I set my mats at 1m separation for 4 plants and the mats about 3 m apart. As you said this help the plants to protect each other.



... I'm wondering if a skip row (3 or 4 rows & skip) is needed to allow easier movement for equipment & labors though the field. .... But with the defoliation of the lower leaves, this may not be necessary when the plants are mature. I know how tight the plants get when the pups come.

louis14 08-12-2018 04:56 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by edwmax (Post 317400)
The field looks great. ... I set my mats at 1m separation for 4 plants and the mats about 3 m apart. As you said this help the plants to protect each other.



... I'm wondering if a skip row (3 or 4 rows & skip) is needed to allow easier movement for equipment & labors though the field. .... But with the defoliation of the lower leaves, this may not be necessary when the plants are mature. I know how tight the plants get when the pups come.

Thanks for that!
What I am really happy about is the fact that for once, we do not have large areas of stunted growth with no rational explanation. This seems to be caused by the fish shoal factor and if so is really a great boost for us as it will bring more plants to harvest at the same time, at least for the first crop.

As the stem of this cultivar easily reaches heights over 3 meters now that we have got the feeding under control, it will be a nice and easy walk under the shade of the fronds in six months time. We control the pups, as we need them for breeding, leaving only the largest one to take over next and so on.

edwmax 08-12-2018 05:14 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Thanks .. I'm just a hobby farmer so I know, you know what you are doing. ... To walk though or work in the field now would cause a lot of broken leaves. That was my observation of the last photo.


Oh ... my 3 meter mat separation has to do with mixed Banana varieties in the same field.

edwmax 08-12-2018 06:25 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Question: Do you harvest the spent/fruited stems for fiber?

louis14 08-12-2018 06:47 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by edwmax (Post 317405)
Question: Do you harvest the spent/fruited stems for fiber?

Right now we don't, we compost them. Later, when we can afford a mulching implement for our tractor, we will mulch them for our own use thoughout the plantation. Its a progressive development process. There are factors such as transport logistics involved as we are 100km from the main buyers market.
We need more plants in the ground so we can reach a critical minimum size, once that is achieved, everything will be easier.

louis14 08-14-2018 01:47 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Yesterday the field was given some TLC


HMelendez 08-14-2018 05:38 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Awesome Louis!........Looking good!.....





:2723::bananarow::2723:

beam2050 08-14-2018 06:26 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
yes looks fantastic. like the natural walkways and hand railings for tourists. the crunch of the leaves will keep the bears away. :2729:

louis14 08-14-2018 06:34 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by beam2050 (Post 317487)
yes looks fantastic. like the natural walkways and hand railings for tourists. the crunch of the leaves will keep the bears away. :2729:

:nanadrink:
I sometimes wake up at night in a cold sweat after dreaming that a herd of wild elephants has made its way into our plantation to gorge themselves on the fruit. Fortunately, the nearest known herd is a few hundred miles away. :ha:
The "handrails" are one inch PVC pipes, 50cm off the ground. The plants are reaching five feet from corms that were dug up exactly five months ago.
What is extremely pleasing this time is the size regularity.

beam2050 08-14-2018 07:09 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
hadn't thought about elephants. :ha: know your close to the mountains.

I made a banana circle in the back yard, approximately 5 meters in diameter. I am taking all my banana leaves and throwing them in the center to catch tree leaves and grass and hold them there. also keep the weeds down. guess that is what you are doing there?

louis14 08-14-2018 07:20 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by beam2050 (Post 317490)
hadn't thought about elephants. :ha: know your close to the mountains.

I made a banana circle in the back yard, approximately 5 meters in diameter. I am taking all my banana leaves and throwing them in the center to catch tree leaves and grass and hold them there. also keep the weeds down. guess that is what you are doing there?

Exactly! Also the leaves are full of nutrients that once degraded, will continue to feed the plants. We are deleafing down to three leaves nowadays, with a cigar counted as a leaf. You would be amazed how quickly the new leaves appear, currently every three days on average on the Namwa, I will be checking this data on these GM as well in the coming weeks. We now only folear feed our crops. It's much quicker to execute and more economical in fertilizer. Plant performance is also not affected by soil PH as it was with the use of granulate.

beam2050 08-14-2018 07:34 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
thank you. foliar feeding would be more efficient that close together and being that close together would keep ground temps cooler. apt to be why your plants are growing so well. we have edwmax beating the proverbial band wagon with foliar feeding. I believe you just made his day!

edwmax 08-14-2018 08:31 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
I remember being shot-down when I first spoke of foliar feeding & misting the nana plants on the forum about a year & half ago. But after a couple of members tried it on their very sick nana plants with nothing else to lose and reported immediate improvements within a few hours. Those comments negative comments to foliar feeding stopped. Then other member started using foliar on their nana patches and potted plants.
.....:woohoonaner: ... It's always great to see validation that a method works.

beam2050 08-15-2018 07:04 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by louis14 (Post 317491)
Plant performance is also not affected by soil PH as it was with the use of granulate.

are the gm also pupping faster as with the namwa? my guess is your thinking to condense your namwa fields and ultimately gm will be your major production.

edwmax 08-15-2018 07:33 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by louis14 (Post 317491)
...


