Project Report on Cultivation of Onions
Onion is the most loved vegetable and has narrow & hollow leaves with a base that enlarges to form a bulb. The bulb is white, yellow or red in color and requires 80 to 150 days for harvesting.
Health benefits of using onion in your diet:
Onion is used in almost every household in India. You will be surprised to know the usefulness and benefits of onion. If you consume onions in your food, it helps you to avoid many diseases. What are the benefits we can get from eating onions, we can see those things point by point below:
1. It helps in reducing diabetes.
2. It makes the digestive system better.
3. Onion is beneficial for heart health.
4. The element found in onion helps in keeping the digestive system healthy.
5. Onion keeps bones healthy
6. It is helpful in getting glowing skin.
7. It can help in removing dandruff.
8. It helps in making better immunity in the body.
9. By cutting onions, water comes out of the eyes and helps in cleaning the dirt from the eyes.
10. It helps with sexual ability.
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India is the 2nd largest exporter of Onions after China. The onions in India are very pungent and are available round the year. It has three farming seasons – Rabi crops in September & October, Kharif crop in June & July, and Summer crop in January & February. Onion cultivation is very easy and profitable and doesn’t require much care & effort.
In India the major growing states are – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. Onion farming in India has been constructed at 12,58,000 ha and the productivity is about 18.3 million tonnes per ha. It requires less scale of investment for commercial farming and can earn great profits in less time.
Let us discuss the cultivation of Onions in this article.
General Information about Onions
Onion or Allium cepa belongs to the Liliceae family with Shallots, Garlic and Leeks being its closest relatives. It is a bulbous plant where the bulbs are produced annually and the leaves are semi cylindrical or tubular in structure with maximum coating on the surface. The leaves emerge from subterranean bulbs with short & branched roots. The stems of onions grow up to 200 cm in length. The flowers appear at the tip of the stem being greenish white in colour. The bulb of onions has several overlapping surfaces that can expand upto 10 cm in diameter.
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Ideal Conditions for Onion Cultivation
Onion needs a temperate type of climate with alluvial soil to grow and its cultivation depends on the growing time and the location of cultivation. It can be grown as Long day onions generally in Plains and short day onions in Hilly regions.
Onion can be grown in a wide range of climates although it is a temperate crop but the best can be obtained by maintaining the temperature at mild, neither extreme of heat or cold nor excessive rainfall. It is a hardy plant and can survive freezing temperatures also. In India short day onions can be grown in the plains requiring 10 to 12 hours day length and the long day onion can be grown in hills with 13 to 14 hours of day length. The optimum temperature for growing onions at the vegetative stage is 13 to 24 degree Celsius and for bulbing stage, 16 to 21 degree Celsius and during maturity and harvest the temperature required is 30 to 35 degree celsius.
The best soil for onion cultivation is sandy loam to clayey soils with good drainage facilities with pH of the soil being 6.5 – 7.5. The soil should hold moisture and have sufficient organic matter. In heavy soils the bulbs can get deformed. The crop is highly sensitive to alkaline, acidic, saline and water logging soils.
The seed rate of Onions is 7 – 9 kg per hectare.
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Varieties of Onion
Onion is divided into three type of varieties:
- White Colour Varieties – The white varieties of onion are:
- Pusa White round
- Pusa White flat
- Bhima Shweta
- Bhima Shubhra
- Agrifound White
- Punjab-48 (S-48)
- Punjab White
- Yellow Colour Varieties – The yellow varieties are:
- Early Grano
- Brown Spanish
- Arka Pitamber
- Phule Swarna
- Red Colour Varieties – The red varieties are:
- Pusa Red
- Pusa Ratnar
- Pusa Madhavi
- Pusa Ridhi
- Arka Pragati
- Arka Niketan
- Arka Kalyan
- Arka Bindu
- Bangalore Rose
- Arka Latina (F1)
- Arka Kirtiman
- Bhima Raj
- Bhima Red
- Bhima Super
- Bhima Kiran
- Bhima Shakti
Season of Onion Cultivation
Onions are cultivated both as Kharif and Rabi crops in India, because it is grown in almost all the Indian states and the time and season of its cultivation depends upon the geographical location and weather at that particular place.
