Beginners Guide to Saffron Cultivation

Technical Factors to Sow, Grow & Harvest Saffrons in India

Saffron, red gold in colour, is one of the most expensive spices in the world. Cultivating saffron is not very difficult. With the right practices, you can cultivate this high-yielding crop and get one step closer to earning huge returns.

Additionally, this crop is ready to harvest in just about 3 – 4 months & grows up to a height of 15-20 cm. This medicinal and enriching crop fetches high prices in the market and adds to farmers’ pockets tenfold.

Saffron is also known as red gold due to its hiked prices. Interested in Saffron cultivation? Before you go on inquiring about the best farm mechanisation solutions like Swaraj 717 Price.

Technical Factors to Sow, Grow & Harvest Saffrons 

For commercial saffron production, you need to take into focus a variety of technical factors & techniques other than farm mechanisation solutions.

Weather conditions for Saffron

Saffron are suitable to cultivate across dry or sunken places, having elevations between 1500 to 2500 metres above sea level. Moreover, the crop should receive at least 12 hours of photoperiod that supports plants, but it shouldn’t exceed this as it can slow down the flowering process.

Best Seasons for Saffron Cultivation

  • June & July are the best and most suitable months to grow Saffron corms. However, August and September are also preferred for growing corn in some areas.
  • The flowering starts in October.
  • In states like Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, and Jammu & Kashmir, colder conditions are preferred as suitable for crop development.
  • 1. Land preparation for saffron

Before sowing, provide the field ploughing at least 2-3 times until it reaches the final tilth. Moreover, put 20 tonnes of cow dung, 60 kg of potassium, 90 kg of nitrogen, and 60 kg of phosphorus over a hectare after final ploughing. By doing this, your soil will become fertile and rugged for effective sowing & germination of crops.

  • Soil conditions for saffron cultivation

Saffron grows well over sandy, loamy and calcareous soils. Experts suggest that gravelly soil is also suitable for saffron farming. But it’s good to deter clayey soil as it holds water. The best thing is, Saffron can thrive well in acidic soils well-off. The overall ph level should range between 5.5 to 8.5. 

  • Watering & Irrigation

Saffron does not quite have an overarching watering schedule compared to other species or crops. However, the soil should be slightly moist and shouldn’t turn out completely dry or cracked.

You can provide irrigation on a weekly basis. At least 83 m cubic water should be supplied over an acre of land during the entire cultivation period.

If you experience light sprinkling or rain, there is no need to provide watering until a few days after planting. But, in case there is no onset of rain, you will be required to water the field 2-3 times in a period of 15 days.

Most importantly, ensure there is no scenario of drought or overwatering in the field, as this will cause the root to rot. If, by any chance, you experience water deposits, create channels or pathways to draw out the excessive water. 

  • Planting of saffron

Saffron grows through corms which are underground compressed stems. Kashmir is the biggest producer of three wide varieties of saffron — Aquilla Saffron, Creme Saffron, and Lacha Saffron.

Keep the following considerations or dimensions in mind while planting this spice:

  • Keep the depth of pits between 12-15 cm depth.
  • You can directly plant the Saffron corms into dug trenches. 
  • Applying loose soil on the surface helps with better cultivation.
  • Ensure the solid has enough space for air to circulate and aerate the field. 
  • After sowing the corms, there is no need for irrigation. However, watering is important if there have been extended dry spells or droughts during the hot season.

When to Plant Saffron Crops?

  • July and August are favourable months for planting saffron crops. Mid-July is considered the best month. 
  • To apply saffron corms, create 6 – 7 cm pits and keep the distance 10 cm between the two corms. Doing this will provide more 

You should use good quality tractors like the Mahindra Yuvo 575 and that offers optimum PTO hp to support a range of planting and additional implements.

6. Harvesting of Saffron 

The harvesting process of saffron is quite laborious and intense, which makes it a costly crop.

  • The flowering starts within 3-4 months of planting. For instance, if planted in June, then by October, the flowering will begin.
  • Choose daytime to harvest the flowers as experts say you must pick flowers only after 10 am but before sunset.
  • The stigma strands of the flowers must be dried in partial sun for at least 5-6 days. You can even use solar dryers to dry the strands. However, it will take 7-8 days max.
  • And later on, keep the strands in an air-tight container.

Common Use Cases of Saffron

Indians love saffron as it adds to the flavour of any drink or food item.

  • Saffron provides flavour and colour to milk or its related desserts.
  • This crop is also used as mayonnaise, season cheese, and meat in some parts.
  • Mughlai cuisine has garnishing of saffron to add flavour and colour.
  • Little did you know, saffron is also suitable for treating arthritis, fatty liver, infertility, and fever, according to Ayurveda.
  • Some industries also use this costly spice to create cosmetics or even body fragrances.

Leading Producers of Saffron in India

Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir are the top leading producers of Kesar. In parts of India, Kesar is known by a variety of names:

  • Kong in Kashmiri
  • Jafran in Bengali
  • Zafran in Punjabi
  • Keshar in Gujarati
  • Zafran in Urdu

Moreover, in Sanskrit, the crop is known by the names Asra, Aruna, Asrika, and Kunkuma.

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