Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has come up with innovative plant nutrient formulations to improve crop productivity.
Multi-nutrient mixtures, micro-nutrient preparations, nutrient sticks and pellets, fortified manure discs and multi-nutrient water soluble tablets are the products being brought out by the university. Most of them are applied on the foliage instead of soil.
Deficiency of major and minor nutrients in soil has been identified as a major cause of decline in crop productivity.
Soil quality evaluation has indicated that soil in many parts of the State is deficient not only in major soil nutrients, but also secondary nutrients like magnesium and calcium and micro-nutrients like boron, zinc and copper.
Symptoms of nutrient deficiency have become apparent in crops such as rice, coconut, banana and vegetables. Indiscriminate use of fertilizer aggravates the problems.
Multi-nutrient mixtures, which can provide essential nutrients in required proportions, are the first batch of innovative products. While the Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS), Pattambi, has formulated a nutrient mixture with soluble materials suitable for foliar spray, RARS, Pilicode, has come up with nutrient sticks and micro-nutrient liquid mixtures for banana and vegetables.
“We have been working on a series of such easy-to-use innovations to help farmers,” said KAU Vice Chancellor P. Rajendran.“Administering nutrients through foliage gives immediate and better result than other modes of application.
Farmers need not go for large quantities. It also ensures that chemical load to the soil and to the crop is minimised and wastage is avoided,” he said.
Scientists at RARS, Pilicode, have succeeded in making nutrient sticks and pellets. The first batch is meant for cucurbitaceous vegetables (melon, pumpkin, cucumber etc.) and those suitable for other crops also will be brought out through appropriate modifications.
They facilitate slow and steady release of nutrients, the Vice Chancellor said.
“Sampoorna KAU multi-mix is a crop-specific formulation for use in rice, banana and vegetables. They have been successfully field-tested and the technology for production is ready for transfer. The products are now supplied through the sales outlet of the station on a pilot scale.
Another convenient product is fortified manure discs, which can be used for growing plants in containers, pots and grow bags. One to three discs placed 5-10 cm below the surface ensure ready availability of nutrients for crop growth,” says M.C. Narayanan Kutty, Associate Director, RARS, Pattambi.