Diagnosis of Secondary and Micronutrient Deficiencies and Their Management in Rainfed Agroecosystems: Case Study from Indian Semi‐arid Tropics uri icon

abstract

  • Rainfed agriculture in the semi-arid tropical (SAT) regions of India is greatly influenced by water shortages caused by low, highly variable, and erratic rainfall. However, apart from water shortages, crop productivity in these regions is also affected by low fertility. Little effort has been devoted to diagnosing and managing the nutrient-related problems in farmers? fields in the SAT regions of India. Theongoing integrated watershed management program by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics and its partners provided the opportunity to diagnose the soil infertility-related problems by soil testing, develop nutrient management protocols, and determine on-farm crop responses to fertilization in the SAT zone of India. This article discusses examples from recentresearch on the diagnosis of multinutrient deficiencies and on-farm crop responses to fertilization. Results of analyses of soil samples from farmers? fields in several districts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and MadhyaPradesh states and Junagarh district, Gujarat, showed that almost all farmers? fields had low organic carbon (C), low to moderate available phosphorus (P), and generally adequate extractable potassium (K). However, the widespread deficiencies of sulfur (S), boron (B), and zinc (Zn) were most revealing; their deficiencies varied with nutrient, district, and state. On-farm trials conducted during threeseasons (2002?2004) in three districts of Andhra Pradesh showed significant yield responses of maize, castor, groundnut, and mung bean to the applications of S, B,and Zn over farmer?s input treatment, and the yield responses were larger when these nutrients were added along with nitrogen (N) and P. It is concluded that thedeficiencies of nutrients such as S, B, and Zn are widespread and are holding back the potential of rainfed production systems. Clearly, nutrient deficiencies can bediagnosed by soil testing

publication date

  • 2010
  • 2010