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Growing Cassava In Thailand


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#1 Khonwan

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Posted 2008-05-12 15:13:38

Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz)

About the author’s cassava experience:

I’ve been growing cassava on small parts of my 200 rai (1 rai = 0.4 acres = 0.16 hectares) for some 10 years now; I operated a cassava, mungbean, maize rotation system in the past but alternated the pattern so that I always had all crops growing each year in different fields. My main interest, however, was breeding cattle, then fattening pigs. Despite my lack of firm attention, and fairly minimal fertilisation, my cassava harvests normally yielded 3-4 tonne per rai. With better practices this year, I expect to achieve 5 tonne per rai at next harvest.

I do not consider myself an expert but I’m happy to share my knowledge based on both my experiences and research. The following represents an intentionally brief outline of how to grow the crop. There is an abundance of information to be had on the Internet should you Google “cassava” or “tapioca”.


Other names:

Cassava is also known as tapioca, manioc, yucca, etc. It is known as มันสัปหลัง man sapalang in Thai.


Common varieties:

Refer to www.doa.go.th/fieldcrops/res/0949-3.pdf for a list and description. I have grown Rayong 5, Rayong 7, Kasertsat 50, and Huay Bong 60. I expect I will also grow Rayong 9 next year since it is reported to produce higher starch yields that are more suited to ethanol production..


Required soil conditions:

Cassava will grow in most soils but it prefers slightly acidic, loose soil with good drainage. The tubers shall certainly rot if planted in low-lying areas prone to flooding.


Planting season:

This crop can be planted anytime. For most varieties, artificial irrigation is only indicated if planted in the dry season. It is best to get the plant established before the major rains start to counter soil erosion: the developing roots help to anchor the plant and reduce soil erosion common on slopes; the emerging leaves help to reduce the impact of heavy rain around the vicinity of the plant, which otherwise hastens erosion. I normally plant 11-month crops April/May but intend to switch to 18-month crops with mungbean (ถั่วเขียว tùa kĭeow) rotation. I have grown the crop over 22 months (see attached photo of me with a 23kg example taken some 4/5 years ago) before but the first-line processors (who chip the tubers and sun dry them before selling them on) are starting to measure the starch content. 18 months is optimum for tuber weight and starch content (dry matter percentage). It is therefore likely that I’ll start to plant mungbean in March (it has a propagation to harvest timeframe of 95-105 days) and then plant cassava in June. The cassava shall then be harvested in December of the following year. I shall plant only half my land in this fashion during the first year, and the other half the following year (the other half during the first year will be planted in April for an 11-month crop).

As a nitrogen fixer, mungbean (there are other crops you could choose from) puts around 23kg of nitrogen back into the soil per rai (equivalent to one 50kg bag of urea, 46-0-0, per rai costing nearly 1,000 baht these days). The beans are harvested (normally at a profit) and the plants are ploughed back into the soil, releasing the nitrogen and improving the soil structure by adding bio-mass. Should you not wish to grow the mungbeans yourself, it is common practice to allow someone else to do so for free – your land benefits, whilst they make the investment and take the risks.

This two-year cycle of growing cassava reduces the workload nearly in half, and consequently your costs. You should at least double your yield compared to a one-year cycle and more than double your profit compared to a one-year cycle.

One problem using this cycle presents itself: if you harvest in December you cannot use the stems six months later (they have a useful life of up to 3 months). This can be resolved by cutting the required stems in June from the other half of your land, which should now be 12 months old. The plant has another 6 months to recover from this – it has very little effect on the yield. You may be able to sell the December stems.



Land preparation:

Having used only the 7-disc plough (ผานเจ็ด pan-jèt), along with a ridger (ผานยกร่อง pan-yoke-man) for several years, my soil below resembles a layer of concrete. This assists erosion on slopes since water cannot easily be absorbed by this compacted layer. It also reduces the reservoir of moisture available to the plants in the dry season. On flat level areas, it reduces the effective drainage thereby increasing the risk of tuber-rot. The shallow tillage with such a compacted layer also acts as a physical obstruction to the growth of the tubers. The solution is to plough first with a 3-disc plough (which cuts deeper), then follow up (after a few days to allow weeds to die) by cross-ploughing with the 7-disc plough. (These disc sizes pertain to large tractors such as my Ford 6600.) However, I think it best to use the 3-disc plough (ผานสาม pan-sarm) only every second crop-season to prevent the compacted layer occurring.

Slopes should be counter ridged to prevent soil erosion. Water gullies shall still occur – you can try to minimize these by placing objects (e.g. stakes) in the gullies to slow (not to prevent) the water-flow. Whatever you do, slopes are going to present a challenge if consisting of sandy soil. Integration with crops such as mungbean, peanuts, etc. or even strips of grass will help, but they too reduce the area for cassava cultivation or (when confined to between normal-spaced ridges) compete with cassava for nutrients, reducing the cassava yield.


Propagation:

Stems are cut from mature cassava trees and then cut into pieces measuring approximately 20cm – these cut stems are called setts. These setts should preferably have at least 5 nodes. Stick them into the top of the (normally) ridged soil either vertically or at an angle. Of the 20cm, stick 10-15cm into the ground. Make sure the nodes are pointing up (just as they were whilst in the ground before cutting). Better results (in terms of sett survival rates) can be obtained by immersing the setts in a solution of water containing a root promoter the night before planting (normally utilizing a 200-litre drum).


