- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
The specifications of the turmeric digger are as
Blade width (mm)
Blade inclination, (deg.)
Source of power
7.45 kw power tiller
Overall dimensions (L x B x H) (mm)
730 x 830 x 610
Depth of operation (mm)
- 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
- 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).