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Vermicompost for Sugarcane - New Experiments

Plant nutrition and the soil-plant system. The key-role of fertilizers and their judicious use in crop husbandry is well understood, when one is familiar with the general facts about plant nutrition. It is now known that at least 16 plant-food elements are necessary for the growth of green plants. These plant-nutrients are called essential elements. In the absence of any one of these essential elements, a plant fails to complete its life cycle, though the disorder caused can, however, be corrected by the addition of that element.These 16 elements are: Carbon(C), hydrogen(H), oxygen(O), nitrogen(N), phosphorous(P), sulphur(S), potassium(K), calsium(Ca),magnesium(Mg), iron(Fe), manganese(Mn), zinc(Zn), copper(Cu), molybdenum(Mb), boron(B) and chlorine(Cl). Green plants obtain carbon from carbon-di-oxide from the air; oxygen and hydrogen from water, whereas the remaining elements are taken from the soil. Based on their relative amounts, normally found in plants, the plant nutrients are termed as macronutrients, if large amounts are involved, and micronutrients, if only traces are involved. The micronutrients essential for plant growth are iron, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum, and chlorine. All other essential elements listed above are macronutrients.

As mentioned above, most of the plant nutrients, besides carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, originate from the soil. The soil system is viewed by the soil scientists as a triple-phased system of solid, liquid and a gaseous phases. These phases are physically seperable. The plant nutrients are based in the solid phase and their usual pathway to the plant system is through the surrounding liquid phase, the soil solution and then to the plant root and plant cells. This pathway may be written in the form of an equation as: M(Solid)->M(Solution)->N(Plant root)->(Plant top) where 'M' is the plant nutrient element in continual movement through the soil-plant system. The operation of the above system is dependent on the solar energy through photosynthesis and metabolic activities. This is however, an oversimplified statement for gaining a physical concept of the natural phenomenon, but one should bear in mind that there are many physico and physico-chemical processes influencing the reactions in the pathway. The actual transfer in nature takes place through the charged ions, the usual form in which plant-food elements occur in solutions(liquid phase of the system). Plant roots take up plant-food elements elements from the soil in these ionic forms. The positively charged ions are called 'cations' which include potassium(K+), Calcium(Ca++), magnesium(Mg++), iron(Fe+++), zinc(Zn++), and so on. The negatively charged ions are called anions and the important plant nutrients taken in this form include nitrogen(NO-3), phosphorous( H2PO-4), sulphur(SO-4), Chlorine(Cl), etc.

The process of nutrient uptake by plants refers to the transfer of the nutrient ions across the soil root interfaces into the plant cell. The energy for the process is provided by the metabolic activity of the plant and in its absence no absorption of nutrients take place. Nutrient absorption involves the phenomenon of ion exchange. The root surface, like soil, carries a negative charge and exhibits cation-exchange property. The most efficient absorption of the plant nutrients takes place on the younger tissues of the roots, capable of growth and elongation.

In this respect, root-systems are known to vary from crop to crop. Hence their feeding power differs. The extent and the spread of the effective root-system determines the soil volume trapped in the feeding-zone of the crop plant. This is indeed an important information in a given soil-plant system which helps us to choose fertilizers and fertilizer-use practices. The absorption mechanisms of the crop plants are fairly known now. There are three mechanisms in operation in the soil-water-plant systems. They are:(i) the contact exchange and root interception, (ii) the mass flow or convection, and (iii) diffusion. In the case of contact exchange and root interception, the exchangeable nutrients ions from the clay-humus colloids migrates directly to the root surface through contact exchange when plant roots come into contact with the soil solids. Nutrient absorption through this mechanism is, however, insignificant as most of the plant nutrients occur in the soil solutions. Scientists have found that plant roots actually grow to come into contact with only 3 percent of the soil volume exploited by the root mass, and the nutrient uptake through root interception is even still less. The second mechanism is mass flow or convection, which is considered to be the important mode of nutrient uptake. This mechanism relates to nutrient mobility with the movement of soil water towards the root surface where absorption through the roots takes place along with water. Some are called mobile nutrients. Others which move only a few millimetres are called immobile nutrients. Nutrient ions such as nitrate, chloride and sulphate, are not absorbed by the soil colloids and are mainly in solution. Such nutrient ions are absorbed by the roots along with soil water. The nutrient uptake through this mechanism is directly related to the amount of water used by the plants (transpiration). It may, however, be mentioned that the exchangeable nutrient cations and anions other than nitrate, chloride and sulphate, which are absorbed on soil colloids are in equilibrium with the soil solution do not move freely with water when it is absorbed by the plant roots. These considerations, therefore, bring out that there are large differences in the transport and root absorption of various ion through the mechanism of mass flow. Mass flow is, however, responsible for supplying the root with much of the plant needs for nitrogen, calcium and magnesium, when present in high concentrations in the soil solution, but does not do so in the case of phosphorous or potassium. The nutrient uptake through mass flow is largely dependent on the moisture status of the soil and is highly influenced by the soil physical properties controlling the movement of soil water.

