TIRUCHI: Lack of awareness of the importance of soil and water testing is the prime reason for the low popularity of the Soil Testing Laboratory under the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Sirugamani, even during summer - the ideal season for soil testing, scientists say.
According to the professor and head of KVK, I. Mohamed Iqbal, only 300 farmers so far have given their soil and water for test at the laboratory, which was built at a cost of 11.8 lakh last year.
With summer reaching its peak, most farms would be left uncultivated, which would facilitate simple soil and water testing methods, he says. Lack of awareness about the fertility-improvement methods will decrease plant nutrients in the soil, increase the incidence of diseases and fall in annual productivity.
The analysis procedure, which charges Rs.25 for soil and Rs.10 for water testing, would help the farmers learn about the soil status and provide soil-improvement recommendations, with the consideration of individual land conditions.
The farmers would also get a report on the amount of fertiliser needed, types of crops ideal for the soil condition and soil treatment for sodicity. Sodicity, being the major problem in Tiruchi district, has degraded the fertility of 18,000-odd hectares of land.
"Some of the effluents from distilleries could be used for treating sodicity. It is a zero-cost treatment but hardly followed because of lack of awareness," he says.
In a bid to create an awareness, the Kendra has taken steps to visit villages to offer on-field treatment, in case of mass requirements.
"If a minimum of 50 samples are given for testing, we will visit the places along with subject experts and given them the detailed report on the spot."
Though the Kendra conducts test for only macronutrients in the soil, it has decided to coordinate with other soil testing laboratories in case of any requirement for micronutrient testing at the cost of Rs.100.