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Onion Farming Information Guide for Beginners

Onion Farming Information:

Onion Cultivation
Onion Cultivation

Introduction of Onion Farming:-  The onion also known as the bulb onion or common onion is the most widely cultivated and consumed vegetables across the globe. The onion belongs to the family of “Amaryllidaceae” and genus of “Allium”. Onion is one of the most important commercial vegetable crops grown in Asia. The demand for this vegetable is very high worldwide. Onion can be used as vegetable in both immature stage (spring onion or green onion) and mature bulb stage as vegetable and spices. Young plants may be harvested before bulbing occurs and used whole as spring onions or scallions. When an onion is harvested after bulbing has begun, but the onion is not yet mature, the plants are sometimes referred to as “summer” onions. The pungency in onion is due to a volatile oil known as ally-proopyldisulphide. Onion has excellent health benefits and nutrition values. The commercial cultivation of onion is very much successful in Asia region. Onions can be grown in containers, pots, greenhouses and even in back yards. Farmers can get decent profits with onion farming, if the follow good farm management practices. China is the top producer of onions in the world followed by India.

Health Benefits of Onion:- Some of the health benefits of onions are given below.

Health Benefits of Onions
Health Benefits of Onions
  • Onions help in purifying blood.
  • Onions help in fixing respiratory issues.
  • Onions strengthens bones.
  • Onions may prevent cancer.
  • Onions aids in digestion.
  • Onions are good for brain function.
  • Onions have anti-biotic properties.
  • Onions are high in fibre.
  • Onions regulate blood sugar.
  • Onions are low in sodium.
  • Onions increase sperm count.
Nutrition Facts of Onion
Nutrition Facts of Onion

Major Onion Production Countries:- The following are the top production countries of onion.

1. China.
2. India.
3. United States.
4. Pakistan.
5. Turkey.
6. Egypt.
7. Russia.
8. Brazil.
9. Mexico.
10. Japan.
11. Netherlands.
12. Spain.
13. Ukraine.
14. South Korea.
15. Bangladesh.

Major Onion Production States of India:- Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar and Punjab are major contributors of onions in India.

Varieties of Onion:- Red, yellow and white are three groups of onions widely cultivated in the world. When it comes to commercial varieties within these categories, there are many improved varieties developed locally in every country. For high yielding cultivars, contact your local horticulture/agriculture department or any agriculture university in your country.

Local Names of Onion in Other Parts of World:- Pyaz (Urdu), songino (Mongolian),Zwiebel (German), 양파 (Korean), Pyaaj (Nepali), Cebolla (Spanish), uinnean (Scottish), ajuin (Dutch), luk (Bosnian), kremmýdi (Greek),crni luk (Serbian),piyoz (Uzbek), cebolha (Portuguese), oinniún (Irish),البصل (Arabic), luk (Bulgarian), 洋葱, yáng cōng (Chinese),sibuyas ( Filipino), cipolla (Italian),hŏm yài (Thai), රටලූණු (Sinhalese, Srilanka),củ hành (Vietnamese), Tamanegi (Japanese), kje’thun ni (Burmese), Oignon (French),Khah Teum Bah Rahng (Cambodian), luk (Russian), lökar (Swedish), soğan (Turkish),Bawang (Malay),پیاز,peyāz (Persian), viuzhafng (Taiwanese), цибуля,luk (Ukrainian).

Local Names of Onion in India:-  Pyaaj (Hindi), Ullipayalu (Telugu), வெங்காயம், Vengayam (Tamil), Eerulli (kannada), Dungri (Gujarati), Tilhou (Manipuri), Savola (Malayalam), Piyavu (Konkani), Piaja (Oriya), Kandaa (Marathi), Pyajj (Bengali), Ganda (Kashmiri), Piyaz (Assamese), Piaz (Punjabi).

Climatic requirements for Onion Farming:-  Onion crop is a cool season crop and generally cultivated during winter and harvested just before the summer begins. Onions thrive well under wide range of climatic conditions. However, mild season without extremes of heat and cold is suitable for its cultivation. Onions can be grown at elevation of 1400 meter to 2000 meter (msl) between April and August under rainfed conditions.

Spring Onion -Green Onions
Spring Onion -Green Onions

Soil Requirements for Onion Farming:-  Onion can be grown on wide range of soils. However, red loam to black soils and sandy loam to silly loam with good drainage facilities and deep friable is highly preferred for onion cultivation. The soil pH of 5.5 – 6.5 with mild season is preferred for better yield. Adding organic matter while preparing the land will boost the production of onion bulbs.