Spacing:

The Thai recommendation is 80-100cm x 80-100cm. I follow local practice by planting approximately 50cm x 95cm (I say approximately because we don’t bother to use measuring sticks – the exact spacing is not that relevant). The total yield per rai is not affected. The closer spacing helps to reduce weeds (because of a greater leaf canopy), and soil erosion on slopes (the greater canopy reduces the impact of rainfall on the soil and the more extensive roots help hold the soil in place).


Weeding:

It is vital to keep your crop weed-free during the first 3-4 months. Cassava is a slow grower initially and cannot compete with weeds. Weeds will certainly reduce your cassava yield. You can spray the newly planted area during the first three days with a pre-emergence herbicide (I’ve never done so to-date) then spray paraquat around one month after planting and again as often as required during the first 3-4 months (keep the nozzle low to avoid spraying the cassava leaves).


Fertiliser:

50kg of “15-7-18” per rai one month after planting, and another 50kg of “15-7-18” three months after planting. This first application of fertiliser (ปุ๋ย bpŭI) can be replaced, if you wish, by 1,000kg of aged-manure before planting – whilst better, it is impractical for most farmers and more expensive. Of course, any amount of aged-manure or compost before planting in addition to the chemical-fertiliser (ปุ๋ยเคมี bpŭi kây-mee) after planting as described can only help improve the soil.


Pests & Diseases:

Unlike other parts of the world, cassava in Thailand is not seriously afflicted by pests or diseases. I’ve not yet had a problem – never known anyone to have a problem.


Harvest:

Where the tree stems are to be used or sold for planting, they should be cut and handled fairly carefully (so as to avoid damaging the nodes), de-branched (leaving the leaves and branches to be ploughed in later), bundled (tie with string), and transported to a site where you can safely keep them for up to 3 months. They should be untied and stood on the ground (nodes up), ensuring that each stem is actually in contact with the soil. Ploughing that small area of soil immediately before standing the stems will make moisture available to the stems. Although not vital, standing them where they can benefit from some shade, e.g. on the north side of a tree, should increase their storage life-span. The sooner you plant them, the higher the survival rate, the fewer replacements needed. You can occasionally slightly wet the soil should you think the stems are drying out too much.

To now harvest the tubers, use a tractor with a mouldboard plough attached to the 3-point hitch at the back (ผานขุดมัน pan kood man) to loosen the tubers from the soil. Do not expose more tubers than can be collected that day – the starch content rapidly reduces once the tubers are exposed. You will need one person per tonne per day to follow behind the tractor, haul the tubers out, separate them from the woody stem-base with a machete, and load them into your transport. The tubers should then immediately be transported to the processor. The processor shall weigh your loaded vehicle before and after unloading the tubers – you shall receive a ticket indicating both weights and the agreed price, and will probably have to come back after a couple of days (some times a week) to receive payment.


Post-harvest:

You can chip and sun-dry the tubers yourself on a large area paved with concrete – don’t bother. It is not worth the effort. The extra risks and labour involved do not justify the slight extra financial gain.


Local Thai knowledge/wisdom:

A lack of money tends to be the average Thai farmer’s only obstacle to improving cassava yields. They too know that deep ploughing is preferable and that 100kg of chemical fertiliser yields more than just 25-50kg but most of them can’t afford the extra outlay due to years of depressed prices. There is very little I can teach the average Thai cassava farmer. The best cassava research comes from Thailand, and the information is disseminated to the farmers quite well


Finally:

Please feel free to comment or correct me on any point above – as I stated at the outset, I’m not a cassava “expert”….just another cassava farmer in the land of smiling debt-ridden farmers (who now thankfully have a golden opportunity to clear their debts thanks to ethanol/petroleum biofuels).

Khonwan

PS. The attached Excel spreadsheet should give you a good idea of your likely expenses. Play with the figures: change the yield from 4 tonne (assumes 11 months) to 8 tonne (assumes) 18 months. I recently harvested at 2,270 baht/tonne but I believe the figure likely to reach 3,000 baht next harvest.

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#2 Ciaphas

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Posted 2008-05-13 01:56:27

Great Post, Thank you :o

#3 Lickey

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Posted 2008-05-14 23:58:27

Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz)

About the author's cassava experience:

I've been growing cassava on small parts of my 200 rai (1 rai = 0.4 acres = 0.16 hectares) for some 10 years now; I operated a cassava, mungbean, maize rotation system in the past but alternated the pattern so that I always had all crops growing each year in different fields. My main interest, however, was breeding cattle, then fattening pigs. Despite my lack of firm attention, and fairly minimal fertilisation, my cassava harvests normally yielded 3-4 tonne per rai. With better practices this year, I expect to achieve 5 tonne per rai at next harvest.

I do not consider myself an expert but I'm happy to share my knowledge based on both my experiences and research. The following represents an intentionally brief outline of how to grow the crop. There is an abundance of information to be had on the Internet should you Google "cassava" or "tapioca".


Other names:

Cassava is also known as tapioca, manioc, yucca, etc. It is known as มันสัปหลัง man sapalang in Thai.


Common varieties:

Refer to www.doa.go.th/fieldcrops/res/0949-3.pdf for a list and description. I have grown Rayong 5, Rayong 7, Kasertsat 50, and Huay Bong 60. I expect I will also grow Rayong 9 next year since it is reported to produce higher starch yields that are more suited to ethanol production..


Required soil conditions:

Cassava will grow in most soils but it prefers slightly acidic, loose soil with good drainage. The tubers shall certainly rot if planted in low-lying areas prone to flooding.


