Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Soil is the most valuable natural resource

Bhopal, 10th April 2011/ Soil is the most valuable natural resource and is
considered as the soul of infinite life, but it is finite and non-renewable. The
scientific management of soil resources, on which depends the agricultural
production, is of critical importance in agricultural development process and
contributes to the wealth and well being of agrarian society. Soil research has
been at the fore-front in pursuits on maximization of crop productivity and
production by developing and employing techniques and practices like efficient
soil tillage and water application methods, management of soil physical
conditions, chemical properties and fertility status. About one half gains in
productivity in the presence of irrigation and high yielding varieties have been
attributable to a right mix of soil management technologies and efficient use of
fertilizers and manures.
However, with the passage of time the very productivity growth rates have shown
signs of decline and Green Revolution a fatigue. Typical stress points of
non-sustainable agricultural growth are: irrigation mediated waterlogging and
salinization, over-exploitation of underground water (extraction exceeding
replenishment) leading to intrusion of saline waters and drying of wells;
imbalanced use of fertilizers, abandoning organic manures in favour of chemical
fertilizers leading to multiple nutrient deficiencies; soil fragility and
excessive tillage accelerating organic matter loss and global warming. In all,
absence of holistic soil management practices, which harmonize economic benefits
and curative measures to preserve quality of soil, water and biodiversity, is at
the root of falling/stagnating growth of agriculture productivity.
In the wake of emerging issues relating to productivity and sustainability,
environmental quality, global competitiveness, rapid advances in information and
communication technologies and consumers’ quality consciousness, the soil
science research is faced with challenges. Indian Institute of Soil Science
since its foundation on 1988 has been in the reckoning and constant pursuit in
finding answers to the following questions:
• How to improve nutrient use efficiency?
• How to sustain better soil health?
• How to improve/enhance soil carbon stocks (facilitate more carbon
sequestration) under changing climate?
• How to rectify/correct nutrient imbalances in soil under intensive production
• How to supply nutrients through low cost sources/environment friendly nutrient
sources to improve nutrient stocks in nutrient impoverished soils?
• How to restore the productivity of degraded acid soils?

Two decades of untiring works, concerted efforts and constant pursuit at the
Institute produced excellence in soil researches and developed following
technologies to feed the teeming millions:
• Integrated and balanced nutrient management technologies for soybean-wheat
system, cotton, pulses, oil-seed crops and soybean/maize-wheat intercropping
• Technology for production of nutrient enriched phospho-sulpho-nitro compost.
• Technology for production of nutrient enriched vermi-compost.
• Technology for production of microbial enriched compost from municipal solid
• Developed and popularized on-line fertilizer recommendation for different
crops based on soil test crop response (STCR) approach.

IPNS for Soybean-Wheat system on Vertisols
• The IISS developed an Integrate Plant Nutrient Supply Technology for enhancing
and sustaining productivity and soil health under soybean-wheat system in Malwa
region. The technology has got the flexibility of using different proportions of
fertilizer and FYM depending on the farmyard manure (FYM) availability with the

Low-cost Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) Technology for Soybean-Wheat
• The INM module comprising “50% NPK + 5 t FYM /ha + Rhizobium to soybean and
75%NPK+PSB to wheat” produced 11% higher soybean yield and 25% higher wheat
yield as compared to Farmers’ practice.

Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) for Pulses
• On-farm trails on INM for pulses (chickpea and lentil) conducted at 60
farmers’ fields in Raisen, Bhopal, Rewa and Satna districts of Madhya Pradesh
not only resulted in higher yields but also saved fertilizer cost.

• Application of 75% NPK + 2.5t FYM + seed inoculation through Rhizobium + soil
application of 3 kg PSB ha-1 to the soybean during kharif and 50-75% NPK to rabi
crop (chickpea/lentil) (based on residual moisture availability) produced 12-25%
more chickpea and 15-28% more lentil yields as compared to traditional practice.

Mechanical Harvest-Borne Wheat Residue Management under Soybean-Wheat System
• Wheat residue incorporation or retention coupled with application of 28 kg N
ha-1 through fertilizer or organic manures is more beneficial than burning in
terms of enhanced crop productivity and soil fertility.
• Wheat residue incorporation resulted in 20–22% higher yields in soybean and
15-25% in wheat as compared to residue burning.
Balanced Fertilization Technology for Cotton
• A balanced fertilization technology (BFT) for cotton (80-40-20 kg N-P2O5-K2O
ha-1 + Zn @ 25 kg ZnSO4 ha-1 + B @ 1 kg ha-1 as 0.1% B foliar spray twice) was
• With balanced fertilization the yield gains in cotton ranged from 13 to 41%,
with the mean yield increase across all farms being 28%.

Nutrient Enrichment in Composts
• Technologies for production of nutrient phospho-sulpho-nitro-compost and
vermi-composts from farm wastes, cattle dung, minerals such as rock phosphate,
pyrites, etc have been developed.
Microbial Enriched Compost Production from Municipal Solid Waste
• A technique for preparing microbial enriched municipal solid waste compost has
been developed.
• A quality MSW compost can be prepared within 75 days by this technique.
• The microbial enriched MSW compost contains higher N (0.73%) and narrow C:N
Developed Standards for MSW Composts
• Municipal solid waste (MSW) composts from 29 cities have been characterized
for their manurial value and heavy metal pollution potential.
• A new scheme of grading of MSW compost quality on the basis of manurial value
and heavy metal pollution potential have been developed for maximization of
solid waste recycling.
• Maximum safe concentration limits of heavy metals in soil have been determined
which can protect soil microbial activity, plant, animal and human being from
their toxicity.
Balanced Fertilization with Broad Bed Furrow (BBF) in Soybean on Waterlogged

• On waterlogged fields, planting soybean with balanced fertilization on Broad
Bed Furrows (BBF) produced 50% higher yield than Balanced fertilization with
Farmers’ Practice (FP).

Soil Health Card
• An ideal soil health card has been designed.
• About 200 soil health cards have been prepared from the soil testing results
of ten villages of Rajgarh, Vidisha and Raisen districts. These cards were
distributed to the respective farmers on IISS Foundation Day (16/4/2011).
Tillage and Carbon Sequestration
• A long-term tillage experiment indicated potential for C sequestration under
conservation tillage systems.

• The conservation tillage registered maximum SOC at 0-5 and 5-15 cm soil layers
while conventional tillage treatment (MB plough) had greater SOC in the 15-30 cm
soil layer.
Apart from these technologies, the institute has the distinction of developing
management prescriptions for decontamination or amelioration of heavy metal
polluted sites, use of distillery effluents in agriculture, use of floriculture
plants for phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated sites, database on
nitrate pollution of

groundwater, database on soil and water contamination with heavy metals, etc.
The institute has also produced nano- rockphosphate from low-grade indigenous
rockphosphate by top-down approach which can be directly taken by plants and can
be a potential P fertilizer in near future.

For further queries please contact:
Simran: 9810591323, simran@newscommunications.net
Ramya: 9650901186, ramya@newscommunications.net

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