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It can be better understood by the following table:
|Place||Season||Time of Sowing||Time of Transplantation||Time of Harvesting|
|Punjab, Haryana, UP, Bihar, Rajasthan||Kharif||June-July||July-August||October-November|
|Maharashtra & Parts of Gujarat||Early Kharif||February-March||April-May||August-September|
|Orissa & West Bengal||Kharif||June-July||August-September||November-December|
|Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka||Early Kharif||February-April||April-June||July-September|
Land Preparation for Onion Cultivation
Onion seeds are sowed in the nursery and the seedlings can be transplanted to the main field after 30 to 40 days. Before transplantation the field is plowed properly to remove any type of unwanted debris or soil clods. The land is properly plowed to get fine tilth and 20 tons per hectare of farmyard manure or 10 tons of Farmyard manure along with 5 tons of poultry manure or vermicomposting is incorporated into the soil at the time of the last ploughing.
After ploughing, the fields are levelled and the beds are prepared – flat or broad bed furrows depending upon the season. Flatbeds are 1.5-2 meter in width and 4-6 metre in length. Broadbed furrows are 15 cm high with top width of 120 cm and 45 cm deep to get the right spacing. Both the beds should have 15×10 cm of spacing.
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For planting one acre of onion the seeds can be prepared in 0.12 acre of area and 2-4 kg of seeds. The nursery field is ploughed well and made free of soil clods. The soil is reduced to fine particles to hold enough water and should be made clear of stones, debris and weeds. For nursery preparation, raised beds are recommended with a height of 10 to 15 cm, 1 metre width and a convenient length and a distance of 30cm between the beds is kept to allow easy drainage of excess water. For controlling the weeds in the nursery, 0.2 % of Pendimethalin is used.
The onion seeds are treated with 2 gram per kg of Thiram or Trichoderma viride to prevent damage from damping off diseases and the seeds are maintained at 50-75 mm spacing and are covered with farmyard manure after sowing and watered slightly.
The seeds can be transplanted to the field after 30 to 40 days and it should be taken proper care while selecting the seedlings for transplanting. Avoid over and under aged seedlings and at the time of transplanting one third of the seedling top should be cut. The seed roots should be dipped in carbendazim solution (0.1 %) for 2 hours to reduce fungal diseases, before transplantation and 15 to 10 cm spacing should be maintained between rows and plants respectively.
Manures & Fertilizers
Apply 50% nitrogen and hundred percent of potassium Phosphorus and Sulphur as basal dose and the remaining 50% of nitrogen is to be applied into splits at 30 and 45 days after transplantation the top dressing must be completed before the development of bulb in the onions.
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The fertilizers are added as per:
- Kharif Season – 100:50:50:50 kg per hectare of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulphur respectively.
- Late Kharif Season – 150:50:50:50 kg per hectare of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulphur respectively.
- Rabi Season – 150:50:80:50 kg per hectare of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulphur respectively.
Irrigation & Fertigation
Irrigation is necessary at the time of transplanting and thereafter subsequent irrigation is done at a 7 to 10 days interval depending upon the condition of the soil and season. Onion requires frequent furrow irrigation because it has a shallow root system but overhead irrigation should not be done because it can cause foliage diseases.
It requires 30″ of irrigation during the growing season and as it closes to harvesting time it requires more water. Irrigation can be done once in three days using drip and sprinklers and the operating pressure for a drip system is 1.5 kg per cm² and for rotary micro sprinkler 2.5 kg per cm² pressure is required.
Fertigation schedule for Onion:
|Days after sowing||Fertigation schedule for Onion|
|Date||Urea||Amonium sulfet||12.61.00||P. Acid||Potas||Mg.Sulfet||Sul. Acid|
Fertigation should be done using Nitrogen fertilizers through drip irrigation and for basal dose 50% of Nitrogen is applied and the remaining 50% of nitrogen is applied in 7 splits maintaining 10 days time interval upto 70 days, after transplantation.
