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The site specific nutrient management (SSNM) technology being developed and refined for cassava based on on-farm experiments conducted in a number if farms in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra for the past 8 years has conclusively proved its superiority over the current fertilizer practice followed for cassava cultivation with respect to increased yield, economic benefits and environmental safety. The major advantages of SSNM technology over other prevalent fertilizer management practices are described below.
1. Soil nutrient supply is estimated as a function of yield in nutrient omission plots and hence it is a plant based concept rather than based on soil testing. Here soil supply of nutrients is expressed as tuberous root yield in nutrient omission plots, hence the value can be used directly in calculating fertilizer requirements.
2. The SSNM technology is a balanced concept of fertilizer application. The fertilizer amount is calculated based on total nutrient requirement for a target yield and soil nutrient supply. The rates of each nutrient will be estimated based on the nutrient limited yield in respective omission plots and target yield.
3. Real time N management instead of fixed time application is recommended in leaf colour chart (LCC) or chlorophyll (SPAD-502) based N recommendation. Based on the total N requirement calculated based on QUEFTS concept, the timing of N top dressing can be adjusted based on the actual plant need using LCC or Chlorophyll meter.
4. Simple, farmer friendly fertilizer calculation charts have been developed to assist farmers in calculating the NPK requirements for their farm.
5. Efficient N management and balanced nutrition will result in increased profitability to Indian cassava farmers as indicated in farmer participatory evaluation conducted across different cassava growing regions in India.
6. The SSNM practice help in improving soil quality and soil health since nutrient mining is not observed in SSNM plots as the fertilizers are applied based on the availability of all nutrients into consideration.
Central Tuber Crops Research Institute
Sreekariyam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala - 17