Tag Archives: soil composition

What is Soil Health Card (SHC) Scheme? How to Procure your SHC using My Farm Info?

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:

  1. Secondary and micro-nutrients.
  2. General Recommendations like Organic Manure, Bio-fertilizer.
  3.  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:
  1. Visit our Home Page.
  2. Locate the Farm, add the region
  3. Zoom in and Geo-tag your farm in the map.
  4. Click ‘Soil Information’ in ‘More’ tab and fill up the details if asked.
  5. You have all your Soil data!
All details of your Soil available in an instant.

6. Click on ‘Nutrition’ under ‘Farm Management’ tab to get the fertilizer recommendations.

Nutrient Recommendations best suitable for your land are shown as above.

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.

  1. Visit the Soil Doctor option in the portal.
  2. Fill in the details and submit. Our team will connect with you person thereafter.
  3. A soil sample will be collected, tested and you will be delivered a detailed report along with your Soil Health Card.
  4. 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.

 

 

Why and how to get Soil testing services using My Farm Info Soil Doctor?

India is ranked second in global farm output. India’s arable land area of 394.6 million acres is the second largest in the world. Its gross irrigated crop area of 215.6 million acres is the largest in the world. Still we are way behind in adapting technology and making our practices sustainable.

Current agricultural practices are neither economically nor environmentally sustainable and India’s yields for many agricultural commodities are low. – World Bank: “India Country Overview 2008

Much of the role here is played by condition of the soil. Be it due to rampant use of chemical fertilizers and ill-advised use of pesticides or just common erosion, the soil undergoes a lot of changes. Not knowing about the health and condition of your soil can incur unnecessary costs and also not deliver the expected  production. Hence, soil testing and diagnosis are considered important aspect of productive and sustainable farming.

Now, with MyFarmInfo Soil Doctor farmers can procure the benefits of on-demand nation-wide soil testing service.

Why Test your Soil?

A Soil test refers to the analysis of a soil sample to determine various characteristics like

  • Nutrient content: Plants require multiple nutrients to grow.

    Laboratory tests often check for plant nutrients in three categories:

    • Major nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K)
    • Secondary nutrients: sulfur, calcium, magnesium
    • Minor nutrients: iron, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum, chlorine.

Soil tests determines the nutrient content of the soil sample and thus allow us to make better decision in terms of adding the nutrient substitutes which are lacking.

  • Composition: Soil composition determines its characteristics and behavior. A soil with more sandy content behaves very differently than a soil with high amount of fine soil particles. Study of composition allows for getting an insight into soil behavior and thus help make better decision about crop selection.
  • Acidity or pH level: pH level indicated the acidity levels of the soil. A pH range of 6-7 is considered neutral or normal and good for cultivation. But blatant use of chemicals can alter the pH range. pH level below 6 indicates acidic soil and pH level above 7 indicates alkaline soil both of these conditions are unsuitable for cultivation.
  • Moisture content: Knowing the moisture content allows for farmers to better plan their irrigation methods. Knowledge of moisture content also allows for better crop selection.
  • Fertility: This determines the expected soil growth potential and indicates nutrient deficiencies, potential toxicities that may be present due to excessive fertility and any inhibitions from the non-essential trace minerals.

Frequent soil testing aids farmers to decide whether their current farm management is robbing them of future productivity and profits. When combined with local calibration data, soil testing is the best guide for determining nutrient needs for crops.

Soil testing as a tool to provide balanced fertility program is a vital component for sustainable farming that is profitable, efficient yet environmentally responsible.

How do I Use My Farm Info Soil Doctor:

Head over to MyFarmInfo.com and check the Useful Services section. To head over right now click My Farm Info Soil Doctor. This will open up a form.

Fill up this form to avail benefits of My Farm Info Soil Doctor.

Enter your Name, Phone Number, E-mail, Address and your Message and the My Farm Info team will connect with you. It is as easy as that.

A soil sample will be collected and tested upon completion of which a detailed report will be generated. This report will highlight all the factors and give a status of the soil’s health.

The standard way to go about soil testing has also changed with the advancement in technology. Now with the services of global positioning system (GPS) easily available to anyone, farmers can be smarter about how they conduct soil tests.

 

Soil Testing Pro tips for Farmers:

Time:

Soil constantly undergoes change. As biological and chemical processes in the soil break down or combine compounds, its chemistry changes over time. These processes experience a change once the soil is removed from its natural ecosystem and environment.

Thus, if the soil is analyzed soon after its extraction( usually within a time-period of 24 hrs), the accuracy of chemical composition analysis is a lot better.  In case of apparent delay, the chemical changes in the soil can be slowed by freezing it during storage and transportation.

Soil Sampling

The right time to take soil samples is in rhythm with the crop rotation. Its best to carry regular tests to compare fields and pick out trends over time. Previously, soil samples were taken almost at random across a field, mixed together, and sent to the lab. Now, with GPS capabilities, grid sampling has become the more favored technique.

Soil sampling during the process of soil testing is the foundation for understanding the variation in yield potential across a field and improve efficiency.

So get comfortable with Soil Testing and connect with My Farm Info Soil Doctor for help anytime on-demand.