Chia grown once-a-year that lasts from winter to summer. Chia seeds germinate in three to five days under suitable temperature.
By : Husnain Raza Bajwa
PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY OF CHIA
When a crop is introduced to a new area, a production plan is given, which can be adopted and followed to achieve good yields. Production plan (production technology) is produced after doing research and many experiments.
The chia plant has leaves and twigs in the opposite direction and more branches and leaves on each branch. Plant height is from one and a half to three feet having spike on top of each branch. Spike emerges first on main stem which is quite large as compare to on other branches. Purple color flower from bottom to top arise from this spike at spring season and flowers come out after pollination. Their leaves fall off after pollination and then the process of seed formation begins.
Two types of areas are effective for chia production: temperate areas and areas where it is very cold. This is mainly due to the long duration of the crop which is found in these two types of areas as well as in cold areas it produced well. Chia is short day plant and if there is fog before seed formation, flower disappears and plant takes out its leaves and branches and then it does not produce flower and complete its life without producing seeds.
Chia grow well in loamy to sandy soils where water does not stand for a long period of time.
Prepare the soil by three time plowing with planking.
Chia seeds require a temperature of 20 to 25 degrees Celsius to germinate, so they can be planted from the third week to the last week of November.
Chia should be planted in rows at a distance of one feet. To achieve this goal, seed is dropped into the soil with two fingers up to a few centimeters. Following this method, it will germinate in four to five days.
Due to small size and weight, its seed rate is slightly lower than other crops. Good yield can be achieved by keeping seed rate at one kg per acre. The seed rate can also be increased according to the germination percentage.
First irrigation is given after three weeks of germination and the rest is given depending on the severity of the weather. In winter, irrigate the field after every 2 to 3 weeks and in summer when temperature increase should be irrigated after every week. In case of dehydration, leaves bend downwards and change their angle. In this case, Irrigation should be done immediately.
The following are the critical growth stages of chia crop that can be significantly reduced due to lack of irrigation.
* The leaves after first leaves on chia plants depends on availability of water.
* In the month of February until the fall of the flower petals there should be no shortage of water.
* At the time of seed formation irrigation must be given otherwise the size of the seed remains small.
The chia crop does not require as much fertilizer as other crops. It can also be grown without fertilizer which is known as organic chia, but in Pakistan organic matter is less so that one bag of DAP per acres should apply at the time of soil preparation and one bag of urea at split doses. The following are the stages of chia at which good yield can be obtained by applying urea fertilizer.
* After germination with first irrigation
* At flowering
*After the fall of the flower petals.
Yield of each crop is reduced by 25 to 30% due to weeds. In common crops weeds can be eradicated by spraying without damaging the plants but chia is a broadleaf crop and due to lack of research on it we cannot use pesticides on it. On the contrary, in the early stages, weeds are uprooted by hand, which requires more effort and time.
In early summer, insects like army worm attack and can be controlled by biological methods. If this method does not work, then effective insecticides should be used.
In our country, chia crop is not attacked by diseases so the production of chia is not affected by diseases. If there is a severe attack of a disease, then an effective spray should be given against this disease.
The chia crop is ready in first or second week of May and the color of the crop changes all over the field. At this time leaves fall off, leaving only the stems and branches on which the spikes are attached. At the time of harvest, the seeds can be checked by breaking the stems of some plants by hand and grinding them. Which can be easily heard.
The harvesting stage is very sensitive, harvesting should be done in such a way that the seeds do not fall and get lost due to the breakage of the seedlings. For this purpose, plants are cut and piled up and kept in the sun for two to three days under normal conditions. The moisture content of chia seeds at the harvesting time should be 12 to 14 percent.
After two to three days of sunshine, the plants are spread on the ground with a cloth and beaten with a stick, with the help of which the stalks break and the seeds in it accumulate on the cloth. Which are later separated with the help of a sieve.
Before storing, the moisture content of chia seeds should be checked and the moisture content should be 8 to 10 percent. Then they are put in a zipper bag (airtight) and stored in a cool and dark place.
Authored by Husnain Raza Bajwa
Department of Agronomy
University of agriculture Faisalabad