Culture Of Chinese Waterchestnuts In The Southeastern United States

Two .05 ha ponds were planted with water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) corms in March 1978. After the waterchestnuts had sprouted the ponds were flooded in late March to an average depth of 15 em, and remained flooded until mid-October 1978. The ponds were drained and left dry until February 1979 when they were harvested. One pond had excellent production throughout, leading to an extrapolated level of 13,600 kg! ha. The other pond had good production only along the sides and in the shallow end due to high turbidity and unfavorably low soil pH. Production in the second pond was at the rate of 13,200 kg!ha. Production figures for intensive culture in China range from 17,000 to 34,500 kg! ha. The Chinese waterchestnut grows well in the southeastern United States and the necessary technology for mechanical harvesting and peeling have recently been developed. The only constraint on large scale production is the need for the imported market price to rise above the economic break-even point for domestic production. It may be possible in the future to raise waterchestnusts in polyculture with extensive and! or intensive finfish production systems.

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