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Soil and Nutrient Requirement

Cassava grows well in areas where annual rainfall is more than 1000 mm, annual temperature above 180C and mean solar radiation more than 16 MJ m-2. In India, cassava is grown in areas with a wide range of climatic conditions. It is grown in areas with rainfall as high as 3000 mm (Kerala) to as low as 600 mm (Tamil Nadu), and at elevations from below sea level to 2200 m above mean sea level. In Idukki district of Kerala state and the Kolli hills of Tamil Nadu state, which are located at altitudes of 2200 and 1200 m above sea level, respectively, cassava performs well. It has been gaining importance as an industrial crop in the western, eastern and northeastern states of India and grows well in a wide range of soils and climates. Indicative optimal soil requirements for cassava are given in table 1 below.

Table 1. Indicative optimal soil requirements for cassava 

Parameter Unit Value
Rooting depth
cm 90
Soil slope
% <3.0
dS m-1 0.7
% <5
Loam, Sandy loam
cm h-1 1-2
mm m-1 120-150
Hydraulic Conductivity
cm h-1 3-5

Ref : Byju (2006)
Cassava cultivated in Kuttanadu, Kerala (below or near mean sea level) and Kolli hills, Tamil Nadu(1200 m above mean sea level)

In India, cassava is cultivated in varied agroclimatic and pedogenic environments. In Kerala state it is cultivated mostly in laterite soils (Ultisols). In Tamil Nadu state, where it is cultivated mainly for the industrial uses, cassava is grown in black soils (Vertisols) and red soils (Alfisols). In Andhra Pradesh state, where also it is cultivated mainly for industrial uses, cassava is cultivated in sandy loam and coastal alluvial soils (Inceptisols).

Cassava requires a soil which allows for the development of an adequate rooting volume for the bulking of tuberous roots and for early harvesting. Cassava is renowned as the species that will still produce a harvestable yield (5-6 t/ha) in tropical soils of low fertility where other crops will fail. It is estimated that for producing one tone of tuberous root of cassava, the crop removes 6.45 kg N, 1.23 kg P and 8.5 kg K, whereas rice removed 6.6 kg N, 1.3 kg P and 8.62 kg K. For the production of 30 tones of tuberous roots, cassava removes 180, 22 and 160 kg ha-1 of N, P and K from the soil (CTCRI, 1983).

Cassava grown in Ultisols (Kerala), Vertisols (Tamil Nadu), Alfisols (Tamil Nadu) and Inceptisols (Andhra Pradesh)


Byju G. (Ed). 2006. Quality planting material production in tropical tuber crops. Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (ICAR), Thiruvananthapuram, India.

Ref: CTCRI. 1983. Two decades of research 1963-1983. CTCRI, India. 52 p

Central Tuber Crops Research Institute
Sreekariyam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala - 17