Monitoring Soil Quality for Agri-Productivity
It has been recognized that the vital function of soil is its support for food production. Food availability relies on the soil. Healthy living soil is, therefore, a crucial ally to food security and nutrition.
It is imperative to take soil health into consideration for a shortage of any one of the 15 nutrients required for plant growth can limit crop yield. With a global population that is projected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, compounded by competition for land and water resources and the impact of climate change, our current and future food security hinges on our ability to increase yields and food quality using the soils that are already under production today. By 2050, agricultural production must increase by 60 percent globally – and by almost 100 percent in developing countries – in order to meet food demand alone (according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN).
Sustainable soil management is one such way out which could produce up to 58 percent more food (FAO, UN). Soil testing is one of the effective approaches to soil management. It is well recognized as a sound scientific tool to assess the inherent power of soil to supply plant nutrients. And a smart integrated soil information system that consolidates the soil testing information is a great source that informs policies, interventions, and recommendations.
The soil information system is an integrated, centralized information system that consolidates all the data starting from the survey, sample soil testing and analysis to final output generation for soil mapping and recommendation. It also facilitates effective monitoring through easy access to information.
The process starts with the system facilitating in designing the survey forms with predefined questions with a dynamic application while tagging the surveyor and also the assigned location from where the soil sample needs to be collected.
The survey data is collected and filled in a form in the mobile app. The soil sample collected is tagged with a unique identity code for future archiving, reference and retest. The system captures the real-time longitude and latitude of the location from where the sample is collected, to calculate the deviation from the assigned location.
The system facilitates in maintaining the record of the soil archives and helps in tracking the history of transaction of a soil sample taken for retesting.
The tests of the sample soil help analyze the soil type found in the specific area and provide information on different soil parameters like PH level, texture, structure and various elements and compounds.
The soil scientists, develop simplified recommendations consisting of region-specific soil maps and lab data using the most sophisticated tools techniques available, including machine learning (R scripts), knine, soil infrared spectrometry and remote sensing.
The recommendation is prepared under two different parameters one is soil fertility status and the other is fertilization recommendation for the region-specific soil, which are accessed through a website and an application and provide soil information to farmers, extension workers and interested individuals.
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