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Model bankable project on Poplar based agroforestry (Useful for IBPS AFO & NABARD Exam)

Model bankable project on Poplar based agroforestry 

Source: National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development 

Useful for : IBPS AFO Mains Exam (Agriculture Knowledge), NABARD Asst. Manager Exam

Model bankable project on Poplar based agroforestry

 1. Introduction : 

  • Poplar (Populus deltoids) is one of the fast growing multipurpose tree species which can be grown as a mono crop as well as in association with agricultural crops.★★★

  • In addition to fast growing nature, its other qualities such as winter deciduous nature, straight bole, narrow crown, compatibility with agricultural crops, etc. has made this tree one of the best options for agroforestry.★★★

  • Its wood being light, homogenous and odourless is suitable for match splints, plywood, ply board, packing cases, sports goods, artificial limbs, furniture, pulp for paper, wood, light constructional timber, pencils and furniture, etc.★★★

  • It has emerged as an important industrial wood in North India and is being widely cultivated and a good market has developed in this region.

  • Poplar being a deciduous species adds a tremendous amount of leaf litter to the soil and is considered to be one of the best species for agroforestry.

  • The species has performed well in India especially above latitude 28o North.

2. Climate and Site requirement/ Site Selection : 

  • Poplar grows well in the subtropical climate where the temperature extremes are not too severe.

  • It requires loam to sandy loam deep fertile, well drained soils with assured irrigation and springs must be free from late frost.

  • It does not perform well on saline, alkaline (pH> 8.0), dry sandy soils, water logged areas and hard clays.


3. Clones: 

  • Various fast growing Poplar clones have been developed by Agriculture Universities and private wood based organizations A lot of good quality clones have been developed and launched commercially.

  • Some of them are G-3, G-48, D-121, D-67, S7C15, S7C8, L-34, Uday, Kranti, PL-1 to PL-7, L49 etc.

  • Before purchasing planting stock and planting out in the field, the farmers should collect information on the clones and its quality.


4. Planting Material / Nursery Raising: 

i) Site Preparation: 

  • A light preparatory irrigation should be given so that the soil has proper moisture at the time of ploughing.

  • The field should be levelled after ploughing.

  • One deep ploughing upto 25-30 cm depth is desirable.

  • This should be followed by deep harrowing once in either direction and then planking with heavy roller or 'Sohaga'.

  • Phosphatic and Potassium fertilizers should be added at this point.

  • After addition of fertilizers, one more harrowing should be arranged.

ii) Alignment : 

  • Each block of nursery should be divided in standard size beds, which should be 5-6 m in width and 15 m in length perpendicular to the irrigation channels, so that one channel irrigates a row of beds on either side of the channel.

  • As far as possible, the main irrigation channel should run in North-South direction and side irrigation channels which irrigate individual beds should be in East-West direction.

  • One meter wide inspection path should be retained in between two adjoining rows of beds.

iii) Preparation and treatment of cuttings: 

  • Cuttings made from one year old wood of the main stem of young healthy and vigorous plants give better results.★★★

  • Cuttings obtained from the middle of the main shoot with diameter between 1-3 cms perform better.

  • Plants must be given a clean cut and splitting must be avoided.

  • The cutting should be prepared much in advance as the rate of sprouting is adversely affected.

  • Each cutting should be at least 1 cm thick and it is not desirable to have more than 2.5 cms thick set of cuttings.

  • The length of the cuttings should be about 20 cms and upper cut of the cutting should be slightly above the bud as far as possible.

  • After preparation of the cuttings, these should be covered with wet gunny bags to avoid desiccation.

  • Before planting, the cuttings should be soaked in fresh water (not stagnant) for 24 hours.

  • The cuttings should be given treatment against termites (0.5% emulsion Aldrex i.e. 250 ml Aldrex 30 E.C. should be thoroughly mixed in 50 litres of water and cuttings should be soaked in emulsion for 10 minutes).

  • Thereafter the cuttings should be treated with Emissan-6 (250 grams of this powder should be dissolved in a small quantity of water and then diluted with 50 liters of water.

  • Cutting treated with Aldrex should be transferred to drums containing Emissan solution and kept submerged for 10 minutes.

