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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pit marking - Better get your math right!

We started pit marking first week of February. Pit sizes vary from crop to crop but the typical dimensions are:
Melia Dubia  : 2 ft x 2ft x 2ft 
Mango : 3 ft x 3ft x 3ft
Banana : 1.5 ft x 1.5 ft x 1.5 ft

Since rows across our farm can go as long as 200 metres, we thought of having a long nylon rope (and paint it with yellow) for easy identification of the points to be marked.

However, due to strong winds and elasticity of rope, that was a disaster. So we resorted to the traditional way of marking, using a 30 m tape.

Preparing the 3 foot pit marker.

2 poles/sticks were planted across a unit in the farm and then using straight line of sight, intermediate poles were placed. Having established the line, distance was measured and pegs were put at the right spot.

3 feet marking around a peg

Painting the peg yellow for easy identification in the sea of red soil.

Pit marking complete. Having spent over Rs 500 on white powder, we undertook some cost cutting measures - instead of putting 4 lines, we are now putting only 2 horizontal lines.
FYI - white powder (or choona) costs Rs 6/Kg

Pit marking for Melia Dubia is more laborious due to higher grid density -
8 ft x 8ft, i.e. 680 plants in 1 acre. Currently, our rate of pit marking (with 4 labors) is about 320-330 pegs a day.

Grid  for Ultra High density mango is 3m by 3m (440 plants in 1 acre), whereas for banana it is 6ft by 6 ft (1200 plants in 1 acre)

The pic on left was taken on a Melia Dubia plot.

Yesterday, while I was taking a nap under the big tree on the farm, I dreamt that we could further reduce our pit marking expenses by utilizing the white heaps at our boundary. There are multiple calcium deposits at our boundary dumped by neighbouring farmers when they dug their wells. I guess we could finally use some of this waste to mark our pits along with reinforcing the access road. (Refer to Getting the Entrance Strategy right post about white deposits)


  1. Where do you go for all this agriculture advise? Also, have you kept your day job?

  2. I engage TNAU profs, Farm input suppliers (who expect business in return). I also visit forums like wwww.agricultureinformation.com / farmnest.com and talk to farmers who are actually doing it hands on.

  3. How much it costs to develop 10 acre land to fruit
    farm like for eg.mangoes,grapes etc? Pls enlighten.

  4. I cannot answer that question right now since I have not completed the planting yet..Do get in touch with me in another 3 months..

  5. How many acres of land is this? What type of cultivation you are planning here..

  6. Could you please elaborate more on the calculation (of no. of plants per acre)?

    At the top, you mentioned the pit size for Melia Dubia as 2ft X 2ft X ft.

    However while arriving at the no of plants you have divided 1 Acre (43595 sqft) by 64 sq ft (i.e. 8ft x 8ft).

  7. Pit (Length, width and depth ) is 2x2x2 ft
    Number of plants per acre is aprox 43560 / 64 = 680. Actually, it will a little less since you have to leave space for drip lines (main/submain), road etc..

  8. Glad to see your prompt response..!!

    But What I could not get was 8 sqft (2x2x2) to 64 sqft.

    It has been a treat reading this blog, almost half-way through of all the articles.