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Fertilizer schedule in onion crop

Title: Optimizing Fertilizer Schedule in Onion Crop: A Guide for Successful Yield


Onion cultivation is a popular agricultural practice worldwide, with its versatility and demand making it a staple crop for many farmers. To achieve optimal onion production, it is essential to develop a sound fertilizer schedule that ensures the crop receives the necessary nutrients at the right time. This article aims to outline a recommended fertilizer schedule for growing onions, helping farmers maximize yields and overall crop health.

Understanding Onion Nutrient Requirements:

Onions require specific nutrients for proper growth and bulb development. The primary macronutrients required are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), commonly known as NPK. Additionally, adequate levels of secondary macronutrients like calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S), as well as micronutrients such as iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), and manganese (Mn), are crucial for maximizing onion crop productivity.

Fertilizer Schedule:

1. Pre-planting stage:
Before planting onion sets or seedlings, it is advisable to conduct a soil test to determine the nutrient composition and adjust accordingly. Based on the test results, incorporate organic matter or compost into the soil. This helps improve soil structure, enhances moisture retention, and provides essential nutrients at the onset.

2. Early growth stage:
Onions have high nitrogen requirements during the initial growth phase. Apply a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 (N-P-K) at a rate of approximately 60-80 pounds per acre. Alternatively, you can opt for nitrogen-rich fertilizers like urea. Broadcasting the fertilizer evenly across the onion beds is recommended, followed by incorporating it into the topsoil.

3. Bulbing stage:
As onion bulbs develop, their potassium demand increases. For this stage, switch to a fertilizer with a higher potassium concentration, such as 10-20-20 or 12-24-12. Apply approximately 40-60 pounds per acre once the bulbs begin to mature. Potassium helps improve bulb size, quality, and storage potential.

4. Side dressing:
A few weeks after transplanting or emergence, onions can benefit from supplemental nitrogen through side dressing. This involves applying nitrogen-rich fertilizers, including ammonium nitrate or urea, alongside the rows, avoiding direct contact with the plants. Apply approximately 30-40 pounds per acre, adjusting based on soil conditions and crop performance.

5. Foliar feeding:
Supplementing onion crops with foliar fertilizers can bolster nutrient uptake during critical growth stages. Applying a liquid fertilizer mix containing essential micronutrients can be effective. Foliar feeding can be done once or twice during the growing season, adhering to manufacturer instructions and avoiding application during periods of high temperature and direct sunlight.

Key Considerations:

– Splitting nitrogen applications can help prevent nutrient loss and ensure consistent supply throughout the growing season.
– Monitor soil moisture levels regularly and adjust irrigation practices accordingly, as excessive watering can lead to nutrient leaching.
– Organic fertilizers, manure, or compost can be used as an alternative to synthetic fertilizers, though nutrient content may vary. Application rates should consider the nutrient content analysis.


Developing a well-planned fertilizer schedule is paramount to successful onion crop cultivation. By aligning nutrient applications with the crop’s growth stages and requirements, farmers can expect higher yields, improved bulb quality, and enhanced onion crop health. Remember, regular monitoring, soil testing, and adjustments based on local conditions are vital for tailoring the fertilizer schedule for optimum results in onion cultivation.

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