More than 50 cultivars of C. domestica and C.aromatica are known and these are known by trade names based on the appearance, rhizome thickness, colour intensity, aroma and hardness of the core and duration.


Different variety of turmeric and its yield level



Mean yield (fresh) t/ha

Crop duration (days)

Dry recovery (%)



Oil (%)

Suvarna 17.4 200 20.0 4.3 13.5 7.0
Suguna 29.3 190 12.0 7.3 13.5 6.0
Sudarsana 28.8 190 12.0 5.3 15.0 7.0
IISR Prabha 37.5 195 19.5 6.5 15.0 6.5
IISR Prathibha 39.1 188 18.5 6.2 16.2 6.2
Co-1 30.0 285 19.5 3.2 6.7 3.2
Krishna 9.2 240 16.4 2.8 3.8 2.0
Sugandham 15.0 210 23.3 3.1 11.0 2.7
BSR-1 30.7 285 20.5 4.2 4.0 3.7
Roma 20.7 250 31.0 9.3 13.2 4.2
Suroma 20.0 255 26.0 9.3 13.1 4.4
Rajendra Sonia 4.8 225 18.0 8.4 - 5.0
Ranga 29.0 250 24.8 6.3 13.5 4.4
Rasmi 31.3 240 23.0 6.4 13.4 4.4

Cultivars of Tamil Nadu

  • In Tamil Nadu, two cultivars viz., Erode local and Salem local have been cultivated so far in addition to local cultivar viz., Bhavani.

Erode local

  • It is one of the popular cultivars of Tamil Nadu with good market acceptability.
  • Plants are vigorous and tall with good yield potential (30-32 t/ha).
  • Fingers are short, slightly bent with a deep orange inner core, with a moderate curing percentage.
  • curcumin content is 3.9 per cent.

Salem local

  • It is another popular cultivar of Tamil Nadu.
  • The plants are vigorous and tall.
  • Rhizomes are bigger and the fingers are longer than in Erode local (4 cm)
  • Its yield potential is comparable with Erode local but rich in curcumin content (4.75 per cent) and moderate in curing percentage.

Turmeric varieties released from TNAU

  • Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has released so far three turmeric varieties viz., CO 1, BSR1 and BSR 2 suitable for cultivation in Tamil Nadu.

Other varieties grown in Tamilnadu

  • Roma, Swarna, Sudarshana, Suguna, Sugandham, Ranga, Rashmi, Rajendra Sonia, Krishna, Suroma & Allepy finger Turmeric (AFT), IISR Prabha, IISR Prathiba, IISR Alleppey Supreme and IISR Kedaram.
Improved turmeric varieties of Tamil Nadu

CO 1

  • It is a vegetative mutant from Erode local turmeric, released in 1983.
  • Rhizomes are bigger sized and bright orange coloured and better than Erode local
  • Plants are robust, vigorous and taller (40 to 60 cm) with more leaves (25 to 32) and tiller production (3.7 to 5.0)
  • Suitable for drought and saline soils.


  • It is a selection from mutant population irradiated with X-ray (from Erode local) released in 1986.
  • Rhizomes are attractive with yellow fingers and closer internodes
  • Rhizomes contain higher curcumin content (4.2%) than CO 1 and Erode local
  • Suitable for water logged conditions


  • It is a mutant from Erode local type released in 1994.
  • The crop yields 32 t/ha in a shorter crop duration of 240-250 days
  • The plants are medium statured (85 cm), high yielding and resistant to scale insects.
  • It is suitable for Erode, Coimbatore, Salem, Dharmapuri, Trichy, Thanjavur, Vellore, Villupuram, Thiruvannamalai and Cuddalore districts.


Soil and climate


  • A friable well drained red loamy soil in wet or garden lands under tropical conditions with a pH range of 4.5-7.5 with good organic status is ideal.
  • Turmeric can be grown in diverse tropical conditions from sea level to 1500 m above sea level, at a temperature range of 20-35oC with an annual rainfall of 1500 mm or more, under rain fed or irrigated conditions.


  • Planting season varies with the area of cultivation and variety
  • Planting is done during May-June or July- August in different tracts.
  • In Kerala and other West Coast areas where rainfall is sufficiently early, the crop can be planted during April-May with the receipt of pre-monsoon showers.
  • In Andra Pradesh short duration varieties like Kasturi, planting is done during second fortnight of May, Medium duration varieties like Kesari planting is done during 1st fortnight of June.
  • Long duration varieties like Mydukur, planting is in 2nd fortnight of June to 2nd fortnight of July.
  • May-June is suitable in Tamil Nadu conditions.


