Jafru is a farmer with 4 acres of land in Taoru block, Nuh district, Haryana. His main occupation is farming and animal husbandry. He generally grows pearl millet in summer and mustard in winter. Jafru has used traditional farming practices in both his kharif and rabi crops for the past ten to twelve years, mostly using urea and DAP fertilizers—the most frequently used fertilizers in Nuh villages. He never even thought of using balanced nutrients in his agriculture land. As a result, despite his hard work, the quantity and quality of his produce has remained limited.
Since April 2021, as part of a CSR-supported project implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation, community meetings have been organized with farmers. Jafru attended some of these meetings and learned about the importance of using micronutrients such as zinc, potash, sulphur, among others, in mustard cultivation to improve the crop yield and quality. He realized the significance of rectifying soil damage caused by the excessive use of urea and DAP. Observing fellow farmers receive an improved package of practices for mustard cultivation as a part of the initiative, he adopted some of these practices without any prompting. He used micronutrients (sulphur, gaucho, zinc, among others) in 3 acres of his agricultural land. In the remaining one acre of his land he continued his traditional method of using urea and DAP application.
In his micronutrient-treated fields, Jafru observed a higher germination rate up to 90 percent, better development of crops with the leaves being broader and darker in color. After sixty days of sowing, the flowering was superior.
Seeing these signs, an experienced farmer like Jafru was able to predict an increased yield of his mustard crop by at least 2 quintals per acre, i.e., 6 quintals in all from the 3 acres of his agriculture fields. This would approximately amount to INR 42,000 additional income as cost per quintal is approximately INR 7,000-7,200.
Happy to expect improved quantity and quality of yields Jafru says, “From now on, I will apply micronutrients in all of my land for improving soil and crop productivity.”
Authors: Nandpal Singh and Debika Goswami
(Nandpal is field assistant, Nuh and Debika is senior program lead, Local Participation and Sustainability, S M Sehgal Foundation)