Broccoli farming is a very common and popular business in many countries around the world. Growing broccoli is relatively easy and it is a very favorite vegetable. Commercial production is very profitable and a great way to earn money.
Broccoli is actually an edible green plant in the cabbage family. It’s large flowering head, stalk and small associated leaves are eaten as a vegetable. It is classified in the Italica cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea.
Broccoli has large flower heads, usually dark green, arranged in a tree-like structure branching out from a thick stalk which is usually light green. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Broccoli resembles cauliflower, which is a different, but closely related cultivar group of the same Brassica species.
Most of the broccoli cultivars are cool weather crops that do poorly in hot summer weather. Broccoli grows best when exposed to an average daily temperature ranging between 14° C and 23° C.
Broccoli is grown year-round in California, United States (which produced 92% of the crop nationally). Total global production of broccoli in the year of 2019 (combined for production reports with cauliflowers) was 27 million tonnes.
India and China together accounting for 73% of the world total production. Secondary producers, each having about one million tonnes or less annually, were the United States, Spain and Mexico.
However, large scale or commercial broccoli farming is a very good and profitable business. You can earn good amount of money from this business. You can start broccoli production if you have prior experience of cauliflower farming.
Nutritional Value of Broccoli
Broccoli is very nutritious and healthy, and it can be eaten either raw or cooked. It is particularly rich source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Contents of its characteristic sulfur-containing glucosinolate compounds, isothiocyanates and sulforaphane, are diminished by boiling, but are better preserved by steaming, microwaving or stir-frying.
According to Wikipedia, a 100 gram serving of raw broccoli provides 34 calories, vitamin C (107% DV) and vitamin K (97% DV). Raw broccoli contains moderate amounts of several B vitamins and the dietary mineral manganese. And raw broccoli is 3% protein, 7% carbohydrates, 89% water and contain negligible amount of fat.
Health Benefits of Consuming Broccoli
As you can see above, broccoli is very nutritious and a healthy food. It is safe for your health and you can consume regularly. Here we are trying to describe the top health benefits of consuming broccoli.
- Broccoli is low in digestive carbs but provides a decent amount of fiber.
- Fiber present in the broccoli promotes gut health and may reduce the risk of various diseases.
- Broccoli is a good source of protein. Actually, it is higher in protein than most other common vegetables.
- Broccoli is a very good source of some essential vitamins and minerals. It is rich in vitamin C, K1, B9, potassium, iron and manganese.
- It is also high in many other plant compounds that have been associated with health benefits (the most abundant one is sulforaphane).
- Broccoli is helpful for cancer prevention. It is loaded with compounds that are believed to protect against cancer.
- Regular consumption of broccoli can help you to lower your cholesterol levels.
- Broccoli is considered good for the eyes and skin. It contain beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. And it may boost your eyesight (if your intake of vitamin A is low).
- Broccoli can be eaten either raw or cooked. You can prepare many dishes using this delicious and healthy vegetable.
Advantages/Benefits of Broccoli Farming Business
Commercial broccoli farming is a very good and profitable business. You can earn good money from this business. It is an old and established business in many countries throughout the world.
Broccoli farming is very easy if you learn practically from an existing farmer. Beginners can also start this business with little knowledge (although, learning practically will be better). Here we are trying to describe more information about the top advantages or benefits of commercial broccoli farming business.
- Commercial broccoli farming is not a new business. It is a very old and established business in many countries around the world.
- Many people around the world are already doing this business commercially. So, you don’t have to worry much about starting and operating this business.
- You will probably be able to find some existing farmers in your area to learn practically.
- We recommend learning from existing farmers. Doing so will help you to start and run your business smoothly.
- Actually, broccoli farming is very easy and the beginners can also start this business.
- Commercial broccoli farming is very profitable and you will be able to make good profits from this business.
- You can make good profit from this business within a very short period of time.
- Initial investment requirement is relatively low, but you will be able to make good returns if you can do everything perfectly from start to finish.
- Both demand and value of broccoli are good in both domestic and international market.
- Broccoli is very popular in the market, and you don’t have to worry much about marketing your products.
- Broccoli plants generally grow well with little care and management. Caring the plants is relatively easy.
- Commercial broccoli farming can be a great business and employment source for the educated unemployed people.
- Broccoli is very nutritious and healthy. You can enjoy it in many different ways.
- You can enjoy fresh broccoli if you start your own production business.
How to Start Commercial Broccoli Farming Business
Starting commercial broccoli farming business is just like starting other crop farming business. It’s relatively easy and simple. The plants generally grow well in relatively less caring and other management.
If you are a beginner, then you can try to learn practically from existing farmers. However, here we are trying to describe more about the steps of starting and operating a broccoli farming business from planting, caring to harvesting and marketing.
First of all, you have to select a very good location for starting your broccoli farming business. The broccoli plants generally require moist soil for vigorous and proper growth. Optimum pH level for broccoli farming is between 5.0 and 6.5.
Well drained soil which contains good organic fertilizer content is ideal for broccoli production. Till the soil and add well-rotted aged manure or homemade compost. And this application will give the broccoli plants most of their nutrients.