Planting season:

This crop can be planted anytime. For most varieties, artificial irrigation is only indicated if planted in the dry season. It is best to get the plant established before the major rains start to counter soil erosion: the developing roots help to anchor the plant and reduce soil erosion common on slopes; the emerging leaves help to reduce the impact of heavy rain around the vicinity of the plant, which otherwise hastens erosion. I normally plant 11-month crops April/May but intend to switch to 18-month crops with mungbean (ถั่วเขียว tùa kĭeow) rotation. I have grown the crop over 22 months (see attached photo of me with a 23kg example taken some 4/5 years ago) before but the first-line processors (who chip the tubers and sun dry them before selling them on) are starting to measure the starch content. 18 months is optimum for tuber weight and starch content (dry matter percentage). It is therefore likely that I'll start to plant mungbean in March (it has a propagation to harvest timeframe of 95-105 days) and then plant cassava in June. The cassava shall then be harvested in December of the following year. I shall plant only half my land in this fashion during the first year, and the other half the following year (the other half during the first year will be planted in April for an 11-month crop).

As a nitrogen fixer, mungbean (there are other crops you could choose from) puts around 23kg of nitrogen back into the soil per rai (equivalent to one 50kg bag of urea, 46-0-0, per rai costing nearly 1,000 baht these days). The beans are harvested (normally at a profit) and the plants are ploughed back into the soil, releasing the nitrogen and improving the soil structure by adding bio-mass. Should you not wish to grow the mungbeans yourself, it is common practice to allow someone else to do so for free – your land benefits, whilst they make the investment and take the risks.

This two-year cycle of growing cassava reduces the workload nearly in half, and consequently your costs. You should at least double your yield compared to a one-year cycle and more than double your profit compared to a one-year cycle.

One problem using this cycle presents itself: if you harvest in December you cannot use the stems six months later (they have a useful life of up to 3 months). This can be resolved by cutting the required stems in June from the other half of your land, which should now be 12 months old. The plant has another 6 months to recover from this – it has very little effect on the yield. You may be able to sell the December stems.



Land preparation:

Having used only the 7-disc plough (ผานเจ็ด pan-jèt), along with a ridger (ผานยกร่อง pan-yoke-man) for several years, my soil below resembles a layer of concrete. This assists erosion on slopes since water cannot easily be absorbed by this compacted layer. It also reduces the reservoir of moisture available to the plants in the dry season. On flat level areas, it reduces the effective drainage thereby increasing the risk of tuber-rot. The shallow tillage with such a compacted layer also acts as a physical obstruction to the growth of the tubers. The solution is to plough first with a 3-disc plough (which cuts deeper), then follow up (after a few days to allow weeds to die) by cross-ploughing with the 7-disc plough. (These disc sizes pertain to large tractors such as my Ford 6600.) However, I think it best to use the 3-disc plough (ผานสาม pan-sarm) only every second crop-season to prevent the compacted layer occurring.

Slopes should be counter ridged to prevent soil erosion. Water gullies shall still occur – you can try to minimize these by placing objects (e.g. stakes) in the gullies to slow (not to prevent) the water-flow. Whatever you do, slopes are going to present a challenge if consisting of sandy soil. Integration with crops such as mungbean, peanuts, etc. or even strips of grass will help, but they too reduce the area for cassava cultivation or (when confined to between normal-spaced ridges) compete with cassava for nutrients, reducing the cassava yield.


Propagation:

Stems are cut from mature cassava trees and then cut into pieces measuring approximately 20cm – these cut stems are called setts. These setts should preferably have at least 5 nodes. Stick them into the top of the (normally) ridged soil either vertically or at an angle. Of the 20cm, stick 10-15cm into the ground. Make sure the nodes are pointing up (just as they were whilst in the ground before cutting). Better results (in terms of sett survival rates) can be obtained by immersing the setts in a solution of water containing a root promoter the night before planting (normally utilizing a 200-litre drum).


Spacing:

The Thai recommendation is 80-100cm x 80-100cm. I follow local practice by planting approximately 50cm x 95cm (I say approximately because we don't bother to use measuring sticks – the exact spacing is not that relevant). The total yield per rai is not affected. The closer spacing helps to reduce weeds (because of a greater leaf canopy), and soil erosion on slopes (the greater canopy reduces the impact of rainfall on the soil and the more extensive roots help hold the soil in place).


Weeding:

It is vital to keep your crop weed-free during the first 3-4 months. Cassava is a slow grower initially and cannot compete with weeds. Weeds will certainly reduce your cassava yield. You can spray the newly planted area during the first three days with a pre-emergence herbicide (I've never done so to-date) then spray paraquat around one month after planting and again as often as required during the first 3-4 months (keep the nozzle low to avoid spraying the cassava leaves).


Fertiliser:

50kg of "15-7-18" per rai one month after planting, and another 50kg of "15-7-18" three months after planting. This first application of fertiliser (ปุ๋ย bpŭI) can be replaced, if you wish, by 1,000kg of aged-manure before planting – whilst better, it is impractical for most farmers and more expensive. Of course, any amount of aged-manure or compost before planting in addition to the chemical-fertiliser (ปุ๋ยเคมี bpŭi kây-mee) after planting as described can only help improve the soil.


Pests & Diseases:

Unlike other parts of the world, cassava in Thailand is not seriously afflicted by pests or diseases. I've not yet had a problem – never known anyone to have a problem.


Harvest:

Where the tree stems are to be used or sold for planting, they should be cut and handled fairly carefully (so as to avoid damaging the nodes), de-branched (leaving the leaves and branches to be ploughed in later), bundled (tie with string), and transported to a site where you can safely keep them for up to 3 months. They should be untied and stood on the ground (nodes up), ensuring that each stem is actually in contact with the soil. Ploughing that small area of soil immediately before standing the stems will make moisture available to the stems. Although not vital, standing them where they can benefit from some shade, e.g. on the north side of a tree, should increase their storage life-span. The sooner you plant them, the higher the survival rate, the fewer replacements needed. You can occasionally slightly wet the soil should you think the stems are drying out too much.

