HOME          Spices           History          Spice list          India&Spice          Organic Spices



About the crop

Introduction Morphology Varities Soils&climateCrop Establishment Pest Management Diseases Management
Post Harvesting ? HarvestingProcessingMarketing


  • The crop is ready for harvest when the leaves turn yellow and start drying up.
  • Usually harvesting begins from January-February and continues till March.
  • The crop becomes ready for harvest in seven to nine months after sowing depending upon variety, fertility status of soil and moisture availability.
  • Early varieties mature in seven to eight months, medium varieties in eight to nine months and late varieties after nine months.
  • The general practice in conventional method of harvesting is to wet the crop after removal of the cut foliage and the turmeric rhizomes are dug out after a week by skilled labour with a special fork type of spade/pick axe.
  • Normally turmeric digging is done by contract labour who demand very high wages during peak season.
  • The damage caused to rhizome by fork type spade is more because the labourer has to dig out the clump all around and in doing so, the fork bruises the rhizomes every time it hits the rhizome.

Turmeric harvester

  • A power tiller operated turmeric harvester has been developed by TNAU (For more information Click here) for harvesting turmeric rhizomes to avoid several losses due to delayed harvesting

Description of the unit

  • The unit consists of a curved blade with three bar points for easy penetration into the soil.
  • The blade is fixed at an inclination of 25 degrees to the horizontal.
  • To the rear end of the blade, two oscillating sectors with six slats spaced at 25 mm apart are hinged at both ends.
  • The oscillating motion for the slats is obtained through eccentric provided on either side of the unit.
  • The eccentrics are connected to the main shaft provided at the top portion of the unit.
  • The power is transmitted from the clutch pulley of the power tiller to a reduction gear box mounted near hitch bracket assembly of the power tiller.
  • From the gear box, the power is transmitted to the main shaft of the turmeric harvester unit through V belt transmission.
  • The eccentrics mounted on both the ends of the main shaft provide oscillating motion to the two slat portions through suitable linkages.
  • The unit is attached to the rear of the power tiller through hitch bracket assembly.
  • For digging, the bar points with the blade penetrate into the soil and lift the turmeric rhizomes along with the soil.
  • When the dug rhizomes with the soil travel along the slots, the oscillating motion of the slats separates the rhizomes from the soil.
  • The soil slip back to the ground and the dug out rhizomes get deposited on the soil surface.
  • For controlling the depth of operation, wheels are provided on either side of the unit.
  • The pneumatic wheels of the power tiller are replaced with a pair of special type cage wheels to accommodate the height of ridges.
  • The cost of the unit is Rs. 7000.

Turmeric digger

The specifications of the turmeric digger are as follows:

Blade width (mm)


Blade inclination, (deg.)


Source of power

7.45 kw power tiller

Weight (kg)


Overall dimensions (L x B x H) (mm)

730 x 830 x 610

Depth of operation (mm)


Draft, N



Salient features

  • Harvesting turmeric rhizomes with power tiller based harvester is highly economical as about 65 per cent saving in cost is achieved when compared to manual digging.
  • This will alleviate the high labour requirement during the peak season.
  • Power tiller operated harvester ensures timeliness of harvesting, since 90 per cent of saving in time is obtained.
  • Extent of damage caused to the rhizomes is very low (0.5 per cent) as compared to 3.0 per cent observed in case of manual harvesting.
  • The undug rhizomes left in the field is minimum (0.8 per cent) when compared to a maximum of 4.9 per cent in the case of manual harvesting.
  • The harvesting efficiency is 99 per cent.

Preservation of seed rhizomes

  • Rhizomes for seed purpose are generally stored after heaping under the shade of a tree or in well ventilated shed and covered with turmeric leaves.
  • Sometimes, the heap is plastered with earth mixed with cowdung.
  • The seed rhizomes can also be stored in pits with saw dust.
  • The pits can be covered with wooden planks with one or two holes for aeration.
  • At Bhavanisagar, storage of seed rhizomes in open sand media with partial closed pandal system recorded the highest percentage of germination (96 per cent), less weight loss (4.1 per cent) and high seedling vigour (22.8 cm).




DESIGN BY REJITH [email protected]