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.
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:
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.
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.