Best Condition planting the castor oil plants in Malaysia
A) Land condition
Any type of land from sand soil to peaty soil, low fertile land to high fertile land, from arid to wet land. Castor not suit planting at the mangrove land, easily get flood land and poor drained system of land. Castor genotypes in generally cannot tolerate alkalinity or salinity, hence avoid such problematic soils. It is highly intolerant of water logging and requires free draining soils. However, variety of seeds are one of the factor to survive the Malaysia land condition.
Farmers shall find high fertile to plant the castor rather use low fertile land or sandy soil. Farmers shall plant in low density 3 X 3 ft (4,000-6,000 plants/ acres) in high fertile land. This is due to Malaysia are in tropical countries and promote perennial harvesting, some more Farmers have space go inside low density castor plantation to harvest the spike. Farmers are not encourage plant in high density (12,000 plants/ acre) in high fertile soil, because the annual harvest of high density little increase when compare with annual harvest of low density of castor plantation. In addition too much maintenance cost for high density of castor plantation such as clearing and replanting cost. High density planting make Farmers difficult go into castor plantation to harvest spike, so Farmers shall clear all castor plants to collect harvest spike and replanting.
For low fertile land or sandy soil, farmers shall planting in high density 2X2 ft or more than 10,000 qty/ acres to get higher harvest/ high return compare planting it as low density (4,000-6,000 plants/acre). Because annual harvest for high density are much different with annual harvest for low density in low fertile land. However, one time planting shall be practiced and 1 year at least 3 times harvesting. Farmers planting in low density (4,000-6,000/ acres) in low fertile land shall put a lot of N-K fertilizers (less P fertilizers) and high maintenance cost.
For raining volume, arid or wet land, no much required by castor plant. At least 1 time raining per week enough for castor grow healthy. However, to boost the harvesting or get full oil content of castor seeds, high water volume are required, thus recommend use plastic mulching to reserve water inside soil.
B) Weather condition
Germination to seedling stage of castor plant shall not be cultivated in raining season.
During hot season/ drought season ( more than 33 celcius) , castor plants are grow tremendously and harvesting spike take less than 45 days to become 95% mature from flower. And it will affect the oil content of castor seeds. Thus, precaution steps is need to minimize the low oil content issue.
During raining season with less sunlight hours (Oct- December), not good season for castor plant harvesting period. Raining season will slow down the growing of castor plant, and harvesting spike take more than 50 days to become 95% mature from flower. Some more, raining season affect the pollination process.
For raining season with enough sunlight hours. good season for castor plant harvesting period to get reasonable oil content of castor seeds, however the harvesting spike from flower will take slow a bit.
Castor, being a deep rooted crop, is fairly resistant to drought, thus not much water is required for growing and survive.
Optimum ambient temperature for castor plant in Malaysia is 27 celcius.
Always remember more sunlight hour together, optimum ambient temperature (27 celcius) together with high water volume (without water lodging) will boost the harvesting.
* The condition and harvesting record is base on Hybrid Castor Seeds planting life, moderate plant height 180m-220m, hundred type of variety. Other variety may give different result.