Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions page of the Agriculture Section. This page answers some of the most commonly asked questions related to different areas of agriculture. These questions are meant to be of special help to farmers, agriculturalists and other individuals who are interested in starting or maintaining an agricultural business.
What does the process of soil testing involve?
Ans. Soil testing is divided into four sections - Soil Physics, Soil Chemistry and Fertility, Soil Biology and Environmental Soil Science.
- Soil Physics tests the geometrical arrangement or pattern of soil components like soil particles, soil aggregates, water, gas and solute in the soil. Equipment such as pressure plate apparatus, sand box, neutron moisture meter, depth density gauge, K-permeameter, rainfall simulator and root scanner are used. Testers come up with recommendations to enhance soil quality like conservation tillage, crop diversification, rainwater harvesting and sequestration.
- Soil Chemistry consists of testing the chemical characteristics for mineral composition, organic matter, PKN nutrients and Ph levels. Devices such as UV Visible Spectrophotometers, Deep Freezers, Sonicators, microwave digestion units and flame photometers are used. Such studies help in improving efficiency of nutrient cycling, minimizing nutrient losses from soils and improving soil quality for sustained high productivity.
- Soil Biology - is the study of microbial activity and ecology in the soil of organisms such as earthworms, nematodes, protozoa, fungi and bacteria. Laboratory tools such as laminar flow, BOD incubator and a research microscope with camera and CCTV system are used to view inner layers of the soil. Knowledge of soil biology can help in choosing fertilizers, pesticides and composting systems.
- Environmental Soil Science - deals with the extent of soil pollution due to city, industrial and agricultural wastes and indiscriminate use of fertilizers for crop production. It develops suitable prescriptions and technologies for safe recycling of these wastes into agriculturally productive soils.
Where can I purchase fertilizers and pesticides? How do I select the right ones?
Ans. Fertilizers and Pesticides may be purchased through different outlets such as:
- The manufacturers own depots
- Marketers, wholesalers and retail dealers
- Service Centres of State agro industries, corporations and State commodity federations and agricultural extension centres
- Village level cooperative societies of State Cooperative Marketing Federations and PACS (Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies)
- Farmer Service centres of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India or NAFED and Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited or IFFCO
- Agri-business Centres
Information about the correct combination of fertilizers and doses for particular crops is available with your local area or block agriculture officer. The pesticides you need to buy vary for different crops, pests and regions. Search through our database for recommended pesticides (External website that opens in a new window). For any doubts contact the Agricultural Development Officer at the block level or Assistant Agricultural Officer at the village level of your area.
Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on:18-02-2011