T. Rajula Shanthy and R. Subramaniam
Integrated nutrient management is the maintenance of soil fertility and plant nutrient supply at an optimum level to sustain the desired crop productivity. 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 Sakthi Sugars, Tamil Nadu as they have been advocating nutrient management practices and the mill had also been supplying micronutrients, compost and biofertilizers to the cane growers. The operational area of the mill comprises five divisions from which 150 cane growers were selected at random for conducting the study. The yield data was recorded from the individual farms and the sociological appraisal was done through personal interview. It was found that all the respondents applied chemical fertilizers apart from application of farm yard manure, bio fertilizer, and micronutrient application in correct dosage. Almost half of them applied either farm yard manure or Sakthi bio compost @5-15 t/ac and 30% of them applied green manures like sun hemp or daincha as in situ application. Every farmer had some reason or other for adopting nutrient management practices viz., to get more yield and thereby increase in net profit, increase the soil health, improve the physical condition of soil and reduction in fertilizer cost. Yield analysis indicated that nearly three fourth of the respondents got 25% more yield and 23% of the respondents got 50% more yield due to adoption of nutrient management practices as compared to the average yield of normal practice. However, there are some restrictions in farmers adopting nutrient management practices and it includes high fertilizer cost, non-availability of inputs in time, lack of awareness about micronutrients, lack of knowledge about bio-fertilizers & trash mulching, lack of availability of farm yard manure and if available high cost of the manure and lack of availability of good quality bio-fertilizers. Nevertheless, it was seen that nutrient management practices resulted in increased productivity with reduction of total fertilizer cost.
Keyword: Farmers perception; Sugarcane; Integrated nutrient management; Advantages; Economics;