Generally, March to May is the sowing season of Jute plants in India however it also depends on the rainfall and soil type of the specific region. Depending on the sowing time, the harvesting can be done between June to September. Warm humid climate region with temperature ranging from 24° C to 37° C is most ideal for jute plantation.
Clay loam or the sandy loam soil is most favorable for growing jute. Too much of rain and water logging can harm jute plants. The gray colored alluvial soil consisting salt formed by annual flood is best for jute plantation. In high and mid lands, with the first rain shower in March or April the jute sowing season starts and continues till June in some western belt. Apart from decompose manure, phosphorus, potash and nitrogen fertilizers were used to enhance the growth. Inter culturing is also a main technique used for better growth of jute plants.
Accumulation of jute
The skin or the bast can be taken out within 120 to 150 days after the flowers have been shed. Early harvesting yields a healthy jute fiber. After harvesting, the plants are collected and is left for 2-3 days for shedding the leaves. Then the stem has to be bundled for steeping in water. The steeping process has to be done right after harvesting.
Extraction of jute fiber
The jute fiber has to be extracted from beneath the bark which covers the central part of the stem. The extraction of jute fiber from the stem follows a lengthy procedure. The different steps in the extraction process are given below:
- Collection :
- First, the jute plants are collected and bundled.
- Steeping :
After the fiber is been loosened from the stalk, the bundles are steeped in water which is 60 to 100 cm in depth. In 8 to 30 days the barks are easily separated from the stalk.
Stripping : Now the fibers can be removed from the stalk by washing them in deep water or by stripping with hand in water.Washing : The extracted fibers are washed in clean water. If the fibers have dark color, this color can be removed by dipping fibers in tamarind water for 15 to 20 minutes.
Squeezing and drying : After squeezing extra water from the fibers, they are hung on bamboo railing for sun drying for 2 to 3 days.
Bailing : The jute fibers are then graded into tops and middles as B, C and X bottoms.
Kutcha packing : The fibers are then packed into kutcha bales, weighing approx 250 pounds, widely used in the home trade.
Storage or transport : Finally they are ready for transporatation to jute mills or market.