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| Jojoba Production |
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Pankaj Arora
Posted on: February 1, 1999
Prices, technical knowhow and details about starting a new plantation in India.
Jojoba seeds are best planted directly in the field. They are planted 15-30 cm apart in rows at a depth of 2.5 to 7.5 cm. This seeding rate gives a lot of extra plants so that undesirable female plants and excess male plants can be removed. If the rows are 3-4 metres apart, and seeds planted 30 cm apart within the row, 5-9 kilograms are needed per hectare (5-9 lbs per acre). Richters price (in 1999) is $130 Canadian per kilogram (approximately $90 U.S. per kilogram). For larger quantities, we can quote better prices.
Germination occurs most quickly when soil temperatures are 20-30 degrees Celsius, taking 2-4 weeks. In Arizona, U.S.A., where jojoba is under commercial cultivation, seeds are typically planted in the spring after the soil temparature reaches 22 degrees Celsius or in the fall. Planting during the hot summer or during cool winter suppresses germination.
Although seedlings can be transplanted, growers get the best results culling out the weaker plants from the seeded rows, ending up with plants spaced about 1.5 metres apart within the rows. At this spacing the plants will form a continous hedge.
Jojoba can survive without much water. Irrigation, if necessary, can be as much as 45 to 60 cm of water per year, or as much as 75 cm the first year during seedling establishment.
Fertilizer requirements are minimal. Some soils deficient in nitrogen may require some amendment.
Weed control is most by mechanical methods. A variety of pests are known to attack jojoba, including aphids, mites, leafhoppers, mealy bugs, and others. Jojoba is relatively disease-free.
Jojoba is traditionally harvested by hand. An experienced worker can pick 2 kilograms of seed per hour. There have been attempts to develop procedures to mechanically harvest seeds, but we have no information of the status of these projects. If mechanical harvest is to be a reality the plants have to be pruned or trained to grow more upright to allow the machine to work.
Good stands of jojoba of 10-year-old plants will produce upwards of 1000-3000 kilograms of clean seeds per hectare annually.