An advisory by the Punjab agriculture department has asked deputy commissioners of all districts to ensure the farmers use phosphate fertilisers only once during the year, in the rabi crop season.
It implies that there is no need for di-ammonia phosphate (DAP) and single super phosphate (SSP) in kharif crop, if already used in the recommended quantity during rabi season (usually October to April).
Repeated use would unnecessarily increase cost of production of rice crop in kharif season. The recommended quantity is 55 kg per acre.
Quoting recommendations of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), state’s secretary (agriculture) Kahan Singh Pannu has said the move would save Rs. 800 crore annually and help farmers save Rs. 2,000 per acre.
“The use of fertiliser in both the crop seasons against recommendations of PAU is doing no good to the farmers and the soil,” adds the communication from the agriculture department, also asking the district agriculture officers to educate farmers.
Agriculture development officer (enforcement) Avninder Singh Mann posted at Patiala, who deals with appropriate use of fertilisers, told HT that far mers remained under the impression that higher use of phosphates would add to the yield, “which is a wrong notion”.
“Shockingly, over the years farmers are using 100 kg of phosphate fertiliser per acre in the rabi season and 20-30 kg in the kharif crop,” said Mann.
“But farmers don’t understand that to aim for extra yield, they are spending double on fertilisers.”
According to PAU vice-chancellor Dr BS Dhillon, farmers need to understand the difference between optimal and maximum use of fertilisers.
“Farmers in Punjab join the bandwagon and don’t listen to the experts or the agriculture department.”
He said farmers should go in for soil tests and get soil health cards issued to them, “so that there is no scope for confusion, and fertiliser is used in recommended quantity”.