Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. It can withstand droughts, surviving a severe lack of water for lengthy periods. It can be cultivated in Nilgiris, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand hilly regions. Rosemary leaves are used as flavouring in foods and herbal tea. Rosemary oil is used for purposes of fragrant bodily perfumes or to emit an aroma into a room. It is also burnt as incense, and used in shampoos and cleaning products.The major constituents of rosemary are 1, 8-cineole (20-50%), borneol (20%). The herb (dried leaves) yield of this crop is around 100-150 quintals/ha/year which can yield, on distillation, about 100-150 kg/ha/year of essential oil.
Rosemary plant is a hardy and temperate that can tolerate frost very well. It thrives well at day temperatures of 25-30°C. The rosemary plant is very adaptable and can be grown in almost all areas. Basically, rosemary can be grown under dry-land conditions. However, if it is cultivated under irrigated conditions, make sure the plants are not over irrigated. During initial planting stage, this crop requires irrigation and subsequent light irrigations should be given until the crop is well-established. After establishment with strong root system, this can yield very well if the annual rainfall is above 550 mm.
If you are planning for commercial large scale cultivation, it is recommended to go for soil test from which soil health can be found. Full fill all the required nutrients according to the soil test results. Adding well-decomposed organic matter will result in good yield. Avoid waterlogged and heavy clay soils as these plants cannot tolerate. Prepare the land by giving 1 to 2 deep ploughings to get the soil to fine tilth stage. Remove any weeds from previous crops. Based on the type of cultivation, fertilizers should be planned. For organic crop growing, natural remedies should be adopted where as in-organic cultivation, appropriate chemical fertilizers should be applied in the soil with pH range 5.5-7.5. In valleys or hill areas, no irrigation required .
Rosemary plants require full sun light so it is advised to have rows in east-west direction. When it comes to field spacing, 50 x 50 cm is more effective for machine cutting. Plants should beestablished at 25 cm to 50 cm within the rows so that the soil is covered quickly. When it comes to plant density, a total of 50,000 to 60,000 plants/ha is required. The rosemary cuttings can be prepared in the greenhouse or nursery and be transplanted to the main field in spring to midsummer. The best season for plantation of Rosemary is Oct-Feb.
Rosemary crop responds very well to manures and fertilizers. 100:60:60 kg/ha nitrogen, phosphorus, potash in 1st year and in subsequent years 80:40:40kg/ha. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potash are beneficial to the crop.
Usually, rosemary is grown in dry-lands. However, it requires irrigation until the roots are wee-established in the soil. Don't allow the plants to dry out and at the same times they should not be over irrigated. If the annual rainfall is more than 450 mm. it does not require any irrigation. In rainy season, make sure the water will not stagnate in the field and should be drained out as early as possible. First irrigation after transplanting then 5-6 irrigation/year.
Following are the pests and diseases found in Rosemary cultivation.
Control Measures- Creful and thorough monitoring, crop rotation as well as applying insecticidal soap with lightweight horticultural oil will help to control these pests.
Control Measures- Early detection and management of disease can prevent major problems in rosemary cultivation. Contact your local horticulture department for diseases identification and control measures
Rosemary crop can be harvested 2-3 times in a year depending on whether it is cultivated for plant material or essential oil. Mechanical harvesting is preferred and a fist cutting can be done in the seeding year. However it should be delayed until 150-160 days from transplanting then after every 60-70 days. The yield would be more from re-growth of the crop. If the purpose of the crop is for essential oil, the highest quality, plants should be in bloom and only the flowering tops should be harvested for distillation purpose. For the fresh market, the rosemary herb should be harvested frequently at a young stage as young, fresh shoots are used in culinary preparations. Note that woody stems will lower the price. Fresh rosemary should be harvested early in the morning and kept cooled at 6°C before packaging for the market.
Yield depends on many factors like soil, cultivar (variety) climate and cultivation practices. On an average the oil yield of Herb – 100-150q/ha can be obtained.
Cost of cultivation : Rs. 60,000/ha/year
Gross return : Rs. 2,40,0000/ha/year
Net profit : Rs. 1,80,000/ha/year