We now only folear feed our crops. It's much quicker to execute and more economical in fertilizer. Plant performance is also not affected by soil PH as it was with the use of granulate.


Don't forget the roots & corm still needs to develop & grow, so ground application is still needed when transplanting and about 45-60 days later for 30-40% total of fertilizer needs for pre-shooting growth.



Usually foliar spraying starts about 60 days after transplanting. ... Me, I would give the plants a boost a few days or 2 weeks after transplanting in addition to the ground fertilizer. ... Heck, make-um nanas FAT.


From your photo, if you are using the irrigation lines to apply the fertilizer, then you are doing more Fertigation than foliar spray after the plant leaves get above the lines. ... Are you using separate spray equipment to spray the top of the banana plants?

louis14 08-15-2018 08:25 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by edwmax (Post 317498)
Don't forget the roots & corm still needs to develop & grow, so ground application is still needed when transplanting and about 45-60 days later for 30-40% total of fertilizer needs for pre-shooting growth.



Usually foliar spraying starts about 60 days after transplanting. ... Me, I would give the plants a boost a few days or 2 weeks after transplanting in addition to the ground fertilizer. ... Heck, make-um nanas FAT.


From your photo, if you are using the irrigation lines to apply the fertilizer, then you are doing more Fertigation than foliar spray after the plant leaves get above the lines. ... Are you using separate spray equipment to spray the top of the banana plants?

We do not transplant the corms directly into the field anymore, we nurse them for two and a half months in grow bags, under a 400m2 50% shade hardening tent in the warm season and in shaded greenhouses in the colder months. During those two and a half months they get all they need and grow to about 3 feet in height and the stem can easily reach 1 & 1/2 inches in diameter.
Only then are they transplanted in to the fields.
The raised irrigation pipes could of course be used for fertigation and the system is already preinstalled for this but there is currently no need for that. We have high pressure spray equipment that we use for all the farm, in particular for our hundreds of Longan and Mango trees for which the folear treatment technique has been perfected for many many years now (our area is the World's top producer of Longan). The system is a compact tractor driven 200 liter tank and spray engine/pump that we use for spraying all our plants and the ground around the plants and the bunches from under the bags to protect the bunches from pests.
Our GM bananas look pretty good these days so I would say the system is working. We are getting top prices at the market for them and cannot supply enough for the demand. We have 6000 plants in the ground or ready to go in right now and aim to double that in the next twelve months if all goes according to plan. Concentrating mostly on two cultivars of GM. :bananas_b




louis14 08-15-2018 08:30 AM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by beam2050 (Post 317496)
are the gm also pupping faster as with the namwa? my guess is your thinking to condense your namwa fields and ultimately gm will be your major production.

ABSOLUTELY!
I regret now having planted so many Namwa (about 2000), they take twice the time of the GM to crop. The trees are too high so bagging is a no-no, therefore they provide nice and comfy nest for the local bats, squirrels and rats.
The market price realized is also not interesting when compared to GM, so yes indeed. It is not a priority but when space runs out, they will be replaced with this more efficient cultivar. :birthdaynana:

edwmax 08-15-2018 12:17 PM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by louis14 (Post 317500)
ABSOLUTELY!
I regret now having planted so many Namwa (about 2000), they take twice the time of the GM to crop. The trees are too high so bagging is a no-no, therefore they provide nice and comfy nest for the local bats, squirrels and rats.
The market price realized is also not interesting when compared to GM, so yes indeed. It is not a priority but when space runs out, they will be replaced with this more efficient cultivar. :birthdaynana:


Since you are not happy with the Namwa, Let me propose an experiment. ... A year or so ago it was stated, by a noted forum member & active grower, that topping the nana plant would force it to flower sooner and at a shorter hight. Try this with a dozen or so plants in that field. They may have to be topped twice. Keep a few lower leaves (or not ???) but chop the plant top off at about 4 ft (1 m). The rest of the field would be your control plants. ... If this info is correct then the bunches should be reachable and flowering can be sooner. ... It will work or not work. The plants will fruit anyway, so I don't think there is any thing to lose trying.


Just a thought. You do seem to be adventurous.

louis14 08-15-2018 12:35 PM

Re: New concept GM high density field
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by edwmax (Post 317511)
Since you are not happy with the Namwa, Let me propose an experiment. ... A year or so ago it was stated, by a noted forum member & active grower, that topping the nana plant would force it to flower sooner and at a shorter hight. Try this with a dozen or so plants in that field. They may have to be topped twice. Keep a few lower leaves (or not ???) but chop the plant top off at about 4 ft (1 m). The rest of the field would be your control plants. ... If this info is correct then the bunches should be reachable and flowering can be sooner.


Just a thought. You do seem to be adventurous.

Interesting idea, thanks!

If you have the link to that thread, I would be grateful. I'd need to understand the scientific logic in that.


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