Health of the soil is an important parameter to be assessed from time-to-time. It reflects the effect of current agricultural practices on the soil and thus gives a means to adapt methods and maintain optimum condition of the soil. It is with this intention that the Government of India launched the Rs 568 crore Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme. Launched in 2015 it aspires to reach 14 crore farmers in a 3 year period.
The SHC scheme promotes soil based testing and balanced use of fertilizers which would enable farmers to produce higher yields at lower costs. As of February 2016, 1.12 crore Soil Health Cards had been distributed and 2 crore were under printing. But the pace has picked up since then and at the time of publishing the official figures of printed cards is close to 9.5 crores.
These can also be availed using the My Farm Info portal.
Why get a Soil Health Card? What is the scheme?
Soil health is complex and depends upon a range of ecosystem functions. Soil is not just lifeless growing medium. Rather it has been observed that fertile soil is also very biologically active. Factors like nutrient quotient and composition like NPK (Nitrogen, Phosporous, Potassium) levels, pH of soil, etc all play a major role. Improper use of fertilizers can have a negative impact on the soil health.
Unfortunately most farmers still have to depend on their own instincts to estimate the condition of the soil. The fertilizers used, irrigation and crop cycle are all mostly based on past practices or hearsay.
It is with the intention of addressing this issue and empowering the farmer that the SHC scheme was launched.
Under the scheme, the government plans to:
- Issue individual soil cards to farmers which will reflect result of soil sample tests and suggestions.
- Cards will carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilizers in the respective individual farms every once in 3 years. These recommendations will be aimed at improving productivity through judicious use of inputs.
- To deliver the recommendations Soil samples are collected and tested in various soil testing labs across the country. After testing, various experts analyse the strength and weaknesses (micro-nutrients deficiency) of the soil and suggest measures to deal with it. The result and suggestion will be displayed in the cards.
Thus, as a farmer with a Soil Health Card you can become pro-active in your approach and your methods will nurture the soil instead of damaging it. The practices will become more sustainable and output is optimal and reduced costs.
Aspects covered in Soil Health Cards:
Lets see in detail what do the Soil Health Cards really convey.
The card displays personal information of which few are important to know such as Survey Number, Soil Sample Number as this information is useful when you want to re-procure your Soil card. The geo-location of the farm is also detailed.
The data from Soil Sample tests is presented across 12 parameters:
1. pH 2. EC (Electrical Conductivity) 3. Organic Carbon, then the level of availability of macro- and micro-nutrients ie. Nitrogen(N), Phosphorous (P), Potassium (K), Sulphur (S), Zinc (Z), Boron (B), Iron (Fe), Manganese(Mn), Copper(Cu).
Recommendations are given with respect to:
- Secondary and micro-nutrients.
- General Recommendations like Organic Manure, Bio-fertilizer.
- Recommendations for fertilizer combination for crop with reference yield.
How do I get my Soil Health Card using My Farm Info?
My Farm Info is an open platform for anyone to use and access information that enable optimum and effective farming practices. As an aware unit we have made the process of getting your Soil Health Card hassle-free. Farmers can either avail our online portal with 24-hour availability or connect with us in person.
Getting your SHC via Online Portal:
- Visit our Home Page.
- Locate the Farm, add the region
- Zoom in and Geo-tag your farm in the map.
- Click ‘Soil Information’ in ‘More’ tab and fill up the details if asked.
- You have all your Soil data!
6. Click on ‘Nutrition’ under ‘Farm Management’ tab to get the fertilizer recommendations.
With the help of our satellite and on-ground infrastructure throughout the country all this data is made available within seconds!
Getting your SHC via connecting in-person:
Using the same portal you can help us reach you in-person.
- Visit the Soil Doctor option in the portal.
- Fill in the details and submit. Our team will connect with you person thereafter.
- A soil sample will be collected, tested and you will be delivered a detailed report along with your Soil Health Card.
- For any queries about this process and more details you can also visit our blog which explores Soil Doctor.
My Farm Info is already delivering last-mile services with this portal and helps farmers make the most of various government schemes in this sector.
If you are a farmer, get your Soil Health Card now. If you are not, inform farmers you know and help them make the most of this free portal.