Cultivating Azolla (Duckweed)
As a High Protein Feed Supplement for all Livestock
AQUAFOD have Several cost-effective methods can be used for the cultivation of Azolla as a livestock feed.
Azella grows extremely fast and is full of microorganisms beneficial to all grass eating livestock, therefore developed a method for cultivating Azolla that is easy and economical for livestock farmers.
AQUAFOD have developed a method for cultivating Azolla that is easy and economical for livestock farmers
Large scale commercial Azolla for livestock feed farming
Specifically designed for all Poultry, Fish and Livestock Farming
RaftMagic Azolla Troughs System.
One of its attractions of the AQUAFOD system is that the fish-dung produced by the fish in our Aquaponic system of symbiosis is used to help fertilise the Azolla plants which, in turn, provide nutrition for the livestock
Azolla is a free-floating, rapidly growing aquatic fern on the water surface. Azolla cultivation helps the farmer to reduce the cost of Livestock Feed supplement and it is useful to feed supplements for livestock, poultry, and fish. It floats like a small, flat, compact green mass. Under ideal conditions, the Azolla plant grows exponentially, doubling its biomass every three days. There are at least eight species of Azolla worldwide; Azolla caroliniana, Azolla circinata, Azolla japonica, Azolla Mexicana, Azolla microphylla, Azolla nilotica, Azolla pinnata, and Azolla Rubra.
The common species of Azolla in India is Azolla pinnata. It produces more than 4 to 5 times of protein of excellent quality in comparison to Lucerne and hybrid Napier. Besides this, biomass production is almost 4 to 10 times when compared with hybrid Napier and Lucerne, respectively. These two parameters are very important to enhance economic livestock production to establish that Azolla is reckoned as “The Super Plant”.
A water body is made, with Aquaponic Warrior’s, RaftMagic Deep Water Cultivation System, GrowBeds. [DWC] under the shade of a greenhouse, with the help of a shade material. Our greenhouses covering is a polythene which is resistant to the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight.
• The DWC RaftMagic is without using our usual polystyrene floating planters. Instead, Azolla is floating on top of the still, filtered water from the fish tanks recycling. Harvesting every 3-5 days is very easy with a net. Spores and Azilla fragments are left in the RaftMagic to grow again. As a livestock feed, the 30-80 m ×10 m greenhouse will hold enough Azolla to rotate beds and harvest daily.
• About 0.5 – 1 kg of fresh and pure culture of Azolla is placed in the water. This will grow rapidly and fill the system within 2-3 days and 10 – 15 days to full potential. From then on, 500 – 1000 g per sqm of Azolla can be harvested daily. It is important to keep Azolla at the rapid multiplication growth phase with the minimum doubling time. Therefore, biomass (around 600-1000 g per square meter) should be removed every day or on alternate days to avoid overcrowding.
Azolla plants do not like rapid moving water, so aeration are at the bottom of the raft beds.
RaftMagic water is filling to grow bed with water from the fish tanks, to raise the water level to about 10-15 cm.
The pH should be tested periodically and should be maintained between 5.5 and 7. The Azolla bed should be cleaned, the water and replaced and new Azolla inoculated once every six months.
Harvesting, washing also helps in separating the small plants which drain out of the tray. The plants along with water in the bucket can be poured back into the original bed.
Azolla for use as a livestock feed, the fresh Azolla should be mixed with commercial feed in 1:1 ratio to feed livestock. After a fortnight of feeding on Azolla mixed with concentrate, livestock may be fed with Azolla without added concentrate
Azolla grow exceptionally well in the deep water troughs. We like to integrate adjacent RaftMagic Azolla Troughs so that the water moves from trough to trough in a continuous flowing recycling symbiotic system.
Growing Azolla has numerous benefits whether used as a feed for livestock, biofuel for ethanol production or even as food for human nutrition. Azolla is a very easy plant to grow and performs a double service of recycling nutrients from various sources of biomass.
When using the AQUAFOD Azolla livestock feed system the process of growing is optimised as wind is minimised, nutrients are manageable and harvesting is as simple as lifting out and allowing Azolla to be strained over a screen.
When storing Azolla as a feed, we find silage or drying is ideal as it stabilises the feed and allows for a slow fermentation process to begin, which releases the nutrients and makes them more easily digested by livestock.
Larger, customised and more economical, designs are available for commercial scale Azolla production and waste water processing.