To now harvest the tubers, use a tractor with a mouldboard plough attached to the 3-point hitch at the back (ผานขุดมัน pan kood man) to loosen the tubers from the soil. Do not expose more tubers than can be collected that day – the starch content rapidly reduces once the tubers are exposed. You will need one person per tonne per day to follow behind the tractor, haul the tubers out, separate them from the woody stem-base with a machete, and load them into your transport. The tubers should then immediately be transported to the processor. The processor shall weigh your loaded vehicle before and after unloading the tubers – you shall receive a ticket indicating both weights and the agreed price, and will probably have to come back after a couple of days (some times a week) to receive payment.


Post-harvest:

You can chip and sun-dry the tubers yourself on a large area paved with concrete – don't bother. It is not worth the effort. The extra risks and labour involved do not justify the slight extra financial gain.


Local Thai knowledge/wisdom:

A lack of money tends to be the average Thai farmer's only obstacle to improving cassava yields. They too know that deep ploughing is preferable and that 100kg of chemical fertiliser yields more than just 25-50kg but most of them can't afford the extra outlay due to years of depressed prices. There is very little I can teach the average Thai cassava farmer. The best cassava research comes from Thailand, and the information is disseminated to the farmers quite well


Finally:

Please feel free to comment or correct me on any point above – as I stated at the outset, I'm not a cassava "expert"….just another cassava farmer in the land of smiling debt-ridden farmers (who now thankfully have a golden opportunity to clear their debts thanks to ethanol/petroleum biofuels).

Khonwan

PS. The attached Excel spreadsheet should give you a good idea of your likely expenses. Play with the figures: change the yield from 4 tonne (assumes 11 months) to 8 tonne (assumes) 18 months. I recently harvested at 2,270 baht/tonne but I believe the figure likely to reach 3,000 baht next harvest.


Khowan, thanks for the vaulable info, im a first time Cassava grower and would like you views on the following pics, Thanks, Lickey

1st pic is planted cassava 6 weeks ago in the tamarind orchard, weedkilled but no fertilizer yet, will do this week,
2nd pic is 3 weeks old planted on the old Papaya land, no weedkiller yet, and looks like i will have to replace a few stalks,,
3rd pic is SILs cassava planted down the slope about 5 weeks ago, the rainwater has taken out a complete row, the main disadvantage of planting downhill i would think, but with the rubber trees as well, not much choice!!
4th pic, Sis in Laws cassava, planted 5 weeks ago, What do you think? they where brought onto the farm abought a month before planting, would they be old before coming to the farm? or just bad stock?
5th pic is a close up of SILS cassava plants, what do you think is wrong please,

Thanks for your views, Cheers, Lickey..

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#4 Lickey

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Posted 2008-05-15 00:01:57

Sorry folks, the pics and descriptions are all the wrong way round, but im sure you get the idea, thanks, Lickey.

#5 Khonwan

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Posted 2008-05-16 16:33:16

Khowan, thanks for the vaulable info, im a first time Cassava grower and would like you views on the following pics, Thanks, Lickey

1st pic is planted cassava 6 weeks ago in the tamarind orchard, weedkilled but no fertilizer yet, will do this week,
2nd pic is 3 weeks old planted on the old Papaya land, no weedkiller yet, and looks like i will have to replace a few stalks,,
3rd pic is SILs cassava planted down the slope about 5 weeks ago, the rainwater has taken out a complete row, the main disadvantage of planting downhill i would think, but with the rubber trees as well, not much choice!!
4th pic, Sis in Laws cassava, planted 5 weeks ago, What do you think? they where brought onto the farm abought a month before planting, would they be old before coming to the farm? or just bad stock?
5th pic is a close up of SILS cassava plants, what do you think is wrong please,

Thanks for your views, Cheers, Lickey..


I have already responded to Lickey by phone since I was too busy to log-on, but for other readers (in the intended order of pics):

1st pic: Looking great.
2nd pic: Replacement of some stalks is normal. Do look closely at your plants, though – sometimes a difficult-to-see shoot sprouts from under the soil rather than the visible part of the stem indicating that replacement is not required.
3rd pic: Still time to replace if you wish – no need to rebuild the ridge: you can plant fresh stems in the missing row (though if it rains heavily again before they get established, they’ll just be washed away again).
4th pic: I’m inclined to believe that the stalks were already stored too long before their purchase, then stored again for a further month. The stems also look thin. Long storage would dry out the stalks – thin stalks would dry out quicker. Re-plant.
5th pic: I haven’t come across this but Lickey’s wife has purchased a spray so we can look forward to his description of the chemical and a report as to whether it did any good.

Perhaps the reason I have no experience of disease in cassava (there isn’t much anyway in Thailand) is that we’ve only ever purchased (or obtained) stalks from other farmers in our village. We have cut the stalks from selected neighbours’ fields rather than purchasing already-cut stalks. We already know the quality of the stalks before we cut them – we know they were disease-free and we know the yields. We don’t rush to purchase the latest variety from outside our area – we wait for someone else to do so, then harvest their stalks later for our use having already satisfied ourselves of their worth.

I would ask other members to describe their experience of cassava disease/pests and, more importantly, offer solutions.

