Butternuts farming Guide

A Simplified Guide to Successful Butternut Farming

The demand for butternut has increased due to shifts in diet habits. Farmers, on the other hand, have turned to butternut farming to meet the high demand. Butternut farming has less cost of management and is not widely affected by pests and diseases.

However, it requires the proper care of management for one to get a good yield. Butternut farming should be done in a well fertile land with loam or sandy-loam soil. The field should be well-tilled and not prone to flooding.


When it comes to market, some consumers need small-size varieties, which often come from open-pollinated varieties (OPV). There are others though few, who need the large or medium size varieties which often come from the hybrid varieties. Therefore it is good to carry out market research before settling on the variety to plant.

Common varieties include; atlas, waltrum, Jupiter and Pluto f1.the varieties vary with yield and flavour.

A simplified guide on successful butternut farming
Pluto Butternuts variety

Butternut does well in both wet and dry areas under irrigation. However, butternuts are sensitive to cold temperatures that affect their yield capabilities.

How to Plant butternuts

Direct planting is the most recommended. Seeds are sown directly on the farm as it is economical. However, you can transplant already propagated seedlings.

A population of 7 – 9000 plants per acre is normally targeted. Planting holes are dug in a row spacing of 60 cm and between rows of 1.5m. Manure is added and mixed evenly in the soil to enable the feeder roots of the butternuts to absorb nutrients. It also helps improve water retention.

One or two seeds are sown shallowly per hole where germination takes place after seven to ten days. One butternut seed can develop 4 ton5 vines depending on variety and management.


Flowering starts after 45 to 60 days after planting. Cross-pollination takes place. In most cases, female parts may sprout earlier than male parts, therefore, for effective pollination, it is recommended to plant one line of butternuts a week earlier or there be a presence of an existing butternut plantation within to facilitate the transfer of pollen grains during the flowering stage.

Weeding is done after every three weeks to keep fields as clean as possible.

Top dressing with DAP is done on the 14th day after sowing. NPK 17.17.17 is later top dressed on 30th and 60th day after transplanting. CAN is not applied as it can cause cracking of the fruits. Read Also:Tomatoes farming-Find out how to farm and make a profit

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How to manage Pests and disease

Drenching with thunder insecticide should be done after complete germination (after 14 days) to prevent cutworm damage.

Aphids, squash bugs, Powderly mildew and anthracnose are some of the common pests and diseases. Butternut fruit that may develop black rot due to fungal infection is removed and isolated. A ripe butternut fruit turns from green to yellow.

When to Harvest butternuts

Mature butternut turns yellow after 80 to 100 days, depending on the weather and feeding. Mature vines turn from green to brown while leaves might turn yellow. Harvesting is done by plucking the fruits along with the part of its vine (5 to 10 cm) that will aid in curing and longer storage.

Harvesting is carried out daily for up to two weeks. Fruits can be stored for up to six months. However, one month is the recommended period for storage before being transported to the market to allow for proper ripening and curing.

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