LIFE

Testing soil

MICRONUTRIENTS ARE essential for the growth of plants. Deficiency of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulphur and the microelements boron, copper, chlorine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel and zinc is a constraint to productivity in plants, stability in yield and sustainability in soil.

In addition to this, continuous cropping, heavy use of fertilisers, introducing high-yielding varieties and scanty or no use of organic manure also result in lack of nutrients. Hence it becomes imperative to test the soil for its nutrient content. The Assistant Soil Chemist, Soil Testing Laboratory, Erode, L. Sankararaaj, said that a study they conducted in all the 20 blocks in Erode district revealed soil deficiency in most places.

The status of micronutrients in soil can be assessed through soil analysis, plant analysis and also through specific deficiency symptoms in plants. The soil test, which is simple and useful, is carried out in the laboratory at Rs. 5 per test. He exhorted the farmers to make use of the laboratory.