Sunn hemp, a leguminous plant, plays a crucial role in enriching soil health and the Krishi Vigyan Kendra at Sirugamani near here has been popularising its use among farmers.
Known as ‘sanappai’ among farmers, it acts as a catalyst in fixing atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. Farmers, particularly paddy cultivators and sugarcane growers, should utilise the gift of nature for strengthening the texture of the soil, said R. Chandrasekaran, Professor and Head of the Kendra.
Addressing farmers on the occasion of World Soil Day here recently, he said the Kendra had grown the seeds on its campus for the benefit of farmers.
It would reduce use of chemical fertilizers up to 25 per cent of normal application.
The sunn hemp should be cultivated on fields and at the end of about 45 days, when it started flowering, it must be ploughed in situ for enriching the soil.
R. Nageswari, Assistant Professor of Agronomy, said ‘sanappai’ helped fix nitrogen in two ways. Firstly, it had the capacity to absorb atmospheric nitrogen and fix it in the soil. Secondly, the nodules of ‘sanappai’ itself was rich in nitrogen and when ploughed deep, would pass on the nitrogen to the soil.
Earlier, at a function held at the Kendra, C. Uma, Director of National Research Centre for Banana, released a compact disc on soil health. N. Meyyazhagan, Professor and Head, Cotton Research Station at Veppanthattai, K. Saravanan, Deputy Director of Agriculture, and V. Ambedkar, Professor of Entomology, TNAU - Horticultural College and Research Centre for Women, spoke.
An interactive session on pre-rabi crop was also taken up in which the scientists advised the type of crops to be raised during the current rabi season.