Agricultural Science Digest

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Agricultural Science Digest, volume 42 issue 3 (june 2022) : 296-301

Status of Soil Testing and Fertilizer Recommendations by the Farmers of Tamil Nadu

K. Murugan, K. Jothi Sivagnanam
1Department of Economics, Guru Nanak College (Autonomous) Velachery, Chennai- 600 001, Tamil Nadu, India.
Cite article:- Murugan K., Sivagnanam Jothi K. (2022). Status of Soil Testing and Fertilizer Recommendations by the Farmers of Tamil Nadu. Agricultural Science Digest. 42(3): 296-301. doi: 10.18805/ag.D-5018.
Background: Fertilizers are one of the major inputs of agriculture to increase crop production. In India, fertilizer consumption had increased over a period of four decades. There is an increase in demand for food and this in turn increases the demand for fertilizers. The increase in food production is due to use of proper inputs like fertilizers, quality seeds and pesticides. The fertilizer consumption in India increased from 65.6 thousand metric tons in 1950-51 to 26,593.4 MT in 2017-18. However, the fertilizer use in India has many problems. Firstly, it is imbalanced in terms of NPK. Secondly, there is a wide variation in the amount of fertilizer in different state.
Methods: Primary data were collected from two districts namely Thiruvannamalai and Thanjavur of Tamil Nadu. In each of the two districts, two representative blocks namely, Cheyyar, Kalasapakkam in Thiruvannamalai district and Thanjavur and Orrathanadu in Thanjavur district were taken for the study. In each district, 120 farmers (60 in each block) from the list of soil tested farmers were drawn at purposive farmers from households with different land sizes. In addition, 60 control (non-soil tested) farmers (30 in each block) were selected in each purposive farmer from households amongst general rice and groundnut growing cultivators.
Result: Nearly three-fourths (72 per cent) of the farmers getting their soils tested in the present study belonged to the small (47 per cent) and medium (25 per cent) categories of landholdings. All farmers have to travel long distance for soil test incurring sizable transportation cost. Generally, in Thanjavur district, soil test farmers have been travelling long distance from their farm to Aduthurai, where the soil test laboratory is located at a distance of 50-60 kms. There is no soil test laboratory in Thiruvannamalai district, hence, the farmers have to travel to the neighbouring district of Trichirapalli. The soil tested farmers travel from Vembakkam and Mamandur to Thiruvannamalai where the laboratory is located and the average distance is about 80-100 km. Nearly half of the paddy farmers and nearly, two-thirds of the groundnut growers expressed the view that the soil test has an important role in increasing crop yield. Almost half of the paddy farmers and one-third of the groundnut farmers did not how to take a soil sample from their farm land, whereas, another half of paddy farmers and one-third of groundnut growers reported that they did not know whom to approach in this regard. These are the major reasons cited for non-participation in the soil test process.

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