Background & Deejay Farm Location
The Deejay Coconut Hybridization Project was set up by David J lobo in 1983 under the expert guidance of Prof. Anthony Davis, an UN expert in sustainable agriculture farming. Prof. Davis was then involved in overseeing very large FAO sponsored hybrid coconut seedling projects in Indonesia and Malaysia. Deejay believes that the purpose of its existence is not merely to be a successful agricultural business operation, but also to make a real contribution to Nation Building:
- By improving the productivity of the Indian Farmer
- By providing him high quality products & services
- And by enhancing his profits and the quality of his life
The Deejay Coconut Hybrid Seedling was first produced in 1990, with numbers steadily increasing. There are now more than two million Deejay Hybrids in the field.
Today, Deejay Coconut breeding projects are located at Madurai and Ambur in Tamilnadu, Bailur in Karnataka and Salaulim in Goa. A new project has just been started with the purchase of approx. 100 acres of land in Andhra Pradesh.
Breeding Stock Selection
Based on the advice of our expert Consultant, Prof. Davis, the Deejay Coconut Project, used several varieties of Dwarf Palms of proven genetic potential with the necessary characteristics for the development of a synthetic Parent. Very specific varieties of Tall Palms were selected as the other parent. Large numbers of seed material from selected Dwarf and Tall Palms, were procured, planted in nurseries, selected for preferred characteristics and planted in the coconut breeding estate in Madurai. Even at this first stage the selection pressure insisted on by Prof. Davis, was painfully achieved at a huge cost of money and time.
In 1981 Deejay was the first commercial organization in Karnataka to use computers. Therefore in 1983 when the coconut breeding project was started, recording the planting and growing information and the monthly productivity of each palm was comparatively easy. Deejay is among the very few in the world with a computerized data bank of over 23,000 palms and growing.
Today Deejay selects from the computerized records of all the 23,000 palms, a miniscule percentage for producing the next generation. Deejay use C A D E S software (Computerized Automatic Data Entry System) for error free data. Genetically improved parent palms are replanted every twenty years and Parent palms are produced through hand emasculation and pedigreed pollination. Final selection is done manually taking into account 21 characteristics of the palm and the 17 characteristics of the coconut it produces.
The Deejay Dwarf Palm
Highly trained technical staff is responsible for the emasculation done on all mother palms more than once a month. Most Talls have 12 -13 leaves per year, most Dwarf palms have 15 – 17 leaves per year. The Deejay Dwarf has 18 -22 leaves per year – each leaf producing potentially a bunch of coconuts per year. Technically trained and experienced staff collects the male flowers, process, separate and store the pollen. Harvesting of seed nuts, handling, storage and selection before planting in the nursery is done by staff with training and many years of experience. All the above is overseen by a competent managerial team. Finally before the farmer gets his order executed, every hybrid seedling is checked. Everything possible is done to ensure that the farmer gets a seedling that is a great hybrid of the highest quality. Sometimes up to 30% of the seedlings are rejected, for it is not possible to control the bees and the butterflies pollinating with the wrong pollen.
Quality Control in producing the Deejay Hybrid
The Deejay Mantra: Only Quality will control the output of the Breeding Estate! Deejay employs modern and scientific methods of record keeping, selection pressure, technical inputs, hybridization techniques, pollen collection and preservation and on-going research. Specially developed computer software keeps the weekly records and tracks over 20,000 individual tree performances in real time every single month. The Quality control lab monitors pollen quality and does the several tests for nut analysis. The focus is on ensuring that only a highly productive seedling leaves the Deejay nurseries. Deejay is also researching the production of the best seedling for Sweeter Tender Coconut Water production, the best seedling for maximum copra and oil production and the best seedling for maximum fresh kernel production.
Deejay is fully aware that the farmer, when planting a new field of coconut palms, makes a choice that will help or hurt him over the next 50 years. He will buy the coconut seedling only once in his lifetime! Therefore he must get the best. Deejay realizes that a good seedling in such circumstances is not justifiable. Only the best seedling is justifiable. The farmer too must realize this and demand not just a good seedling, but the BEST seedling from his supplier.