The third mechanism is diffusion. It is an important phenomenon by which ions in the soil medium move from a point of higher concentration to a point of lower concentration. in other words, the mechanism enables the movement of the nutrients ion without the movement of water. The amount of nutrient-ion movement in this case is dependent on the ion-concentration gradient and transport pathways which, in turn, are highly influenced by the content of soil water. This mechanism is predomionant in supplying most of the phosphorous and potassium to plant roots. It is important to note that the rhizophere volume of soil in the immidiate neighbourhood of the effective plant root receives plant nutrients continously to be delivered to the roots by diffusion. However, when the nutrient concentration builds up far excess of the plant in the reverse direction. These are some of the choice of fertilizers and fertilizer practices for practising scientific agriculture.

The relationship in the soil-plant system stated in the simple equation give in the earlier paragraph reflects the highly dynamic nature of the soil solution. One knows that the roots of the growing plants continuously remove nutrient ions from the soil solutions. At the same time, the breakdown of the soil minerals and the generating of more exchangeable cations, the biological activity and the additions made to the anions, e.g. nitrates, continuously change the composition of the soil solution. At a given point of time, therefore, the available plant nutrients in the soil solution may range from a tiny amount to larger quantities. Under favourable conditions, crop plants, in general, require larger amounts of plant nutrients than the quality found in soil solution at any given time. Hence, the situation of nutrients supply to plants becomes a limiting factor, specially, at the critical stages of plant growth and low crop yields result in recognition, therefore, fertilizers application and the use of suitable fertilizers are recommended for higher crop yeilds in productive farming. The knowledge of the specific role of each essential element in the growth of crop plants and their amounts required for efficient crop production is considered necessary in adopting scientific fertilizers use.

General Greenhouse Management


Greenhouse Construction
Climate Control in GH Structures
Greenhouse Management: Soil Sterilization and preparation, cultural practices in flower and vegetable cultivation
Irrigation and Fertigation Technology
Crop Protection
Post Harvest and Marketing
Ergonomics

Marketing of Horticultural Produce

Importance and Scope
Post-Harvest and Handling
Marketing Channels
Domestic & Export Marketing : Potential Markets & Procedures
Logistics and Planning
Marketing of Allied Products

FUNDING SCHEMES

Bank of Maharashtra
Minor Irrigation for Agriculturists scheme for purchase of various irrigation equipments.
Mahabank Kisan Credit Card scheme for cultivation of crops, meeting the short-term credit needs of farmers.
Farm Mechanisation for Agriculturists scheme for Purchase of Tractors/Power tillers, Harvesters, Threshers & other farm
implements.
Animal Husbandry scheme for Purchase of animals, Poultry- Broiler Farm, Layers Farm, Hatchery Sheep/Goat Rearing Construction
of Byre, and Purchase of Machinery Working Capital Requirements under
Scheme for Cultivation of fruit crops-mango, Pomegranate, Grapes etc.
Scheme for providing finance to set up of Agri-Clinics/Agribusiness Centers.
Scheme for Financing Farmers for Purchase of Agricultural land.
Scheme for Financing Two Wheelers to Farmers
Scheme for Providing Loans to Farmers for Purchase of consumer durables
Scheme for Hi-tech projects in agriculture.
Rural Godown Scheme (Gramin Bhandaran Yojana) for scientific storage of agricultural produce.
Minor Irrigation for Agriculturists


Purpose :
Digging of new wells, revitalization of existing well, purchase of oil engine, electric motor, pump set installation of pipe line, sprinkler, irrigation, drip irrigation, tube well, bore well, etc.
Eligibility : Agriculturist who owns agricultural land.
Amount : For new dug wells as per the NABARD Unit costs for equipments/estimates.
Repayment : Depending upon the repaying capacity 7 to 11 years.
Security : Mortgage of land, Hypothecation of movable assets and guarantors.
Other Terms & Conditions :
Proposed well should be located in white watershed area. It should not be in dark watershed area.