Agri scientists ask farmers to get soil and water tested

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Ludhiana, Sep 3 (UNI) The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has asked farmers to get their soils tested before the application of fertilizers to different crops.

According to Dr A S Sidhu, Head, Department of Soils at the University, soil testing laboratories of the PAU are providing testing services to farmers.

Giving details, Dr Balwinder Singh of the department said that a total of 3517 soil and 1208 water samples were analysed by the Department during 2007-08.

An estimated 48.5 per cent soil samples tested were low in organic content while 45.1 per cent and 6.4 per cent were medium or high in organic content respectively.

Likewise 29.7 per cent samples were low in phosphorus content while 33.6 per cent and 36.7 per cent samples were medium or high in phosphorous content respectively.

Similarly 11.5 per cent samples were found to be low in potassiUm content while 60.2 per cent and 28.3 per cent samples showed medium or high phosphorous content respectively.

According to Dr Sidhu irrigation water was also important and it should also be tested before application to crops. Samples tested by the soil testing laboratory here showed 47.8 per cent, 31.2 per cent and 21.0 per cent samples as fit, marginal and unfit for irrigation, respectively.

Dr Sidhu said that irrigation water in south-western districts of Punjab was brackish and therefore, farmers should get it tested to get expert advice from soil scientists. He also said that water testing is important even in the case of deep wells, as the situation may vary from location to location.

Dr Sidhu pointed out that water in village ponds contains essential plant nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, however, it may also contain salts such as carbonates, bi-carbonates and chlorides of calcium, magnesium and sodium in undesirable amounts. He, therefore, suggested that village pond water should also be got tested from the laboratory before application to the soil.

He said that besides the main campus at Ludhiana, facilities of soil testing are available in different regional stations of PAU at Gurdaspur and Bathinda, from where the farmers can get their field soils and irrigation water tested. He suggested that farmers can also approach Krishi Vigyan Kendras of their areas for the tests at nominal rates.

For soil testing in respect of major nutrients or trace elements the charges are Rs 20 only per sample while for comprehensive testing of major as well as minor elements the charges are Rs 40 per sample. The charges for water testing are Rs 20 per sample.

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