In this blog, you will get to know about a significant disorder of pomegranate- fruit cracking, the factors that cause it, and how can you prevent it from happening on your farm.
Pomegranate is one of the minor subtropical fruit crops with excellent adaptability. In India, it is regarded as an “essential cash crop.” With two-thirds of the nation’s total area under cultivation, Maharashtra produces the most pomegranates, followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Rajasthan.
Global area, output, and export have all increased significantly during the last few decades. However, the essential physiological problem known as fruit cracking causes pomegranate farmers to incur a significant economic loss.
These broken fruits become unfit for the market, causing producers to suffer an irrecoverable loss.
What is fruit cracking in pomegranate?
Fruit cracking is a serious physiological condition that negatively impacts pomegranate output and quality. Once the whole fruit is broken, certain fungi or bacteria may enter.
After then, the fruit no longer has any market value and cannot be eaten by people. Pomegranate fruit cracking is a widespread issue globally in pomegranate growing regions. However, the severity of the problem varies based on the weather, variety, fruit growth, and cultural norms.
Reasons for fruit cracking:
- Fruit cracking may be caused by inadequate irrigation, environmental conditions, and nutritional deficiencies, particularly those involving boron.
- Additionally, fruit growth and development are reportedly linked to significant evapotranspiration, low humidity, water imbalance, and abrupt temperature changes between day and night.
- When the fruits mature, the cracking is more noticeable.
- Fruit cracking cannot be effectively controlled by any one factor alone. Understanding how water, gibberellins, abscisic acid, boron, calcium, and cell wall biosynthesis interact with fruit cracking will provide more precise insights into developing solutions to lessen fruit cracking.
Environmental factors associated with fruit cracking:
- Fruit cracking has been linked to environmental factors, including temperature and humidity, the variation in temperature between day and night, and sudden temperature drops.
- Weather-related factors such as air temperature, wind speed, air relative humidity, canopy temperature, and fruit surface temperature have all been considered potential causes of cracking.
- The amount of cracking in pomegranate fruits is directly influenced by the leaf’s relative moisture content and water potential, which are indicators of water stress.
- High-temperature stress affected both of these physiological characteristics, as determined by the canopy air temperature differential (CATD) and fruit air temperature difference (FATD).
Fruit cracking relation to nutrition and hormone:
- When grown as a commercial crop, pomegranate requires macro and micronutrients for proper growth, development, and production.
- Pomegranate fruit cracking is closely related to nutritional deficiencies, particularly in boron, calcium, zinc, potash, copper, molybdenum, and manganese.
- During the fruit’s growth cycle, these nutrients are involved in several physiological processes, and their lack causes fruit to crack.
- According to studies, increasing N and an imbalance between K and Ca also contribute to fruit cracking.
- Micronutrients, particularly boron, regulate healthy fertilisation and fruit development.
Nature of losses by fruit cracking:
- Due to unfavourable conditions, the yield usually decreases by more than 65%. Additionally, the cracked fruits are inappropriate for shipping and are more likely to rot.
- It varies from variety to variety, but the issue is worse in challenging weather. Pomegranate losses are reported as high as 65%-75%, mostly in arid regions.
- Fruit cracking losses are usually 63% in the spring crop (Jan.-Jun.), 34% in the winter crop (Oct.-Mar.), and just 9.5% in the crop harvested during the rainy season (July–December).
How can farmers prevent it?
- Several techniques are advised for managing fruit cracking in pomegranates, including spraying growth stimulants, micronutrients, antitranspirants, routine drip irrigation, and mulching; however, results vary depending on various circumstances.
- A pomegranate crop can be protected from fruit cracking by carefully mulching the pomegranate crop with at least 3 inches (8 cm) of organic mulch and putting it on a watering schedule once the flowers begin to fade.
- Plant windbreaks all around the orchard to prevent soil moisture from being lost.
- Using organic manures should improve the plants’ ability to retain water. Inadequate water management and a lack of micronutrients are the leading causes of fruit cracking.
- Throughout the entire fruit development stage, the plants need consistent irrigation.
- The incidence of fruit cracking is reduced when immature fruits are sprayed with boron (50 ppm) and GA (40 ppm).
How can Fasal assist?
- The potential reasons for fruit cracking are inadequate irrigation, climatic factors such as temperature, humidity, and weather-related elements like air temperature, wind speed, canopy temperature, and fruit surface temperature.
- However, with Fasal technology, farmers can quickly secure their fruit and increase their marketable yield.
- The Fasal AI-based system comprises sensors that assist farmers in keeping an eye on their fields.
- The technology of Fasal also provides time-specific, location-specific, and crop-specific solutions based on the idea of precision agriculture.
- With the use of the Fasal system, the chance of fruit cracking is reduced. It also keeps track of rainfall, humidity, temperature, canopy level forecasts, and an ultra hyper-local macroclimatic prediction to warn farmers when conditions are suitable for the spread of disease.
- The technological approach of Fasal offers recommendations for reducing the risks at each step of the emergence of disease and disorder on farms.
We would love to talk to you and help you understand more about Fasal.