Cumin: Learn uses, varieties, cultivation technique, interculture, harvest & crop protection

Cumin Cultivation Technology

Introduction & Uses:

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is an important annual seed spice extensively used for flavoring dishes. Dries seeds are used as condiments which contain 7-8% volatile oil & are mainly used for flavoring vegetables, pickles, soups, etc. the aromatic oil obtained from cumin fruit is known as cumionol or cuminic aldehyde which is used in canning industries.


Cumin is believed to be native of Egypt & Syria, turkey and the eastern Mediterranean region (Thompson & Kelly, 1957). It then spread to other parts of world from there.

Botanical facts:

  1. Belongs to Apiaceae family
  2. Annual herb of 30 cm height.
  3. Small white or pink flowers.
  4. Cross pollinated crop.


There are no recommended varieties of cumin in Nepal. The major exotic varieties of cumin are:

  1. GC-1 (Gujarat Cumin 1) : High yielding variety & tolerant to wilt and blight diseases.
  2. GC-2 (Gujarat Cumin 2) : Promising variety with high yield potential.
  3. MC-43 : High yielding and tolerant to wilt & blight diseases.
  4. RZ-19 (Rajasthan Zeera 19) : Medium yielding variety which is tolerant to wilt & blight diseases.
  5. RZ-209 : Similar to that of RZ-19
  6. RS-1 : Early type & suitable for light soil.
  7. S-404 : Suitable for heavy type soil.

Cultivation technique:


As a cool season crop, it requires dry & cool climate during tis vegetative growth & development. High humidity and frequent rain particularly during flowering stage is not suitable for cumin as high humidity predispose the crop to various diseases & aphid attack.

Soil & Field Preparation:

Cumin can grow in wide range of soil but it does best in well drained loam to medium heavy soils with good fertility. Successful cultivation of cumin requires multi-year crop rotation.

The soil should be brought to fine tilth by one deep ploughing followed by 2-3 light ploughing & planking.

Manuring & Fertilization:

Cumin does not require heavy fertilization. A basal application of 15-20 ton well decomposed FYM has been recommended at the time of field preparation. This should be supplemented with 30: 30: 20 kg NPK/ha. The entire dose of P & K & half of nitrogenous fertilizer should be applied as basal and the remaining half of nitrogen is top dressed at 45 days after sowing.

Sowing time:

The proper time of sowing is from September to early November. Delay in sowing results in slow germination & growth resulting poor yield.

Seed rate & Spacing:

The crop is usually sown by broadcasting of seed but line sowing is more preferred as it is easy to carry out intercultural operations like weeding, hoeing, spraying, etc. in line sowing of seed, seeds are sown at spacing of 25-30 * 5-10 (cm * cm). The seeds are sown in these furrows to a depth of about 1cm & covered with thin layer of soil. About 20 kg seeds is sufficient for 1hector of land.

Irrigation & Interculture:

Light irrigation is applied immediately after sowing. Second irrigation is given 8-10 days after first irrigation & subsequently at 15-25 days interval depending upon the climate and soil type. Irrigation should be avoided at the time of grain filling.

Care should be taken to keep the field free from weeds especially during early stages when the growth of the crop is slow. Usually, two weeding and hoeing at 30 & 45 days after sowing is essential. Pre-sowing application of Fluchloralin @ 1-1.5 kg /ha helps in efficient weed control.

Harvesting & yield:

Cumin crop matures in about 120-150 days after sowing. The crop should be harvested when the stem becomes yellow & leaves fall. It is harvested by uprooting the plants or by cutting the plants with sickles when the seed have turned brown. The plants are staked in small heaps for 2-3 days in the field for proper drying. Seeds are separated manually by beating with sticks.

About 4-6 quintals/ha yield is obtained under good crop growth.

Plant protection:


  1. Blight:
  • Seed treatment with Bavistin or Indofil M-45 during cloudy weather at flowering stage. Repeat the spray in 10-15 days interval.
  • Grow resistant varieties.
  • 2 spray of 0.2% Mancozeb at 15 days interval.
  1. Wilt:
  • Follow three years of crop rotation.
  • Varieties such as RZ-19, RZ-209, GC-1, etc. are tolerant to blight.
  1. Powdery mildew:
  • Spray 0.2% wettable Sulphur powder or 0.1% karathane at 15 days interval.

Insect Pests:

  1. Aphid:
  • Spray malathion 50 EC @ 0.03% at 15 days interval.
  1. Mite:
  • Spray malathion 50 EC @ 0.03% at 15 days interval.
  1. Stink bug:
  • Alternate hosts like citrus, coffee, 7 rice should be avoided.
  • Spray dimethoate (0.03%) at regular interval.
  1. Whitefly:
  • Spray malathion 50 EC @ 0.03% at 15 days interval.
  1. Root knot nematode:
  • Plant resistant varieties if nematodes are known to be present in the soil.
  • Solarizing soil can reduce nematode populations in the soil.

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