Turnip Production Technology
Soil and Seedbed Preparation
Although it can be grown on a wide range of soils, but deep, friable, highly fertile loamy soil is best for its cultivation. Turnips thrive well on moderate to slightly acidic sandy loam soil. Sandy loams are preferred for early-market roots and greens. Thorough preparation of soil is important for the development of roots. As the seed of turnip is very small, therefore fine seed-bed is required for its cultivation.
In the plains of Pakistan, turnip is sown from end of July to end of November but, in mountainous areas, it can be sown from March to the mid of June.
Broadcasting is suitable for fodder crop in the moist leveled soil. It should be sown on both sides of ridges, with ridge-ridge and plant-plant spacing’s of 45-60 and 5-8 cm, respectively, for getting high yields. Seed should not be sown deeper than 1.25 cm.
Two to three kilograms per acre of seed is sufficient for vegetable purpose, but for fodder crop, seed-rate should be increased to 5 kg/acre.
Manuring / Fertilization
About 20 cartloads of well rotten farmyard manure should be incorporated in the soil at the time of seed-bed preparation. One bag of DAP/acre should also be mixed with soil, before sowing.
In dry weather, the field should be irrigated weekly. For uniform germination and rapid growth, the plants must never be short of water, throughout the growing period.
There are two main groups of turnip, i.e. white-fleshed and yellow-fleshed. The white fleshed group is more extensively grown. Within this group, there are cultivars grown primarily for tops and roots.
For lower Sindh, i.e. Hyderabad, Badin, Thatta, Mirpur Khas, etc., the recommended varieties are ‘Local Red’ and ‘Local White’, with creamy white color. The ‘Purple Top’ and ‘Golden Ball’ are important varieties. ‘Nankana Red’ variety of turnip is most suitable for growing as a fodder-crop.
Weeding should be done from time-to-time, to get large-sized roots. Weeds compete with plants for water, nutrients, light and space. For the control of weeds, one to two weeding should be done.
Insect-Pests and Diseases
After germination, the aphids and jassids feed on tender leaves and cause severe loss to the crop. Rye crop may be sown with turnips, to save them from these insects. As plants of rye germinate before turnip plants, so these insects may feed on rye plants.
Harvesting and Yield
Turnip greens may be harvested a month after seeding. Generally, after two months of sowing, turnips can be fed to the animals. Average yield of turnip is about 8 to 10 tonnes per acre. Green-fodder yield of 30 tonnes per acre can be obtained by adopting improved agricultural practices.
Good rotation helps to control diseases. Turnips should be grown after clovers, beans or peas (Reed, 1976). It is not advisable to grow turnips after a root crop.
For seed-production, turnip leaves should be cut from the top leaving 8-10 cm. The lower portion of turnip should be slightly cut with a sharp knife. Turnips should be planted on both sides of ridges, with row-to-row and plant-to-plant spacing of 75 and 30 cm, respectively. Turnip roots should be sown with two-third part of the roots buried in the soil. After planting, turnip should be irrigated 2-3 times at weekly intervals. Cross-pollination by insects is necessary for good seed production and, for this purpose, 2 to 3 hives are sufficient to increase pollination and to ensure good seed-set. Aphids and jassids attack on the crop, often after sprouting, which should be controlled with the application of recommended pesticides. At the time of flowering and pod formation, one bag of ammonium sulphate per acre should be applied for getting healthy and good quality seed. Seed of turnip start ripening during April. The matured pods should be removed and threshed with the help of a wooden stick and the seed should be stored in cloth bags.
Source: PAR Website.