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Micronutrient status of Indian soils

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Systematic survey and analysis of more than 2.50 lakh soil samples in 20 states by All India Coordinated Research Project indicated deficiency of zinc to the extent of 49%, 33% of B, 13, 7 and 4% of samples rating low in Fe, Mo, and Mn. 
These, in general, point to the micronutrient problems, the extent and severity could, however, vary across soil types, agro ecological zones and more importantly management and productivity of crops and cropping systems.
Coarse texture, calcareous, low organic carbon content, high pH and excessive leaching often accentuate zinc deficiency.
It is wide spread in the   calcareous soils of Bihar, Vertisols and Inceptisols of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Alfisols of Karnataka, swell-shrink soils of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, and Aridisols of Haryana resulting in low crop yields.
Zinc is a crucial component of the package of practices recommended for sodic soils reclamation.
Deficiencies of Fe, Mn and Cu are much less extensive than that to zinc.

Table 4: Total and available micronutrient contents in benchmark soils of India



Micronutrients


Total contents (mg/kg)


Available contents(mg/kg)


Range


Mean


Range


Mean


Zinc


20-97


55


0.12-2.80


0.54


Iron


13000-18000


33000


3.4-68.1


20.5


Manganese


38-1941


537


4.0-102.0


26.0


Copper


11-141


41


.15-5.33


1.7


Boron


2.8-630


-


.04-7.4


1.7


Molybdenum


Traces- 12.3


-


Tr-2.80


-


 

The deficiency of Fe was found to be largest 26% in Haryana followed by 18% in Tamil Nadu, 12% in Punjab and 8 to 9% in calcareous soil of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

Adoption of rice-wheat cropping system in place of maize-wheat or groundnut-wheat in non-traditional rice growing areas on highly permeable coarse-textured soils of Punjab and Haryana has been responsible for occurrence of Mn deficiency (33%) particularly in wheat.
The extent of boron (B) deficiency varied from 2% in Gujarat to 68% in West Bengal. 
In general B deficiency is most wide spread in the red and lateritic soils of Karnataka, leached and acid soils of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa and Maharashtra (56%), and in highly calcareous old alluvium of Bihar (22-45%) (Table).

Table 5- Extent of nutrient deficiency in Indian soils


Nutrient


Extent of deficiency (%)


N


L 63%; M 26%


P


L 42%; M 38%


K


L 13%; M 37%


S


L 40%; M 35%


Zn


49.0


Fe


13.0


B


33.0

The deficiency of Mo is common in acid soils of humid region. 
Deficiency of Cl and Ni has not been reported so far in the Indian soils.
Although deficiency of these micronutrients is not an acute nutrient disorder today, production of nearly 300-350 Mt of food grains by 2025 definitely constrain the finite reserves in the soils (Rattan et al 2008).

 

File Courtesy: 
Brajendra and Vijai Pal Bhadana Directorate of Rice Research, Hyderabad - Published in Rice Knowledge Management for Food and Nutritional Food Security
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