Soil test-based nutrient balancing improved crop productivity and rural livelihoods: case study from rainfed semi-arid tropics in Andhra Pradesh, India

Chander, G and Wani, S P and Sahrawat, K L and Dixit, S and Venkateswarlu, B and Rajesh, C and Narsimha Rao, P and Pardhasaradhi, G (2014) Soil test-based nutrient balancing improved crop productivity and rural livelihoods: case study from rainfed semi-arid tropics in Andhra Pradesh, India. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science. pp. 1-29. ISSN 0365-0340

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Abstract

Widespread multinutrient deficiencies in the semi-arid tropics (SAT) are among major factors for large gaps between farmers’ current crop yields and potential yields. In this study, we adopted a stratified soil sampling method to assess soil fertility-related constraints in farmers’ fields in eight districts of Andhra Pradesh in the semi-arid tropics of India. Most of the fields across all eight districts were critical in sulfur (61%–98% deficient fields); and up to six districts each in boron (83%–98% deficient fields), zinc (50–85% deficient fields), and soil organic carbon (55–97% deficient fields). Low soil organic carbon specifically indicates nitrogen deficiency. Phosphorus deficiency was critical in three districts (60–84%) while potassium in general was adequate. Soil test-based nutrient balancing through the application of sulfur, boron, and zinc in addition to farmers’ practice of adding only nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium increased crop productivity by 8%–102%. Benefit–cost ratio (1.60–28.5) proved favourable to scale-up balanced nutrition. Better post-harvest soil health and residual benefits of sulfur, boron, and zinc up to four succeeding seasons indicated sustainability of the practice. Results showed that balanced nutrition is a way forward for sustainably improving farm productivity and livelihoods.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: RP-Resilient Dryland Systems
CRPS: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems
Uncontrolled Keywords: balanced plant nutrition, crop productivity, farm income, nutrient uptake, production system resilience, soil fertility.
Subjects: Others > Soil Science
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2014 05:02
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2016 08:40
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/7314
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03650340.2013.871706
Projects: UNSPECIFIED
Funders: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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