Rgds
Khonwan

#6 Gary A

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Posted 2008-05-16 17:34:54

I hope the government and the ethanol producers can use all the extra Mun they will have this (next) year. I just returned to Loei from Jomtien and I simply couldn't believe all the new fields of mun that are planted. Relying on my poor memory, I think most of that new crop was at the expense of corn. From highway 2 all the way to Chaiyaphum on highway 201 was a huge change from whatever crop to mun.

#7 Lickey

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Posted 2008-05-17 04:34:39

I hope the government and the ethanol producers can use all the extra Mun they will have this (next) year. I just returned to Loei from Jomtien and I simply couldn't believe all the new fields of mun that are planted. Relying on my poor memory, I think most of that new crop was at the expense of corn. From highway 2 all the way to Chaiyaphum on highway 201 was a huge change from whatever crop to mun.

My sentiments exactly Gary, glut the market and the price will drop, In my humble opionin, rice is the way to go, with a global shortage of staple foods it will comand a good price for years to come, on the way to our hillside farm[1k] there are numerous padies and a good river, 10mtrs wide, in the near 2 years ive been here, it never drops more than a foot or so, but still only 1 rice crop a year, and every other piece of ground has cassava, some only 20ft square, perhaps personal use ect?
The reason we are trying it is because it is a very hardy crop, little irrigation, and relatively disease free, well, so i thought!

Khowan, I bought a backpack sprayer [motorized 25ltr] for 3200bht, had to something since the demise of the booster pump!! sprayed the infected cassava wednesday, Had a quick look between storms today and so far so good, and no sign of ants on the sprayed ground either, so thats a start!! if the mealy bug has abated, will post a pic of the insecticde bottle on here.
Did any of you see the news clip on Thai tv? mrs saw it, about mealy bugs, it suggested using loa cal, [cheap thai whisky] mixed with a cheap fruit juice and water in a backpack sprayer, [mix quantities unknown!!] acording to numerous websites, alcohol is the answer, it dries out the coating of the bug making it difficult to breathe and eat the plant its attached to, also, its a lot cheaper than most insecticides..
Going back to my Ahpids or other? post on the forum, you asked me how i was getting on with the Papaya problems, [more mealy bugs!!! } i pressure washed about 60 of the plants so far, [thanks meandwi ] and they are today looking a lot better, leaves are perking up and looking a lot heatlhier, only another 600 odd plants to do,,, now i have the backpack, will spray these with white oil [machine engineering lathe oil souluable in water ] and if i still see ants on the trunks, will wrap some cling-film about a 1ft from the base and coat in some wheel bearing grease or other HMP grease and some ant killer inseticide..

I also found out today that SIL bought her cassava on a local market, What where they doing on a local market? cheap,old, disesed ect, who knows? Like Khowan says, go see them growing, inspect for leaf curl,tuber size ect,perhaps even ask the seller for his last sale invoice for the plant in question,,
I also believe that mealy bugs can be soil borne, the only problems weve had are in the infected papaya that were ploughed in, they are now prevalant in the cassava, hopefully various spray treatments will alleviate this problem..

As an after-thought, [and im good at this] when i cut down some badly infected papaya plants last january, i let them lay, and die off, but meanwhile its easier for the ants to carry the bug to another plant and re-start the problem, so my recent thoughts are to cut down the plant, and incinerate it with a parraffin/diesel powered flame thrower, if only i could find one!!!

Here are 3 pics what to look out for with cassava mealy bugs, check the underside of the leaves as well, white dots are a bad sign, stunted growth and leaf curl another, do a web search on rubber tree mealy bgs, banana,cassava, papaya, any thing you have growing, they seem to live on anything and everything, to be fore-warned is to be fore-armed, Thanks, Lickey..

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#8 Khonwan

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Posted 2008-05-18 15:21:14

Three ministries jointly promote E20, E85 use

BANGKOK, May 17 (TNA) - In an attempt to promote the use of ethanol among the Thai public, three ministries will cooperate in using E20 or E85 in their vehicles, Deputy Minister of Agricultural Cooperatives Theerachai Saenkaew said Saturday.

Mr. Theerachai said his ministry with the energy and industry ministries planned to use E20 or E85 in official vehicles to encourage the use of ethanol in Thailand.

It is also hoped that the high profile application of E20 or E85 would bolster confidence among auto buyers, inducing them to import more ethanol-adapted cars into Thailand, eventually leading to the full use of ethanol E100 in future, enabling Thailand to depend less on imported crude oil as planned by the government, Mr. Theerachai said.

E20 contains 20 per cent of ethanol and 80 per cent gasoline while E85 is an alcohol-based fuel typically containing up to 85 per cent denatured fuel ethanol and gasoline or other hydrocarbon by volume. On an undenatured basis, the ethanol component ranges from 70 to 83 per cent.

Currently, there are 48 ethanol producing plants in Thailand but their production has not yet reached full capacity, and some operators are also reluctant to invest more, said Mr. Theerachai.

Production costs of ethanol run as high as Bt19 a litre while it is sold at around Bt16-17, he said, adding that both producers and consumers are unwilling to use ethanol due to its priciness. (TNA)-E111



#9 Lickey

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Posted 2008-05-20 17:59:50

As promised, a week after spraying the cassava the results are very good indeed, the insecticide has certainly killed of all the bug carrying ants and the problem seems to have abated for now.but viligance is the keyword here, as soon as the ants reappear, spray again.

After a phone chat with Khonwan today, he suggested taking an infected plant [ in this case papaya leaf] to the amphur agri office, 5/6 other farmers where there with same problem, he said it was important to keep the ant population down and add low cal to the spray, the alcohol will get into the jacket of the bug and eventually kill it. He didnt give a mix quantity,he didnt know, so trial and error there.

