Date of this Version
Published in Journal of Crop Improvement 2018, v 32, n 1, pp 19–32.
Smallholder farmers dominate agriculture in Nepal. These farmers have poor knowledge about agriculture and lack of support for soil management and integrated plant-nutrient systems. Focusing on the importance and need for soil-fertility management, a soil-testing mobile van program has recently been introduced in Nepal by Soil Management Directorate, Hariharbhawan. With the introduction of the mobile lab, famers can get their soil tested for nutrient deficiencies and fertilizer requirements at their doorsteps. Using mobile lab, spatial distributions of chemical properties, including pH, organic matter (OM), total nitrogen (N), available phosphorus (as P2O5), and available potassium (as K2O) were examined in soil samples taken from the 0 to 15 cm depth from selected agricultural fields in eight different districts in the mid-hills and Terai regions of Nepal. Tests conducted on 1,479 soil samples in the soil-testing mobile van revealed the following: the mean soil OM ranged from 0.01 to 1.77%; total N content ranged from 0.01 to 0.08%; mean available P2O5 ranged from 16.47 to 197.82 kg ha−1; and mean available K2O ranged from 84.3 to 422.57 kg ha−1. For each crop to be grown, farmers were provided with individual soil health reports and fertilizer recommendations (rate, amount, and type). This program not only allows scientists and farmers to work closely and share information but also serves as a model for the nation to successfully transfer technology for improving soil health and sustainability.