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The Soils in India for Rice Cultivation can be classified into the following categories :

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  • Sub-montane soils
  • Hill Soils
  • Tarai Soils
  • Calcareous Alluvial soils
  • Riverine Alluvium Soil
  • Laterite Soils
  • Saline and Alkaline soils
  • Red Yellow loamy soil
  • Red Soil
  • Black soils
  • Mixed Red and Black Soil
  • Deltaic Alluvium Soil
  • Coastal Alluvium Soil

1) Sub-montane soils
These soils are formed from the alluvium deposited in the valley floor by the Jhelum and the Indus rivers. They are silty loam to clay loam and are neutral to alkaline.

2) Hill Soils

These soils are shallow with fragments of rock occurring according to the elevations and have been categorized as red loam, brown forest soil, meadow soil and podzolic soil.

3) Tarai Soils

These soils are always saturated because of sufficient rainfall and high ground water table. These soils have been formed from transported materials by different rivers originating from the Himalayas. The tarai soils are very productive and responding well to fertilizer application.

4) Calcareous Alluvial soils

The alluvial soils are rich in potash and calcium but are deficient in organic matter, nitrogen and phosphorus. Alluvial soils cover about 24% of the total land and occur in the great Indo-Gangetic Plains, in the valleys of Narmada and Tapti in Madhya Pradesh and the Cauvery in Tamil Nadu.

5) Riverine Alluvium Soil

Seen along the banks of rivers. Shows wide variation in physico-chemical properties depending on the nature of alluvium and the characteristic of the catchment area through which the river flows. Organic Matter, N and K are moderate.

6) Laterite Soils

These soils are red but they differ from red soils. Such soils are found in heavy rainfall and high temperature areas. These soils are acidic, pH ranging from 4.0 to 5.0.

7) Saline and Alkaline soils

The soils are highly alkaline and have below hard pan which obstruct the downward movement of water.

8) Red Yellow loamy soil

These soils are encountered over extensive nonalluvial tracts of peninsular India. They develop in areas in which rainfall leaches soluble minerals out of the ground and results in a loss of chemically basic constituents.

9) Red Soil

The red color in soil usually indicates a high amount of iron, in the form of iron oxide, that coats the particles of the soil. These soil are acidic. These soils are rich in potassium and poor in phosphorus.



10) Black soils

Black soils are spread mostly across the Deccan Lava Plateau, the Malwa Plateau, and interior Gujarat, where there is both moderate rainfall and underlying basaltic rock. These soils contain sufficient lime and pH ranges from 7.0 to 8.5 . These soils are also deficient in phosphorus and low in organic matter and nitrogen. Black Soil can be classified as : Medium black soil, Shallow Black Soil and Deep Black Soil.

11) Mixed Red and Black Soil

Sometimes black soils are also found in isolated pockets along with the red soils.

12) Deltaic Alluvium Soil

The coastal belt is rich with highly fertile deltaic soil, giving it the reputation of being the rice granary of the country. The alluvial soils of the deltas are very deep and well drained. These soils are very fertile.

13) Coastal Alluvium Soil

Seen in the coastal tracts along the west. They have been developed from recent marine deposits. Permeability is more. Low organic matter content. Low CEC. Water Holding Capacity is less.


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Organic

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Organic manures are waste or by products (animal/birds waste, litter, crop refuse or any other organic matter) either decomposed or treated or fresh, which enriches soil. They are bulky i.e. nutrient contents are low per unit volume. Concentrated OM contains higher % of nutrients such us oil cakes, blood/bone/fish meal important effects are:

1. improve the physical properties of the soil

2. supply all nutrients for plant growth

3. enhances soil microbial activity

4. provide a buffering action in soil reactions

5. improve nutrient holding capacity of the soil

Green manures

Green manuring refers to the practice of incorporating plant materials while they are green. It is practiced as green leaf manuring and green manuring insitu.

 


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Liming

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Acid soils are characterised by high saturation of the exchange complex with hydrogen and aluminium. Crops grown in such soils suffer due to unavailability of most plant nutrients, especially calcium. Application of liming materials increases the availability of nutrients and alleviates Ca deficiency.

Liming materials

Burnt lime [CaO], slaked lime [Ca(OH)2], powdered limestone [CaCO3] and dolomite [CaMg(CO3)2] are some of the materials used as sources of calcium.

Management

1. In acidic submerged soils, flooding brings about rise in soil pH and hence response to lime is less marked.

2. Legumes are benefited most by liming.

3. For better results, liming materials should be incorporated into the soil.

4. For seasonal crops and in situations where immediate results are required, burnt lime or slaked lime may be used. For perennial crops, powdered limestone or dolomite is sufficient.

5. Extreme care should be taken while broadcasting burnt lime and slaked lime as they can cause scorching of leaves.

6. In case of wetland rice, drain the field prior to lime application and re-flood after 24 hours. Flushing the soil by sequential flooding and draining will help to wash out the displaced acid from the soil.