Land Preparation in Onion Farming:-  The land should be thoroughly prepared by giving 6 to 7 ploughings to make friable. Land should be brought to fine tilth stage and make weed free. Make sure the land is prepared in such a way that the excessive water can be drained out easily. Supplement the field with 25 tons of well decomposed farm yard manure (FMY) in last ploughing. Form ridges and furrows in the field.

Seed Rate, Treatment and Sowing Season in Onion Farming:- Seed rate depends on the variety and method of planting selected. In general, an average seed rate of 10 to 12 kg seeds required for 1 hectare land.

Seeds can be treated with Azospirillum @ 400 grams/kg of seed using rice gruel as adhesive, dry under shade for 30to 40  minutes and sow them. Apply VAM 1 kg/sq. m in the beds along with farm yard manure (FYM) 10 kg/sq.m before sowing.

Onions can be sown in two main seasons one in June-July (It is called ‘Kharif’ season in India) and Oct-Nov (It is called ‘Rabi’ season in India).

Planting Onions in the Field
Planting Onions in the Field

Sowing Method in Onion Farming:-  Ridges and furrows or flat bed method can be followed in sowing. Usually, flat bed method is more preferred as it accommodates more plants then ridge & furrow method, hence can get more yield. Quality of onions are supreme in case of flat bed as there will be equal distribution of water & fertilizers. In case of ridges and furrow method, 15 cm x 10 cm layout spacing should be followed. Also, plants 45 days old seedlings at a spacing of 10 cm apart on both the sides of the ridges can be transplanted.

Manures and Fertilizers in Onion Farming:-  Apply well rotten farmyard manure of25 ton/ha at the time of soil preparation, Azospirillum 2 kg and Phosphobacteria 2 kg/ha, N of 50 kg, P of  150 kg and K of  75 kg/ha as basal dose and N 50 kg/ha as top-dressing should be applied at 1 month after planting. Zinc sulphate should be applied as basal dose @ 50 kg/ha at the time of last ploughing.

Growing Onion in Pot
Growing Onion in Pot

Irrigation in Onion Farming:- Maintaining the proper moist conditions in onion field is very important. Drip or Sprinkler irrigation methods can be adopted based on the ground water availability. After transplanting the plants, irrigation should be given for proper establishment. Subsequent irrigations should be given @ weekly interval. Irrigation should be stopped 15-20 days before attaining maturity for improving the keeping quality of bulbs. Frequent irrigation in onion farming delays maturity. Make sure to give sufficient irrigation at bulb forming stage.

Weed Control in Onion Farming:- Early weed control is important to get good yield in onion farming, otherwise onion bulbs will be damaged. 2 to 3 hoeing and weedings should be enough for the crop. After 2 to 3 irrigations, earthing up the poor plants are essential. Mulching can be done to conserve the water  and and control weed growth.

Mulch in Onion Filed
Mulch in Onion Filed

Plant Protection in Onion Farming:-  The following are the pests and diseases found  in onion crop.

Pests in Onion Farming:

  • Thrips and onion fly: Spraying Methyl demeton 25 EC 1 ml/lit or Dimethoate 30 EC 1 ml/lit with Teepol 0.5 ml/lit can control these pests.
  • Cutworm: Drenching the soil with Chlorpyriphos @ 2 ml/lit can check this pest.
  • Nematode: To control this, apply Carbofuran 3 G 1 kg a.i./ha or Phorate 10 G 1 kg a.i./ha at 10 days after transplanting.

Diseases in Onion Farming:

  • Leaf spot: This can be controlled by spraying Mancozeb 2 g/lit or Copper oxychloride 2 grams/liter of water. Add 1 ml of Teepol to 1 liter of the spray fluid.

Harvesting in Onion Farming:-  Usually, the onion bulbs reach maturity stage when the plants cease to produce new leaves and roots. In onion farming, neck fall is the indication of maturity and time of harvesting depends on planting season, variety, market price and condition of the crop. In general, when about 50 percent neck fall happens, onion crop can be harvested.

Harvested Onions
Harvested Onions

Yield of Onion or Onion:-  Generally, Onion yield depends on many factors like soil, climate, cultivar and other farm management practices. On an average, the crop yields about 14 to18 tones/ha in 5 months.

Marketing in Onion Farming:-  Graded onions can transported to local markets or  there are many local agents who buy the crop in bulk.

Bottom Line in Onion Farming:-  As this vegetable has regular demand, farmers can get good profits with onion farming.

For Indian Agriculture : Read here.

For Sheep or Goat Farming: Read here.


  1. Thank you for your good information, I am Hassan Farah live in Ethiopia Somali region, we have a permanent river and I want to start farming especially onions what is your I first test the soil then do the ploughing and irrigate the land or what
    thanks for your time in giving the above information
    Best regards,
    Hassan Farah


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