Soil scientists of Punjab Agricultural University have cautioned the farmers against indiscriminate use of fertilisers.
DS Bhatti, senior extension specialist (soil science), said, “Excessive and indiscriminate use of fertilisers not only increases the cost of cultivation, but also causes nutrient imbalance, which adversely affects crop yields.”
He said, “More use of phosphorus may decrease the availability of zinc causing its deficiency in crop. Similarly, excessive use of nitrogenous causes overgrowth and increases succulence. As a consequence, the crop becomes more prone to lodging and the attack of insects and pests, thus causing loss of yield.”
“Balanced and need-based application of fertilisers is of utmost importance to get good returns and to maintain better soil health/environment,” he said.
Referring to a report published in a section of media regarding unnecessary use of phosphorus fertiliser worth `800 crore in the state, Bhatti said, “The university has already recommended that there is no need to apply phosphorus to rice, cotton and maize crops in the kharif season, if the preceding wheat crop in rabi season had received recommended dose of phosphorus. Farmers are advised to apply fertiliser on soil test-basis.”
The use of leaf colour chart was also recommended for need-based application of nitrogen in rice and maize and application of potassium was recommended only in deficient soils, he added.
PAU vice chancellor Baldev Singh Dhillon said, “The university always advocates upon the need-based use of fertilisers in different crops. PAU has recommended optimum fertiliser doses for various crops and the details of these are available in the 'Package of practices for crops of Punjab' published every six months.”
University scientists always impress upon the farmers on balanced use of fertiliser through their articles in different newspapers and farm magazines-'Changi Kheti' and 'Progressive Farming', Dhillon said.
PAU director of extension education HS Dhaliwal said the farmers were regularly acquainted on the judicious use of fertilisers through popular articles, TV/Radio talks, lectures, Kisan Melas, farmer training camps and field days, etc. Besides, live demonstrations were also arranged by university extension experts, he added.