Soil fertility managment to sustain production

Agricultural production in India has increased through green renaissance, growing high-yielding varieties of crops and adopting scientifically improved soil fertility management, water management, plant protection and crop husbandry technologies during the past three decades.

Integrated approach

Because of such integrated approach, we have been able to increase the agricultural production manifold, particularly in case of food grain crops from 50 million tones in 1950 to more than 220 million tonnes, which in turn has ensured near self-sufficiency in food for our ever-growing population.

However, the production has reached a plateau during the past few years for certain obvious reasons.

Although we continue to grow high yielding varieties, we are unable to increase the crop production during the past few years as significantly as we did during the last three decades. Why has it been so?

Maximum potential

The high-yield cum high-quality varieties of crops can perform to their maximum genetic potentials, only if they are grown in fertile, healthy and productive soils with appropriate water management and crop protection measures.

We must avoid not only under-fertilization but also over or distorted fertilization to realize the full benefits from the crops.

Balanced soil fertility management through integrated nutrient management involving judicious combinations of manures, fertilisers and biofertilisers must be done to ensure normal growth and high productivity of the crops.

Next to soil management is water conservation. We should harvest and conserve the rain water received during the monsoons for farming at commercial scales throughout the year.

Future scope

Scope for extending the area for agriculture is limited due to diversion of more lands every year for non-agricultural purposes. However, we have very good varieties and hybrids with high–yield and high-quality potentials in almost all crops already on hand.

There is not much scope to make further significant break-through in the genetic potentials of the varieties of the crops in near future. So, the only possible scope to maximize crop production with the available varieties is to enhance and sustain the productivity through integrated and balanced soil fertility management practices.

The writer is former Professor, Department of Soil Science, TNAU, Coimbatore

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 5:57:55 PM |

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