Most of the broccoli cultivars/varieties are cool-weather crops. These plants don’t grow well in hot summer weather. Broccoli plants grow best when exposed to an average daily temperature ranging between 18° C and 23° C.
Choosing the right variety is very important for getting better production. There are generally 3 types of broccoli such as Calabrese broccoli, Sprouting broccoli and purple cauliflower (a type of broccoli grown in Europe and North America).
Common and popular cultivars of broccoli include Waltham 29, Sun King, Romanesco, Purple Sprouting, Green Magic, Green Goliath, DiCicco, Destiny, Coronado Crown, Blue Wind and Belstar.
You can choose any variety depending on it’s performance in your area. Consult with the local farmers in your area for having better recommendations.
Purchasing good quality seeds is also very important for getting better production. You can purchase good quality fresh seeds from any of your nearest seed supply stores after choosing the right variety. Today, many suppliers have online presence. So, you can also order online.
You can choose either seeds or transplants for commercial production. The broccoli plants are very hardy and the seeds can germinate in soil with temperature as low as 40° F.
You need to plant the seeds 4-5 weeks before the plants are needed for transplanting. You should plant the seeds about half inch deep in rows, 3-5 inches apart.
Keep about 2.5 feet space between the rows, and thin the seedlings 1-1.5 feet apart. Water the seeds regularly during their germination period.
But if you don’t want to face all these hassles of growing plants from seeds, then you can consider purchasing transplants from the nurseries.
Broccoli plants generally grow well and they require less caring and other management. Here we are trying to describe more about the caring steps for broccoli farming.
Providing adequate amount of fertilizer is very important. Try to add adequate organic fertilizers while preparing the soil for broccoli farming. Application of chemical fertilizers is also necessary for optimum production.
Apply nitrogen at the rate of 50 kg per acre, phosphorus at the rate of 25 kg per acre and potassium at the rate of 25 kg per acre. Full dose of FYM, phosphorus and potassium and half dose of Nitrogen is added before transplanting. Rest of the nitrogen dose is added after one month of transplanting.
Provide first irrigation immediately after transplanting. Then apply irrigation at interval of 7-8 days in summer season and 10-15 days during winter season (depending upon soil and climatic conditions).
Mulching is very helpful for retaining moisture into the soil. It also helps to prevent weeds from the field. You can use organic materials for mulching (such as grass clippings, hay etc.).
You can control weed from the field in two different methods (manual and chemical). Manual method is good, but requires time and labor. You can apply Fluchloralin 1-2 liter per 600-700 liter of water before transplantation followed by hand weeding 30 to 40 days after transplanting. Apply Pendimethalin at the rate of 1 liter per acre one day before transplanting of seedlings.
Pests & Diseases
Like many other commercial crops, broccoli plants are also susceptible to some pests and diseases. Here we are trying to describe more about these pests and diseases.
Diseases & Their Control
Common diseases of the broccoli plants are white mold, damping off, downy mildew and ring spot.
Ring spots are small and purple color spots which are seen on the leaves which turns brown at maturity. When you notice infestation, spray with Metalaxyl 8% plus Mancozeb 64% WP at the rate of 250 grams per 150 liter of water.
Common symptoms of downy mildew are small angular lesions which are orange or yellow in color seen on the lower surface of the leaves. You can spray with Metalaxyl 8% plus Mancozeb 64% WP at the rate of 250 grams per 150 liter of water.
Damping off disease is caused by Rhizoctonia solani. Common symptoms are immediate death of seedlings after germination and brown-red or black color rot on the stem. Add Ridomil gold at the rate of 2.5 grams per liter of water in roots should be done and after that irrigation is given when required. And don’t let the water stand in the field.
White mod disease of broccoli is caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. The symptoms are irregular and grey color lesions are seen on the leaves and stem. Spraying of Metalaxyl plus Mancozeb at the rate of 2 grams per liter of water should be done at the interval of 10 days.
Pests & Their Control
Common pests of the broccoli plants are diamond back moth, nematodes and thrips.
Diamond Back Moth
The diamond back moth larva feeds on upper and lower surface of the leaves and as a result it damages the whole plant. Spraying of Spinosad 25% SC 80ml per 150 liter water for per acre should be done if you notice infestation.
Common symptoms of nematode infestation are reduction in plant growth and yellowing of plants. Broadcasting of Forate at the rate of 5 kg or Carborural at the rate of 10 kg per acre will be effective.
Thrips are small insects which pale yellow to light brown in color and the symptoms are distorted leaves, and silvery leaves are seen. If aphids and jassids harms more, then spraying of Imidachloprid 17.8 SL 60ml per acre in 150ltr water should be done.
Generally, broccoli harvesting is done when the heads reach the marketable size. They should be marketed as soon as possible after harvesting, because they can’t be stored for longer time. After harvesting, sprouts again get ready for harvesting after 10-12 days. Broccoli can’t be harvested using machines, meaning it must be hand-harvested.
It’s very difficult to tell the exact amount. It depends on various factors (such as variety, season, temperature etc,). On average, you can expect around 0.35 tonnes production per acre.
Marketing broccoli is very easy. It already has good demand and value in the market. You will probably be able to easily sell your products in the local market.
These are the common steps and ways for starting and operating a successful broccoli farming business. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck!