Experts share tips to improve soil health, yield

Experts share tips to improve soil health, yield

Photo for representational purpose only

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26

Advancing food security and environmental sustainability in farming systems requires an integrated soil productivity management approach that maximises crop production while minimising the mining of soil nutrient reserves and the degradation of the physical and chemical properties of soil that can lead to land degradation.

“It is an important task to maintain soil productivity along with other factors such as selection of crop variety, cultivation practices and control of insect pest to obtain good quality product and yield from different crops,” said Rajeev Kumar Gupta from the Department of Soil Science, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

Pawitar Singh from Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Bahowal, Hoshiarpur, said tht due to rice-wheat crop rotation, high cropping intensity and dependence upon chemical fertilisers, fertility status of the Punjab soils has to be maintained for long time.

“Less use of crop residue, farm yard manure, green manure, bio-fertilisers and no use of leguminous crops in crop rotations is aggravating the problem against the sustainability,” he said.

‘Go for soil testing,

use green manure’

The agricultural experts advocated for soil testing and use green manure to maintain soil productivity. Soil testing is done for optimum use of fertilisers in different crops, reclamation of problematic soils and orchard plantation. For general crops, soil samples should be taken from surface to 6 inch (15 cm) soil depth, from 5-7 locations in a particular field. After proper mixing, the sample is reduced to half kilogram for testing in laboratory. Soil testing is repeated after 2-3 years. While, farm-yard manure should be applied to different crops as per recommendations of the PAU for maintaining soil productivity. Green manuring with leguminous crops such as jantar, sunn hemp, cowpea etc. should be preferred as these crops fit well in different crop rotations. On decomposition of green manure crops, the availability of nutrients and organic matter content in the soil increase which improves soil physical chemical and biological fertility of soil.


‘Use chemical fertilisers judiciously’

  • Reduce dose of urea and diammonium phosphate (DAP) as per PAU recommendations, when farm yard manure or green manure has been used.
  • Skip application of phosphorous to kharif crops when its recommended dose has already been applied to rabi crops.
  • DAP must be drilled into soil.
  • Apply potassium only as per soil test reports.
  • Micronutrients such as manganese, iron and copper should be sprayed whereas zinc can be applied both to the soil as well as sprayed.

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