Overdose of fertilisers threat to soil health
The higher dosage of fertilisers and use of unnecessary supplements is a cause of concern as it is leading to the deterioration of soil health besides hitting the farm economy.
Most farmers apply fertilisers on their own without getting their soil tested to compete with other farmers or on the advice of sellers who have vested interests.Instead of going by expert recommendation, they increase the dosage of these fertilisers to get more yield and allegedly apply unnecessary supplements on the advice of shopkeepers.
Ironically, despite warnings by experts, most farmers after the harvest every six months, burn the crop residue, which in fact can be useful to improve soil health besides saving environment pollution.
"The excessive dosage of fertilisers is a threat to soil health and enviormnent," says Charanjeet Singh Pooni, a farmer from Chaina village who also does natural farming.
Against an application of 110 kg of urea, many farmers apply up to 150 kg of urea to paddy. As far as the phosphorus fertiliser is concerned, the farmers have been ignoring the recommendations of Punjab Agricultural University.
According to the recommendations, if the DAP fertiliser has been applied to rabi crops before the sowing of wheat, it is not required for the paddy and cotton crops. But farmers can be seen applying up to two bags of the fertiliser to BT cotton, says Pooni.
"It is a dangerous trend. It is spoiling the soil health as well as environment. Private companies have been running a campaign to sell their products. The farmers are not educated to understand them and such companies succeed in selling their products to the farmers. Instead of selling recommended fertilisers, selling sub-standard supplements is a profitable business for sellers too," he adds.
"A few farmers may be seen using the leaf colour chart, designed and developed to bring down the excessive use of nitrogen, but most farmers are not using the chart," admitted Sukhwant Singh Sran, chief agriculture officer.
As far as excessive dosage of nitrogen is concerned, most farmers have realised that it has a negative impact on the crop as the crop becomes more prone to insect attack apart from its chances of falling flat. So they have brought down its application to a recommended dosage. But phosphorus fertilisers are still being used in higher dosage due to various misconceptions, said Sran.
"The excessive use of nitrogen is leading to high nitrate concentration in groundwater, which is destroying the natural structure of the soil besides polluting the environment," said Uminder Dutt, executive director, Punjab Kheti Virasat Manch.