Rubber Production

Rubber

Botanical Name: Hevea brasiliensis

Suitable Clones: GT1, PB 217, IRCA 41, RRIC 100, IRCA 230 ETC.

Source of Planting Materials:

Ghana Rubber Estates Limited, Takoradi; Rubber Plantations Ghana Limited, Topease; ROAA nursery, Kayankow Road, Nsuaem.

Types of Planting Materials:

Budded 20 months old bare stumps.

Budded 10 months old bagged stumps.

Areas suitable for production:

Forest zones of Western, Central, Eastern, Ashanti, Volta and Brong Ahafo regions with minimum rainfall of 1200mm per annum relatively evenly distributed on lower slopes, uplands, and flatlands. Apart from sandy soils and soils with concrete pans the crop does well in all types of soils. Marshy areas should be avoided since the crop cannot withstand water logging.

Land Preparation
Complete clearing of all vegetation should be ensured with emphasis on the following;

  • Brushing of undergrowth to a minimum height of 15cm.

  • Manual felling of small trees and bushes.

  • Felling and lopping of big trees with chainsaw.

  • Stacking of the cleared vegetation which have been left to dry.

  • Controlled burning of the cleared vegetation.

  • Cutting into pieces and packing the wood/logs.

  • Piling and burning of all debris around the tree stumps.

  • Completely avoid water-logged areas.

These operations should start from November and end by April.

Lining and Pegging

An initial baseline, east to west is determined using lines and pegs. Fix peg 6m apart on the initial baseline. Pegging is extended 3m apart in north-south alignment. The planting distance will therefore be 6mx3m rectangular. Planting density is 555 trees per hectare.

Holing

Dig holes to dimensions of 40x40x60cm with earth chisel and spade, separate the top soil from sub-soil.

Planting

Planting should be carried out when there is adequate rainfall (May/June) or (Sep/Oct.)

One budded stump is planted per hole and the scion usually directed to face the North.

The hole is filled with top soil and firmed with stick or pestle.

Protection of stumps against termite attack

Apply 10g of termiticide chemical around the base of the plant. All debris within the planting lines should be removed. Ensure regular line cleaning.

Farming Systems:

  • Monocropping

Establish Pueraria or cover crop to smother weeds, prevent soil erosion, conserve moisture and fix nitrogen. Broadcast 10kgs of pueraria per hectare

  • Intercropping

Recommended suitable crops include plantain/banana, pineapple, cereals, and vegetables. Intercrop 1-2m away from rubber plant.

Fertilizer application

Apply NPK (15-15-15) at the rate of 200g/tree 5-6 months after planting and then 400g/tree per year for the subsequent two years. Well-decomposed coconut husk can be used as organic fertilizer in addition to the chemical fertilizers.

Pruning

Pruning should be done every month to get rid of undesirable side shoots in order to enhance early shooting of the scion and its rapid growth. In mature plantations, basal pruning of branches below 2 meters should be carried out to enhance aeration in order to reduce dumpness and enhance good tapping panel

Weed Management:

MANUAL UPKEEP IMMATURE (<3 YRS) IMMATURE (3-7YRS) MATURE >7YRS
Circle/Ring Weeding ` Slash 1m radius from base of plant prior to fertilizer application  

 

 

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Line Clearing Slash planting lines to the ground 1m apart of the rubber trees every 4 weeks Slash planting lines to the ground every 2-3 months Slash planting lines to the ground every 6 months
Inter-Row Weeding Slash selectively 4 times a year when pueraria is used as cover crop. Identify weeds growing in clusters and cut to the ground so that cover crop can smother weeds Slash selectively 3 times/year Slash once a year
Vine removal Remove the pueraria or other climbers on the rubber tree occasionally Remove the pueraria or other climbers on the rubber tree occasionally Remove the pueraria or other climbers on the rubber tree occasionally
 

Chemical Upkeep

 

Not advisable because of drift which could damage the young tender plants

 

Glyphosate, Gramozone etc. can be used to spray the planting lines as instructed

 

Glyphosate, Gramozone etc. can be used to spray the planting lines as instructed

 

Diseases and control

Root Disease

Major diseases control is carried out against white root rot (Fomes lignosis). Infected trees show yellowish leaf coloration and eventually die. Management: Infected tree is uprooted and eight (8) trees immediately around it treated with granular fungicide to avoid attack. Mass detection/control exercises are out in May and November every year.

Panel Disease

Panel disease may be caused by patch canker (Phytophthora palmivora). Management: Fungicides such as powdery dithane could be mixed with petroletum (neutral grease) for treatment on the panel.

Leaf Disease

Fungus (Corynespora cassicola) attacks tree leading to premature fall of all leaves. Management: Spray fungicide using a boom sprayer

Pre-tapping operations:

Line cleaning and slashing should be carried out to create access to every tree. Girth measurement and census of all the tappable trees should be done. All trees which have their circumference measuring 50cm or above at 1m above ground could be opened for tapping. The trees are opened at the height of 3.1m at an angle of 35o. The trunk of the trees are divided into two and one side is tapped for 5 years before changing to the other side.

Tapping:

This is the systemic and controlled wounding of a rubber tree to induce latex flow.

Every tree is tapped twice a week or 100 days per year. The farming system recommended is 1/2s 3d 6d/7 or 3-farm system. One person taps 750trees per day.

Stimulation

Stimulate application with ethephone (2 chloro-ethyl phosphonic acid) with 2.5% active ingredient at the rate of 0.75g per tree is carried out four (4) times a year to increase production (more than 50%). The stimulant is applied on the tapping panel 1cm above the tapping grove.

Investment Cost

Exchange rate € 1.00=GH¢2.00

YEAR 1

Land Preparation

Planting

Inputs

Maintenance

Sub-total

Euro (€)

178.80

23.28

375.02

82.80

659.90

YEAR 2

Maintenance

Fertilizer and its application

Sub-total

 

124.80

118.20

243.00

YEAR 3

Maintenance

Fertilizer and its application

Disease treatment

Sub-total

 

123.60

118.20

14.10

255.90

YEAR 4

Maintenance

Disease treatment

Sub-total

 

81.00

14.10

95.10

 

YEAR 5

Maintenance

Disease treatment

Sub-total

 

67.00

14.10

81.10

YEAR 6

Maintenance

Disease treatment

Sub-total

 

66.60

14.10

80.70

YEAR 7

Maintenance

Disease treatment

Sub-total

 

40.20

14.10

54.30

TOTAL 1.470.00

 

CASH FLOW AT MATURITY
Yield/yr 1709-2905kg wet/ha
Factory gate price/kilo €0.50
Revenue/yr €854.5 – €1452.50
Operational cost (€239.48)
Net income/yr €615.02 – €1213.02
Net income/month €51.25 – €101.08

 

©2010

For further information contact:

Tree Crops Development Unit, Directorate of Cop Services, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Accra.

Credit goes to Tree Crops Working Group, Directorate of Crop Services, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, for initiating and influencing the development of this production guide.

 

 

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