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Commercial Castor Plantation

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CASTOR PLANTATION

Castor crop can be grown on a wide range of soils provided they are fairly deep and well drained. Heavy clays, with poor drainage, and marshy soils are unsuitable. The highly suitable soils for castor are deep, moderately fertile, with slightly acidic conditions (pH 5.0 to 6.5), well drained, sandy loams. Excessively fertile soils are not desirable, as they favor excessive vegetative growth at the expense of seed yield.

Castor requires a well pulverized seed bed with loose subsoil up to 45 cm depth. However, it does not require fine tilt, but for even germination. It requires adequate moisture for longer period in seed bed, preferably to a depth of 15-20cm.

Crop Duration, Weather condition and Planting method

  Castor is tropical crop and an annual crop and is grown by sowing the seeds in a hot weather. It requires an appropriate and consistent rainfall. It is planted generally during the months of July and August. The crop has a duration period of 4 to 5 months and is generally harvested in the months of December and January.

However the sowing and harvesting periods within the country differ according to the different regions where the crop is grown. Castor seed takes around 15 days in winter to germinate depending on the prevailing temperatures. The plants may attain a height of 30-90cm but the same varieties if they planted in fertile soils with good rainfall conditions may attain heights of 3 to 4 meters.

Harvesting

Harvesting mainly done by using three methods

  • Manual harvesting
  • Mechanized Harvesting
  • Combine harvesting

CASTOR proved as genuine source of oil suitable for multiple Industrial uses

General Information About Crop

A tall glabrous annual sometimes shrubby or sub herbaceous, leaves alternate, broad palmate Seven to many lobed, serrate, flowers large, in terminal sub panicle racemes, monoecism, apetalous, upper male crowded lower female.
In case of spiny fruits there is variation in the length of spines. In some cases the spines are short and in some long. Their oil content varies from 45 per cent to 57 per cent. Very small fruits are usually found in ornamental plants.

Scientific Specifications
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The castor oil plant, Ricinus communi (sometimes called mole bean after the belief that the “beans” can be placed in mole tunnels to poison the animals), is a plant species of the Euphorbiaceae and the sole member of the genus Ricinus and of the subtribe Ricininae.

 Kingdom Plantae
 Division  Magnoliophyta
 Class  Magnoliopsida
 Order  Malpighiales
 Family  Euphorbiaceae
 Subfamily  Acalyphoideae
 Tribe  Acalypheae
 Subtribe  Ricininae
 Genus  Ricinus
 Species R. communis>
Binomial name -Ricinus communis

Oil Content or Composition

Castor Oil contained 90% of fatty acids in castor oil are ricinoleic acid. Ricinoleic acid, a monounsaturated, 18-carbon fatty acid, has a hydroxyl functional group at the twelfth carbon, a very uncommon property for a biological fatty acid. This functional group causes ricinoleic acid (and castor oil) to be unusually polar, and also allows chemical derivatization that is not practical with other biological oils.

Since it is a polar dielectric with a relatively high dielectric constant, highly refined and dried Castor oil is sometimes used as a dielectric fluid within high performance high voltage capacitors. Castor oil also contains 3-4% of both oleic and linoleic acids.

 Acid Name Avg.
Percentage Range
 Ricinoleic acid  85 to 95%
 Oleic acid  6 to 2%
 Linoleic acid  5 to 1%
 Linolenic acid  1 to 0.5%
 Stearic acid  1 to 0.5%
 Palmitic acid 1 to 0.5%
 Dihydroxystearic acid 0.5 to 0.3%
 Fatty Acids  0.5 to 0.2%

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Useful Links 

1) Read Wikipedia: About Castor Crop Plant

2) Read Dmoz.org: Castor Plant uses, energy & its images

3) Read Castoroil.in: Castor Crop Information & Resources

4) Read use of Castor Oil Cleansing Method

5) Look at Castor Cultivation on Youtube

6) Composition of Castor Seed Oil