A latest government study has revealed that the use of soil health card has helped growers reduce substantially the cost of production & achieve higher production, thus boosting farm income up to Rs 30,000 / acre, depending on the crop.
The study that was conducted by the National Productivity Council (NPC) in 76 districts of 19 states had covered 170 soil testing labs and 1,700 cultivators and was released on the completion of 5 years of the government scheme.
Soil health card gives information to growers on nutrient status of their soil along with advice on appropriate dose of nutrients to be applied for improving its health as well as fertility.
The study said that “In absence of the soil health cards, it was acknowledged by the growers that adequate quantity of fertilizers & micro-nutrients was not being applied by them earlier & this had affected the output of crops”. It further said that savings on fertilizers & increase in productivity led to enhanced income of the farmers.
For example, there was Rs 25,000 to 30,000/acre increase in income from tur; around Rs 25,000/acre from sunflower; Rs 12,000/acre from cotton; Rs 10,000/acre from groundnut; Rs 4,500/acre from paddy & Rs 3,000/acre from potato, the study said.
In addition, use of fertilizers according to the recommendation of soil health cards led to savings in nitrogen fertilisers such as urea and thus reduced the cost of cultivation.
The cost of cultivation of rice was reduced by 16 to 25 per cent and savings of nitrogen was found to be around 20kg per acre. In case of pulses, there was 10 to 15 per cent reduction in cost of cultivation and savings of 10kg per acre urea.
Likewise in oilseeds, there was reduction of 10 to 15 per cent and savings on nitrogen was 9 kg per acre in sunflower; 23 kg per acre in groundnut and 30 kg per acre in castor.
In case of cash crops, reduction in cotton was 25 per cent and savings on nitrogen fertilizer was 35 kg per acre, and for potato the saving on nitrogen fertilizer was 46 kg /acre. Affirming that cautious use of fertilizers also resulted in better production of crops, the study revealed that there was 10 to 20 per cent rise in production of paddy and 10 to 15 per cent in wheat and jowar.