Six-month course introduced for third-year students

Students pursuing B.Sc. Agriculture at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University will not have to wait until their course completion to put to practice what they learn.

The university has introduced the six-month course on “On farm advisory for soil health, water quality and plant nutrition’ for third-year students. Under this programme, students will be assigned select fields of farmers, where they have to test the soil and water samples, analyse them, and suggest remedial measures if needed. Based on the assessment, they will recommend crops and cropping pattern to the farmers.

The course is being offered by the Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry of TNAU. Course teacher and professor of the department D. Vasanthi, said the course was optional and would be of use to both the students and farmers.

“The course began on November 28 and 10 farmers have registered. As many as 21 students have started the course. They have been assigned the task in groups of five. They have collected water and soil samples and are testing them in the department’s laboratories. They are experimenting with the samples using the knowledge they already have from what they have learnt. However, for special and complicated experiments, we are giving them guidance,” she said.

As part of the recommendations, students would teach the use of Decision Support System for Integrated Fertilizer Recommendation (DSSIFER) software of TNAU to obtain maximum yield while maintaining soil health.

Also, the Visual Diagnostic Kit (VDK) software that identifies the nutrient deficiencies would be taught to the farmers. Any other constraint would be identified and rectified with the help of TNAU scientists.

For the services, each farmer would be charged Rs. 1,000 as fee. TNAU has identified villages in and around Thondamuthur, Vedapatti and Madhampatti for the programme. The course hopes to cover at least 100 farmers in six months.

Farmers interested in making use of these services, contact 0422-6611435 / 6611335.

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