The pics are the insecticide we are using to control the ants.

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#10 CADLoeiFarmer

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Posted 2008-05-20 23:13:36

Wow - I finally found something useful! Thank you very much posters. This is my situation:
1) Lived in Vietnam 1995 - 1998
2) Lived in Taiwan 2002 - 2004
3) Lived in Malaysia 2004 - 2007 (took care of Thailand in 2005)
2002 - 2007: I was a Finance Director for a German multinational software company (Ernie Els)
Now I am back in Canada. I am an Investment Advisor (CFA, CMA, MBA) with Canada's largest bank....
4) I have a Thai girlfriend and son born in BKK in 2007.
5) Starting this year - we bought 70 Rai in Loei and I am having a house built in Udon Thani. We already have a small place in Ban Dung. Goal is to have 3 houses. (BD, UT, Loei)
6) Just planted Cassava last month - everything is being done by wife / family and I have let them run with it but is is nice to get a feel for the revenue - expenses & timings.
7) Thank you 100% for that spreadsheet - it is fantastic.
8) Unlike some other ex-pats I have no issues with putting $ into TH because when there is a son involved (he has two passports already CDN & TH) I have 0 worry about "loss". Everything is for the son's future. Goal is to get to 200 rai by end of 2008....
9) We bought a 50 HP kubota tractor and have a pick up truck.
10) I am not looking to make big $ but it will be nice to make some... I am 41 and still intend to work a long time (perhaps move to Singapore next year to be closer to my hobby farms)
11) I have bookmarked this site and I look forward to learning more...

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#11 Khonwan

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Posted 2008-05-21 17:12:25

Thanks for your post, CADLoeiFarmer. Welcome to the forum.

Rgds
Khonwan

#12 Khonwan

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Posted 2008-05-21 17:21:12

Understanding supply & demand in the market is crucial to farming strategy. I intend to re-post cassava-related news items here to help provide some better understanding as to where the market is heading.

Khonwan


Bangkok Post, 14th May 2008

Ethanol industry puts tapioca in jeopardy

Exporters say supply is being squeezed

WALAILAK KEERATIPIPATPONG

Tapioca exporters have asked the government to allow the market move freely without favouring the ethanol industry. The increasing use of cassava roots as a raw material for ethanol has sparked concern among flour and pellets producers who say they may face shortages.

''We do not want to see any policy that favours a particular business group,'' said Chen Wongboonsin, president of the Thai Tapioca Trade Association.

''Let the market run freely and ethanol producers have to race for supplies the same as other manufacturers do.''Tapioca product exports generate more than 70 billion baht per year for Thailand from various industries including flour, modified starch, pellets and chips.

With alternative energy topping the government's agenda, at least 25 ethanol plants are scheduled to open in the next few years, mostly in the Northeast, a cassava production hub. They would have a total output of about 7.8 million litres a day, consuming about 15 million of cassava roots per year, he said.

However, only one plant is operating today, with a demand of 500,000 tonnes of cassava per year. Supplies remain uncertain since prices have been rising.

According to Mr Chen, local cassava prices were 2.00 to 2.60 baht per kilogramme in the 2007-08 crop, pushing the cost of producing a litre of ethanol as high as 21-22 baht a litre, far above the 17-baht ethanol benchmark in Brazil.

To be viable, the ethanol industry has to acquire cassava roots at no more than 1.50 baht a kilogramme, but it could have difficulty bargaining with planters unless they produce more than 27 million tonnes per year.

The association estimated cassava output for the coming 2008-09 crop at 30 million tonnes, provided that planters use good quality varieties and leave the roots to grow for at least 10 months to provide higher starch content.

''The price is still uncertain due to many factors, such as grain prices in the European Union, exchange rates and transport costs,'' he said.
To increase productivity and manage the crop for all users effectively, he suggested the government speed up plans to register cassava planters nationwide, in order to update plantation areas and obtain basic information about the types of soil and varieties of cassava that suit the land. There are reportedly about 500,000 planters in Thailand.

The registration, already applied in the sugar industry, would help the state to control supply effectively as well as offer financial support directly to growers if need be, he said.

The cabinet last month approved a plan to improve cassava productivity by one tonne to 4.7 tonnes per rai in the next five years and keep harvesting acreage at 7.4 million rai. It will spend 10 billion baht for a 12-year plan to increase yields for sugarcane, palm and cassava.

A Kasetsart University report says most cassava planters in Thailand use KU50 and Rayong 5 varieties that respectively yielded 5.38 and 4.98 tonnes per rai in experimental trials, in which proper soil and planting duration are necessary.
Mr Chen says good variety is not a problem as the tapioca industry has been developing better varieties for decades, he said. ''The question is how to stop planters from digging young roots.''

Mr Chen, also senior assistant managing director of STC Tapioca Group, said he told planters last week that cassava offered margins as good as those from maize and rice. ''Costs to produce cassava are 1.20 baht a kilogramme but they can sell at more than two baht.''

The market for cassava is large as about 50 million tonnes of flour and starch are used worldwide, with only 2.5 million tonnes supplied by Thailand.

The tax-free provision under the Thailand-China free trade agreement increased exports of Thai tapioca chips to China to 3.9 million tonnes in 2006, while the local feed industry needs 1.5 million tonnes of chips a year.

The EU has committed to buy a maximum of 5.25 million tonnes each year. While the EU bought less volume in recent years, positive signs have emerged since last year, following rising grain prices around the globe, he noted.


