Paddy Cultivation in Sodic Soil through Vermitech.
Abdullah A. Ansari, University of Guyana, Turkeyen campus, Georgetown, Guyana and Sultan A. Ismail, Ecoscience Research Foundation, Palavakkam, Chennai, India.
Vermitech is bioprocessing of organic solid waste by using surface (epigeic) and sub-surface (anecic) earthworms (Bouché, 1977) to produce organic fertiliser called Vermicompost. Vermicompost has been found to have a favorable influence on several crops. Hence, present investigations were conducted at the farms of Uttar Pradesh Bhumi Sudhar Nigam at Shivri, Lucknow during the Kharif season in 1998-99, to asses the impact of organic amendment vermicompost in comparison to chemical fertilizers on paddy (variety-Sarju-52) in sodic soil and in relation to soil fertility, yield parameters and economics. Results indicated an increase in soil organic matter from 0.38 to 0.96 %, organic carbon from 0.22 to 0.56 %, available nitrogen from 499.52 to 1245.44 kg /ha, carbonate ions from 0.20 to 0.23 meq/100 g of soil, calcium ions from 0.89 to 1.09 meq/100 g of soil and decrease in pH from 8.74 to 8.25, EC from 0.86 to 0.69 dSm-1, sodium ions from 11.85 to 1.47 meq/100 g of soil and ESP from 67.51 to 57.42. These results suggest qualitative improvement of soil in the plots amended with vermicompost. Paddy yield of 4975 kg/ha was recorded from plots amended with vermicompost while 4900 kg/ha from plots amended with chemical fertilizers, as control. the cost benefit ratio was found to be 1:1.5 for cultivation of paddy using vermitech where as in case of chemical fertilizers was 1:1.06, suggesting that by the application of vermicompost in paddy the cost of production could be reduced without compromising grain yields. In conclusively, organic amendments like vermicompost increase the organic matter content necessary for the maintenance of soil properties, which is beneficial for the long-term sustainability and crop production. Considering the above investigations VERMITECH could be applied by the farmers to enhance sustainable agriculture in sodic soil.