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Assessment Of Experience With High Yielding Varieties Of Coconut In Sri Lanka

The information is based on the results of on islundwide survey, designed to assess the performance of two improved coconut varieties, namely CR1C 60 (tall x tall) and CRIC 65 (dwarf x tall or tall x dwarf), developed locally in the 1960 and now produced in commercial quantities. Although results under the controlled conditions of test plots were encouraging, information on performance under the varied conditions of cultivation and management in farmers fields has hitherto been meager. Clear differences were observed in yield potential and requirements for cultivation in two varieties , which also influenced  their acceptability  and suitability  in different socio ­ economic conditions. The dwarf into tall hybrid, CRIC 65, was generally felt to be unsatisfactory inspite of such desirable features as early flowering, precocity in bearing and exceptionally  high yields under favourable soil and climatic  conditions and good management, due to its susceptibility to drought, heavy prem ature nutfall particularly in the early stages of bearing and erratic yield performance. It was more dem anding in its requirements  and consequently  management was more difficult. The improved tall, CRIC 60, found favour with the growers due to vigorous growth, satisfactory yields and absence of undesirable features  generally  associated  with the hybrid. Inadequate extension  services, non availability  of planting material and other inputs such as fertilizer at the required time etc. are some of the problems encountered  by the farmers. Farmers  needs and preferences  must be considered in developing new varieties. In recent years drought seems to be more frequent and longer in duration than that in the past. Hence it is essential to develop varieties which can grow and yield at commercial levels whether or not there  is a drought. For this purpose, the natural genetic diversity in ability to tolerate dry conditions is being exploited and the search for drought tolerance continues.

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