Agrotechniques in cultivation of tea in Assam

  • B. C. Barbora .


Commercial cultivation of tea, Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze, in Assam (502% of total India tea) began in year 1836-1837, comprising now four varieties viz. (i) China, (u) Indo-China, (ill) Assam and (iv) hybrid types. Some seeds were produced by tea estates, e.g. "Betjan" seeds were produced in Betjan Tea Estate in upper Assam and "Kalline at the Kalline Tea Estate in South Assam, along with more than 150 different "jats" grown in the several tea estates of Assam. Hybrid seeds, biclonal and polyclonal, were developed by Tocklai (during 1960-1990) and released to the industry at periodic intervals. Biclonal seeds are suitable for both Orthodox and CTC types of tea and being used widely as compared to Polyclonal, which were found below expectations and are no longer in use. This study highlights some useful agrotechniques used in the tea cultivation in Assam such as suitable planting materials, hybrid seeds, appropriate cloning (released by Tocklai), spacing, population, pit size, planting techniques, young tea management, pruning and its cycle, skiffing (deep and medium), shade, shade nursery, mineral nutrition (N, P, K) monitoring, etc. This study also throws light on some useful techniques for proper drainage and irrigation. Stressing on economic life of tea bush, this study also shares some useful soil rehabihtation techniques, e.g. growing a rehabilitation crop like Guatemala grass. Mimosa invisa, Pusa Hybrid Napier, etc. for a period of at least 18-24 months. Finally, this study concludes on the great contribution note extended by Assam tea estates and highlights the importance of such agrotechniques, yet to be fully adopted by Small Tea Growers with increasing share (30% of total Assam tea).
Keywords: Agrotechniques; Hybrid seeds; Biclonal; Polyclonal; Skiffing; Drainage; Irrigation; Rehabilitation crop


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