• Azolla  is a Miraculous fern for nitrogen fixation & sustainable cattle feed
  • Azolla is a free floating fern and can be grown in ponds, pits, tanks, etc.
  • Azolla can be very easily cultivated in a pit with depth of 20 centimetres.

Materials required:

  • Azolla mother culture 250 g per sq mt.
  • Labour for making trenches
  • 5 kgs sieved soil per sq meter
  • Poly sheet
  • Poly net
  • Few gunny bags
  • Cow dung (4-5 days old) 1.5 kg per sq m
  • Neem cake 125gm per sq meter
  • Water


Step 1:

Azolla cultivation pit can be prepared using the following options
  • Dig a trench and Arrange bricks in a rectangle or square so that a pit is formed between the four sides.
  • Construct a concrete pit, in this case directly go to step 5
  • The pit should be 20 cms deep.
  • Typically you can go for a pit with 2.5 x 1.5 x 0.2 m dimension.
  • This will help in harvest and maintenance.
  • Have round edges avoid any sharp edge in the corners.

Step 2:

  • Level the floor and remove any stones.
  • There should be no slope inside the pit.

Step 3:

  • Place some gunny bags on the floor

Step 4:

  • Cover the pit with UV stabilized poly sheet or tarpaulin sheet.
  • Ensure that there is no wrinkle left.
  • Also, the edges of the sheet should be well covered with soil so that the sheet remains tight and is not loosened when water is poured into the pit.

Step 5:

  • Spread sieved soil on the floor evenly

Step 6:

  • Make a slurry by mixing cow dung, neem cake & some water and sprinkle it evenly on the soil in the pit.

Step 7:

  • Now fill the pit with water such that water depth of minimum 10 cm is achieved.
  • Fill the water cautiously and ensure that the soil does not get concentrated in one corner or area.

Step 8:

  • After the water is settled remove the layer of foam and scum that are formed.
  • Now add the Azolla mother culture to the pond.
  • The Azolla mother culture is nothing but Azolla fern from some existing pit.
  • This can be purchased from any existing Azolla cultivator or from agriculture university.

Step 9:

  • Place poly net on the pit.


  • Azolla will spread @ 400 g per sq m.
  • Azolla will cover the entire bed and form a mat within 1 week.
  • After 1 week the harvesting of Azolla fern can begin.
  • Daily 400 g per sq m should be harvested this will avoid over-crowding of the fern.
  • Azolla should be harvested using sieved plastic trays.
  • The fern should be washed properly in clean water two to three times to remove the cow dung smell.
  • The left over water after washing (Azolla Wash) can be used as bio-manure for plants.


  • Azolla can be used as cattle feed.
  • The washed Azolla should be mixed with feed concentrates in 1:1 ratio.
  • 1 – 1.5 kg of Azolla can be fed to the cattle every day.
  • In case of excess, Azolla can be dried and stored.
  • This dried azolla can also be fed to cattle.


Dried Azolla can be used as bio-manure in the farm. Azolla is a very good source of nitrogen.
  • It is important to keep Azolla at the rapid multiplication growth phase with the minimum doubling time.
  • Therefore biomass (around 200 g per square meter) should be removed every day or on alternate days to avoid overcrowding
  • About 1 kg of cow dung should be added once every 5 days in order to maintain rapid multiplication of the Azolla and to maintain the daily yield.
  • The temperature should be kept below 25 °C.
  • If the temperature goes up the light intensity should be reduced by providing shade.
  • If possible, it is best to place the production unit where it is shady.
  • The pH should be tested periodically and should be maintained between 5.5 and 7.
  • About 5 kg of bed soil should be replaced with fresh soil once in 30 days. To avoid nitrogen build up and prevent micro-nutrient deficiency.
  • 25 to 30 percent of the water also needs to be replaced with fresh water once every 10 days. To prevent nitrogen build up in the bed.
  • The bed should be cleaned the water and soil replaced.
  • New Azolla inoculated once every six months.
  • A fresh bed has to be prepared and inoculated with pure culture of Azolla, when contaminated by pest and diseases.
  • The Azolla should be washed in fresh water before use to remove the smell of cow dung.


  • The cost preparing 1 pit of Azolla of size 2.5 x 1.5 x 0.2 m is about Rs.1800/-.
  • Overall cost of Azolla harvest is Rs.0.65 per kg.
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1 thought on “Azolla”

  1. Atif Abu Baker Ahmed

    How can i make azolla high quality manure ,and how to apply to soil
    In case l want to accelerate azolla decomposition in soil ,what can i do

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