  • The cuttings stored in fresh water should be taken out only at the time of planting and not earlier.

iv) Planting of cuttings : 

  • The best time of planting is middle of February.

  • The distance to be kept is 80 cm row to row and 60 cm plant to plant.

  • Before planting, hole should be made with the planting rod whose lower end is flattened and sharpened like a screwdriver.

  • The cutting should be planted in the hole with thinner end up in such a way that the upper portion is just 2 mm above the ground level.

  • After planting, the soil around the cutting must be compacted gently but firmly.

v) Irrigation : 

  • Efforts must be made to arrange for irrigation at the earliest after planting i.e. the gap between completion of planting and irrigation must be minimum.

  • In no case the irrigation should be postponed to the next day of planting.

  • The irrigation should be medium.

  • Subsequent irrigation should be light and the interval may vary from 7-10 days depending upon the type of soil.

  • The light sandy soil needs frequent irrigation and in clayey soils irrigation is needed at longer interval but the top soil should not be allowed to develop cracks.

  • Next Irrigation should be applied before such a stage develops till completion of sprouting.

  • Thereafter irrigation can be applied at 8-10 days interval.

vi) Fertilizer application : 

  • As the poplar plants grow very fast, the nursery soil has to be enriched frequently.

  • Urea, Super phosphate, Muriate of Potash and plentiful supply of Farm Yard Manure are essential for maintaining the growth of cuttings.

  • The quantity of fertilizer will depend upon the type of soil.

  • Nursery beds are depleted of fertility after producing plants for one year, if no fertilizer is applied.

  • After the rains have set in, 2g of urea per plant is given ; regular debudding and hoeing will depend upon the incidence of weeds and grasses.

  • Singling of collar shoots should be done during April-May when the most vigorous shoot has attained a height 30-35 cm.

  • Debudding is done by gently rubbing with gunny bags the newly formed buds upto 2/3 rd height of plant from the base from June to October.

  • Sufficient care should be taken to ensure that the young leaves are not damaged.

5. Field Planting: 

  • Each poplar plant needs approximately 20-25 m2 space for its optimum growth.

  • One year old Entire Trans Plants (ETPs) without any co-leader or branches and with naked root (without any ball of earth) are planted in the field from mid-January to February end in pits of size 45cm X 45cm X 45cm.

  • The spacing to be adopted for block plantation is generally 5m X 4m apart or more recently the spacing being followed at field level is 8m X 2.5m for facilitating intercropping (500 plants per hectare ) and for single line or field boundary plantation plant to plant distance is kept as 3m.

  • The plants may be soaked for about 48 hours in running fresh water before planting.

  • To avoid fungal infection, lower one meter of the poplar transplant should be dipped in 0.15 percent solution of Emissan-6 for about 20 minutes and for termite protection for 10 minutes in 0.25 percent Aldrix solution or alternatively for protection against termites about 400g of deoiled neem cake can be mixed with soil to be refilled in pits.

  • Planting should preferably be done by two men so the one man holds the plant in erect position and the other fills the pit and compacts the earth around it.

  • After planting, the pits should be filled with top soil and FYM in a ratio of 1 : 1 mixed with 10-20g BHC and 50g P2O5.

  • Proper compacting of the soil and immediate irrigation after plantation enhances the chances of survival of the plants.

  • First year causalities should be beaten up with sturdy ETPs not less than 5 m tall in January February of the following year.

  • After that no beating up should be done as the new plants are not able to catch up with rest of the plants.

6. Irrigation: 

  • Regular and timely irrigation is a must for proper growth of poplars.

  • While frequency of irrigation depends upon various factors like amount of rainfall, type of soil, age of trees and climatic conditions some general guidelines can be followed.

  • During the first year of plantation irrigation must be done at weekly intervals except when there are reasonably good rains.

  • This should be done from the time of transplanting till the monsoons begin.

  • From July to September, irrigation must be provided as needed, depending upon the rainfall and intervening dry spells.

  • From October to February when growth activity slows down, two irrigation's per month will be sufficient.

  • During the second year, irrigation may be given at 15 days interval in January-February and at 7-10 days interval from March to onset of monsoons after which the plantation may be irrigated on the lines of first year.