Land preparation
  • The land is ploughed once with cultivated plough and then with disc plough. For a hectare 12 tonnes of farm yard manure and 120 kg of neem cake is incorporated in the soil.


Seed rhizome selection
  • Mother rhizomes are better yielders than finger rhizomes. Good quality disease and pest free rhizomes of previous crop preserved for next sowing or Salem local or Andra types used for planting.

Seed materials

  • It is necessary to store the seed rhizomes for 2-3 months from harvesting to planting.
  • This may be done by spreading them thinly under a cover of turmeric leaves or storing them by treating the rhizomes with 0.3 percent Dithane M-45 and 0.5 percent Malathion for 30 minutes before storing heaps under a layer of straw and soil.
  • Well-developed, healthy and disease free rhizomes are selected
  • Whole or split mother rhizomes weighing 35 to 44 g are used for planting

Seed rate

Mother Rhizomes 2000-2500 kg/ha as a sole crop
Primary fingers 1500-2000 kg/ha as a sole crop
Fruit gardens 400-500 kg/ha as a inter crop
Seed Treatment
Rhizomes dipped in Emison -6 (Methoxy ethyl mercuric chloride) solution or chlorpyriphos before planting to prevent rhizome rot and scale insects respectively. - Some of the farmers follow  dipping the rhizomes in 0.1% Carbendazim 1g/l, and Monocrotophos 1.5 ml /l to control rhizome rot and scales.

Method of planting
    • Planting is done by dibbling rhizome in furrows behind the country plough.
    • The seeds are then covered with loose soil from the ridge.
    • In Andhra Pradesh the broad ridge method of planting is superior and more profitable than the ridge and furrow method, as the elevated beds provide better drainage.
    • The crop can be planted on flat beds or on ridges, on large scale potato planter can be used for turmeric planting.
    • Emergence of seedlings takes place 2-4 weeks after sowing.
  • Single row system of planting: 45cm between rows and 15cm among plants and 4cm depth, followed in single row system of planting.
  • Broad ridge system or paired row system : Under drip system of irrigation the farmers follow broad ridge system of planting in which 120 cm broad ridge formed and 2 rows of rhizomes planted at a spacing of 15 x 45 x 45 x 15 cm and 4 cm depth.

  • Black heavy soils 45-60 cm X 22.5 cm
    Red loamy soils 30 X 15 cm
    Orissa 22.5 X 22.5


    Manures and manuring
    • Incorporate FYM 10 t/ha neem or groundnut cake - 200 kg/ha along with N, P and K at 25, 60 and 18 kg/ha; 30 kg/ha of Fe SO4 and 15 kg ZnSO4. Apply 10 kg/ha each of Azospirillum and Phosphobacterium one month after planting.
    Top dressing 
    • N, K at 25 and 18 kg/ha applied on 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 days after planting.

    Time of application
    N P K
    Basal dressing 25 60 18
    Top dressing  
    At 30 Days after planting 25 25 18
    At 60 Days after planting 25 25 18
    At 90 Days after planting 25 25 18
    At 120 Days after planting 25 25 18
    Top Dressing under drip system of irrigation
    • The field should be irrigated at least 1-1.5 hours daily. From the date of sowing to till harvest the fertilizers at the rate of 150-15-108 as N-P-K applied at weekly intervals.
    Micronutrient application
    • For correcting deficiency of micronutrients especially Boron, Iron and Zinc at rhizome development stage, apply 375 g Ferrous sulphate, 375 g Zinc sulphate, 375 g Borax, 375 g of Urea in 250 lit of water/ha. Spraying twice at 25 days interval is recommended.  The above micronutrients are dissolved in Super phosphate slurry (15 kg Super Phosphate is dissolved in 25 lit of water stored overnight and the supernatant solution is made upto 250 lit).  In this solution, the micronutrients are added.
    • Ferrous Sulphate : 375 g
      Zinc Sulphate : 375 g
      Borax : 375 g
      Urea : 375 g


    System of cultivation


    Systems Of Cultivation

    Two systems of cultivation are followed in different areas

        1. Bed system (Raised or flat)
        2. Ridge and furrow

      • The system of cultivation is dependent upon the intensity of rains and type of soil.
      • Bed system gives higher yields of 54-80%.

