SOIL TESTING

SOIL TESTING

As we all know, agriculture today became a science which requires certain parameters to know before you saw. In this consent the farmers need to know the fertility and availability /Unavailability of nutrients in it so that they can choose the right crops for the right agri-lands also to take decision for the choice of right fertilizers. In Oshnic group we are providing the consultancy for the testing of it. All these consultancies are being provided through our group’s company Aviral Biotech & Fertilisers Private Limited .

WHAT IS SOIL TESTING?

It is a Chemical process by vertue of which requirement of neutrients for plant can be analysed so as to maintain the fertility. The test may refer to one or more of a wide variety of its analyses conducted for one of several possible reasons. Possibly the most widely conducted the tests are those done to estimate the plant-available concentrations of plant nutrients, in order to determine fertilizer recommendations in agriculture. Other tests may be done for engineering (geotechnical), geochemical or ecological investigations.


OBJECTIVE OF SOIL TESTING

  • To promote organic fertilizer & insecticides on the basis of balanced use of fertilizer.
  • To prepare fertility map of specific area such as Block or Microwatershedetc based on testing report. This will help in advocating appropriate cropping system in the sand area, like near lake areas of Bhopal (MP).
  • To make certain specific cropping system more economically viable with respect to crop production.
  • To stop indiscriminate use of fertilizer.
  • Appropriate fertilizer dozes can be recommended on the basis of its testing such as – In Normal (Ph- 6 to 6.5) all Nitrogeneous fertilizer, Super phasphate, Amoniumphasphate etc. can be used. Similarly in the it having less than 6.00 Ph value, Calcium amonium nitrate, Sodium nitrate, phasphetic fertilizer. Super phasphate, Murate of potash etc can be applied. In the soils having more than 8.5 Ph value, Urea , Ammonium sulphate, Amoniumcloride, Super phasphate , Amoniumphasphate, Murate of potash etc are recommended. The water logges soils can be applied Urea, Amoniniumsulphate, Super phasphate ,Amoniumphasphate , Amonium chloride etc.
  • To identify the quantity of organic carbon in it, is one of the major objective of testing , because growth of crop & availability of neutrients are based on organic carbon. The ratio of organic carbon & nitrogen is 10-12:1. The propogation of useful bactiria also depends on it.
  • The testing recommends the ingradiant required to reclame the acidic or saline soils etc.
  • The deffeciancy of micro element like Znic, Copper, Boron, Molebdinum, Iron, Cobalt, Silicon, Mangnese & Clorineetc also advarsely affect the crop condition & ultimately the production. This method is quite often used by people of Bhopal (MP).

WHY TESTING IS NECESSARY?

  • The fertility is assessed by soil testing.
  • High dose of Chemical fertilizers are being used by the farmers to increase production of various hybrid verities of crops.
  • If farmers can use the balanced doze of fertilizer for crop production then unnecessary financial loss can be avoided.
  • The testing can be useful to maintain the its health. To know the fertility, periodically its testing is necessary.
  • Ph status (Acidic or base) of the Ag. field can be known by its testing. Appropriate use of fertilizer for crop production can be recommended on the basis of Ph value of it.
  • The testing categorizes them in to various categories such as Saline, Alkaline or Mineral soils. The farmers can be advised to convert such soils in to normal.

THE SAMPLE PROCESS

The testing in the laboratory requiresonly a few grams of the sample, yet the sample sent to the laboratory must be a true representative of the field in question. In a homogenous field, soil samples from plough layer (0-15cm) should be selected randomly in a zig-zag manner. One can get these from certain areas of Bhopal (MP). The samples should not be collected from near the bunds, water channels, field paths and heaps of crop straw, stubbles, manure, etc.

  • The sample collected from the selected sites should be composite and mixed thoroughly in a container.
  • From this lot a representative sample, about 500 gm should be taken out and air-dried under shade.
  • The air-dried sample should be transferred into a clean cloth bag bearing a slip with a mention of complete address, field number, cropping sequence being followed, source of irrigation (tubewell/canal), type (coarse textured fine textured, alkali or waterlogged), fertilizer/manure schedule followed in the preceding crops and any other specific observation about them and/or the crops grown therein.
  • Then the sample should be taken to the laboratory where facilities for micronutrients are available.

PRESCRIBED AREA FOR SAMPLES

LAND USE AREA
Pastures, permanent grass 5-10
Cultivated Crops:
-level terrain
-eroded terrain
-irrigated terrain
 
2 - 5
1 - 2
0.5 - 1
Orchards, vineyards, forests 0.5 - 2
Vegetable gardens, irrigated 0.5 - 1
Greenhouse, nursery, lawns 0.1 - .2

WHEN TO TAKE SAMPLES?

At least one month before planting time.As a rule 'if soil is too wet to plow, it is too wet to sample'.Try collecting samples at the same time every year

FREQUENTY OF SAMPLING?

Soils from coastal plains, sandy, light textured soils - sample once after every 2-3 crops Silty, clay loams and mountain - sample once every four cropping years.

SOIL SAMPLING TOOLS

  • Easy to clean, rust resistant, strong and easy to use
  • Take small, equal volume of it from each sub-sampling site to obtain composite size.
  • Adaptable to dry sandy as well as moist sticky of them.
  • Provide uniform cores or slices of equal volume at all spots within the composite area.
  • Soil tube, screw auger, spade, shovel are some of the sampling tools most commonly-used.
  • If spade or shovel is used, it is advisable to make a 'V' shaped cut at required depth and few cm thick vertical slice is removed to the same depth from both sides. Before sample collection, organic debris, rocks and trash must be removed from the surface of sampling area.

