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A soil health card is a card showing the structure of the soil. Soil in common language means land. Thus, a soil health card is a card showing the health of the soil. Just as we keep a doctor’s file for our health that contains information about the problems in our body, so too the soil health card contains information about the health of the soil. In the same way that a doctor tells us to get a report if we have a physical problem, the Soil Health Card is a report of our land.
SHC is based on 12 parameters about soil such as nitrogen, potassium, sulphur, zinc, boron, iron, manganese, copper, soil pH, electrical conductivity of the soil, soil color etc.
The scheme is being implemented by the Government of India in all the States and Union Territories with the help of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture and Support.
The purpose is to inform each farmer about the structure of his land and to indicate the type of fertilizer to be used so that excessive use of manure can prevent soil damage and increase soil fertility with the use of fertilizers as required. As a result, farmers can harvest maximum crops at a lower cost.
Now, you have a soil health card, but what to do with it? What is its use in agriculture? So, as the doctor prescribes the medicine as per your report, from the soil health card we know which elements are required for cultivation in our soil and which fertilizer we need to add. Adding the required amount of fertilizer in the required quantity increases the fertility of the soil and can be harvested at a lower cost.
Once the Soil Health Card is issued, does it last a lifetime? That question arises. But it is not. We have to report for our health in a fixed period of time, in the same way taking crops in the soil also reduces its fertility. Therefore, every 2 years, the Soil Health Card is renewed so that the required fertilizer can be added to compensate for the loss of element in the soil due to the crops taken during the two years.
Samples cannot be taken from the ground anyway. There are certain standards for that. For example, 2.5 hectares of irrigated land and 10 hectares of naturally irrigated land are sampled using GPS and revenue maps in a grid of 10 hectares.
The soil health card has to be sampled from the ground and sent to the laboratory. So now the question is, who will take the sample? We are not going to sample ourselves. For this, an employee of the state government or an employee of an agency appointed by the state government will be able to take soil samples from your farm. The state government can also enlist the help of students of agricultural or science colleges for this.
Soil samples are usually taken twice a year. After harvesting of rabi and kharif crops or when there is no crop on the land.
A “V” shaped incision should be made in the ground by the trained person at a depth of 15 to 20 cm. Soil is taken from the four corners and the middle of the field and a part of it is taken as a sample by mixing it well. Samples taken in this way are packed in a bag and coded. It is then sent to the laboratory for analysis.
The Soil Test Laboratory is a place to measure the above 12 parameters. This laboratory can be permanent or mobile i.e. temporary.
The samples are tested as per the standard for the above 12 parameters as follows.
₹ 190 / – per sample is given to the State Government. This includes the cost of sampling, testing and distributing soil health cards to the farmer. If you need more information on this topic, visit www.soilhealth.dac.gov.in.