Liming soil management can enhance crop yield by 25 pc
By Dr Aynal Haque
RAJSHAHI, Aug 1, 2021 (BSS) - Soil management with liming and organic matter can be the best ways of boosting crop yield by 25 percent on an average in the high Barind area because most of its lands have turned into acidic at present hampering crop production badly.
"Acid soils are a major agricultural constraint for crop production due to its detrimental effect to soil fertility and productivity," said Dr Nurul Islam, Principal Scientific Officer of Soil Resource Development Institution (SRDI).
These were ascertained in a number of experimental plots of wheat, lentil, potato and chickpea at different locations.
The crops were cultivated in two separate demonstration plots, one experiment and other farmers’ practice, to evaluate the effects of liming and organic matter on soil properties, soil health and growth traits.
On behalf of its 'Strengthening of Soil Resource and Research Facilities' Project, SRDI has been conducting the research since January, 2018. Main objective of the five-year project is to achieve more broad based and sustainable outcomes in soil health, soil amendment, food security, environment management and economic opportunity in the region.
Quoting the research findings, Dr Islam said liming and organic fertilization has been found effective towards boosting cropping yield through protecting soil health in the high Barind area.
Organic matter creates a positive soil environment from which plants can uptake nutrients from applied chemical fertilizers. It increases uptake of applied chemical fertilizers by the plants which contributes to increasing crop productivity through reducing toxic flow of active chemical fertilizers to the environment.
Each of the farmers were given all sorts of impute support including fertilizer, labour, water for irrigation and technical knowhow for farming crops on one bigha of experimental plots.
Taimur Ali, a farmer of Parbatipur area under Gomostapur Upazila, had cultivated wheat on two bigha of lands and harvested 18 mounds of yield from the one-bigha experiment plot while 12 mounds from the conventional one.
“I have harvested nine mounds of lentil from the experiment plot while six mounds from his own conventional system,” said Shariful Alam, another farmer of Patari village under Shapaher Upazila, adding that the liming and organic matter system is cost-effective.
Potato yield was 115 mounds per bigha in experimental plot against 90 mound of farmers practice while the yield of chickpea was 13 mounds of experimental plot against six mounds of conventional system, said farmer Saiful Islam of Badhair village under Tanore Upazila.
Dr Nurul Islam said soil organic matter is a key factor in maintaining long-term soil fertility since it is the reservoir of metabolic energy, which drives soil biological processes involved in nutrient availability.
The farmers applied half-rated chemical fertilizer along with optimum organic fertilizer and bio-pesticide in their fields in order to make them financially benefited side by side with protecting the soil health.
“We have provided technical knowledge on proper and effective application of organic methods in farming fields to the targeted farmers,” he added.
Most of the soils in the Barind area have less than 1.5 percent and some soils contain even less than one percent organic matter whereas a good soil should have at least 2.5 percent organic matter.
He defined that organic matter supplies plant nutrients, increases water holding capacity of soil, reduces residual negative effect of fertilizers and pesticides. It makes the crops more tolerant to diseases, insects and also prevents soil erosion.
It is also the energy source for soil microorganisms, which are the primary agents that enhance the decomposition and release of minerals in the soil system.
As a whole, soil environment is very important for plant growth and soil pH is the most important indicator of soil environment.
Dr Islam said bringing all the farming fields under liming and organic fertilization is a big challenge. Time has come to establish 'Acidic Soil Management and Research Centre' in the region to face the existing challenge.
The centre can also help ensure food security, adapting climate change, soil health management and sustainable crop production, he added.