  • From third to eight years a minimum of two irrigation per month during summer and one during winter season are a must.


7. Fertilizer Application : 

  • A well decomposed FYM should be applied while preparing the field for inter-cultivation of Rabi and Kharif crops.

  • The general principles to be followed at the time of application of fertilizer are as under : 

  • A basal dose of 2 Kg good FYM, 50 gm super phosphate and 5 gm urea per plant should be mixed.

  • Nitrogenous fertilizers be applied in split doses.

  • First dose of nitrogen (75 gm urea) should be applied during the first week of June, second dose (150 gm urea) during first week of July and third dose (250 gm urea) during second and third week of August.

  • Fertilizer should never be placed near the stem of the plants as these can result in girdling of young trees and can even kill them.

  • Application of fertilizer must be followed by light irrigation.

  • Deficiency of micro-nutrients such as Zinc, Iron, Copper, Boron and Molybdenum and secondary nutrients like Calcium and Magnesium among others as per soil fertility status is of common occurrence.

  • Micro nutrients are also called trace elements as these are needed in very small quantities.

  • Symptoms of micro-nutrient deficiency include intravenal yellowing of leaves, small and shrivelled leaves and poor tree growth.

8. Leader Training and Pruning : 

  • Lower one third portion of the stem is required to be kept clean by removal of emerging buds for good growth of leading shoot and removal of obstruction to agricultural crops. ★★★

  • Co-leaders are to be removed for better clean and straight leader.

  • Pruning should always be done when the tree is leafless i.e.

  • in winters and Bordeaux paste is to be applied at the cut ends.

  • Excessive pruning is harmful as it encourages epicormic shoots.

  • The following schedule of pruning can be followed : First Year- No pruning only debudding, Second and Third Year- Lower 1/3 rd is cleared of branches, Fourth and Fifth Year- Upto ½ is cleared, After Five Years- Upto 2/3 of tree height is cleared 

9. Plant Protection Measures: 

  • Certain insects and pathogens are known to damage the poplars.

  • Among the important ones are the following: 

  • Leaf defoliator : These are active during the rainy season particularly Pygaera species.

  • The caterpillar of these moths feed on leaves.

  • The insect can be controlled by collecting and destroying the infested leaves.

  • Spray of Monocrotophos 36 SL @ 600 ml (Monocil / Monolik / Nuvacron / Corophos / Luphos) per acre.

  • (1) Termites : 

  • The risk of termite damage is likely where irrigation and inter cultivation operations are inadequate.

  • The soil should be treated with Aldrin (0.15%) and frequent irrigation arranged.

  • (2) Stem and shoot borer : 

  • These can be controlled by pushing a small wick of cotton dipped in any liquid fumigant in the holes through which frass is being pushed out by the borer.

  • All holes must be closed with mud paste after such treatment.

  • (3) Leaf Webber : 

  • The young larvae scrap the leaf surface along with veins and feed on epidermis of leaves by webbing 2 and 3 leaves with silken threads.

  • The pest is active from April to November with peak period from July to October.

  • For controlling the same measures as indicated under leaf defoliators can be adopted.

  • (4) Bark Eating Caterpillar : 

  • Nocturnal feeding larvae make L-shaped holes and wet silken threads entangled with fecal pallets.

  • Pest is active throughout the year.

  • Prune severely infested branches and spray suspension of 100 g Carbaryl 50 WP ( Sevin / Hexavin ) in 10 litres of water during September to October at feeding sites.

  • (5) Case Worm : 

  • The pest is active throughout the year.

  • The caterpillars feed on bark from December to March, on leaf buds during March and April and on leaves from April to November.

  • For controlling this a spray of Carbaryl 50 WP ( Sevin / Hexavin ) @ 1 Kg per acre is recommended.

  • (6) Leaf Hopper : 

  • The leaf hoppers are active from April to November with peak period of their activity from July to October.

  • A spray of Oxydemeton-methyl 25 EC (Metasystox) @ 300 ml or Dimethoate 30 EC @ 250 ml per acre is recommended.

