Field Day on “Seed pelleting and organic amendments in improving land productivity of acid soils”

In the East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya, in particular villages namely Mawmih, Mawlaiteng, and Lawmei under Mawphlang and Mylliem blocks, respectively have significant chunk of undulating area under different vegetable cultivations. However, productivity of the vegetables is sub-optimal. A team of scientists from ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Umiam on their frequent visits to farmers’ field, interface-interaction and field observations including preparation of geo-referenced soil test based soil health card identified that the prevalence of abiotic stresses from soil acidity induced fertility stress and moisture deficit led intermittent to terminal stresses are some of the major reasons for sub-optimal productivity of vegetables. Lack of awareness and difficult terrain further deprived the farmers in getting access to high quality planting materials. To overcome these shortfalls, scientists from the Division of Natural Resource Management (NRM/Soil Science) along with Horticulture have undertaken field demonstration cum structured experiments of few selected NRM technologies of the Institute namely soil acidity induced fertility stress amelioration (furrow liming, lime pelleting, organic manuring with poultry manures/ vermin-composts / FYM) and  in-situ moisture conservation (weed biomass mulching, seed hydro-priming, jalkhund) in 35 farmers field covering eight vegetable crops (Pea, French bean, Radish, Cabbage, cauliflower, Knol Khol, Carrot and Okra) since July 2019 under the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP). Since then, series of activities including residential training followed by distribution of high quality planting/seed materials, field demonstration on these technologies and organic wastes conversion to plant nutrients enriched vermin-composting have been conducted. Adoption of these technologies substantially improved the growth performance and productivity of most of the eight vegetable crops. To disseminate these techniques beyond beneficiary farmers, a follow-up programme in the form of Field day on “Seed pelleting and organic amendments in improving land productivity of acid soils” was conducted on 2nd December (Monday), 2019 at Mawlaiteng village, Mawphlang Block for about 50 more farmers representing these three villages. In the day long program, to encourage the participated farmers in adopting these highly promising technologies for improving their land productivity and income, they were exposed with adequate field demonstration and hand-on exercise in a sequence of steps covering from pre-sowing land preparation, seed treatments, liming, and application of manures, vermicomposting to post-sowing measures in the beneficiary farmers’ field where ICAR NRM technologies are still in practice (Figs.1-3). For further motivation, essential inputs like quality planting materials, spade, rose cane, sprayer, weighing balances, vermibeds along with raw materials including FYM were distributed among the participated farmers. The programme was co-ordinated by the team of scientists from ICAR (RC) for NEH Region namely Dr. B.U. Choudhury (Principal Scientist / NRM), Dr. T. Ramesh (Sr. Scientist / NRM), Dr. H. Talang (Scientist / Horticulture), Dr. A. Baluswamy (Scientist / NRM), Dr. M. Prabha Devi (Scientist / NRM), and Dr. L. Joymati Chanu (Scientist / NRM). Project Assistants namely Banshanbok Mawlong and Judah F. Kapu assisted actively in organizing the programme.  

Field day inaugural events
Input distribution events
Field demonstration and Exposure to NRM technology adopted farmers’ field