El cultivo del azafrán

El cultivo del azafrán

La planta soporta temperaturas rigurosas, con valores que oscilan entre 35-40 ºC en verano y –15 ºC ó –20 ºC en invierno, referidos al medio ambiente, ya que las temperaturas propias del suelo varían ostensiblemente. No obstante, valores del orden de –15 ºC ó –20 ºC si coinciden con períodos críticos del vegetal pueden ocasionar serial alteraciones en el bulbo, repercutiendo sensiblemente en los rendimientos finales de producto. 
Las necesidades hídricas se estiman en unos 600-700 mm de agua anuales. Se asegura que dos precipitaciones copiosas al año coincidentes con los períodos de diferenciación y floración, pueden ser suficientes para abastecer los requerimientos hídricos de la planta. 
Existen precedentes de experiencias llevadas a cabo en fincas de regadío, en las cuales se ha puesto de manifiesto que dotando al cultivo de medios adecuados, mecanizándolo hasta los límites en que el mismo lo permite, se han obtenido rendimientos equiparables a los producidos por otros cultivos hortícolas.

La planta de azafrán

El azafrán agota temporalmente el terreno para el propio cultivo, pues es cierto que una vez levantado el azafranal es aconsejable dejar transcurrir 10 ó 12 años antes de volver a plantar azafrán en esos terrenos, si bien pueden ser utilizados para otros como cereales o leguminosas. 
El suelo que con arreglo a la evidencia mejor ha respondido a las exigencias de la planta ha sido, preferentemente, aquel caracterizado por su textura calcáreo – arcillosa, con un contenido en caliza en torno al 40-50%.

El suelo debe de ser profundo para evitar la compactación y con el objeto de permitir el almacenamiento de agua, aspecto fundamental tratándose de climas con bajos índices pluviométricos. 60-70 cm suele ser una profundidad apropiada. Deberá ser un suelo equilibrado en materia orgánica con el fin de reducir los riesgos de erosión a que se hallan expuestos no pocos suelos dedicados a este cultivo. Con un contenido del 1,5 al 2% de materia orgánica pueden obtenerse buenos rendimientos de azafrán. 

El terreno deberá presentar un relieve lo más plano posible y una orientación hacia el sur para obtener el máximo beneficio de la radicación solar. Sería aconsejable además, que el emplazamiento del terreno destinado al cultivo de azafrán se hallara en lo posible al abrigo de los vientos ya se incrementa la ETP del cultivo.

No se debe cultivar en suelos de pendientes pronunciadas por los fenómenos erosivos que en ellos se pueden dar. Además es conveniente que en los tres años precedentes a la plantación de azafrán los terrenos de cultivo no hayan estado ocupados por cultivos como alfalfa, remolacha, patata, zanahoria, trébol, nabo y otras plantas de especies afines, sometidas a padecer enfermedades que resultan comunes al azafrán.

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