What is Azolla?
Azolla is an aquatic free-floating fern (Diameter up to 10 to 30 millimetres) belongs to the family of Salviniaceae. It is also known as fairy moss, duckweed fern or mosquito fern.
It roots hanging in the water up to 40 millimetres below the water surface. It spreads individually or in the form of large mats on the water body as shown in the water body.
What does the basic reason behind the Azolla become highly productive?
Azolla forms the symbiotic relationship with the cyanobacteria Anabaena Azollae. Anabaena azollae fixes the nitrogen which helps in the doubling the biomass of Azolla.
Where it is grown?
It is grown naturally in the still water bodies or slow-moving water bodies. It can be found in the farm dams. One of the characteristics of the Azolla is its biomass generation capacity. Azolla can double its biomass within 3-10 days and this is one of the reasons why it is in the News.
Weather Condition suitable for the Azolla Cultivation
Freshwater is required for the Azolla Cultivation. Average water requirement is -10-15 cm freshwater.
It grows well in the soil pH of range between 5.2 to 5.8.
Most suitable temperature for Azolla cultivation is in the range of 20 Degree Celcius to 32 Degree Celcius.
It can be grown in the partial shade. It can be grown with the rice plant. Dual cropping of Azolla with rice is most successful.
Azolla cannot survive in the high latitudes and also in the winter. It cannot tolerate salinity.
What are the applications of Azolla?
It can be used as a better alternative to the cattle fodder in countries like India where the population of cattle is very big. Due to suitable climatic condition & more reliable source of cattle feed, it will take place conventional cattle feed in the coming years. Fisheries production can be doubled by feeding the green Azolla. Dry Azolla can be used as poultry feed.
Azolla increases the nitrogen level in the farm, thus helping the rice cultivation in many parts of Andra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Maharashtra. It acts as the companion plants with the paddy cultivation. It is used as a fertiliser to boost crop production.
Azolla acts as a larvacide and it can be used to curb the Japanese Encephalitis. The common perception about this fern is that mosquito cannot penetrate in the surface of Azolla. So, the eggs of mosquito not able to reach the water body and thus, the further growth of mosquito can be controlled.
Azolla can be used as a Bioremediation and related technologies. It removes the metals such as nickel, lead, copper, chromium and zinc from the industrial wastewater.
Azolla can bring life to the almost dead water bodies by increasing the suitable demand of the biological oxygen. It is environment-friendly and can be used as a climate mitigation practices. It helps in absorbing the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releases the oxygen.
But in the parts of the worlds, like the United Kingdom and Australia, Azolla is invasive species blocking the free movements of the freshwater canals.
Is there any Government Schemes related to the Azolla?
Yes, it is available. The sample of Government of Maharashtra providing the monetary assistance to the Azolla cultivation Training is also available under this scheme. So, get to know and start your dairy production with minimum cost and higher return.
You can get the detailed information by clicking this link-
Cost of Cultivation of Azolla
Azolla cultivation is very cost-effective and can be provided with a better return. Rather than using Urea as a Nitrogen fertilizer, one can use it.
Let’s say one hectare of Azolla provide you with the 30 kg Nitrogen and the rest amount of nitrogen can be taken from Urea and you know the cost of One Urea Fertilizer Bags. It can be used for Nursery raising and other activities.
Yield of Azolla
Azolla can produce up to 25-30 kg of Nitrogen from 8-10 tonnes of biomass.
How to grow Azolla?
1. In Situ Azolla-
2. Ex-situ Azolla-
In situ Azolla can be grown on the field with standing crop. Low-level land, first the ready to sow the seeds, and then make the small ponds of 3*2*1 M size. Then apply 10-15 cm standing water in these small ponds. The green Azolla of 50-200 g/sqm and SSP of 20 kg/ha. Furadan is also used with this mixture. Maintain the initial water quantity to further growth of this plant.
Ex-situ Azolla can be grown in a bamboo basket and transferred to the rice filed but it required the water availability in sufficient quantity. During summer, it can be harvested in 15-20 days. During winter the growth can be hampered due to very low temperature.
Azolla Cultivation-Most Economic and Stable Cattle Feeder