Weed Control & Management
To get better yield the bulb should be kept weed free. After transplantation, apply 0.15-0.25 kg ai/ha of Oxyfluorfen or 1.0 kg/ha of Fluchloralin or 3.5 l/ha of Pendimethalin, along with 1 hand weeding for effective growths in both Kharif & Rabi seasons. Apply 3ml/litre Pendimethalin just after sowing during nursery preparation to control weeds.
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Crop Rotation & Intercropping
Crop rotation is very important for onion cultivation to maintain the efficiency and optimal utilisation of all the applied soil mineral nutrients. The nutrients that remain unused can leach down and settle in the subsoil so planting leguminous crops would help in ensuring the utilisation of these nutrients. Thus, onion and legume cultivation sequence is a good option to maintain the soil health and optimum nutrient utilisation and also for getting higher yields.
Intercropping could also be a great option to use the resources effectively without harming the main crop. Onion can be paired with sugarcane in Rabi & Kharif seasons respectively. This would increase soil fertility and could save water by 25-30 % through drip irrigation. It is recommended that Sugar Cane should be planted in furrows & ridges and Onion in flatbed after two rows of sugarcane.
Pests & Diseases
Onions suffer from many diseases caused due to Fungi, Viruses, Bacteria, Nematodes & Insects. Some of them are:
- Eriophyid mites
- Onion Yellow Dwarf
- Irish Yellow Spot
- Damping off
- Stemphylium blight
- Purple blotch
To control them intercropping is preferred and proper insecticides are applied after identifying the pest & diseases. You can even contact the local agricultural agents to get a more proper measure of treatment.
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Harvesting, Yield & Storage of Onions
Onions are harvested when the bulbs attain the right stage of maturity. It is done when the still green tops start dropping and they are gently pulled out from the soil. Irrigation should be stopped 10 to 15 days before harvesting and the crop is sprayed with 1000 ppm carbendazim 30 days prior to harvest as it helps in increasing the shelf life of the crop. The bulbs are cleaned and then left to dry in the field for 4 days.
The yielding of Onions is as per:
- Kharif crop – 15 to 20 tonnes per hectare
- Late Kharif crop – 30 to 35 tonnes per hectare
- Rabi crop – 25 to 30 tonnes per hectare
Onions are harvested in Rabi season as it gives better shelf life than Kharif season. They are stored in jute bags or wooden baskets or in netted baskets because they emit gases which can rot them if they are not allowed to escape.
Optimum storage temperature is 30 to 35 degree Celsius with 65 to 70 % relative humidity. For longer shelf life it is stored in cold temperatures but extreme cold temperatures like -2°C could lead to freezing injury.
Cost Economics for the Onion farming:
|Economics of OnionCrop cultivation under Micro Irrigation (1 Ha)|
|1||Primary tillage operations||Tractor / Rotavator||4||1000||Hrs||4000|
|2||Seed & seedling preparations||Seed Tray + Seed + Vermi Compost + cocopit||1||6500||Set||6500|
|4||FYM / Compost||Composting||10||2500||Trolly||25000|
|6||Conventional Fertilizer||DAP + Urea + Potash||1||6500||Set||6500|
|7||Insecticides, Pesticides & Spraying||1||5000||Set||5000|
|8||Irrigation & Electricity||1||4500||Set||4500|
|Total Variable cost||65600|
|Investment on MIS||112500.00|
|a||Interest on MIS value @ 18%||20250.00|
|b||Depreciation @ 10%||11250.00|
|c||Maintenance @ 5%||5625.00|
|Total Fixed Cost||37125.00|
|Total Cost (A+B)||102725.00|
|Note: This is a tentative rate considered.|
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Onion cultivation can be a good option for the farmers because it is a very demanding crop in the market and can be grown in all seasons. The marketing is also very easy as the farmers can contact the local vendors or wholesale stores or even the government market yards. It can prove to be a huge money making agribusiness as in India the crop has seen shortages since years and increase in price.