Since its inception, ICAR-AICRP (STCR) strive for balance between crop productivity, farmers’ profitability, soil sustainability and better response ratio of applied plant nutrients for offering a diligent mix of crop productivity and soil sustainability which endeavours to give farmers the best of both world and opportunity for higher return based on resource endowment capacities. The objectives of STCR including, establishing the relationships between soil test values and crop response to fertilizers and organic supplement along with its calibration for fertilizer recommendation has been done for most of the crops. The project has achieved the objectives set during various plan periods. However, the introduction of new high yielding varieties and hybrids in the new changing climatic scenario for different crops has opened challenges to collect their basic information on nutrient requirement grown in different states. The site specific integrated nutrient supply system recommendations for different crops and cropping systems has been collected but still a very large area remains unexplored. Besides, established linkages with state extension agency and recently through Tribal Sub Plan activities have made headway for effective transfer of technology to the farmers. STCR-IPNS based long-term demonstrations under different agro-ecological regions proving the superiority of STCR approach of nutrient management. Moreover, association with NIC and Department of Agriculture Cooperation & Farmers Welfare had led to the development of software by which the Soil Health Card could be issued to the farmers for sustainable crop production.
Agriculture production system at the current level of yields is not sustainable. Build-up and maintenance of soil fertility and provisions of balanced fertilization to crops are essential to sustain long term crop productivity. Optimizing both renewable and non-renewable resources of nutrients and concern of soil health and environment, research on soil testing need reorientation for meeting future challenges. Greater economy in fertilizer use can be made, if fertilizer is applied on the basis of soil test crop response under IPNS. Shrinking land holdings in India merit adoption of precision agriculture technology. STCR is an integral part of this technology. The basic data (soil quality & nutrient up take) for efficient fertilizer recommendation based on soil test / soil test crop response is still lacking particularly for vegetables, spices, floriculture, medicinal and aromatic plants. The major challenges in 21st century are food security, environmental quality and soil health. Results obtained at different STCR centers from various experiments on research farm and farmer’s field definitely showed that STRC based fertiliser recommendations addressed many of the above challenges of 21st century by judicious, economic and balanced use of fertilizers for sustained targeted yield of various crop in different cropping systems. It emphasized the need for the continuation of the STCR centers during XII Plan so that ready reckoner for integrated site specific fertilizer recommendations for specific yield target could be developed and tested for higher sustained productivity and soil quality in long term STCR based fertilizer recommendations at experimental farm and at framers fields for above cropping and production systems. STCR-IPNS recommendations for uncovered irrigated/rainfed crops, for emerging varieties / hybrids, for cropping sequences, for emerging technologies like drip fertigation are to be developed / refined and validated. These recommendations are to be popularized constantly. Further, the implementation of STCR-IPNS recommendations for soil health management by all the Soil Testing Laboratories (STLs) and farmers of different States is to be monitored. Keeping these programmes in view and for the welfare of the farmers of different States, the project is to be continued.
Management of nutrients should be given proper attention to maintain or increase yields and sustain productivity. In any crop, the response to applied nutrients mainly depends on fertility status of the soil. Fertiliser schedules should therefore be based on magnitude of crop response to applied nutrients at different fertility levels and therefore soil test based fertilizer prescription plays a vital role in ensuring balanced nutrition to crops. In this context, the AICRP-STCR project needs to be continued so as to develop demand driven nutrient supply system to crops from time to time. Moreover, AICRP (STCR) has helped in development of guidelines at national level and STCR recommendations were integrated in the software developed by NIC, New Delhi. In future too STCR has to share the responsibility of shouldering the successful implementation of Soil Health Card scheme,
In the changing (climatic, customer and market needs) scenarios such crops are to be selected which could sustain the vagaries of nature and still give optimally quality yield for sustainable agriculture. Moreover, due to intensive cultivation and use of high analysis fertilizers, introduction of high yielding varieties, the deficiency of nutrients is increasing in the State So management of nutrients should be given proper attention to maintain or increase yields and sustain productivity. In any crop, the response to applied nutrients mainly depends on fertility status of the soil. Fertiliser schedules should therefore be based on magnitude of crop response to applied nutrients at different fertility levels and therefore, soil test based fertilizer prescription plays a vital role in ensuring balanced nutrition to crops. In this context, the AICRP-STCR project is to be continued so as to develop demand driven nutrient supply to crops from time to time. STCR-IPNS recommendations for uncovered irrigated crops, cropping sequences, rainfed crops for emerging varieties/ hybrids, for emerging technologies like drip irrigation / fertigation, etc. are to be developed/ refined and validated. Inclusion of microbial parameters while evaluating fertility of soil and fertilizer recommendation and value addition in crop through nutrient management is the need of hour. These recommendations are to be popularized constantly. Further, the implementation of STCR-IPNS recommendations for soil health management by all the STLs and farmers of India is to be monitored. Most of the recommendations have been found place in Package of Practices and are being adopted even the farmers across the State frontiers. But still the soil test crop response based fertilizer recommendations for new hybrids of the crops need to be carried out on continuous basis in order to break the yield stagnation barrier, sustainable crop production and maintenance/ improvement of soil health. Research through AICRP mode is the best known structural and institutional reform to achieve for achieving problem based solution. It is the platform through which research finding can be verified and validated in whole country. It is the breeding place from where innovative ideas can be originated by sharing knowledge and experiences of scientists from different corners of the country. Research in isolation cannot improve the plight of the farmers. AICRP is an instrumental agency through its strong network can link the researchers for holistic research and development through which government can also propagate flagship research and developmental programme throughout the country. Research under one umbrella can effectively be managed physically, economically and scientifically. Above all, AICRP imparts national integrity among scientific communities by working on similar mandate and sharing of knowledge and experiences coming out of AICRP programmes. AICRP of STCR should continue with its new agenda to address the prevalent problems associated with soil testing, soil health and fertilizer recommendation which is ever changing with the climate and needs of the masses.
Recently, STCR has undertaken the following new initiatives as follows which needs to be continued for logical conclusion and benefit for stakeholders:
- Fertilizer application through STCR vis-a-vis soil enzymatic activity
- Economizing nutrient application through STCR approach
- STCR recommendations under drip fertigation
- Critical C input and potential C sequestration level under INM system
- Bioremediation strategies of iron toxicity in lowland rice ecosystem of Assam
- Soil testing protocol of microbiologically exploited organic phosphorus-pools in organic farming systems soils
- Basis of replacement of FYM by vermicompost in maize – wheat system for yield targeting under IPNS-STCR approach
STCR database on nutrient requirement and contribution from soil/fertilisers have ushered the ways for development of customised fertilisers which needs to be further explored under PPP mode.