GPS based soil sampling will monitor changes in the soil health over years: Govt

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Under the soil health card scheme, about 1.98 crore samples have been tested and  6.73 crore cards distributed to farmers, against the target of testing 2.73 crore soil samples and covering 2.04 crore farmers, during the second cycle (2017-19) of the scheme, starting from May 2017.

According to a government statement, 2.53 crore soil samples were analysed and 10.73 crore soil health cards distributed to farmers during the first cycle, which was implemented between 2015 and 2017.

Soil Helth Cards (SHCs) are issued after testing soil of a farmland — collected from a grid of 2.5 ha in irrigated area and 10 ha in un-irrigated areas — to enable the farmers to apply the right amount of nutrients for improving soil health and its fertility.

The test looks into 12 parameters: primary nutrients (NPK); secondary nutrient (S); micronutrients (B, Zn, Mn. Fe & Cu); and other (pH, EC & OC) for comprehensiveness.

The government says that it now uses GPS enabled soil sampling to create a systematic database, which will allow monitoring of changes in the soil health over the years.

“To enable quick soil sample testing and distribution of soil health cards, the soil test infrastructure has been upgraded, 9263 soil testing labs have been sanctioned to States. In addition, 1562 village level soil testing projects have been sanctioned to generate employment for rural youth,” the statement said.

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