Strategies to enhance crop production


Prof (Dr) R D Gupta
With increasing population, the demand for food-grains and other related products is also witnessing an upwards trend, but the old methods and procedures of cultivation can’t yield good results. As such, from time to time, Government and other concerned agencies are inspiring farmers to adopt latest and modern techniques for enhancing their production besides organizing various camps and progammes to impart awareness among them regarding the same. Few common strategies, using which farmers can enhance their production are:
Know about exact fertilizer requirements: It can be done by getting the soil samples tested from the nearby soil testing laboratories which is done free of cost. The farmers must be made aware of this opportunity enabling them to use this facility.
Make balanced use of fertilizers: If the fertilizers have to be added without soil testing, the farmers must be advocated to use balanced dose of fertilizers, i.e., nitrogenous, phosphatic and potassic as per the ‘Production Recommendations’ issued by SKUAST, Jammu or SKUAST, Srinagar from time to time and/or by Agriculture Departments.
Saving phosphatic & potassic fertilizers: Application of phosphatic and potassic may be reduced to half or completely be avoided in acidic soils in case of paddy provided if recommended doses of these fertilizers have been applied in wheat or any other rabi crop as per recommendations.
Taking care of secondary and micronutrients: If the soils have less than 2 mili-equivalent Ca2+ per 100 of soil, then apply gypsum or calcium carbonate at the rate of 500 kgha1 in case of legumes depending upon soil condition. Apply Zn, through ZnSO4, at the rate of 50 kgha1, if the level of Zn in soils is less than 0.6 ppm Apply Zn through ZnSO4, at the rate of 20 to 25 kg ha in case of cereals or through spraying 5 kg ZnSO4, +2.5 kg lime in 750-1000 litre of water
Applying fertilizers properly & timely: Apply fertilizers at the right time and in split doses depending upon soil conditions. Application of phosphatic fertilizer is much more important in legumes to render their nodules more effective. The term effective here means the nodules which are brown or pink in colour Potassic fertilizers should be applied as split doses especially in light textured soils and those which are falling in high rainfall areas.
Practising green manure wherever possible: A green manuring practice of ‘Dhaincha’ prior to transplanting of rice, in rice-wheat cropping sequence has proved beneficial. This practice not only shows reduction of nitrogen content by one-third of the recommended dose in rice and wheat but also enhances soil fertility and yield of rice and wheat crops.
Conserving FYM or compost rightly: Advocate the peasants to prepare FYM or compost in pits. Preparing of manure or compost in open heaps causes loss of plant nutrients during rains or gaseous loss of nitrogen through volatilization. If 5-10 tonnes of well rotten FYM or compost is applied in paddy especially in acidic soils, there is no need to apply phosphorus before sowing of the crop. Quantity of N may be reduced to half.
Using bio-fertilizers: With use of Rhizobium culture in berseem, increase in its yield has been observed upto 85 per-cent. Inoculation of seed with Rhizobium culture to green gram and black gram, is a must to get a bumper crop. Rhizobium culture helps in the formation and development of nodules on the roots of these crops. The nodules so formed, are beneficial for fixing atmospheric nitrogen in the soil and thereby, saving of nitrogenous fertilizer. These nodules also leave better residual effect for the succeeding crop. Use of Azotobacter in culture has shown increase in yield in cereals (upland rice, wheat, maize) varying from 10-30 per-cent. Use of Azolla has shown reduction of nitrogen equivalent to that of 20-30 kg N in case of paddy.
Controlling weeds timely: Use of weedicides be done timely to check the weeds which rob-off plant nutrients from the soil Generally, the weeds to 120-130 kg of N, 20-50kg P2O5, and 60-100 K2O ha-1.
Inclusion of legumes in crop rotation: Always include legumes in crop sequence, wherever it is feasible. By doing so, the erosion of the soils will be lessened and will also improve the soil fertility.
Planting Neem and drek trees: Wherever possible, neem (Azadirachta indica) and drek (Melia azedarach) trees be planted on the field bunds or in other suitable sites in the farmers fields. These will serve natural controllers to check insect posts of various crops.
Integrated Nutrient Management: Always speak in favour of integrated nutrient management system, which refers to use of both inorganics and organics.
These days this is the most important system to get rid al effects of the excessive and blanket use of chemical fertilizers, which have proved injurious not only to the human and animal health but also to the environment.
Integrated Pest Management: Like chemical fertilizers, use of pesticides has also produced a number of bad effects to the animals including wildlife and environment. Use of integrated pest management approach is the only solution to overcome the aforesaid situation.