T. Rajula Shanthy, D. Gurumurthy and L. Saravanan
Sugarcane growers need to pay attention to nutrient management as few crops put such heavy demand on soil resources, as sugarcane. Though integrated nutrient management has been considered a broad based remedy against soil fertility decline, the management practices advocated by scientists, however, have been lot more ignored by the farmers when compared to control of insect pests and diseases. Hence, this study was purposively carried out in Salem cooperative sugar mill, Tamil Nadu as they have been advocating trash management practices and the mill had also been supplying micronutrients, compost and bio-fertilizers to the cane growers. The operational area of the mill comprises eight divisions from which 60 cane growers were selected at random from four villages in four selected Sections of two Divisions for conducting the study. The yield data were recorded from the individual farms and the sociological appraisal was done through personal interview. It was found that all the respondents adopted trash management practices in various forms like trash mulching, alternate furrow trash mulching, trash composting, trash incorporation using rotovator, trash decomposition using urea and cow dung mixture and trash burning. Yield analysis indicated that the farmers realized an increased yield of four to ten tonnes per acre depending on the practice adopted. Every farmer had some reason or other for adopting trash management practices viz., conservation of soil moisture, increased cane yield, improved soil aeration, smothering of weeds, overcoming drought situation to a greater extent and restoration of soil fertility. However, there are some restrictions in farmers adopting trash management practices and it includes high cost of labour, unavailability of labour when needed, lack of awareness about new technology, non-availability of microbial culture and lack of conviction about new technology. Nevertheless, it was seen that farmers had perceived trash management practice as a worthy practice to realize increased productivity with restoration of soil health and reduced toll on fertilizers.
Keyword: Farmers perception; Sugarcane; Trash management; Advantages; Economics