#13 CADLoeiFarmer

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Posted 2008-05-21 23:32:25

I have learned a lot from your posts Khunwan. I spent the month of November in TH. That is when I agreed to then send the money to buy the 70 rai in December / January. We had bought 10 rai sight unseen (from her Grandmother's sister) about a year ago but when I finally saw the land I had a gut feel that it was not a wrong thing to do.... It is very beautiful up there and I wanted to help create something that throws off some income independent of working for a big company....a bit if self sufficiency... My problem was that while I trust that they all know what they are doing (since some of them live up there and that is what they do) - I didn't know enough about the financial dynamics. I would just get a call - need fertiliser - need to weed - etc... don't worry - we are going to get $x per rai. Plus sometimes we were talking acres then rai then kilos / tons / raw roots versus chips - it was a bit confusing for me to sort out. I basically wanted to know the yields per rai, the prices and the expenses.... Now I have a pretty good understanding and I am quite happy about it all. Our land was a bit more expensive than 10K a rai (closer to 30) - so the payback is a bit longer. As we add land - they will be cheaper pieces to bring down the average cost. I love the location - beside the mountain and there is a temple there above us. From our 10 rai spot we look over to our 70 rai spot (2nd pic - can see the moutain in the back) ..... Attached is a pic from when the land was being cleared. My previous posts show the plants at 1 month. There is a sense of satisfaction in growing things and making a bit of money.....In BKK our office had about 40 people. I was the Finance Director and so I did the Budget and I know the salaries / bonuses etc... My accountant was top notch and I paid her 90K THB per month. But most middle managers make about 50K THB per month. So my goals was to create an income for the spouse that is comparable to having a decent job in BKK but without having a boss, daily grind etc... I think at 200 rai - it looks pretty good and as you said - the payback is not so long....

Thanks for the posts and I will keep learning!

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#14 Khonwan

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Posted 2008-05-24 19:42:20

Hi CADLoeiFarmer

I've just looked at your last two pics. Beautiful location. My own house and farm are located right on the edge of the hill-forests of Mae Wong National Park.

I am sure you will achieve your stated aims.

Rgds
Khonwan

#15 Issangeorge

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Posted 2008-05-24 23:28:57

According to Mr Chen, local cassava prices were 2.00 to 2.60 baht per kilogramme in the 2007-08 crop, pushing the cost of producing a litre of ethanol as high as 21-22 baht a litre, far above the 17-baht ethanol benchmark in Brazil. To be viable, the ethanol industry has to acquire cassava roots at no more than 1.50 baht a kilogramme.

I disagree with Mr. Chen, ethanol from cassava in Thailand is not competing against ethanol from Brazil, but instead against the cost of gasoline which it replaces and at the present time a litre of refined gasoline based on $130 US per barrel for oil and 33 baht to the US dollar costs about 33 baht a litre so right now ethanol from cassava is very competitive and as long as oil goes up and the price of cassava doesn’t go up higher % wise than oil then ethanol from cassava will remain competitive. Actually as long as oil stays above $91 US and the US dollar at or below 33 to the baht, ethanol should be competitive. Issangeorge.

#16 pikwik

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Posted 2008-05-25 23:45:30

KhonWan,

Thank you for providing the spreadsheet for downloading. This is my first post, so my apologies for not being able to make a contribution yet, to this very helpful forum. I have been living between the UK and Isaan for the last 5 years. I am just an amateur hobbyist who enjoys aspects of farming, but I always find the knowledge and wisdom of the postees on this forum clearly informative and very useful. You guys are doing a great job. :o

Pikwik

#17 Khonwan

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Posted 2008-05-26 11:36:15

KhonWan,

Thank you for providing the spreadsheet for downloading. This is my first post, so my apologies for not being able to make a contribution yet, to this very helpful forum. I have been living between the UK and Isaan for the last 5 years. I am just an amateur hobbyist who enjoys aspects of farming, but I always find the knowledge and wisdom of the postees on this forum clearly informative and very useful. You guys are doing a great job. :o

Pikwik


Hi Pikwik

Welcome to the forum.

Rgds
Khonwan

#18 DaveD

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Posted 2008-05-28 21:50:34

KhonWan,

Thank you for providing the spreadsheet for downloading. This is my first post, so my apologies for not being able to make a contribution yet, to this very helpful forum. I have been living between the UK and Isaan for the last 5 years. I am just an amateur hobbyist who enjoys aspects of farming, but I always find the knowledge and wisdom of the postees on this forum clearly informative and very useful. You guys are doing a great job. :o

Pikwik


Hi Pikwik

Welcome to the forum.

Rgds
Khonwan



My thanks to you also.
My wife and i are in the middle of planting our first crop.
Ploughing is finished ,and set selection starts .i read this column every night now to keep alert to the problems we face .
So far the only problem has been overcharging for service ,but we knew that before we started .
i feel i can accept the overcharging ,if it keeps everyone sweet.We dont live here but are absentee owners .
My wifes family can assist to a degree ,but that brings its own raft of problems.
This year is an experiment and a learning experience for us ,both in farming ,and in human nature
regards
Dave

#19 Lickey

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Posted 2008-05-29 03:25:02

Dave, ok, so you are not here full-time to keep an eye on things, i am, but even then things go bad, 2 days ago, we bought fertilizer for the cassava, took it to the farm neighbour who we employ sometimes for spraying and odd jobs ect,
Normally i go to the farm on my 1200 Yamaha about 2/3 in the afternoon, this governs my work hours to about 2.5/3 hours because of lower back problems, anyway, yesterday, it was a bright morning and no rain, first time for a week i think, so we went to farm on mrs wave, only to see farm neighbour spreading OUR fertilizer on HIS cassava, [had i been on my bike, he would have heard it a K away] now, ive seen my mrs angry before, but never like this, her face was red and the man was crouched down with his head in his hands, im sure he was willing to pick up all the grains and re-bag them and put on our cassava. [my first thought was to put 5litres of diesel in his fish pond] but 1 retaliation can cause another,
I intervened because i felt sorry for this poor man, {mrs] i told him, ok, use this fertilizer and pay us 920bht when you harvest cassava, and if you want help again, ask me.and we bought another bag which he will spread free today.[no wages]

Its certainly a risky venture, farming from overseas, not one i would undertake, its possible you will recieve calls/e-mails saying Need more money for vitamin,weedkiller,labour,ect. I would need a pic and and a local landmark to verfy pic before i sent more money.

