N P Singh and Ellora Mubashir
Meer Singh is a progressive farmer from Taoru block, Nuh. He grows pearl millet, mustard, and wheat in four acres of his land. In May 2019, he attended a farmers’ training program organized by S M Sehgal Foundation, on the importance of testing soil nutrients and soil test-based crop cultivation. For the first time he learned that crops need seventeen nutrients to complete their life cycle and to give good yields. He learned how to understand soil test reports and use them in the field. Meer was most impressed about the relevance of micronutrients.
A month after this training, Meer took part in the project’s soil test-based crop demonstration. For this, he cultivated 0.5 acres of his pearl millet crop, using the package of practices (PoP) having both micro‑ and macronutrients. In the neighboring 0.5 acre control plot, he conducted his traditional practice.
Ten days after sowing, he began noticing a difference in the two plots, the extent of germination was more than 90 percent in the demonstration plot while it was only 70–75 percent in the control plot. Forty-five days after sowing, he observed that the number of tillers was higher and leaf blades were bigger in the demonstration plot. On harvest, he noted that the length of the ears were longer and more compact in the demonstration plot, and he obtained 2.3 quintals more produce from the 0.5 acres of land.
Meer now understands that the continuous, unexamined, and non‑judicious exploitation of agricultural land for many decades has resulted in the depletion of essential soil nutrients, due to which the farmers now have to supply these nutrients externally in the form of supplementary fertilizers with the help of scientific soil testing.
(N P Singh is program lead, Agriculture Development and Ellora Mubashir is communications specialist, Partnerships at S M Sehgal Foundation)