“Farmers should treat their soil with manure and other organic substances at regular intervals to improve fodder yield,” V.M. Sankaran, Head of the Agronomy Department, Madras Veterinary College, said.
He also gave tips to farmers on improving productivity of fodder based on results obtained from a random soil testing that was done at the field level.
The exercise was carried out as part of the pilot project ‘Soil and Mineral Mapping in Farmer’s Fields and Sensitising them to Improve Biomass and Augment Livestock Productivity’ kick started in Katupakkam, Pudukkottai, Madurai, The Nilgiris, Vellore, Salem and Tirunelveli, he told The Hindu .
“Soil has life. There are millions of micro organisms in it that play an irreplaceable role in taking essential micro nutrients to the roots and improve the productivity of crops,” Mr. Sankaran said and added that recently farmers had reduced treating soil organically and were using synthetic fertilizers extensively.
According to him, this is the reason behind the alkalinity of soil to increase.
Treating a hectare of soil with 12.5 tonnes of farm yard manure, vermi compost, green manure, azola or a mixture of these will rejuvenate the soil. “Farmers have been asked to grow perennial fodder varieties that also have better yield,” he added.
Director, Centre for Animal Production Studies, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS), and Principal Investigator of the project M. Babu said that this project was funded by the Tamil Nadu State Land Use Research Board of the State Planning Commission. “It is the first time effort is being taken in the State to augment soil to increase productivity of fodder,” he added.
Head of the Mecheri Sheep Research Station and Co-principal Investigator N. Murali of the project said that random sampling was done by collecting soil samples from 50 land and cattle owning farmers in Thalaivasal, Kolathur, Gangavalli, Tharamangalam, Bethanayakanpalayam, Attur, Omalur, Mettur and Pottaneri in Salem district.
“Soil samples were collected from four places in each farmer’s land. They were sent to the Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Namakkal for testing. Based on the results, tips were given to farmers. Soil cards with nutrient value of the soil were given to each farmer,” he said.