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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Unnecessary use of fertilisers causing heavy loss to farmers, say experts

letterschd@hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times  Muktsar, July 24, 2014
First Published: 21:14 IST(24/7/2014) | Last Updated: 21:17 IST(24/7/2014)

Unnecessary use of sulphur and other fertilisers by farmers on crops like paddy and basmati, besides causing financial loss to them, is leading to deterioration in the quality of soil, said agriculture experts here.

"In Muktsar district, tubewell water at most of the places, except areas close to canals, is bad and has a high level of harmful salts. The electricity conductivity (EC) of water is already much higher than the normal range and when farmers apply sulphur in such soils with bad water, it further deteriorates the quality of the soil. Besides, on paddy or basmati, it also leads to a negative impact on the next crops due to bad health of the soil," said Beant Singh, chief agriculture officer, Muktsar.

"Due to less rain in the district, farmers are blindly using sulphur and some other mixtures which are totally useless and a financial burden on the farmers," he said.

According to experts, farmers are spending from `250 to `400 per acre only on one application of sulphur. Besides this, they have been also applying different kinds of activators and mixed fertilisers on the recommendation of dealers or private companies.

"When paddy or basmati crops have already been applied the recommend dosage of fertilisers, the crops do not require another chemical afterwards. It is only leading to the financial burden on farmers, besides the negative impact on the quality of soil," experts said.

While farmers are reportedly using unnecessary chemicals like sulphur and other activators, they have been found using much less dosage of zinc. "The deficiency of zinc has been noted at many places on paddy and basmati crops  because farmers are applying less than the recommended dosage of zins," said Gurpreet Singh, an agriculture expert.

"I want to appeal to the farmers not to use any chemical fertiliser other than the recommended one. We have also educated dealers as well by special training, but still, the problem is there," said Beat Singh.
Muktsar has about 1,30,000 hectares of area under paddy and basmati this year.

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