Executive Summary

The study assessed the soil fertility status and nutrient balance of major crops/ cropping systems at different spatial scales in Kerala, a decision support system (DSS) has been developed for managing soil fertility and sustains the crop productivity. This was done in a holistic manner by way of soil fertility assessment in terms of nutrient inflows and outflows as an individual crop/ cropping system/ mixed crop and farm as a whole through NUTMON (nutrient monitoring) with the help of field experiments and also as a district/ regional level to know about the status of their soils. NUTMON-Toolbox at different spatial scales (viz., micro (plot), meso (farm) and macro (district/ regional levels) exhibited a trend of depletion of N and K from soil reserve, whereas P was positive, indicating the need for carefully redefining N and K management strategies. The DSS was developed as an output by combining all the data bases generated from the project apart from using all available secondary data sources. The DSS viz., CWRDM-Integrated Crop Nutrient Management Software (CWRDM-ICNMS) will help in generating a nutrient recommendation to most of the crops in Kerala by considering all the inflows and outflows from the farm. The DSS will serve as a tool to identify the depletion of soil nutrients and helps to suggest the management options using a systematic approach. The output will be a cost effective, eco-friendly conservation and management technology for higher input use efficiency, agricultural productivity & profitability without deteriorating natural resources for the whole of the farming community in Kerala.


Some of the recommendations are discussed below , which are relevant to the study area

  1. Split applications of fertilizers can be made to match the nutrient requirement of the crop with that of the nutrient availability in soil thereby increasing the efficiency of applied fertilizers.
  2. The farmers in the study area have to be trained for efficient recycling of farm wastes, proper manure collection and storage methods so as to achieve a positive balance.
  3. Farmers should be trained in such a way to know about the whole system of their farm, nutrient inflows and outflows creating awareness about the activities which deplete their soil fertility and also training on efficient management techniques to mitigate them
  4. Crop rotation should involve shallow rooted crop and deep-rooted crop for efficient transfer of nutrient flow from subsoil to surface soil.
  5. Introduction of green manures and legumes in the system is one of the technological options to replenish the soil nitrogen level without any external inputs.
  6. Even though farmers are mainly concerned with the current season, awareness has to be created about the effects of soil fertility decline. Feed back mechanism has to be developed or included in the training programme so that every one will know about declining soil fertility, which in turn reduce the yield in a long run.
  7. Nutrient depleting and nutrient accumulating crops should be in the cropping system thereby making the system able for recuperating the fertility level.
  8. Practice of integrated nutrient management comprising integrated usage of chemical fertilizers and other source of organic manures such as biofertilizers will result in sustainable crop yields without any detrimental effect on agro ecological balance.
  9. Adoption of Precision agriculture, site specific nutrient management, drip fertigation will helps to improve / sustain the soil fertility level.


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