    Bed system (Raised or flat)

    • Beds of 1m width and of conveinent length are prepared with a spacing of 0-50 cm between beds. In heavy rainfall areas and for heavy soils the beds are raised (15 cm)

    Ridge and furrow method

    • Where natural drainage does not exist ridges of 23 cm height and furrows at a spacing of 45-60 cm are prepared.
    • In Andhra Pradesh both the methods are adopted . In Duggirala and surrounding areas ridge and furrow method is followed.
    Inter Cultivation
    Onion, Coriander and Fenugreek can be planted as intercrop on the sides of the ridges 10 cm apart (250 kg seed Onion/ha). Redgram and Castor can also be planted at wider spacing. Weeding can be done as and when necessary. The plants are earthed up at the time of 2nd and 4th top dressings.
    Some of them follow maize as inter crop at the spacing of 45 x 10 cm .  Chilli also planted in some of the fields as inter crop.  For shade regulation, Sesbania species is sown. 
    Rotation And Mixed Cropping
    • Turmeric can be grown as an intercrop in coconut plantations.
    • In wetlands, it is grown in rotation with Rice, Sugarcane, Banana or Vegetables.
    • In garden lands, it is often in rotation with rainfed rice mixed with Pigionpea, Maize, yam or minor millets.
    • Turmeric can be rotated with crops such as Finger millet, Rice and Sugarcane.
    • It is rarely cultivated in pure stand, but is usually grown mixed with crops like Castor, Maize, Finger millet, Onions, Brinjal and Tomato.
    • Turmeric+Onion combination recorded an average yield of 16 to 20 tonnes of turmeric and 2,945 kilograms of onion, fetching the highest net income against net income obtained from monocropping of Turmeric.
    • This highly profitable finding should be seriously taken note of and implemented by progressive turmeric growers.


    Pre planting treatment
    The seed rhizomes are dipped in Carbendazim 1 g/lit and Phosalone 35 EC 2 ml/lit or Monocrotophos 36 WSC 1.5 ml/lit for controlling rhizome rot and scales


    Thrips can be controlled by spraying Dimethoate 30 EC or Methyl demeton 25 EC 2 ml/litre.

    Shoot borer
    The shoot borer is the most serious pest of turmeric. The larvae bore into pseudo stems and feed on internal tissues. The presence of a bore-hole on the pseudo stem through which frass is extruded and the withered central shoot is a characteristic symptom of pest infestation. The adult is a medium sized moth with a wingspan of about 20 mm; the wings are orange yellow with minute black spots. Fully-grown larvae are light brown with sparse hairs. Spraying malathion at the rate of 2.5ml per litre of water or Dichlorovos at the rate of 2 ml per litre of water at 21 day intervals during July to October is effective in controlling the pest infestation. The spraying has to be initiated when the first symptom of pest attack is seen on the inner most leaf.

    Rhizome scale
    The rhizome scale infests rhizomes in the field (at later stages of the crop) and in storage. Adult (female) scales are circular (about 1mm diameter) and light brown to grey and appear as encrustations on the rhizomes. They feed on sap and when the rhizomes are severely infested, they become shrivelled and desiccated affecting its germination.  Treat seed material with quinalphos by dissolving 7.5ml in 10 litres of water (for 20-30 minutes) before storage and also before sowing in case the infestation persists. Discard and do not store severely infested rhizomes. Rhizome scale can be controlled by applying well rotten sheep manure @ 10 t/ha in two splits (once basally and other at earthing up) or Poultry manure in 2 splits followed by drenching Dimethoate 30 EC 2 ml/lit or Phosalone 35 EC 2 ml/lit or application of Carbofuran 3 G @ 1.5 kg a.i./ha.

    Root knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) and burrowing nematode (Radopholus similis) are the two important nematodes causing damage to turmeric. Wherever, nematode problems are common, use only healthy, nematode free planting material. Increasing the organic content of the soil also checks the multiplication of nematodes. Avoid planting turmeric after Banana or other solanaceous vegetables. Planting is done only after taking suitable control measures. Apply Carbofuran 4 kg a.i./ha twice on the third and fifth month after planting the rhizomes.


    Rhizome rot
    The disease is caused by Pythium graminicolum or P.aphanidermatum. The collar region of the pseudostem becomes soft and water soaked, resulting in collapse of the plant and decay of rhizomes.  Rhizome rot can be controlled by drenching with Bordeaux mixture 1 % or Copper oxychloride 0.25 %. Treat the seed rhizomes with 0.3% Copper oxychloride for 30 min before storage.

