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SOIL HEALTH CARD SCHEME


SOIL HEALTH CARD SCHEME; INDIATHINKERS


Soil Health Card (SHC) is a Government of India’s scheme which is promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare. It is being implemented through the Department of Agriculture of all the State and Union Territory Governments. A SHC is meant to give each farmer soil nutrient status of his/her holding and advice him/her on the dosage of fertilizers and also the needed soil amendments, that she/he should apply to maintain soil health in the long run.

WHAT IS A SOIL HEALTH CARD?


Soil Health Card (SHC) is basically a printed report that a farmer will be handed over for each of his holdings. It will be containing the status of his soil w.r.t 12 parameters, namely
  • MACRO-NUTRIENTS: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K)
  • SECONDARY NUTRIENT: Sulphur (S);
  • MICRO-NUTRIENTS: Zinc (Zn), Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu), Manganese (Mn), Boron (B); and 
  • PHYSICAL PARAMETERS: pH, Electoral Conductivity (EC) and Organic Carbon (OC).
Based on this, the SHC will also indicate fertilizer recommendations and soil amendment required for the farm.



HOW A SOIL HEALTH CARD CAN BE USED BY A FARMER?


There will be an advisory based on the soil nutrient status of a farmer’s holding which is contained in the card that will show recommendations on dosage of different nutrients needed. Further, it will advise the farmer on the fertilizers and their quantities he should apply, and also the soil amendments that he should undertake, so as to realize optimal yields.



IS THIS SOIL HEALTH CARD IS PROVIDED TO A FARMER EVERY YEAR FOR EVERY CROP?


This Soil Health Card will be made available once in a cycle of 3 years, which will indicate the status of soil health of a farmer’s holding for that particular period. The SHC given in the next cycle of 3 years will be able to record the changes in the soil health for that subsequent period.

WHAT NORMS HAS BEEN LAID DOWN FOR SAMPLING?


Soil samples will be drawn in a grid of 2.5 hactares in irrigated area and 10 hactares in rain-fed area with the help of GPS tools and revenue maps.

WHO WILL BE DRAWING THE SOIL SAMPLE?


The State Government will be responsible for the collection of samples through the staff of their Department of Agriculture or through the staff of an outsourced agency. The State Government may also involve the students of local Agriculture / Science Colleges.

WHAT WILL BE THE IDEAL TIME FOR THE SOIL SAMPLING?


For the purpose of measurement, soil samples are taken generally two times in a year, after harvesting of Rabi and Kharif Crop respectively or when there is no standing crop in the field.



WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE FOR COLLECTION OF SOIL SAMPLES FROM THE FARMER'S FIELD?


Soil Samples will be collected by a trained person from a depth of 15-20 cm by cutting the soil in a “V” shape. It will be collected from four corners and the centre of the field and mixed thoroughly and a part of this picked up as a sample. Areas with shade will be avoided. The sample chosen will be bagged and coded after which it will be transferred to soil test laboratory for analysis.

WHAT DO YOU UNDERSTAND BY A SOIL TEST LABORATORY (STL)?


A Soil Test Laboratory is a facility for testing the soil sample for 12 parameters as indicated above.  This facility can be static or mobile or it can even be portable to be used in remote areas.

WHERE WILL THE TESTING OF SOIL SAMPLES IS DONE AND WHO WILL BE THE TESTING AUTHORITY?


The soil sample will be tested as per the approved standards for all the agreed 12 parameters in the following way:
  • At the STLs owned by the Department of Agriculture and by their own staff.
  • At the STLs owned by the Department of Agriculture but by the staff of the outsourced agency.
  • At the STLs owned by the outsourced agency and by their staff.
  • At ICAR Institutions including KVKs and SAUs.
  • At the laboratories of the Science Colleges/Universities by the students under supervision of a Professor/ Scientist.


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