Improved crop productivity and rural livelihoods through balanced nutrition in the rainfed semi-arid tropics
Diagnostic soil analysis in targeted clusters of eight districts in Andhra Pradesh revealed critical deficiencies of sulphur (61 to 98%), boron (23 to 98%) and zinc (45 to 85%) in addition to that of soil carbon (25 to 97%), and phosphorus (14 to 84%) which are apparently holding back the productivity potential. The soil test based application of sulphur, boron and zinc together increased productivity by 8 to 102% in cotton, groundnut, castor, sorghum, greengram, cowpea, chickpea and maize. Economic assessment reveal that per rupee invested as additional cost (` 1,400/to ` 2,150/) gave ` 1.6 to 28.5 in return. Residual benefits of balanced nutrition were observed during 4 succeeding seasons. Soil health improved in balanced nutrition plots, inspite of higher yields and nutrient removal. The results showed that balanced nutrition is the way forward to increase crop productivity through resilience building of production systems and improve farm based livelihoods in the SAT regions.