Neem-coated urea preserves soil health, improves yield: study

Neem-coated urea preserves soil health, improves yield: study
Using neem-coated urea improves soil health, boosts agriculture yields and checks its diversion to non-agro activities, a study shows.

The study, conducted at the behest of the Agriculture Ministry, also found that neem-coated urea significantly cuts down costs for plant protection, besides reducing pest diseases. Conducted by the Bengaluru-based Agricultural Development and Rural Transformation Centre at the Institute for Social and Economic Change, the study also revealed that neem-coated urea increases yield of paddy by 5.79%; sugarcane by  17.5%; maize by 7.14%; soybean by 7.14%; and tur/red gram by 16.88%.

The study was aimed at finding how the Centre’s decision to make sale of neem-coated urea 100% mandatory has impacted crops since December 2015. The Centre’s move was to stop subsidised fertilizers being diverted to non-agriculture purposes like plywood/particle board making and textiles. The study found that neem-quoted urea has brought down the diversion, while also reducing the amount of fertiliser used in farming. Use of urea came down from 152 kg per hectare crop in 2014-15 to 149 kg in 2015-16, but the yield jumped from  2,028 kg per hectare in 2014-15 to 2,042 kg in 2015-16.

Out of the estimated 30 million tonne annual domestic demand, 24 million tonnes of urea has been produced at home and the rest imported. Neem-coated urea is consumed less since, unlike normal urea, its conversion to nitrate is slow. Neem-coated urea releases nitrogen slowly and prolongs the urea’s action to keep the plants greener for long.

Farmers mostly use urea when the plants turn yellow, an official said. The neem-coated variety is applied in smaller amount since the plants stay greener for long. This means the amount of fertilizer is significantly lower.

With complaints that excessive urea affects soil health, encouraging use of neem-coated urea improves both the soil health and yield, the official added.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry