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Package of Practices
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Distribution of micronutrients deficiencies across AEZ

Distribution of micronutrients deficiencies across AEZ indicate zinc deficiency to be about 40% in 1, 2, 5,15,16,18,and 19 zones; 40-50% in 9,11and 12 zones; 50-55% in 4, 7, and 13,  and 55% in the remaining zones.
Soils of indo-gangetic plains showed 55, 47 and 36% zinc deficiency in trans-northern, central and eastern parts of IGP, while boron deficiency is 8, 37 and 68% in these regions of IGP.
Boron deficiency varies from 2 % in AER 2; 24-48 % in highly calcareous soils of AEZ 2, 9, and 14 and is most wide spread (39-68 %) in red and lateritic soils of AEZ 6,13,16,17 and 19.
Deficiencies of Cu and Mn were found sporadic. 
The problem of Fe and Mn deficiency has emerged in Trans-northern IGP (zone 9) more so under rice-wheat cropping while most of the soils tested adequate in available iron.
Its deficiency in all AEZs as well as toxicity in some coastal, submontane and red-lateritic soils is quite common (Table)

Table 6:Extent of micronutrient deficiencies in different Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZ) of India


Agroecological zones

Soil type

Per cent deficiency




Micronutrient status of Indian soils

Systematic survey and analysis of more than 2.50 lakh soil samples in 20 states by All India Coordinated Research Project indicated deficiency of zinc to the extent of 49%, 33% of B, 13, 7 and 4% of samples rating low in Fe, Mo, and Mn. 
These, in general, point to the micronutrient problems, the extent and severity could, however, vary across soil types, agro ecological zones and more importantly management and productivity of crops and cropping systems.
Coarse texture, calcareous, low organic carbon content, high pH and excessive leaching often accentuate zinc deficiency.
It is wide spread in the   calcareous soils of Bihar, Vertisols and Inceptisols of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Alfisols of Karnataka, swell-shrink soils of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, and Aridisols of Haryana resulting in low crop yields.
Zinc is a crucial component of the package of practices recommended for sodic soils reclamation.
Deficiencies of Fe, Mn and Cu are much less extensive than that to zinc.

Table 4: Total and available micronutrient contents in benchmark soils of India


Total contents (mg/kg)

Available contents(mg/kg)



EIS,Package of Practices,Soils


Nutrient mining status

  • Besides this, nutrient losses through various means are alarmingly large which are rarely taken into account. 
  • The soil fertility status of Indian soils has declined drastically over the years following the era of green revolution and is marked by a negative balance of 8-10 M. tons between nutrients removed by the crops and those added through manures and fertilizers leading to mining of soil nutrient capital and steady reduction in soil nutrient supplying capacity. 
  • The loss through soil erosion is second to nutrient removal by crops. 
  • About 8 M t of plant nutrients are lost through water erosion of soil (5.3 billion t) while estimates of leaching and gaseous losses are not available. 
  • Even in well managed cropping systems like rice-wheat raised on currently recommended nutrient levels, depletion of soil fertility has been reported .
  • Considering the projected food grain demand and fertilizer consumption by 2010 and 2025, this gap is likely to increase to 11 and 13.3 Mt of NPK, respectively.  
  • The situation is further aggravated by the depletion of major soil nutrients like N and K in intensive cropping systems and emergence of wide spread deficiencies of secondary (S, Ca) and micronutrients (Zn, Fe, Mn, Cu and B). 
  • Soil test data available for major part of the country for the major nutrients (N, P, K) show that 89 and 80% of the soils are low to medium in N and P, and about 50% of the soils are responsive to K supply . District wise soil fertility status of Indian soils also indicates a similar trend .
Table 2: Percentage of soil samples (total 4.54 M) in different categories of nutrient availability Nutrient Low Medium High Nutrient Index Nitrogen 63.1 25.6 11.3 1.48 Phosphorous 42.3 37.7 20.0 1.78 Potassium 12.9 36.7 50.4 2.37        <1.67 index and >2.33 refer to low an

Soil resources

 India’s share of soil resources of the world is about 2.3% (geographical area – 329M.ha) supporting 17 and 16% of human population and livestock, respectively. The soils are mainly represented by red and lateritic soils (Alfisols, Ultisols, and Inceptisols – 172.2 M. ha), black soils (Vertisols and their associations – 73.5M.ha), alluvial soils (Entisols and Inceptisols – 58.4 M.ha), desert soils (mostly Aridisols and Entisols – 30M.ha) and Tarai Soils (Mollisols – 8.0 M.ha) (Table 1).    

