Jute is a rainy season crop, sown from March to May according to rainfall and type of land. It is harvested from June to September depending upon whether the sowings are early or late.
Climate and Soils
Jute requires a warm and humid climate with temperature between 24° C to 37° C. Constant rain or water-logging is harmful. The new gray alluvial soil of good depth, receiving salt from annual floods, is best for jute. Flow ever jute is grown widely in sandy loams and clay loams.
Sowing of jute
Sowing of jute in midlands and high lands starts with showers in March or April and continues till early June in the western part of the jute belt. Compost or firm yard manure, Phosphorus and Potash, Nitrogen fertilizers are used as a fertilizer. Interculturing is essential in the early stage. Pasts are also requiring for plant protection.
Jute is harvested any time between 120 days to 150 days when the flowers have been shed, early harvesting gives good healthy fibers. The plant from 8 to 12 feet high are cut with stickles at or close the ground level. In flooded land, plants are up rooted. The harvested plants are left in field for 3 days for the leaves to shed.
The stems are then made up into bundles for steeping in water. Steeping is carried out immediately after harvest.
The Fiber Extraction
The jute plant’s fibers lie beneath the bark and surrounded the woody central part of the stem. To extract the fibers from the stem, the process is carried out in the following stages:
Bundle stalk>Retting>Stripping>Washing>Squeezing excess>Sundry>Bailing>Kutcha Packing>Storage/Transport
Retting is a process in which the tied bundles of jute stalks are taken to the tank by which fibers get loosened and separated from the woody stalk. The bundles are steeped in water at least 60 cm to 100 cm depth. The retting process is completed in 8 to 30 days, when the barks separate out easily from the stick or wood and the fibres are ready for extraction. A development in recent years is adoption of ribbon retting technology in jute growing trade of the country.
Stripping (Fiber Extraction)
Stripping is the process of removing the fibers from the stalk after the completion of retting. Fibers are removed from the stalk by any one of the following
(i) Single plants are taken and their fibers are taken off.
(ii) Taken off a handful of stalks, breaking it in a to and fro motion in water.
(iii) Washing the stalks first by standing in waist deep water and then stripping afterwards.
When there is a plenty of water, bundles of stalks are laid in the pond ditches or slow moving streams and left for 5-15 days under water. The bunch of stem is held in one hand and the root end tapped lightly with a mallet. After loosens the rest of fibers, fibers are extracted and washed.
Washing and Drying
Extracted fibers are washed in clean water. The dark color of fibers can be removed by dipping them in tamarind water for 15 to 20 minutes and again washed in clean water. After squeezing excess water the fibers are hang on bamboo railing for sun drying for 2-3 days.
Bailing and Packing
The jute fiber is graded into tops, middles, B, C and X-bottoms. Packing into Kutcha bales about 250 pounds for use in the home trade. They are transported to jute market or direct to jute mills.