Soil Health

Soil Health

The State of Kerala falls in the humid tropical belt with high rainfall and temperature conditions conducive to intense weathering processes. Kerala has dominantly highly weathered lateritic soils which are acidic, kaolinitic, gravelly with low cation exchange capacity, low water holding capacity and high phosphorus fixation. Soils are inherently poor in bases and other plant nutrients. However, they are responsive to agronomic management. The continuous downward slide in crop production has been a matter of serious concern. Improving and maintaining soil fertility for productivity enhancement is of paramount importance in sustaining crop production.

Fertility constraints of Kerala soils - General trends based on soil analysis

  • Excessive use of high input acid forming fertilizers and near absence of the practice of liming has resulted in soil acidification to unacceptable levels.
  •  Majority of the soils are strongly acid to moderately acid warranting regular application of lime.
  •  Available P is high in majority of the soils due to high input of phosphorus fertilizers.
  •  Magnesium deficiency is of wide occurrence.
  • Zinc deficiency appears in limited areas Boron deficiency is of wide occurrence

Interventions required

  • Regular liming practice based on pH to combat acidity and alleviate calcium deficiency
    • Reduction in P application to the extent of 50 per cent of the recommended POP dose
    • Magnesium sulphate /dolomite application to alleviate deficiency
    • Zinc sulphate application in soil or as foliar application.
    • Borax application in soil or as foliar application

KVK Interventions:

KVK is undertaking various programmes for creating awareness about soil health among public and farmers. As part of this, following programmes were conducted;

World Soil Day Celebrated

ICAR-KVK celebrated World soil day at Pallippuram near Cherai  on 5th December, 2015 The programme was inaugurated by Prof. K.V. Thomas, Hon. Member of Parliament,  Ernakulam.  He distributed Soil health cards to farmers. During the occasion, Mobile sales counter of KVK was inaugurated by Vypeen MLA, Shri.S. Sharma. Folder on soil collection technique was released by Dr. A.Gopalakrishnan, Director, CMFRI. Smt. Remani Ajayan,  Vice-president, Pallippuram Grama Panchayat, Shri. Mayyatil Satyan, President, Pallipuram Service Cooperative Bank and Smt. R.Sonia, Pallippuram Agriculture Officer participated.

Released soil rejuvenation tonic Nutrislurry

Nutislurry is a fermented product of desi cow dung, groundnut cake and neem cake enriched with effective microorganisms. This product has been formulated from wild grazed cattle dung which is normally unutilized by the farmers in remote place. Traditionally, this cowdung is believed to be superior over the cross bred cattle dung; the former being more rich in natural microflora than the latter. Normally, this wild grazed cattle dung is very difficult to get. Hence many substandard products claiming to be produced from the desi cattle have come up in the market. KVK has identified two farmers in Vengoor and Malayattoor having access to collect the wild grazed cattle dung. This product is produced and promoted by KVK to improve the soil fertility as well as soil health in terms of organic matter, essential nutrients and microorganisms. KVK is, in this way, promoting not only conservation of soil but also helping to utilize the underutilized wild grazed cattle dung.

KVK is promoting Organic inputs for safe food production

KVK is promoting the use of organic agro inputs for safe food production. It is well known that use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for long term leads to deterioration in soil health and structure. In order to conserve and improve the soil health, KVK is promoting the use of organic agro inputs, biopesticides, etc in crops. Various cow products like Panchagavya, Gomutra, enriched cow dung, nutrislurry, etc are prepared from desi cattle manures and by products which is superior in essential soil microflora. These products improve the soil health and its organic matter helps to improve the soil structure also. Besides these, use of neem cake, groundnut cake-neem cake mixture (Organoexcel), vermicompost, fishlizer also improve the soil health. Similarly, use of biopesticides not only protects crops from carrying harmful pesticide residues but also conserves the soil health. KVK is promoting the use of organic agro inputs by providing quality inputs through its sales counter to farmers in the district. Also KVK is creating awareness about the same through mass media and training programmes.

KVK released leaflet on Soil sampling procedure

KVK released a leaflet on soil collection technique on the World Soil day celebration programme at Pallipuram on 5th December, 2015.It briefs step by  step procedures for soil sample collection and the dos and don’ts while collecting the samples. Soil testing is a major requirement for farms for proper nutrient management. Farmers were advised on the advantages of soil fertility based nutrient management. All the farmers who participated the programme  tested their soil and initiated fertilizer application based on the data.

Awareness on Liming and soil rejuvenation

Article on importance of liming got published in Karshakashree, May edition , Page No: 68, 2015. It briefs the importance of applying lime to Kerala soils , method  and time of application to various crops, advantages of lime application.The primary reason for applying lime is to correct the  high levels of acidity in the soils. 20 enquiries received  from different districts of Kerala based on the article published in Karshakashree. In addition news paper reports on the importance of dolomite and daincha for soil restoration published in newspapers all Kerala edition.

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