Nearly 12,199 leaf samples had been collected from five fruit plant nutrition laboratories during 2013-14, thus benefitting nearly 7,758 growers across the state. A spokesman of the department of horticulture said fruit plant nutrition consultancy service, which was implemented in the state in November 2013, had proved to be beneficial to fruit growers.
The spokesman said nearly 2,028 samples had been collected and analysed in Shimla district, 964 in Solan district, 1,330 in Sirmaur district, 700 in Kinnaur district, 125 in Bilaspur district, 1,438 in Kangra district, 705 in Hamirpur district, 699 in Una district, 1,010 in Chamba district, 603 in Mandi district, 1,636 in Kullu district and 138 in Lahaul-Spiti district.
The spokesman informed that a total of 3,871 samples from across the state had been sent to various laboratories up to June, 2014. Out of this, 2,775 samples had been processed and 1,117 samples had been analysed.
He said, “Through this consultancy service, growers are getting the exact position of essential nutrients in their farms, which will help them determine the desired volume of fertilizer. The growers can ensure high quality production by availing this service.”
The five fruit plant nutrition laboratories are in Navbahar, Kotkhai and Thanedhar in Shimla district, Dharamshala in Kangra district and Bajaura in Kullu district.
The spokesman said two drying grinding units had also been set up in Reckong Peo in Kinnaur district and Bharmour in Chamba district.
“These laboratories have a total analysis capacity of 25,000 leaf samples. Besides providing facilities of analysing micro-contents like iron, manganese, copper and zinc, major nutrition contents like nitrogen, phosphorus, potash, calcium and magnesium are being provided in the laboratories,” he said.
The leaves should be collected from July 1 to August 15 or after flowering between 8 to 12 weeks from the middle parts of the branches of deciduous fruit plants like apple, peach, cherry, pear, plum, apricot and almond. As per the results of this analysis, the exact position of essential nutrients of fruit plants will be determined and a balanced fertilizer will be used accordingly.
The spokesperson added that necessary precautions should be taken for collecting the samples, which included uniformity of plants in a
particular area, condition of plants and freshness of leaves before taking the samples to laboratories.