【News】 Agricultural institutes in Aichi increases production of cabbages by sparse planting (March 6, 2014)


Aichi Agricultural Research Center and Higashimikawa Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Office in Aichi Prefecture said they have succeeded in increasing yields of winter cabbages for processing by some 20 percent by reducing the number of plants in a certain area by 10 percent.

Through sparse planting, cabbages grew bigger and the average weight per cabbage came up to be 1.2 times more than the ones grown by the usual style of planting, they said. While prices of cabbages for processing remain low, they hope to encourage farmers to grow more cabbages by emphasizing the business merits of sparse planting.

The research center conducted experimental planting with two cropping types – one harvested in January and the other in February. They compared the usual planting pattern of setting an interval of 27 cm to plant 5,900 cabbages per 10 ares with the sparse planting pattern with an interval of 30 cm to plant 5,300 cabbages while keeping the same interrow spacing. They found out that the average weight per cabbage grown by sparse planting was around 2 kg, 0.3 kg heavier than the average cabbage.

Jin Kawai, chief researcher of the center, said wider space allows outer leaves of cabbages to grow more.

Since yield rates are important in selecting cabbages for processing, there is high demand for large-size cabbages weighing 1.5 kg to 2.5 kg. But if the interval is set wider at 33 cm, cabbages become too large to maintain the current workability of farmers. The researchers confirmed that 30 cm intervals are the most suitable to produce cabbages which meet the needs of buyers.

Aichi Prefecture, which produces roughly 40 percent of winter cabbages shipped nationwide, has been making efforts to increase shipments of cabbages for processing as well. JA Aichi Minami, an agricultural cooperative in Tahara, Aichi, a major cabbage production area, introduced a system of shipping cabbages for processing using returnable iron containers which can carry 400 kg each of cabbages. Compared with using cardboard packages for fresh vegetables, the use of returnable containers can halve the amount of time needed to prepare for shipments, according to the cooperative and the prefectural government.

Kawai said cabbage growers can increase their income by about 10 percent through adopting sparse planting and reducing seedling purchasing costs, as well as introducing a mixture of iron container shipments and cardboard package shipments to save labor. The researchers plan to work together with agricultural cooperatives to conduct experiments to select varieties fit for growing to a large size.

(March 6, 2014)

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