How the use of potash sprayer limited the damage caused by heat waves on crops.
Scientists from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) wrote in a report that potash sprays have helped farmers keep crop loss to a minimum extent during heat waves.
The Centre recently announced a subsidy for the fertilizers for the Kharif season. However, the retail price of potash is the highest of all fertilizers.
This year, the average temperature in Uttar Pradesh went up by about 5 degrees in March. This caused mango flowers to fall off and pollination problems.
Also Read | Govt aiming higher-than-expected opening stock of Urea & DAP in 2022 Kharif: officials.
In the Vidarbha region, too, high temperatures caused citrus trees to lose fruit in several places. During the months of April and May, orchard growers should follow the advice given by ICAR’s research institutes.
Scientists suggested, for example, spraying the leaves with 1-1.5 percent potassium nitrate every 15 days from April to May. In the same way, spraying potassium nitrate at 0.5% at the boot leaf and flowering stages in a village in Bihar has cut down on yield loss caused by terminal heat stress by a large amount, an ICAR report said.
‘Potash helps plants go through the process of osmosis. Osmotic pressure keeps plants from drying out and keeps the stomato from opening too wide. And when that doesn’t happen, evaporation and transpiration don’t happen, so the plants keep their water level. Potash also helps move nutrients from the leaves to the grains,’ according to Vinod Kumar Singh, the head of the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture in Hyderabad.
Singh, one of the people who wrote the report on the heat wave, said that because potash use had been ignored for a long time, it had also changed the amount of water in plants.
But the nutrient-based subsidy that was approved by the Cabinet in April for the Kharif season set the price for muriate of potash (MoP) at ₹1,700 per 50 kg bag, compared to ₹1,350 for DAP and ₹242 for a 45 kg bag of urea. MoP was about at the same level as DAP in June of last year. Complex fertilizer (N, P, and K all together) costs about ₹1,400 per 50 kg bag at the most expensive stores.
Also Read | Cabinet approved ₹60,939.23 cr subsidy for DAP, MoP fertilizers for Kharif season.
Subsidy in upward
But officials said that the subsidy for potash has gone up by 150%, to ₹25.31/kg from ₹10.11/kg, while the subsidy for DAP has gone up by 60.5%, to ₹72.74/kg from ₹5.32/kg. For urea, the subsidy has gone from ₹18.78/kg to ₹91.96/kg, which is a fivefold increase.
In 2021-22, imports of DAP went up by almost 12% to 54.62 lakh tonnes (lt), but imports of urea went down by 7% to 91.36 lt, imports of MOP for agricultural use went down by 45% to 17.68 lt, and imports of complex fertilizer went down by 16% to 11.70 lt.