Undue rise of the plucking table results in loss of crop. The rise in the plucking table during the season due to continuous plucking is unavoidable. To avoid undue creep, it is advisable to pluck close to janam. Some amount of creep is bound to take place in the cropping months. However, the creep should not exceed the limits under normal conditions. In N.E. India, the permissible creep is as under:
|Type of Prune/Skiff||Permissible creep|
|By end July||By end August||By end October/November|
|Light Prune||2.5 cm||3.5 cm||5.6 cm|
|Deep Skiff||2.5 cm||3.0 cm||4.5 to 5.0 cm|
|Medium Skiff||2.5 cm||3.0 cm||4.0 cm|
|Unprune||2.5 cm||3.5 cm||4.0 cm|
Breaking back is generally a wasteful and expensive operation. It is an operation of removing the thick or knotted stems (stubs) to level off the plucking table. Longer rounds because of shortage of labour, improper supervision, etc. lead to undue creep. When this happens, breaking back becomes necessary.
Breaking back is also done to maintain the quality of green leaves. If the size of the shoot is large, then the shoot is plucked close to janam and the lower portion of the shoot is thrown away keeping the desired portion of the shoot.
In unpruned and medium skiffed teas, the effect of improper plucking can lead to more loss of crop. If the situation warrants, a very light ‘airy skiff’ to remove just the topmost banjhis can be given. Banjhi shoots above the plucking table or surface present a special problem. If they are not plucked, they tend to make the bush surface uneven. If a single banjhi is left on the plucking table until the bud starts to grow again, this shoot is normally to be plucked at a higher level since the stem of such a shoot generally becomes very hard.