Apple Cultivation in India - Steps & Profit Potential

Apple is one of the healthiest and most highly consumed fruits worldwide. It is also the most profitable cash crop as it has a lot of demand due to its nutritive value and refreshing taste. This fruit belongs to the rose family of the genus Malus. Being a temperate fruit, this refreshing fruit grows in regions with mild temperatures.

For good growth, the fruit can thrive well in well-drained soil with a considerable period of dormancy, followed by careful pruning and effective pest control.

Apples are a rich source of vitamins A & C, carbohydrates, and healthy fibre. India has vast scope to produce apples as it has an ideal climate and other agro-resources. Intrigued by the idea of Apple farming? Before you buy the latest farming tractors like John Deere 5310, here are tips/factors you must follow to harvest highly quality apple fruits in India. 

Technical Factors to Sow, Grow & Harvest Quality Apples in India

Climatic Conditions 

Apple crops are suitable to grow at altitudes between 1,500 m to 2,700 m above sea level. Moreover, temperatures between 21-degree celsius to 24 degrees Celsius are ideal for cultivating apples in India. 

And annual rainfall between 100 cm to 125 cm is ideal for growing high-yielding apple crops in India. However, note that heavy rainfall around the fruit’s maturity period can hamper the fruit’s colour and overall development. Further, it can cause fungal spots on the apple’s surface. Also, heavy winds are unsuitable for apple farming as they can destroy the seedlings.

Soil Requirement 

Loamy soils rich in organic matter and Ph ranging between 5.5-6.5 are suitable for apple cultivation in India. Moreover, the soil should be well-drained and have no waterlogging scope. 

Propagation Method

Tongue grafting and budding are two popular ways of propagating apples. Tongue grafting requires material, while budding requires buds from nurseries.

Planting & Spacing

Almost 200 to 1250 saplings can be planted in one acre of field. The planting density is of 4 kinds as follows:

  • Low density – Here, fewer than 300 apple saplings are planted per hectare.
  • Medium density – Here, 300 to 500 apple seedlings per hectare are sowed.
  • High density – Here, 500 to 1300 saplings per hectare are planted.
  • Extremely high density – More than 1300 saplings per hectare are planted here.

Depending on their field type and soil quality, farmers can also use a combo of the above planting density types. Moreover, before sowing, give the land the finest ploughing and tilth to break the clods. You can achieve desired results by using efficient tractors like Mahindra 245 of optimum hp with efficient ploughing implements. 

Apple Planting Method 

The planting method will depend on the planting area, climatic conditions, and field type:

  • A square system or hexagonal system is suitable for valleys. 
  • The contour planting method is suitable for slopes. 

Proper setting of apple fruit requires the planting of pollinating species of apples within the main species. FYM (Farm Yard Manure) 30-40 kg, Single Superphosphate – 500 g  and Malathion Dust 50 g is suitable to apply in the pit by mixing well.

Fertilisers & Manures

Farmyard manure (FMY) mixed with fertilisers of about 10 kg per year is suitable. The K, P & N ratio suitable to maintain soil fertility is 70:35:70 grams per year. However, the standard P, K & N fertiliser doses should be 400 g, 250 g & 500 g, respectively. In addition, if the soil has some deficiency of Boron, manganese, Zinc, and Calcium, using suitable fertilisers can help.

Weed Control

Adding 0.5% Gammaxone/Paraquat or 800 ml/ha glyphosate as the herbicide will quash weed maturing for at least 4 to 5 months.

Apple Irrigation 

During the summer season, watering at intervals of 6-10 days is highly suitable. While during the winter season, plan to water at intervals of 3-4 weeks. And to get the best yield, ensure to provide 115 cm/annum irrigation, scheduled in 14 to 20 cycles. Moreover, April to August is the crucial time and make sure to provide at least 8 irrigations.

Harvesting of Apples

For harvesting apples, September-October months are best. Moreover, the apple tree starts forming from the 8th year of planting. The lifespan of the apple tree is up to 40 years (depending on the ideal climate). Apple tree’s productivity is visible from the 8th to the 17th year; later, the tree becomes stable in growth for up to 30 years. Farmers usually harvest apple fruits even before they mature completely.

Profit Potential from Apple Production in India

One acre of land can help earn ana average profit of INR 6,50,000 to INR 7,50,000 in India. This means the monthly earnings can be Rs 50,000-60,000.