Modern agriculture is dependent upon the supply of chemical fertilizer, which are becoming scarcer and more costly day by day. These are major agents which contribute to water and land pollution. Bio Fertilizer is a large production of a group of beneficial microorganisms. Bio fertilizers are not only saves chemical fertilizer but also safeguards environment and soil health. Composting improves the water holding capacity of the soil while application of bio-fertilizers containing beneficial microorganisms as well as helps in sustaining the soil fertility and reduces dependence on chemical fertilizers, which have detrimental effect on soil structure, crop productivity and groundwater quality in the long run. It is economical to use biofertilizer as these are a cheap source of nutrients as compared to chemical fertilizers and has potential to increase yields by up to 20%. The major benefit of the application of bio-fertilizer is that it gives additional strength to crop to withstand in drought situation too.
To promote ecofriendly sugarcane cultivation NSL has started producing on its own bio-fertilizer viz NUZI FERT–N and NUZI FERT–P. Identifying the reason for not scaling up the bio-fertilizer application; NSL has taken initiative to distribute bio-fertilizers to farmers on subsidy/cheaper rate than the market price, which helps farmers to cover more area under bio-fertilizer application. The results are in field showing difference between plots where bio-fertilizer applied and plots without application. Being suffered from drought situation also the crop stand is better for the plots where its applied.
Sugarcane crop plays vital role in socio-economic progress and status of the farmers. Sugarcane farmers keep facing natural disasters during the cropping period, intercropping in sugarcane is the best solution to get additional assured income. Intercropping of sugarcane with high value and remunerative crops such as ginger, vegetables, potato, oilseeds and pulses offer great scope for growing as intercrops and in further providing additional income and reducing risks in the long duration crop of sugarcane as well as in improving land use efficiency. The proper sequence of cropping such as sugarcane and leguminous crops as a component of system approach to nutrient management, increases productivity of sugarcane. Intercropping reduces weed growth and give extra income to farmers. Intercrop can be taken in three sugarcane planting season i.e. Adsali, Pre-season and season.
Therefore management of sugarcane with intercrop is very important. The NSL supports/promotes intercropping in sugarcane cultivation with crops like green gram, black gram, groundnut, French bean, chickpea, water melon etc. In addition to effective utilization of land, this practice will reduce the weed growth up to 60% and give extra income to farmers. In NSL Sugars mill area farmers used to take two-three intercrop along with sugarcane, which gives them cash flow to manage their family need when main sugarcane crop is standing in field.
Trash mulching (making 10 cm thick cover from removing spread in inter-row spaces) is a most practical and cost-effective way to increase the effectiveness of irrigation by reducing evaporation loss from the soil surface. It maintains the soil moisture at a higher level for a relatively longer time compared to uncovered soil surface and controls emergence of weeds that compete with the cane crop and reduces shoot borer incidence. The trash on decomposition releases nutrients which improves the fertility of soil. The trash mulching practice requires some extra labor during cultivation but no capital investment for the farmer. Trash mulching is important in sugarcane cultivation as it helps in checking the weeds and providing needed moisture.NSL support for trash mulching through incentive scheme.
In order to sustain crop in water stress condition trash mulching activity also being focused in factory command area. Mill has purchased trash shredder and providing to farmers on custom hiring basis. Trash mulching will be followed by spraying of bio composting and decomposing agent to accelerate the process of decomposing. This will help to control growth of weed, reduction of evaporation and improvement in soil carbon/organic content and improve soil water retention capacity. Trash shredding before plantation and in between ratoons improves germination rates and soil structure. Trash mulching is reported to save as much as 23% irrigation water19 and improve sugarcane yields by up to 30%
Soil testing is one of the most important management practices for crop production. It is certain to be listed among the best management practices recommended by industry and university agronomists, consultants, and farm managers for the benefit of their farmer clients. NSL believes that the crop productivity not only depends on the high yielding variety, chemical fertilizer application but also on soil properties. NSL Sugars Ltd. has established soil testing laboratories at factory site to test soil. Soil is being analyzed for micro as well as macro elements. Farmers are guided for method of sampling, time of sampling and place of sampling. On the basis of soil test report fertilizer recommendations are given according to targeted yield approach concept.
Factory had appointed highly qualified and experienced staff for the soil testing laboratory at its four sugar unit located at Gulbarga, Mandya and Bellary district of Karnataka state and Mehaboobnagar district of Telangana state.
Farmer benefits of Soil Testing: