Onion Farming in India: What, Why and How?

Onion Farming in India: What, Why and How?


Climate information for Onion Farming.

Best climatic conditions required for Onion is high humidity and required temperature should range from 15 to 30 Celsius, with average rainfall between 65 cm. to 75 cm.

For vegetative growth, lower temperature combined with short sunlight is required whereas relatively higher temperature along with longer sunlight is required for bulb development and maturity.

Suitable soil for Onion Farming.

Onion can be grown on alluvial soil. It yields best if it's grown in soil having texture loamy soil, silt soil, with pH 6.0 to 7.0.

Onion crop is more sensitive to highly acidic, alkali and saline soils and waterlogging conditions. Onions do not thrive in soils having pH below 6.0 because of trace element deficiencies, or occasionally, Al or Mn toxicity. The threshold electrical conductivity of a saturation extract (ECe) for onion crop is 4.0 dS/m. When the ECe level exceeds this, crop yield starts declining.

Recommended Sowing Times for Onion Farming.

Rabi: Sowing starts in September and lasts up to November

Kharif: Sowing start in June and end in July

Onion Farming

Land Preparation for Onion Farming.

About 4-5 shallow ploughings are sufficient to make the soil loose, friable and porous. The last ploughing should be followed by planking to level the field.

Sowing methods and tips for Onion Farming.

Sowing can be done by given methods.

Raising through seed --In this method, sowing is done in the nursery beds, about 50 raised in bed of 3 x 1 x.15 m size. Seed treatment with Thiram@2gm/kg of seed + Benomyl 50WP@1gm/litre water effectively controls damping-off and smut diseases. The seed is sown in lines made at 5 cm apart and covered with a mixture of well rotten FYM and soil. The seedling will be ready for transplanting within 6-7 week.

Should have row distance between 15 - 18 cm.

Plant/Seed should be sown at a distance of 7 to 8 cm.

Seed depth should be in between 1.0 and 2.0 cm.

Transplanting Method for Onion Farming.

6-7 week old seedlings are ready for transplanting. The nursery beds should be irrigated 4-5 hours prior to the uprooting of the seedlings. Before transplanting dip root in the solution Bavistin@2g/lit to save the crop from pint rot disease. The appropriate plots are made in the already prepared field and transplanting is done in the evening at 15 x 7.5 cm spacing. Irrigation immediately after transplanting is essential. Gap filling should be done one week after transplanting shocks.

Raising through the set(small bulbs).

This is generally done in case of Kharif season crop. In this method ridges and furrows are made at 40 cm spacing. The sets are planted on the ridges at 15 cm apart. Water just after planting is applied through furrows. Earthing up is very essential from time to time to facilitate large-sized bulbs.

Irrigation Methods for Onion Farming.

Irrigation requirement of onion depends upon the season, soil type, method of irrigation and age of the crop. In general, onion needs irrigation at the time of transplanting, three days after transplanting and subsequently at a 7-10 days interval depending upon the soil moisture. In general, Kharif crop needs 5-8 irrigations, the late Kharif crop requires 10-12 and Rabi crop needs 12-15 irrigations.

Onion Farming

Fertilizer Requirement for Onion Farming.

One-third of recommended N and a full dose of P2O5 and K2O are applied at the time of planting while remaining two-third N is applied in two equal splits at 30 and 45 days after planting. In addition to NPK, Sulphur is also an essential plant nutrient important for onion crop for improving yield and the pungency of onion bulbs. Sulphur is recommended as a basal dose at the time of transplanting. Application of 15 kg Sulphur/ha is sufficient for growing onion crops in soils having a Sulphur level above 25 kg/ha while 30 kg Sulphur/ha is needed for soils having a Sulphur level below 25 kg/ha for optimum production of onion. Soil application of 50 kg S /ha is recommended for long day onion crops.

Minimum Nitrogen Content (Kg/Ha): 80, Maximum Nitrogen Content (Kg/Ha): 125, Minimum Phosphorus Content (Kg/Ha): 50, Maximum Phosphorus Content (Kg/Ha): 75, Minimum Potassium Content (Kg/Ha): 80, Maximum Potassium Content (Kg/Ha): 125

Sees Requirements for Onion Farming.

Seed required for sowing one-hectare farmland is in between 8.0 Kg. and 12.0 Kg.

Seed Treatment for Onion Farming.

Before sowing treat the seed with Thiram@2 gm/kg of seed + Benomyl 50WP@1 gm/litre water effectively controls damping-off and smut diseases. After chemical treatment, seed treatment with bioagent Trichoderma viride@2 gm/kg of seed is recommended, it helps in reducing early seedling diseases and soil-borne inoculum.

Best Seed varieties for Onion Farming.

Agrifound Red, Agrifound Rose, Arka Bindu, Bhima Shubra, Bhima Shweta, Bhima Safed, Pusa White Round, Arka Yojith, Pusa White Flat, Bhima Light Red, Bhima Kiran, Arka Niketan, Arka Kirthiman, Bhima Supe, Bhima Red, Bhima Shakti, Pusa Red, Pusa Madhavi.

Best Practices for Onion Farming.

Control of weeds at the initial growth stages is essential for getting high marketable bulb yield. Because of labour scarcity, chemical control of weeds along with cultural methods is inevitable. Application of Oxyflurofen @ 23.5% EC (1.5 -2.0 ml/L)/ Pendimethalin @ 30% EC (3.5-4ml/L) before transplanting or at the time of transplanting followed by one hand weeding at 40-60 days after transplanting is recommended for efficient weed control.

Rotation and Mixed Cropping Onion crops should follow the vegetable crops such as cauliflower, tomato and potato, which require large quantities of organic manures. As a winter crop, it follows cereals, groundnut and cowpea while as a summer crop it follows paddy. When cultivated as monsoon or late monsoon crop, coriander, French bean, sorghum, pearl millet, chillies, and groundnut are planted after harvesting onion. During the initial five months after planting sugarcane, onion is grown as an intercrop.

Onion Farming

Proper care should be taken while selecting seedlings for transplanting. Over and under-aged seedlings should be avoided for better establishment. At the time of transplanting, one-third of the seedling top should be cut to get good establishment. The onion seedling should be transplanted after dipping roots in carbendazim solution (0.1%) for two hours to reduce the incidence of fungal diseases during the establishment. The optimum spacing is 15 cm between the rows and 10 cm between plants.

Add mulch between the rows of onions. This will help retain moisture and stifle weeds.

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