PRESCRIBED DEPTHs OF SAMPLING

CROP / SOIL SAMPLING DEPTH (CM)
Arable crops 15
Orchards 20 - 30
Lawns and Turf 10
Gardens 15
Deep rooted crops / Problem 30/60
Regular tillage 20
Minimum tillage 15
Zero tillage 15 - 20
Continuous ridge 10/15
Pastures and Forages 8 - 10

DIRECTION WHILE SAMPLING AND PREPARATION

  • The samples should not be collected from recently fertilized areas, bunds, low lying corners, spots near trees, fences, channels, compost pits, etc.
  • Samples should be drawn between rows in line sown cropping areas.
  • Sampling should be done separately for areas represented by different crops, problem spots, etc.
  • Once it is collected, the bulk is mixed thoroughly and desired quantity of sample is obtained by 'quartering method'.
  • The samples should not be placed in fertilizer bags, and in porous cloth.
  • Wet samples should be dried in shade before sending them to the laboratory.

SOIL TEST INTERPRETATION FOR FERTILIZER RECOMMENDATIONS

After collection and analysis of soil samples, it is the responsibility of the analyst/scientist to interpret the results and properly give the fertilizer recommendations to farmers. Many people have an impression that it is a simple procedure to determine the plant nutrients that are deficient and recommend those nutrients in fertilizer form so that harvests are assured. Nevertheless, the testing is much more than determining nutrient availability.

VARIOUS APPROACHES USED FOR FERTILISER RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Generalized fertilizer recommendations (or) Agronomic fertilizer recommendations.
  • Fertilizer recommendations based on the critical levels.
  • Fertilizer recommendations adjusted based on soil fertility categories.
  • Fertilizer recommendations for maximum yield.
  • Fertilizer recommendations for certain percentage of maximum yield.
  • Fertilizer recommendations for specific yield targets

SOIL TEST CALLIBERATION

Incorporation of generated data through intensive research and establishing a significant relationship between.

  • Soil test values and the uptake of applied plant nutrients by a particular crop.
  • Calibration between its tests values and crop yield responses to rates of plant nutrients applied through fertilizers in the field.
  • Changes in soil test values that occur when known quantities of fertilizers are applied to them.

SOIL SURVEY

The Survey is one of the important tools to assess the nutrient requirement for a crop/cropping sequence. This helps to economize on cost of fertilizers and also in increasing fertilizers use efficiency. There are 514 soil-testing aboratories in India with a capacity of about 6.5 million samples per annum.In order to provide soil-testing facilities to all 106 million farms holding in a reasonable period of time, the existing analyzing capacity of the testing program needs to be augmented almost 15-20 times.
Madhya Pradesh is having presently 22 Soil Testing Labs and Surveyors. The main objective of Soil Health Centres is to maintain the soil health by analysing nutrient status of the them and to give suggestions on the quantities of major nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium to be applied to the soils. Micro Nutrient analysis is also important to know the status of Manganese, Boron, Zinc, Iron etc., present in them and accordingly suggest supplimental application for better plant growth.
Steps required to strengthen soil-survey are improve the capacity utilization of existing soil-testing labs, adding facilities of micro-nutrients at selected labs, introducing tissue testing particularly for sugarcane, horticulture and plantation crops and encouraging private sector participation for adding new capacity. Based on the analysis of 4.84 million samples, the fertility status of them with regard to the content of available nitrogen, available phosphorus and available potassium have been worked out which indicate the following status on all India basis:-

Available N P K Status of soils
AVAILABLE NUTRIENT HIGH LOW MEDIUM
N(Nitrogen) 63.10% 25.57% 11.33%
P(Phosphorous) 42.33% 37.66% 20.01%
K(Potassium) 12.93% 36.65% 50.42%

The testing till today has been used mainly to formulate precise recommendations for the major nutrients i.e. nitrogen, phosphorus fertilization of crops in different soils and to recommend appropriate doses of amendments for salt-affected and acidic soils. Micronutrients, comprising zinc, copper, iron manganese, boron and chlorine, though required by plants in much smaller amounts, yet are as essential for them as the major nutrients. Despite that, little attention has been paid to employ the soil testing for assessing the micronutrient status of soils and determining requirement for micronutrient fertilizers for growing crops. With an objective to extend the advisory service to the farmers of the state regarding the nutrient problems of soils and crops and suggest appropriate remedial measures for efficient correction of the same, Jawahar Lal Nehru Agriculture University and the Department of Agriculture have established laboratories for nutrient. Farmers are advised to make the best use of this service rendered by these laboratories. The test can be performed for the soil of farmer by just paying Rs 50.

  • Classification of soils.
  • Evaluate and monitor soil fertility.
  • Identify salinity, alkalinity, acidity, etc., problems.
  • Assess the relative nutrient supplying power of soil.
  • Predict profitable responsiveness to added fertilisers, lime, gypsum and other amendments for optimum and economical crop production.

Success or failure of these programmes largely depends on rapidity of providing correct information to farmers, ability of the programme to provide service to a large group of farmers in a particular area, proper calibration and interpretation of results and recommendations that when followed are profitable for the farmer. Then only will this service be effectively utilized to improve local agricultural production Time and quality consciousness in the service is a real challenge for the analysts in the new millennium. This compels labs to adopt rapid, reliable, time saving procedures and methods to meet future requirements. The farmer's confidence in the programme can be established only by demonstrating that it actually provides a means of improving his profit.