Azolla Cultivation: Beneficial for animals as well as for paddy crop
Rich in fiber, protein and nitrogen.
Azolla Cultivation | Azolla is a fern i.e. aquatic plant that floats on water. It is fed as fodder to animals. It contains 25 to 30 percent protein along with fiber. Along with this, there is also a lot of nitrogen. Due to being rich in nutrients, it is also called Green Gold and dry fruits of animals. By giving it to milch animals, production of milk is also good.
Azolla is given to poultry as well as to milch animals i.e. cows and buffaloes. It is a good alternative to fodder for animal rearers, as it can be grown easily.
To know what are the benefits of Azolla and how it can be grown, Kisan of India correspondent Tejaswita Upadhyay spoke to Hina Kaushar, a subject matter specialist in plant protection.
Why is Azolla given to Animals?
Hina Kaushar says that it is like a fern growing on the ground. It contains a good amount of fiber and protein for animals. It can be given from chickens to cow-buffalo. Its specialty is that along with protein, nitrogen and fiber, other nutrients are also found in it, which are found in other fodder.
She tells that Azolla can be cultivated by digging pits in places where water collects and where farmers are not able to use them.
How to grow Azolla?
Hina Kaushar tells that farmers should dig a pit less than 1 meter deep to grow Azolla. It can be kept 0.75 meters deep and its length up to 5 to 7 or 8 meters. After digging the pit, a plastic sheet is laid in it, its process is similar to making a water harvesting tank. Then fill the pit with water and spread some fern in it. It does not have any seed.
These ferns double in 7-10 days. Do not remove all the ferns for harvesting the crop, but take out some part of it and give it to the animals and leave the rest, so that it will double itself in a few days and this process will go on.
Useful for Paddy Field
We all know that paddy field requires a lot of water, but do you know that this collected water can be used for Azolla cultivation. Hina Kaushar tells that Azolla farming can be done easily in the paddy field. This reduces evaporation and stabilizes the amount of nitrogen in the field, which results in good yield of paddy.
Less quantity of nitrogen has to be applied in the field. The cultivation of Azolla does not cause any harm to the roots of paddy. That’s why farmers can grow Azolla along with paddy without any tension.
How to avoid Spoilage?
Hina Kaushar says that to avoid getting spoiled, it should be kept in mind that there should not be any crowd in the water. That’s why keep cutting from time to time and keep in mind that the roots should not be upwards. Also, it is necessary to maintain the water level.
While using Azolla as green fodder, keep in mind that giving it mixed with other fodder will be beneficial. Hina says that animals need more so only Azolla is not enough. Along with this, other fodder should also be given, only then they will get complete nutrition. Azolla not only improves the quality of milk of animals, but when used properly, milk production also increases, which increases the income of farmers.
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