Soil order

Area (M.ha)


































  • The rice-wheat production system has played an important role in the food security and has remained its cornerstone for rural development and natural resource conservation. 
  • But, now evidences of second generation problems have started appearing such as declining productivity, plateauing of crop productivity, declining soil organic matter, receding ground water table, diminishing farm profitability etc., which are mainly attributed to intensive conventional production systems.
  • Rice is the world’s most important staple food crop. 
  • Conventional flooded rice cultivation in Asia provides more than 75% of the world’s rice supply for half the earth’s main staple food.  
  • However, rice production consumes about 30% of all freshwater used worldwide. 
  • In Asia, flood-irrigated rice consumes more than 45% of total freshwater used. 
  • By 2025, 15 out of 75 million hectare of Asia’s flood-irrigated rice crop will experience water shortage. 
  • Rice production is challenged by the increasing shortage of water resource in the world and by the limitation of water resource in the seasonal drought areas. 
  • Alternatives to the conventional flooded rice cultivation need to developed world wide to reduce water consumption and produce more rice with less water. 
  • The yield level of a crop reflects many facets of crop growth including environmental factors such as rainfall, temperature, sunlight and humidity and cultural factors such as planting date, row spacing, cultivar selection and tillage method. 
  • As a result, the interpretation of a relationship is difficult; however response is likely at low yields at high soil test values.  
  • Therefore it is very pertinent to highlight the present fertility status of rice soils of India in terms of its constraints.

Benefits of SSNM

  • SSNM approach can increase Fertilizer use efficiency leading to more grain yield per unit of fertilizer. 
  • This can exclude accumulation of inorganic forms of nutrients during period when crop demand for added nutrient is low and during periods such as at the end of the rice growing season. 
  • The added benefits associated through SSNM  can be used for wider dissemination. 
  • The SSNM benefits disseminated to farmers should strive to increase profitability of rice farming through increased yields. 


  • Mulching of Jhum land is done by spreading of the cut grasses, stubble, trash or any other vegetation.  
  • Mulching often minimizes erosion and conserves in situ moisture, besides reducing weeds menace. 
  • Spreading of organic residues is also common.  
  • Trash mulching is practiced in Serchip district (East Lungdar) in sugarcane crops.  
  • Sugarcane stems are crushed for jaggery making and left out trashes, stem remains after crushing  are spread in the field during the winter, which is the period of acute moisture stress owing to the no or negligible rainfall.   
  • In New Serchip block of Serchip district during winter season farmers harvest the maize cobs and stems are cut into 2-3 pieces of. 
  • These pieces are spread in the field as mulch.  The crop residue left on the surface, cushions rain drop impact and reduces water movement, hence soil erosion is checked.  As water runoff and evaporation are reduced, water penetration is improved.   
  • The crop residues and roots build up in the long term, improving soil structure and fertility.   
  • However, farmers have shown concern as these trashes often reduce their cattle feed and they do not practice when they have shortage of fodder.   
  • Banana mulching on the plantation floor is used to conserve soil and water, to maintain soil fertility and to reduce weed growth. 
  • Harvested rainwater is also led into banana plantations via interception ditches. 
  • Banana mulching is a century old tradition. 
  • The indigenous banana mulching practice uses a mix of four different mulch components, namely, bean and sorghum stover, banana pseudo stem, and grass.

Socio-economic and cultural constraints in Rice production

  • Poor economic condition of the shifting cultivators in hills and small and marginal farmers of the plains
  • Lack of skill, work force, attention and management
  • Low level of understanding of the improved farming technology

Environmental constraints in Rice production

  • Noncongenial rugged terrain of the mountain ecosystem for development of settled cultivation
  • Regular occurrence of flood in rainy season in Assam
  • Occasional drought occurrence in hills during winter season
  • Smaller and rainfed dry terraces in hills
  • Micro-agroclimatic conditions of the flat valley lands with higher soil moisture

Implementation constraints in Rice production

  • Lack of integration and coordination between different line departments of different states in the promotion of integrated development strategies
  • Inadequate extension and training support services with little client oriented or participatory extension activities
  • Top-down approach of agricultural programmes without considering the needs of the farmers
  • Lack of on-farm, multidisciplinary and development oriented programmes
  • Lack of integration of research, extension and education in agricultural developmental    programmes
  •  Lack of adequate service facilities such as credit, input supply and marketing of produce
  • Dependent attitude of farmers on government sponsored subsidized schemes
  • Transport and communication bottleneck in remote areas

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