How potash sprays helped limit the impact of the heat wave on crops

According to a report by scientists from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), potash has become a savior for crops facing the heatwave as its sprays have helped farmers minimize yield losses. However, the retail prices of potash are the highest among all fertilizers in the recent subsidy announced by the Center for the kharif season).

In Uttar Pradesh, an increase of about 5 degrees above normal temperature in March this year led to drooping mango blossoms and problems with poor pollination. Similarly, in the Vidarbha region, citrus orchards have seen a decline in fruit in several areas due to high temperatures. The ICAR research institutes had issued advice to arborists to follow during the months of April to May.

Among the recommendations, the scientists had suggested two foliar sprays of 1 to 1.5% potassium nitrate at an interval of 15 days in April-May. Similarly, in a village in Bihar, spraying with 0.5% potassium nitrate at the bunch leaf and flowering stage significantly reduced yield loss caused by terminal heat stress, according to a report by the ICAR.

retain moisture

“Potash helps in the process of osmo-revolution in plants. Due to osmotic pressure, the turgidity of plants is maintained and regulates the opening of stomata. And when evapotranspiration does not occur because of this, the plants retain the moisture level Potash also helps in the translocation of nutrients from the leaves to the grains,” said Vinod Kumar Singh, director of the Central Research Institute for Arid Land Agriculture, Hyderabad. As the use of potash has long been overlooked, it has also had an impact on plant moisture levels, added Singh, one of the authors of the heatwave report.

However, the Cabinet approval of nutrient-based subsidies announced in April for the kharif season had set the price of muriate of potash (MoP) at ₹1,700/per 50kg bag, compared to ₹1,350 for DAP and ₹242 for 45 kg of urea. bag. In June last year, MoP was roughly on par with DAP. The average maximum retail price of complex fertilizers (N, P and K combined) is around ₹1,400 per 50 kg bag.

Grant hike

However, officials said the subsidy on potash was increased by 150% from ₹10.11/kg to ₹25.31/kg against a 60.5% increase in DAP to ₹72.74/ kg against ₹5.32/kg. In the case of urea, the subsidy was increased fivefold from ₹18.78/kg to ₹91.96/kg.

In 2021-2022, DAP imports increased by almost 12% to 54.62 lakh tonnes (lt) while urea imports decreased by 7% to 91.36 lt, the MOP (for agricultural use) fell by 45% to 17.68 lt and that of complex fertilizers fell by 16% to 11.70 liters, according to the data.

Published on

June 27, 2022

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