  • (7) Rot of cuttings : 

  • Black dots appear on the cuttings at ground level and decay of bark takes place.

  • Dip the cuttings fro 15 minutes in 0.5 percent solution of Emisan-6 before planting.

  • (8) Leaf Spots : 

  • Brown to dark brown leaf spots of variable sizes appear on leaves.

  • Severe infections lead to premature defoliation.

  • Spray the crop with 0.25 percent Copper Chloride (Biltox 50) or Indofil M-45 at 15-20 days intervals starting with first rain.

  • Two to three sprays may be given.

  • (9) Pink Disease : 

  • Girdling of branches in young plants leads to death of parts.

  • The height of the tree is stopped due to the repeated death of the leaders.

  • Pink to Salmon colored mycelial growth appears on branches.

  • Use resistant varieties or two to three prophylactic spray of Bordeaux mixture during two to four years of age at the beginning of the summer monsoon.

  • (10) Sunscald canker : 

  • Bark is killed due to insolation by heat and canker develops on the southern side of the stem.

  • Protect from insulation and other injuries by white washing the main stem upto two meters from the ground level.

  • (11) Bark Bursts and Canker : 

  • Water oozes out through the wounds resulting in cankers.

  • Avoid injury and high water table sites.

  • Clean the wounds and apply Bordeaux paste or Emisan-6.


10. Inter-cropping : 

  • It is desirable to grow field crops as intercrops in block plantations of poplar.

  • All rabi and kharif crops can be grown during the first three years except paddy.

  • However, inter-cultivation of sugarcane is preferred for the first two years as it is more profitable.

  • Third year onwards cultivation of wheat, cabbage, chilly, tomato, barley, coriander, turmeric, ginger, strawberry, oats, berseem, sarson etc. can be raised throughout the rotation.

11. Rotation : 

  • The rotation followed is 5-6 years.

  • However, in order to attain the optimum growth, it is advisable to harvest the tree in the 6th year.★★★


12. Unit Cost / Investment cost, Financial Viability 

  • The total cost over a period of 6 years for raising one Ha of poplar plantation has been estimated as Rs. 1,52,900/- .

  • The detailed item wise unit cost and financial viability details are furnished in Annexure.


13. Harvesting and Utilization : 

  • The plants are ready for harvest in the 6th year when they attain a girth of about 75-90 cm.★★★

  • Marketing is done as standing trees or after felling and cutting into logs.

  • A large quantity of poplar wood is used for making match splints, plywood and block boards.

  • The wood is also good for making paper pulp and being light in weight is ideally suited for making packing cases.

  • White furniture made out of poplar wood is getting popular with people.

  • Poplar wood can be used for panelling and cupboards.

  • The wood is also being utilized by the sports goods industry and is also suitable for toy and pencil making.

14. Yield and Returns : 

  • Poplars have shown promising growth on agricultural land and raises productivity by producing pealable wood @ 20-25 M3/ha./Yr. in 6 years rotation.

  • Under good care, poplar can achieve 75 cm girth at breast height.

  • Good veneer quality logs suitable for match, plywood and wood panel industries are available from bole and lops & tops gives good quality pulpwood.

  • Under intensive management practices with adequate & timely inputs of fertilizers, irrigation and plant protection measures, the yield can be further improved upon.

  • Based on its wood density (750-960 Kg per cum) the average conservative estimate of wood production is about 3 Q per tree in a rotation of 6 year.

  • Assuming minimum price @ Rs.325/- per Q at the farm level, the farmer can get Rs.4,38,000/- over a period of 6 years.

  • Income from inter-crops will be additional which will vary depending upon the crop cultivated.

  • The returns will depend upon site quality, inputs, intensity of management, actual yield and ruling market prices at the time of harvest.


15. Margin Money : 

  • NABARD stipulates beneficiaries' contribution to the project cost in order to ensure his stake in the involvement.

  • Such margin money varies from 5% to 25% depending upon the type of investment and the class of borrowers.


16. Repayment Schedule: 

  • The entire loan amount with interest will be repaid at the end of 6th year from planting after harvesting the crops.

  • However, as there is no income generation during the entire rotation period of 6 years, the interest has to be deferred for these years.



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