Onion is a winter crop and has the potential of profit per acre in Pakistan. Onion is used in daily cooking, and salad making. Onion farming in Punjab is a demanding crop not only in daily use but also in the market with enough rates that farmers can earn more profit.
There are many growers who are cultivating hybrid varieties and getting more production per acre. In this article, I will discuss onion farming with advanced farming techniques where farmers preferred more high-density techniques to traditional way farming.
There are the following outlines under which the whole article will be discussed onion farming techniques,
- Selection of variety for onion farming
- Nursery preparation for onion farming
- Land preparation for onion farming
- Fertilizer recommendation for onion farming
- Irrigation schedule for onion farming
- Plant protection in onion farming
- Yield and profit of onion farming
Selection of variety for onion farming
There are many varieties that can be chosen for cultivation. Many farmers are growing desi varieties which give about 200 monds of potential per acre but now other hybrid varieties have more potential than the desi phulkari varieties. So in this way, these varieties are preferred more by the farmer.
Now for the fulfillment of house kitchen requirements, desi varieties are grown while for commercial purposes hybrids varieties are being used. Almost 1 kg of seed is enough for 1 acre but in the case of high-density cropping, technique seeds are recommended by experts.
Nursery preparation for onion farming
Nursery preparation time is started from October to November when seeds require a temperature between 16 to 250 C in Punjab. The nursery is prepared fully after 30 to 45 days depending upon the temperature. When plants get 8-10-inch height then nursery plants are ready for shifting.
Land preparation for onion farming
Land preparation is very important. In this step, the soil is fed up with cow dung and the land is irrigated so that raw seeds of weeds should grow. When these weeds get enough height then weeds should cut down the ground by plowing with a tractor.
This way organic matter of well decomposed will be available with green manure. Then before the actual plantation mix the soil with 2 bags of DAP and half a bag of potash. Then prepare the bed with a 2.5 ft size where plant to plant and line to line distance kept 4 inches.
Fertilizer and irrigation for onion farming
Onion is a root crop; it develops its bulb underground. For such a kind of crop, phosphorus is mandatory it helps in making the bulb size bigger. It is also suggested that water should not rise enough that it touches the developing bulb, it may lead to a smaller size of bulbs.
Phosphorus should also mix with soil before plantation during land preparation, as well as with each irrigation provide the 3 bags of phosphorus in the early 50 days of the crop and 1 bag when the crop gets mature enough.
Nitrogen is needed by plants when it starts leaves but the dose should not be high and should be recommended by different experienced growers or experts. Potash dose should also be recommended by experts. Irrigation is dependent upon the weather condition, temperature, etc.
It is suggested that the first three irrigations should be given at weekly intervals and the remaining should be according to the climate or weather conditions.
Plant protection for onion farming
Leaves yellowing is a very common issue in onion farming. Yellowing of leaves is due to different reasons indicated by experts which may be due to the suffocation in plant roots due to water standing in the root active zone.
This leads to a lack of food (water and nutrients) flowing upward into leaves and resultantly leaves become pale and tilted. There are another insect and pest responsible for this is a thrips attack or may be due to a fungal attack.
The fungal attack happened due to excessive humidity when the crop was irrigated. While raining also happened due to which lots of water may remain in the root zone or powdery mildew occurs. There are the following things that should be kept under consideration,
- Before each irrigation, it is suggested that check out whether to avoid excessive water to avoid fungal diseases. In this case use fungicides spray.
- If the soil is too hard then flood it with Sulphur so that it would be easier for the bulb with optimum size.
- In case of a thrips attack, proper insecticides should be sprayed out by the expert recommendation.
There is also another important problem that is a weed problem, weeds are rough and become a competent plants for food and water. If growers did not struggle for controlling weeds then their competition will be existing and bulb size will remain smaller.
To overcome this problem, either use pre-emergence weedicides from good companies or use post-emergence weedicides. When all kinds of weeds like Bathu, Jangli palak, etc. emerge out, manual option or hoeing is also important but if farmers grow on a large scale or there is a lack of labor then chemical control is the last and alternative option for weed control.
Harvesting of onion
Harvesting is done when 70 percent of the plant’s neck gets bent downward. Onions are uprooted with hand. It is suggested that harvested onions should be spread out in open fields. When their scales get dried then cut the above portion by releasing 2cm of the neck.
Then it is up to the farmer whether sell the onions in the market. Otherwise, onions can be stored for three to four months in shady areas with an aerial environment. It is necessary that turn onion so that each part could be dried clearly.
The yield of onion farming
It is claimed by companies about hybrid onion varieties that 500-600 monds of production per acre can be obtained which is double of desi varieties. Well, it is depended upon the hard work and how much take care is done by the farmer.
- Onion is a winter crop with 4-5 months of the crop.
- Onion nursery time started from October to November in Punjab in Pakistan.
- High-density cropping technique, where plant-to-plant and line-to-line distances are kept inches with 2.5 ft of bed size gives more production per acre. It is stated by the experienced grower that by applying this cropping pattern farmers can get 3-acre production from 1 acre.
- Hybrid varieties are claimed for more production whereas desi varieties are counted lower and being used for household capacity.
- Onion is a root and bulbous crop; it needs more phosphorus and half of other nutrients which helps for a bigger bulb size.
- Weeds are more problematic if care is not taken by growers.
- Onion is sold out in the market at per mond of rate where its rates may vary but it fluctuates around 1000 rupees more or less which is still hope for farmers.