Soil anal­y­sis can re­duce ex­pense and amount of fer­til­izer in­puts in crop pro­duc­tion

Sun.Star Baguio - - OPINION -

AGRI­CUL­TURE is one of the sec­tors that con­trib­ute to cli­mate change aside. It con­trib­utes 14 % of the green­house gasses emit­ted in the at­mos­phere ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal panel on cli­mate change (IPCC). Ni­trous ox­ide for ex­am­ple ac­counts for 7 % warm­ing ef­fects. This ni­trous ox­ide gas is emit­ted from the pro­duc­tion and use of fer­til­iz­ers and pes­ti­cides in agri­cul­ture.

To help mit­i­gate the emis­sion of the gas, farm­ers can prac­tice soil man­age­ment. One of the soil man­age­ment prac­tices is fer­til­izer ap­pli­ca­tion through soil anal­y­sis. Soil anal­y­sis can help re­duce the ex­pense and amount of fer­til­izer in­puts in crop pro­duc­tion. Through this method, the nu­tri­ent el­e­ments present in the soil are an­a­lysed as ba­sis in fer­til­izer rec­om­men­da­tion. In ad­di­tion, the acid­ity of the soil can be known and the amount of lime to neu­tral­ize acid­ity can be deter­mined.

In a technology trans­fer project made by the Cli­mate Smart Agri­cul­ture (CSAC) of the Benguet State Uni­ver­sity through the World Food Pro­gram in Atok and Buguias, farmer co-op­er­a­tors ap­plied fer­til­iz­ers more or less than what the crop re­quires that led to higher fer­til­izer in­put ex­pense.

In the project, plots planted with car­rot us­ing the BSU technology and plots us­ing the farm­ers prac­tice were pre­pared for com­par­i­son. Prior to plant­ing, soil sam­ples were col­lected for the anal­y­sis of soil pH, or­ganic mat­ter, ni­tro­gen (N), avail­able phos­pho­rus (P) and ex­change­able potas­sium (K) con­tent of the soil. The soil anal­y­sis re­sults were used in the de­ter­mi­na­tion of the amount of NPK and the kind of fer­til­iz­ers to be ap­plied in plots tagged BSU technology. On the other hand, the farmer co-op­er­a­tors ap­plied their own prac­tice in fer­til­izer ap­pli­ca­tion in the farm­ers prac­tice plots.

Re­sults of the techno trans­fer show that the farmer co-op­er­a­tor in Len­gaoan, Bu­gias ap­plied 300 g/6 m2 plot com­plete (14-14-14) while in the BSU plots, an amount of 260 g/plot in the form 14-14-14 and 240 g/plot urea in car­rot in­di­cat­ing that the farmer ap­plied less than what is re­quired by the plant. In terms of ex­pense, the farmer co­op­er­a­tor spent PhP 380.00 per plot (or about PhP 633,333.33/ha) while the BSU in­ter­ven­tion spent PhP349.25 per plot (about PhP 582,083.33/ha). In Buy­a­caoan, the farmer spent PhP495.90 (about PhP 826,500.00) while the BSU in­ter­ven­tion spent PhP 349.25 (about PhP 582,083.33/ha).

In an­other techno demo in barangay, Bashoy, kabayan, Benguet with cab­bage as test crop, the farmer co-op­er­a­tor ap­plied 0.7 kg/ 5m2 plot in the form of 8-8-8 fer­til­izer while in the BSU in­ter­ven­tion plots, 0.26 kg/plot 14-14-14 and 0.12 kg/plot urea was ap­plied in­di­cat­ing that the farmer ap­plied less than what the cab­bage re­quire (24060-60 kg NP2O5K2O/ha). In terms of ex­pense, the farmer spent PhP59.5/plot (or about PhP119,000.00/ha) com­pared PhP118,200.00/ha with the BSU in­ter­ven­tion ex­pense.

Re­sults of soil anal­y­sis also showed that lim­ing is rec­om­mended in the soils of the demo sites in Ekip, Bokod and Pacso, Kabayan with an iden­ti­cal soil pH value of 5.0. Ap­pli­ca­tion of 3 tons/ ha lime in the form of irisan lime (Hy­drated lime) raised the soil pH to 6.1and 6.2, re­spec­tively. In­creas­ing the soil pH is nec­es­sary since cau­li­flower re­quires a soil pH of 6.0-7.0

In­ter­pre­ta­tion of soil anal­y­sis how­ever, will de­pend on the col­lec­tion of soil sam­ples. Thus, farm­ers were given demon­stra­tion on soil sam­pling. The farm­ers were also taught soil

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