Develop sustainable resources to grow Turmeric in Missouri

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2024: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 02/15/2026
Grant Recipient: Raw Roots Turmeric
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Ranjana Hans
Raw Roots Turmeric


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal summary:

Turmeric originated in the Asian sub-continent thousands of years
ago and have become an integral part of the natural lifestyle of
health and wellness throughout the world. The global market size
of turmeric is ~USD 65.36 million in 2020 and is expected to
increase by 16.1% to USD 191.89 million in 2028. In 2020, the
United States imported $57.1M in Turmeric, becoming the 1st
largest importer of turmeric in the world. The increased
consumption of this superfood is primarily due to established
health benefits, such as anti-cancer, antioxidant, and
anti-inflammatory properties.

Fresh turmeric root contains more nutrients than the commercially
available powder form. Besides, raw turmeric also adds a great
aroma to food. Despite high demands of this crop, the local
supply of fresh turmeric in Missouri remains minimal. There is
also a lack of reliable knowledge about the cultivation
conditions of turmeric in the community. We started growing
turmeric a few years ago at our farm. However, we are limited by
our resources to increase the production of turmeric the
Missouri. The purpose of this project is dual; to increase the
production of turmeric in Missouri and develop an outreach plan
for awareness.

Project objectives from proposal:

The purpose of this project is twofold: (i) Grow turmeric with
different conditions, (ii) Educate people. 

The average yield of turmeric grown in the Midwest conditions is
lower (~1 lb/plant) than average (~2.2 lb) without greenhouse
(extend the growing season) and raised beds (enriched with Epsom
salt and Gypsum salt). By growing the turmeric using the raised
beds mixture and greenhouse, we will extend the growing period of
turmeric. By comparing with outdoor beds and natural soil, we
will figure out the effect of improved conditions on the yield
and quality of turmeric (bigger roots; more bioactive).

Germination: We will start sprouting
turmeric indoors under the grow lights 3-4 weeks before last
frost day to ensure good germination, at a controlled temperature
and humidity. 

Soil Requirements: Turmeric thrives best
in a well-drained sandy or clayey loam rich in humus content.

Fertilizer Requirements: Turmeric is a
heavy feeder crop and responds well to organic soil mix rich in
Magnesium (Mg), Calcium (Ca) and Sulfur (S). Mg deficiency is
more widespread than is realized due to inadequate scientific
data about the effect of applications of Mg fertilizers on crops.
An article by Dr. Paul Tracy (MFA, Inc., Columbia, MO) concluded
that growers in Missouri should pay more attention to the need
for Mg fertilizer. Ca is an essential nutrient for plant growth
and development, particularly for roots. Sulfur is a constituent
of three essential amino acids that play an important role in
protein synthesis. Although turmeric contains only a trace amount
or very little quantity of Sulphur, it is suggested that
inclusion of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) and Gypsum salt
(calcium sulfate) in the fertilization schedule may dramatically
improve the fresh yield of turmeric. We will divide our raised
beds into four groups:

  1. Control Group: No additional fertilizer
  2. Enriched with Epsom salt (30 ml per gallon of water)
  3. Enriched with Gypsum salt (1/2 pound per sq ft of soil)
  4. Enriched with Epsom salt (30 ml per) and Gypsum salt (1/2
    pound per sq ft of soil)

These fertilizers will be dissolved in water and sprayed evenly
in the raised beds once a month. The soil will be tested for pH,
nutrient content and fertility status at the Soil and Plant
Testing Laboratory, MU Extension before and after
supplementation. The ideal pH for turmeric growth is between 6.0
- 6.5. No Gypsum salt will be used if pH drops below 5.0.

Temperature and Water: Being a tropical
plant, Turmeric enjoys humid environments with lots of rain and
optimal temperature range is between 68° and 86°F. We will
consider installing a drip irrigation system to make it easy to
maintain even moisture.

Pest Control: Turmeric is relatively easy
to maintain are resistant to common pests and diseases. Some of
the pests that may be active during turmeric growth are fungus
gnats. Mature plants may be prone to shoot borers, mites, thrips,
and whiteflies attacks that may be controlled by fortnightly
application of 0.5-1.0% neem oil (organic).

There will be a weekly evaluation of growth, weed management, and
irrigation throughout the growing season.  After the first
killing frost in mid-October/November, the roots and other plants
will be harvested, washed, and analyzed for the yield and quality
of our crop. 

The overall objectives of our project are:

  • Grow Turmeric, using different growing conditions at our
  • Marketing of the fresh and ready-to-use varieties of products
    from these Ayruvedic herbs for daily use at various Institutes
    and local farmers markets.
  • Share our innovative findings about the growing conditions of
    these Ayurvedic products and their manufacture through field
    days, website, and social media in the community.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.