STEVIA SEEDS


1) The seedbed (ph 5.5 - 6.5) must be dampened to almost the soil´s limit of humidity (moderate) for the reception of seeds. The temperature must be 15 - 25 C.

2)- Distribution of seeds: 10-15 gr/m2.
- Future distribution of plants: 1 plant/16,6 cm2 (600 plants/m2).
- Seedbed dimensions: 10 m. x 1 m. Separation of 50 cm among seedbeds.
- Approximately 166-170 m2 of seedbed with plants represent 1 hectare of land.
- The texture of the seedbed must be sandy, mixed with organic material and phosphorus.

3) Distribute the seeds on the surface. Do not cover them with sand. Apply pressure slightly on the surface using the palm of your hands to attach the seeds to the surface. Stevia seeds need sunlight for germination. It is a photoblastic species. That is the reason why it will not germinate if they are covered by sand.

4) Cover the seedbed with a half shadow fabric (50% shadow) until the plants are 1-2 cm high. The fabric will protect the seeds from the wind and dissecation

5) When dampening: Displacements should be prevented. The seedbed must contain humidity near to the soil´s limit (moderate) until germination. Dampen 2-5 times/day, watering over the half shadow fabric to prevent displacements.

6) Day 1 - 4: Dampen the soil watering over the half shadow fabric to prevent displacements of seeds

7) Day 5 - 7: the seeds are sprouting up.

8) Day 8-60:
- The plants are 1-2 cm high. Elevate the half shadow fabric 40 cm and dampen the plants over the cover 3 times/day.
- Eliminate the ill looking stevia plants and other non-stevia plants.

9) Day 60-90: The plants that are 10-15 cm high, with a minimum of 20 leaves and strong branches are ready to be transplanted.



STEVIA PLANT MANAGEMENT


1) Transplant.
- It is needed 5 men/day for the transplant of 1000 m2of stevia plants.
- The plants to be moved will be transplanted the same day.
- Water the soil daily the first 2 weeks after transplant date.
- Avoid using claysie soil for transplant. Use soils of middle texture.

2) Water requirements in Paraguay
- From collection date to day 20: Kc= 0.25; 1.78 mm/day.
- Day 21-46: Kc= 0,56; 2.10 mm/day.
- Day 47-70: Kc= 0,82; 6,3 mm/day.
* Caballero et al. 2002

*** In Paraguay, the recommendation is to water the Stevia plants daily with small amount of water. Any kind of watering system can be used. However,the most recommended, but not the most used, is the leaking system wich offers the following advantages:
- The water is distributed efficiently.
- Low use of energy.
- It is automatic.
- There is a possibility to transplant in any kind of land.


3) Fungi and plagues: There were reported attacks in a few ocations.
- Fungus: The damage is almost always minimum, therefore, it is not necessary the use ofchemical agents. In exceptional cases, when the damage is significant, benomil metil-tiofenate are used.
- Plagues: there has been no report about significant plague attack in the world. The use of chemical agents has not been recommended in any case until the year 2009.



STEVIA LEAVES MANUAL

1) Collecting Stevia leaves.
- Initiate the collection when 5% of the stevia flowers are open. By this time, the leaves have their highest concentration of stevioside.
- Cut the plants above the land to preserve the roots.
- Preserve the 5% of plants to produce seeds increase plantation.
- It is required 1 worker per 1000 m2 of land to collect the stevia leaves.
- Water the land daily the first 2 weeks the collection. Thereafter, do it twice a week. 
- Initiate the second collection 70-90 days after the first one. 
- 4000 kg/Hectare/year will be collected. The plantation will be preserved for 5-6 years without a need of renovation.


2)Drying the stevia leaves.
- It is needed 100 m2of drying surface per hectare per week of collection. Avoid this on raining days.
- Use synthetic fabrics to cover the area used for drying.
- The branches will be exposed to sunlight for 6 hours. The branches must not be interporsed.
- The best moment to collect leaves is when they turn brittle with 10-12% of humidity.
- Mechanical dryers can be used. Use high pressure air at 70 C degrees.
- Collect the leaves with a rake with compressed extensions.

3) Storing the dry leaves:
- Store the dry leaves (dark green color) in bags (10 kg/bag) made of synthetic fabric or jute.
- The bag must be stored in an environment with the following characteristics: dry, dark, clean and protected from humidity. They can be kept in this environment for 5-6 for commercial purposes. 
- The light green leaves are despised in the market. They are considered as sick leaves because they where stored in bad conditions.



  Stevia Leaves for export | Paraguay Stevia Producer | Paraguay


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