Sulphur deficiency in Madhya Pradesh soil leads to poor harvest

lakkhan Raghuwanshi had a bad harvest last monsoon. The farmer from Shyampur village, Guna district, cultivated soyabean, wheat and chana in 121 hectare (ha), of which he sowed soyabean in 61 ha. Despite the high-quality seeds sowed, the yield was a meagre 15 quintals per ha.

"I got my land tested and found that the low yield was because of low sulphur (essential nutrient) content in the soil. Earlier, I used to get 25 quintals per ha,' he says. Other farmers in the state share the same woes.

Raghuwanshi now uses single super phosphate (ssp), a fertiliser to increase sulphur content in soil. "Small farmers, however, are not aware of the problem and are still using sulphur-free fertilisers like di-ammonium phosphate (dap) and muriate of potash (mop). This can create problems for them,' he says.
Essential component Madhya Pradesh's 150 lakh ha of crop area has a low cropping intensity. Experts say the low output has been triggered by a mild to severe sulphur deficiency in soil. A study by the Bhopal-based Indian Institute of Soil Sciences (iiss) says more than 40 per cent of agricultural soil in the 48 districts