Jiffy 7C Coco pith pellets for Banana propagation
Trials were conducted with a number of different Tissue Culture producers in India who had challenges with the long period required for hardening plants and the number of transplants required. In addition there were challenges associated with rooting and growth rates and a big challenge with transplant shock and the environmentally unfriendly poly bags that are used in the process.
Traditionally, hardening of tissue culture banana plants is done in two stages, primary hardening in trays filled with soil / coco pith and secondary hardening in poly bags filled with soil / coco pith. These two stages take approximately 12 weeks. After 12 weeks young banana plants are ready to be planted in the field.
Over a number of hardening periods, Jiffy 7C pellets were trialed with a leading producer. Two sizes of Jiffy 7C were trialed, the 25mmx38mm pellet and the 50mmx60mm pellet. Both worked extremely well for the propagation of tissue culture banana plants and the 50mmx60mm pellet had the added advantage in that it allowed propagators to do away with the two stage hardening process.
- 25mm x 38mm Coco pith pellets for primary hardening
- 50mm x 60mm Coco pith pellets for both primary and secondary hardening, thus eliminating traditional two stage hardening
Some of the issues faced by banana propagators when hardening banana using the traditional method.
- Lack of consistent good quality substrate;
- Labor intensive and time-consuming operation;
- Inconsistent growth of young plants;
- Difficulty when taking plants out of trays;
- High transplant shock and damage when transporting;
- High transport cost due to high volume (poly bags).
Benefits identified during the trials
- Consistent top quality rooting media;
- Easy deployment and relatively less labour required;
- Better & fast rooting;
- Higher success rate;
- Uniform growth;
- Easy removal of plants from trays;
- Reduced root damage and transplant shock;
- Save nursery time by two weeks on average;
- Easy and cheap transportation;
- No environmental concerns since no poly bags used.
According to propagators who tried Jiffy 7C Coco pith pellets they can save nursery time by 2 weeks (approx). As per the traditional method used earlier, they had to keep young plants in nursery a minimum of 12 weeks (two stages), whereas in Jiffy 7C pellets they can have much better grown, well rooted, healthy young plants within 10 weeks. This gives a huge advantage for them in terms of cost and time, when considering large scale commercial operations.