Sorry this is a bit of the dark side of the moon reply, and i hope all goes well with your crops, Rgds Lickey.

#20 Khonwan

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Posted 2008-05-29 22:09:04

Hi DaveD

I agree with Lickey - farming from afar is frought with danger. I fear Lickey's experience would tend to be the norm rather than the exception.

Rgds
Khonwan

#21 Khonwan

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Posted 2008-05-29 22:47:33

Bangkok Post: Tuesday May 27, 2008

Govt decides to cut excise tax on E85 gasohol
Chatrudee Theparat

An initiative to introduce E85 gasohol, the 85% ethanol-blended gasoline, to the Thai market received a boost yesterday when the government decided to cut the excise tax on it to promote the use of alcohol-fuelled cars.

General Motors, Ford and Volvo are the first group of car makers ready to import their E85-fuelled vehicles to the Thai market within three months after the government finalised the exact rate for the tax, and this will generate demand in the local market, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee after a meeting of economic ministers aimed at curbing rising energy prices.

The three western car makers could set up local production lines for the cars within 18 months. Japanese car makers said they could open local production lines of E85-fuelled cars within two years.

E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% premium petrol, will be introduced in Thailand as world oil prices continue to skyrocket.
To encourage car makers to market cars using E85, Mr Surapong said, the government will cut the excise tax on the cars to below 25%, which is the tax now imposed on E20-fuelled cars.

Current excise tax rate for normal passenger cars is at a minimum of 30% and rises depending on engine size.
The Finance Ministry will ask for government approval in principle on the tax reduction today.

The exact rate of the reduction and details of other energy conservation schemes will be proposed for cabinet endorsement next week, he said.

To facilitate the use of E85 fuel in Thailand, PTT Plc and Bangchak Petroleum Plc are ready to sell E85 in their 30-50 service stations within 3-5 months. Sales of the fuel could be swiftly increased depending on demand.

He said the supply of ethanol to produce E85 is sufficient. At present, 11 ethanol producers could supply 900,000 litres per day, compared with demand of 800,000 litres. By next year, the number of producers will increase to 22 with total production capacity of 2.5 million litres per day.


#22 catwho

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Posted 2008-05-30 08:18:33

Thnaks khownan for your input now and in the past.
Another thing that went a little wrong,with us when weeding,the mrs got some locals to work [some had worked fo us before]she told them 170 a day,when she dropped them on the land they said they wanted 35 baht for one row,about 200 rows]when she rang me i said send them home[being mafia]she said then i look stupid , i told her she will either way she goes.they worked one day 2800 baht, then we found our old friends who were happy with the 170.
it may have worked out the same price but did not like the way they did it.
i was going to buy more land and work it, but prices are getting out of hand, and i will wait and see if cassava and corn go up to 3000baht,and 8/9000 for corn.tonne
6 months ago i was ready to move to the country and work with the mrs,
i also found i was alergic to those little tiny sand fly things that bite the cattle and me,eyes swelled up big icthy pimles. now i why they cover up so much,cooler times no prob.
cat

#23 Khonwan

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Posted 2008-05-30 11:13:33

Hi catwho

I deal once made can't be broken with impunity in my book. I would have sent them home.

Rgds
Khonwan

#24 Lickey

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Posted 2008-06-02 15:29:54

Hi Khonwan,

A few days ago,a local farmer told mrs that the cassava looked good [in the tamarind orchard] but would soon fall down!.

We have no idea what he meant by this except the obvious, we inspected the plants and the shoots from the original stick are thick and strong and the plants seem stable in the ground,
They have out-stripped the other plants growth {ex-papaya plantation} These are just over my knee while {see pics} these are up to my shoulders.

The main difference is besides location on farm is these had Guano [bat shit? } ploughed in, and one spray of weedkiller, they are 2 months old today.

Thanks for your thoughts on this, Lickey.

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#25 Khonwan

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Posted 2008-06-02 22:13:34

Hi Khonwan,

A few days ago,a local farmer told mrs that the cassava looked good [in the tamarind orchard] but would soon fall down!.

We have no idea what he meant by this except the obvious, we inspected the plants and the shoots from the original stick are thick and strong and the plants seem stable in the ground,
They have out-stripped the other plants growth {ex-papaya plantation} These are just over my knee while {see pics} these are up to my shoulders.

The main difference is besides location on farm is these had Guano [bat shit? } ploughed in, and one spray of weedkiller, they are 2 months old today.

Thanks for your thoughts on this, Lickey.



Hi Lickey

Your cassava trees in the pic look impressively tall for only two months. I suspect your neighbour suspects you have applied too much urea. Excessive urea (N) creates excellent foliage but poor tuber development. I can't imagine that bat guano can be so high in N though. How much did you spread? This was in addition to 15-15-15, yes? How many kg per rai?

Rgds
Khonwan





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