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Production Know How
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Strategies to Popularize Biofertilizers

1. The production potential and cost effectiveness of the biofertilizers can be demonstrated to the rice farmers in a convincing way so as to disseminate the technology at a faster rate. In this aspect, the block level compact frontline demonstrations can be taken up in the entire major rice growing ecosystem.

2. The All India Radio, Dooradarshan and private television channels can come forward to broadcast and telecast the talk and presentations of biofertilizers experts in local languages to reach the wider audience.

3. The popular agriculture journals can publish the technological components and utility of biofertilizer and distribute it to the rice farmers.

4. The Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and Farmers Training Centres (FTCs) located in the major rice growing ecosystem can take up the work of conducting demonstrations and train the farmers in biofertilizer production and utilization.

5. To reach the farmers 15-20 minutes duration of video films on 'Role of Biofertilizers in Rice cultivation' can be produced covering on all aspects and it can be telecasted through farm television also video shows to the farming community.

6. Leaflets, Pamphlets and small bulletins on biofertilizers with appropriate illustrations and pictures can be printed and distributed to the farmers.

7. The extension officials and subject matter specialists working in intensive rice growing areas can be trained on biofertilizer production and transfer technology, so that in turn they can train the farmers to facilitate to percolate the technology at the end users level.

8. Farmer's day, kisan mela. Kisna gosthi, agricultural exhibitions and farmers' fairs can be utilized to popularize the technology.

9. Off campus training can be organized by regional rice research stations, Biofertilizer production centers and ICAR institutes to train both the extension officials and the farmers to disseminate the technology.

10. Reputed NGOs work


Field level constraints of Biofertilizers

1. The benefits of biofertilizer application depend on several soil and crop management aspects in field conditions. 2. Soil and climatic problems such as unfavorable pH, high temperature, drought, high nitrate, deficiency of P, Mo, Fe, Cu, Co, presence of toxic elements, competition from the native strains and compatibility with lost genotypes, lack of knowledge and availability of quality products, use of substandard inoculants, lack of proper handling or faulty inoculation methods are important field level constraints for poor response of biofertilizers in filed.

Marketing level constraints of Biofertilizers

1. Retail fertilizer dealers do not keep biofertilizers mainly because of the short shelf likfe, limited demand and lack of storage facilities. 2. These are major constraints in the availability of biofertilizers in the market. Shelf life of carrier based inoculants, which are currently being produced, is usually three months or not more than six months. 3. Further due to poor awareness among framers as well as development staff (Extension Staff) demand of biofertilizers is not increasing.

Production and distribution level constraints in Biofertilizers

1. Unavailability of appropriate and location specific strains, efficient, competitive and high N fixer with wide range of host under diverse environmental conditions, N fixing ability under high available soil N conditions, survival and persistence in soil, mobility in soil, ability to survive in moisture deficient, high temperature and adverse soil conditions etc.

a. Unavailability of good carrier material: Currently using inner materials are peat, charcoal,lignite, mixture of FYM and soil which have short life. The liquid inoculants could be better alternative.

b. Poor inoculant's quality is not only due to poor production facilities but can be caused by poor standards, transport, inadequate distribution and storage facilities. Inoculants can be stored for 6 months at 2°°C but they lose viability at temperature above 4°°C within few hours.

Poor storage and distribution facilities at manufacture, distributor and dealer levels are the major constraints in the availability of good quality product in the market.


Constraints in Biofertilizers Use

1. Production and distribution level constraints.

2. Marketing level constraints.

3. Field level constraints.


Precautions during Storage and Use of Biofertilizers

a) Biofertilizers should always be stored in a cool place or at room temperature (25° to 28°C for shelf life).

b) Biofertilizer should never come in direct contact with chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides during storage or during application.

c) The storage and use of biofertilizers should always be avoided in direct sunlight.

d) The inoculum should be used before expiry date. e) when both fungicides and insecticides are to be used, apply fungicides before insecticides application.

f) Double doses of recommended biofertilizers should be used .

g) Biofertilizers specifically Rhizobiium is specific to host plats, hence, only specific inoculants should be used for specified crop.


Economic Benefits of Biofertilizers

1. 1kg Rhizobium = 100 kg N=214.5 kg urea.

2. 1 kg Azotobacter /Azospirillum= 40 kg N=85.8 kg urea.

3. 1 kg BGA =2kg N = 4.2 kg urea.


Benefits of Biofertilizers

Biofertilizers are important for their contribution as agricultural input to sustainable rice production due to the following advantages.

1. Biofertilizers supplement chemical fertilizers as they contribute plant nutrients through biological nitrogen fixation and solubilization of fixed phosphate.

2. They are cheap so can help to reduce chemical fertilizer consumption.

3. They provide atmospheric nitrogen directly to the rice crop by way of nitrogen fixation.

4. They enhance plant growth to release of hormones, vitamins, auxins etc.

5. It is reported that 10 to 20 per cent rice yield can be increased with their use.

6. They control soil borne diseases as some of the inoculants produce antibiotics.

7. They help in proliferation and survival of beneficial microorganism of soil.

8. They improve soil properties and sustain soil fertility.

9. They help in mineralization of plant nutrients.

10. They are eco-friendly and pollution free because they contain only beneficial microorganism and not the chemicals.

Know more about Types of Bio-Fertilizers      Watch video on Bio-Fertilizer


Method and Area of Application of Biofertilizers

Different methods are available for applications of various biofertilizers which are outlined below:

1. As seed inoculant-e.g., Rhizobium. Seed treatment is a most common method adopted for all types of inoculant. The seed treatment is effective and economic.

2. As soil inoculant-e.g., carrier based blue-green algae, Azotobacter.

3. As seed & soil inoculant - VAM fungi.

4. Carrier materials for BGA inoculum are straw, rice bran, polyurethane foam and sugarcane waste.


Critical Factors Responsible For the Effectiveness of Biofertilizers

The critical factors which are responsible for the effectiveness of a particular biofertilizer are as follows: 1.Suitability of the species to the target crop.

2. Suitability of the strain: There are specific strains of Rhizobium for different leguminous species like Cowpea, Red gram, Soybean, Alfalfa etc. Biofertilizer specific culture should be used for specific crop.

3. Identification of strains as suited to the agro eco system, particularly the soil pH moisture conditions.

4. Through research, specific strains as suited to a particular soil environmental conditions are usually identified and pure mother cultures maintained in research labs for supply to the commercial manufacturers.

5. The aseptic conditions of manufacturing, the cell count of living organism present the carrier material, purity and level of contamination.

6. The conditions of carrier material in which the culture is packed and the quality of packing material, which determine the shelf life.

7. The conditions in which the packed materials are stored, distributed and kept with farmers before it is applied. 8. Soil conditions particularly pH, organic matter content, moisture level and agronomic practices.

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