Importance of Balanced Nutrition in Crop Productivity

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Guest Author: Mr. Naresh Deshmukh, Executive Vice President, Crop Nutrition Business, Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd.

22 April 2022, New Delhi: Plant Nutrients are essential for human nutrition, economic and social development and preservation of the ecosystem. We need to re-evaluate Nutrient use in the country’s agriculture sector as any imbalance in its use can trigger ecological disruptions.

Incidentally, the country’s agriculture and allied sector contribute around 18.3% to India’s gross domestic product (source: World Bank). India’s foodgrain production was 291.95 million tonnes, according to the Second Advance Estimates for 2019-20 (GOI). Demand for quantity, quality, and nutritious food in India is expected to increase because of the rising population, growing urbanisation, changing climate, irrigation water availability and globalisation. The country’s fertile soil is under pressure to produce food to meet the nutritional requirement of a growing population.

Also Read: India targets 3,280 lakh tonnes food grain production in 2022-23

Pressure on Natural Resources

Challenges in Agriculture & Fertiliser Productivity: To increase agriculture production, the availability of highly efficient fertilisers is essential. The role of fertilisers in augmenting food production has become extremely challenging in the present scenario. Its application has to be both effective and sustainable to achieve high productivity with minimum adverse impact on the environment and biodiversity. However, the lopsided NPK ratio is a cause for concern.

Skewed NPK Ratio: Though India witnessed major reforms in phosphatic fertilisers post the introduction of NBS policy in 2010, partial implementation of the programme has impacted Nutrient application and skewed consumption towards ‘N’ resulting in NPK ratio imbalance against ‘ideal ratio of 4:2:1’See the table below: 

All India Consumption ratio: N, P2O5 in relation to K2O

 NP2O5K2O
FY104.32.01
FY126.73.11
FY148.02.71
FY167.22.91
FY186.12.51
FY207.12.81

Source: FAI, New Delhi

Fertilizer application that is inefficient has a negative impact on the soil’s organic carbon content, moisture infiltration and water holding capacity, microbial population, and pH. Crops are subjected to both biotic and abiotic stress. Apart from that, poor Nutrient management not only harms soil ecology but also results in inadequate nutrient uptake by plants.

The impact of all these factors can be mitigated fully or partially by adopting innovative concepts like:

1.     Use of slow or controlled release fertilisers, that is, the Smartek range of fertilisers introduced under Mahadhan brand by Smartchem Technologies Ltd (STL);

2.     Adoption of good organic fertilisers to improve the health of the soil; 

3.     Application of secondary & micronutrients with NPKs, e.g. innovative fertiliser christened Croptek from the house of Mahadhan;

4.     Supplementing plant Nutrients with ingredients which provides stress resistance, like Nutrient Unlock technology (NUT) launched by STL.

To overcome the challenges of fertiliser efficiency and its impact on crop productivity, the importance of promoting balanced nutrition in an integrated form has assumed significance.

Importance of Balance Crop Nutrition: Seventeen essential Nutrients are required for optimal growth and development of plants. A deficiency of even one Nutrient negatively affects the crop’s life cycle. This has been explained justly by the ‘Law of the Minimum – Liebig Principle’. Adoption of integrated nutrient management through judicious use of organic or inorganic fertilisers maximises crop yield. Providing balanced nutrition to crops throughout their growing season encompasses all aspects of the 4R stewardship. The 4R concept incorporates:

A piece on Nutrients would remain incomplete without the mention of Smartchem Technologies Limited (STL). One of the country’s leading fertilizer manufacturers, STL is revolutionising the market with its innovative range of next-generation fertilisers under its umbrella brand “Mahadhan”. 

STL’s crop nutrition business introduced Enhanced Efficiency Fertilisers (EEF) in 2018 and was the first firm to do so in India. The company offers technologically superior Enhance Efficiency Fertilisers like Nitro-Phosphate Fertiliser, Smartek (EEF NPK), Superfast Bensulf, All in One (Water Soluble Fertilisers) and various other products under the brand name ‘Mahadhan’. It aims to help Indian farmers become market leaders through the use of specialty crop nutrition.  

Success story of Smartek brand of 10:26:26, 12:32:16, 20:20:0:13 & 14:28:0:

‘Smartek’ is a revolutionary and non-conventional fertiliser developed by the company’s proprietary manufacturing process. Compared to conventional fertilisers, it is an efficient product that enhances Nutrients bioavailability, efficiency and the crop’s performance through profuse growth of the plant. It also increases the yield of the plant by 10-15% and in turn, the farmer’s income.  Sales of Smartek have already crossed 1 MMT and are being used by around 3 million farmers. 

‘Mahadhan Croptek’ is one of the leading brand for onion progressive farmers of Maharashtra and Karnataka. It is the first and unique crop-specific nutrition solution having essential primary, secondary, and micronutrients required by the onion crop. 

Powered by Mahadhan’s unique Nutrient Unlocking Technology (NUT), Croptek is a ‘single-granule complete crop solution’ technology offering balanced, uniform and efficient nutrition with precise dosage for onion crop. It helps save 10-15% of fertiliser cost, minimizes Nutrient’s wastage and assists farmers meet the ‘Recommended Dose of Fertilisers’ (RDF) with ease. It is the first-of-its-kind product in India. It is also, 

  • a crop specific fertiliser with primary, secondary & micronutrients
  • contains Nutrients as per the requirement of the crop
  • contains all Nutrients in one granule – N, P, K + Mg, S + Zn, B & Fe
  • has Nutrient Unlock Technology (NUT) which increases Nutrient use efficiency.

Smartchem Technologies Ltd, believe that the products like EEF with NUT having crop specific solution will go a long way to boost crop productivity in India.

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