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Azolla is a water fern that is considered as a prime component in Integrated Farming System. Azolla harbors a blue green alga, Anabaena that fixes atmospheric nitrogen and farmers use Azolla as biofertilizer to provide nitrogen to rice and other crops. In rice cultivation, Azolla minimizes the emission of methane by enhancing the dissolved oxygen content of the water impounded in the paddy field. In recent days, Azolla is very much used as a sustainable feed substitute for livestock especially dairy cattle, poultry, piggery and fish. Azolla as biofertilizer in Rice Azolla can be applied to rice crop 10 days after transplanting and Azolla grows along with rice as dual crop and fixes atmospheric nitrogen. As a result the farmers can minimize the application of chemical fertilizer (Urea) by 25% that saves fertilizer cost. During harvesting stage, once water is drained in the field, Azolla is incorporated in to the soil that adds up the organic matter and soil fertility. Azolla as Animal and Poultry feed Recently Azolla is used as a potential feed for livestock and poultry. Azolla contains 25-35% protein, aminoacids, minerals, vitamins and β carotene, which are essential for livestock. Feeding Azolla to chickens increases the weight in broilers and egg production in layers. The β carotene and Omega fatty acids content are found to be high in eggs due to Azolla feeding. Azolla also increases the disease resistance in chickens. Nutrient contents in Azolla (on dry weight basis) Protein : 25-30% Nitrogen : 5.0% Phosphorus : 0.5% Potassium : 2.0-4.5% Calcium : 0.1-1.0% Magnesium : 0.65% Iron : 0.26% Fat : 3.0-3.3% Sugar : 3.4-3.5% Carbohydrate : 6.5% What are all the uses of Azolla? 1. Research results showed that, when wet Azolla is fed to poultry birds, the feed cost can be reduced @ 20paise/chicken/day due to saving in concentrate feed. 2. When Azolla is used as cattle feed, milk production is increased from 15 to 20% and the fat content in the milk is enhanced by 10%. Azolla feeding also increases the SNF in milk by 3%. 3. The egg of the layers, which feed Azolla, has more albumin, globulin and β carotene when compared to the eggs of the layers, which are fed with only concentrated feed. Recommended dose of Azolla for Livestock and Poultry Livestock Azolla Per day Cows, Bulls 1.0 Kg Broiler, layers 10-15 gm Goats 300-500 gm White Pigs 1.5--2.0 kg Rabbit 100g How to cultivate Azolla? Inputs for Azolla Production (For 20sq.m) Azolla Culture : 5kg Soil : 2cm uniformly spread Cowdung : 5kg Superphosphate : 100g Silpaulin Sheet : 20 sq.feet Water : 200Lit Methodology Make a bed of about 10feet length, 2feet width and 1feet depth in a shaded area Spread the silpaulin sheet uniformly Spread the soil uniformly over the silpaulin sheet for 2 inches Pour water onto the sheet (up to 2cm) Put 100g superphosphate Put Cow dung slurry (5 kg) Put 5kg Azolla starter culture Daily stir the soil and maintain water for 2-5 cm After 10-15 days harvest 2/3 part of Azolla from bed Azolla production will be higher in rainy seasons and lower in summer seasons. Harvest Azolla daily by making three or four beds and can be used as a feed for livestock and Poultry. How to control Pests & Diseases in Azolla? Generally the pests and diseases will rarely attack Azolla. If the density of Azolla is high in the beds, there is a chance for pests and diseases incidence. To control caterpillars and snails, dilute 5ml neem oil in one litre of water and spray over the Azolla. For the control of diseases, apply 100 gm of Pseudomonas fluorescens and Trichoderma viride each in the beds. Azolla- A Dissemination technology in ClimaRice The multiplication of Azolla needs small piece of land, minimum water facility and manpower. All these inputs are very much available for farmers at their doorsteps and no paid external inputs or building facilities are needed. Hence Azolla cultivation has been promoted as one of the dissemination technologies in we that helps farmers to minimize the application of urea and also useful as animal and poultry feed. Web: http://www.natureherbs.org Blog: http://natureherbsorg.blogspot.in/ Email : natureherbs@ymail.com, sales@natureherbs.org Mob: +91 841 888 5555 Skype: nature.herbs