    Leaf spot
    Leaf spot is caused by Colletotrichum capsici and appears as brown spots of various sizes on the upper surface of the young leaves. The spots are irregular in shape and white or grey in the centre. Later, two or more spots may coalesce and form an irregular patch covering almost the whole leaf. The affected leaves eventually dry up. The rhizomes do not develop well.  Leaf spot can be controlled by spraying Carbendazim 500 g/ha or Mancozeb 1 kg/ha or Copper oxychloride 1.25 kg/ha.

    Leaf blotch
    Leaf blotch is caused by Taphrina maculans and appears as small,oval, rectangular or irregular brown spots on either side of the leaves which soon become dirty yellow or dark brown. The leaves also turn yellow. In severe cases the plants present a scorched appearance and the rhizome yield is reduced.  The disease can be controlled by spraying mancozeb in the proportion of 3gm per litre of water or combination of Carbendazim and Mancozeb in the ratio of 3gm in 1 litre of water .
    The plants will start lodging in about nine months. Yellowing and drying of leaves are the signs of crop maturity. The rhizomes are picked after digging deeply with mammuttis or digging forks. Harvested rhizomes were separated as fingers and mother rhizomes to enable easy boiling and grading.

    Preservation of seed rhizomes
    Rhizomes for seed purpose are generally stored by heaping in well ventilated rooms and covered with turmeric leaves. The seed rhizomes can also be stored in pits with saw dust, sand along with leaves of Strychnos nuxvomica (kanjiram). The pits are to be covered with wooden planks with one or two openings for aeration. The rhizomes are to be dipped in quinalphos 7.5ml in 10 litres of water solution for 15 minutes if scale infestations are observed and in mancozeb 35gm in 10 litres of water to avoid storage losses due to fungi.


    Fresh rhizomes : 25-30 t/ha
    Cured rhizomes : 5-6 t/ha


    Post harvest treatment
    Cleaning of rhizomes
    Finger rhizomes are separated from mother rhizomes for perfect boiling, since the mother rhizomes are bigger in size they take more time to boil.

    Boiling of turmeric rhizomes
    Fresh turmeric is cured for obtaining dry turmeric. The fingers are separated from mother rhizomes. Mother rhizomes are usually kept as seed material. Curing involves boiling of fresh rhizomes in water and cow dung slurry.  
    In the traditional method of curing, the cleaned rhizomes are boiled in water just enough to immerse them. Boiling is stopped when froth comes out and white fumes appear giving out a typical odour. The boiling should last for 15-20 minutes when the rhizomes turn soft. The stage at which boiling is stopped largely influences the colour and aroma of the final product. Over cooking spoils the colour of the final product while under-cooking renders the dried product brittle.
    The cooked fingers are taken out of the pan by lifting the trough and draining the water into the pan. The water used for boiling turmeric rhizomes can be used for curing fresh samples. The processing of turmeric is to be done 2 or 3days after harvesting. If there is delay in processing, the rhizomes should be stored under shade or covered with sawdust or coir dust. 

    Boiling of rhizomes through Steam boiler 
    In addition to the conventional method of boiling, now a day’s steam boiler method is followed by some of the farmers. The rhizomes were boiled in the steamer and then spread in the yard for drying.
    Benefits of steam boiler:   Enable uniform cooking of rhizomes - Saving the fuel and time, since this method boils higher quantity of rhizomes

    The cooked fingers are dried in the sun by spreading them in5-7 cm thick l />ayers on the drying floor. A thinner layer is not desirable, as the colour of the dried product may be adversely affected. During night time, the rhizomes should be heaped or covered with material which provides aeration. It may take 10-15 days for the rhizomes to become completely dry.

    Dried turmeric has a poor appearance and a rough dull outer surface with scales and root bits. The appearance is improved by smoothening and polishing the outer surface by mechanical rubbing. Mechanical rubbing is by using a power operated barrel or drum mounted on a central axis, the sides of which are made of expanded metal mesh. When the drum filled with turmeric is rotated, polishing is effected by abrasion of the surface against the mesh as well as by mutual rubbing against each other as they roll inside the drum. The yield of polished turmeric from the raw material varies from 15-25%.
    The colour of the processed turmeric influences the price of the produce. For an attractive product, turmeric powder (mixed with little water) may be sprinkled during the last phase of polishing.

    Processed rhizomes are filled in the sacs and sold in regulatory markets situated at Erode through auction method of selling.





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