7. In extreme case of calcium deficiency, a 1% solution of calcium chloride may be applied by foliar spraying.


 


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Bio Fertilizers

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The use of biofertilisers is quite important while practicing the concepts of integrated plant nutrient management and organic farming. Some of the commonly used biofertilisers in Kerala are as follows.

1. Rhizobium (Bradyrhizobium and Azorhizobium)

It induces better root nodulation and stem nodulation (Azorhizobium) in inoculated plants and thereby brings down the requirement of nitrogen fertilizer for the cultivation of pulses, oil seeds and legume green manures. Commercially it is available as carrier based inoculums. Method of application is seed treatment.

2. Azotobacter

Suitable only for upland crops like vegetables, tapioca, plantation and orchard crops. It is available as carrier-based inoculum. It fixes N about 15-20 kg/ha under ideal upland conditions and thereby reduces the requirement of nitrogen fertilizers by 10-20 per cent. Methods of application are seed treatment, seedling dip and direct soil application.

3. Azospirillum

It is suitable for both upland and wetland conditions and is available as carrier-based inoculum. It fixes N about 20-25 kg per ha under ideal conditions thereby effecting a reduction of 25 per cent in the quantity of N fertilizers required. Treatment with Azospirillum also induces better root formation in inoculated plants. Hence this biofertilizer is also recommended for root induction in polybag-raised seedlings of plantation and orchard crops and also for vegetable crops. The isolates of Azospirillum brasilense strains AZR 15 and AZR 37 from Kuttanad soils are highly effective for rice, vegetables and nursery plants. The strains AZ 1 and AZ 2 are effective in vegetable and nursery plants.

Method of application

Seed treatment: For treating 5-10 kg seeds, 500 g culture is required. Moisten the seeds by sprinkling water or rice-gruel water. Take 500 g culture in a plastic tray/basin, add moistened seeds, mix well and dry in shade for 30 minutes. This may be sown immediately.

Seedling root dip (for transplanted crops): Slurry of the culture is prepared by mixing 500 g culture with 50 ml of water and the roots are dipped in the slurry for 15-20 minutes before transplanting.

Soil application: Mix the culture with FYM or compost in the ratio 1:25 and apply directly in the soil.

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Chemical Fertilizers

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Choice of a fertiliser depends on unit cost of nutrient present in it and its agronomic efficiency under a given situation. Fertiliser is a valuable input and measures should be taken to reduce its losses and to increase its uptake and utilisation by the crop. Selecting a situation-specific fertilizer and choosing the time and method of application according to crop demand would minimize losses and increase its efficiency.

Nitrogenous fertilisers

Most crop plants recover only 25-35% of the nitrogen applied as fertilizers. Losses occur by ammonia volatilisation, denitrification, immobilization to organic forms, leaching and run off. Utmost care should be bestowed in selecting the type of fertiliser as well as the timing and method of application.

Choice of the nitrogen fertilizer

1. In submerged rice soil, ammoniacal and ammonia-producing fertilizers like urea are most suitable since ammonia is the most stable form of nitrogen under such conditions.

2. In highly acidic upland soils, urea is preferred to ammonium sulphate as the former is less acid forming.

3. For acidic upland soils, ammoniacal fertilizers are most suitable during rainy season since ammonium is adsorbed on soil particles and hence leaching losses are reduced. Adsorbed ammonium is gradually released for nitrification and thus becomes available to crops for a longer period.

4. In alkaline upland soils of low rainfall regions, nitrate fertilizers are preferred to ammoniacal fertilisers or urea since ammonia may be lost by volatilization under alkaline conditions

Management of nitrogenous fertilisers

1. Almost all the nitrogenous fertilizers are highly amenable to losses and since most of the crops require nitrogen during the entire growth period, split application is necessary to ensure maximum utilization by crops.

2. More number of splits may be given for long duration crops as well as perennial crops.

3. Nitrogen losses from fertilisers are more in coarse textured soils with low cation exchange capacity (CEC) than in fine textured soils. Hence more number of splits is necessary to reduce loss of fertilizer nitrogen from sandy and other light soils.

4. For medium duration rice varieties, nitrogenous fertilizers should be given in three splits, as basal, at maximum tillering and at panicle initiation stage.

5. In coarse textured sandy or loamy soils, the entire dose of nitrogenous fertilizers may be applied in 3-4 splits at different stages of growth of rice crop.

6. In double-cropped wetlands, 50% of N requirement of the first crop may be applied in the organic form.

7. As far as possible, liming should be done one or two weeks prior to the application of ammoniacal or ammonia forming fertilizer like urea since ammonia is likely to be lost by volatilization if applied along with lime

8. Almost 70% of N in urea applied by broadcast to flooded soil is lost by volatilization, immobilization and by denitrification

9. In areas where split application of nitrogen is not feasible due to water stagnation after planting/sowing, full dose of nitrogen as basal may be given in the form of neem coated or coal tar coated urea.


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