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Soils have two types of nutrients viz. Macro nutrients and Micro nutrients. It is important to have a balance between the two because less macronutrients can lead to poor plant growth and potential for disease and too many micronutrients can lead to loss of colour in the plant and reduced growth. Less micronutrients result in reduced flowering and yellow-green colouration. Thus, nutrient deficiency occurs when an essential nutrient is not available in sufficient quantity to meet the requirements of a growing plant. Toxicity occurs when a nutrient is in excess of plant needs and decreases plant growth or quality.

Soil health condition is usually determined through the following 12 important soil parameters:

  • Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K) - the macro-nutrients
  • Sulphur (S) – the secondary-nutrient
  • Zinc (Zn), Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu), Manganese (Mn), Boron (B) - micro-nutrients
  • pH, Electrical Conductivity (EC), Organic Carbon (OC) - physical parameters.

The fertility of soil is determined by Nutrient index (N.I) . Nutrient Index value is a measure of nutrient supplying capacity of soil to plants. The fertility status of soils has three classes, i.e., low, medium and high.

Nutrient Index & Fertility of Soil

Ministry of Statistical and Programme Implementation , Government of India 2019 ,  has reported the analysis of  state-wise Soil Nutrient Index of the macro and micro nutrient, for Cycle I (2015-17) and Cycle II (2017-19). Punjab had low Nutrient Index in N, P, OC, B, Mn and Medium in K, Cu, Fe, S, Zn during Cycle I i.e. 2015-17 and Cycle II i.e. 2017-19.

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