Azolla, Granary of Nutrients and its Cultivation Process

Meghana DP
Meghana DP

Many of us might have observed small greenish kind of fern growing on the surface of flooded paddy fields which is known azolla. Azolla has many species but Azollapinnata is the required one for cultivation. It acts as bio fertilizer in paddy fields which contains endosymbiont nitrogen fixing cyanobacterium anabena azollae involved in nitrogen fixation gains luxurious growth of crop. Azolla being loaded with plenty of nutrients like proteins, essential amino acids, vitamin A, vitamin B12, beta carotene and minerals has wide applications. 

Steps for Azolla cultivation  

  • Construct the tank of size 6*4*0.5 feet dimensions but may depend on one’s requirement.

  • Place a thick plastic sheet in the tank, put 3 to 4 inch of fertile sand at the bottom and spread it uniformly. Later mix cow dung or vermi-compost in pail of water and stir it well. 

  • Pour desired amount of water in the tank, spread handful of azolla. 

  • Constructing shade net by using plastic cover is very important.  

  • After 8 to 10 days Azolla spreads entire tank indicating that it is ready for harvesting. 

  • Harvest the azolla by using sieve or manually. Wash it for two to three times in a clean water.  

Number of tanks required depends on one’s requirement. Feed cattle and poultry birds as such. If cattle rejects the feed, then mix it with a pinch of salt to relish its feed or mix it with bhusa or cattle feed. 

After every harvest add amount of SSP and cow dung to stir it well. For every six months clean the tank and change everything. 

Advantages of growing Azolla

  1. It can be grown at least cost of cultivation (1 Rupee per kg) which is less than the normal feed.

  2. Boosts up milk production and fat content enabling surge in profit.

  3. Essentially improves animal health. In poultry, increases weight of broiler chicken and increases egg production in layers.

  4. It can also be fed for pig, sheep, goat, turkey and rabbit as feed substitute. Improves immune system of Turkey.  

One can also use dried azolla by sun drying for 3 to7 days till it turns brown, crumbles when squeezed but dried azolla is not preferred by poultry birds due to lack of palatability. 

Meghana D P, MSC (Agri ), Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. 

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