The economy of Pakistan is agro based and eventually depends upon the fertility of her soils. The continuous Mining of nutrients by plants depleted the fertility to a level where they could not nourish healthy plants. Realizing the fact, a scheme entitled “Rapid Soil Fertility Survey and Popularization of the use of Fertilizers” was initiated as joint venture of the Government of Pakistan and food & Agriculture organization in the year, 1958. Later on it was transferred to the provincial Government.
The investigation carried out both in field and Laboratories have revealed that there is wide spread deficiency of Nitrogen and phosphorus in the country while potash deficiency has been found at places, particularly in rice tract, light soils and areas commanded by tube-well waters alone. The data also indicated the increase in the rate of salinization / alkalinization which is detrimental to the productive soils. The sub-soil water is found mostly unfit for irrigation purpose and its indiscriminate use is further aggravating the salinity/alkalinity problems in the country.
The soil is a dynamic system. It is subjected to various changes brought about by weathering agencies, cultural operations and other biological factors. To explore the desirable changes and check the trends disadvantageous to soil as a medium of crop production or to ameliorate the harmful effects in the soil system, it is imperative that soil be tested at regular intervals.
The knowledge of nutrient status of the soil is essential to assess the need of the fertilizers. It is the optimum quantity of fertilizer, which is responsible for high yields in different crops. Soil test provides a guideline to rationalize the use of fertilizer in the international market which has made the commodity most expensive input in crop production.
The soils in Pakistan are mainly calcareous in nature. The arid climate and scarcity of water has increased the incidence of salinity /alkalinity in these soils. The soil testing plays a vital role in identifying this problem and diagnosing degree of the incidence of salinity/alkalinity. It further helps to arrest the harmful effects and improve these conditions through proper management or use of suitable amendments.
The soil testing laboratory provides a regular check on the interaction and salt balance in the soil brought about by the use of sub-standard irrigation waters for their quality. This information helps in maintaining the health and productivity of the soils.
There are varieties of fertilizers and amendments for sale in the market. The testing of their quality and suitability is essential to safe guard the farming community from the costly pitfalls. The laboratories can serve the cause and ensure the quality of these commodities.
- The main objectives of the Soil & Water Testing Laboratory Bhakkar are:-
- To assess the fertility status of different soils through suitable field and soil tests.
- To formulate fertilizer recommendations for variety of crops grown under varying soil climatic management conditions.
- To popularize the use of fertilizers among the farmers.
- To test the quality of tube well waters.
- To provide guidance to the farmers for the reclamation of problem soils
A. Advisory Services
- Site specific fertilizer/amendments recommendations.
- Reclamation of problem soils.
- Monitoring quality inputs.
- Improving (FUE) and Productivity through (IPNS).
- Accessing water quality and nutrient status for advisory services to farmers.
B. “Extension Services 2.0 Farmer facilitation through modernized agriculture extension”
- Under this project the Soil Samples of District Soils of each farmer with maximum size of 10 acres field along with complete bio data of farmer and its Geo-technical Location of irrigated land are collected by Agriculture Extension Department and provided to District Labs for analysis. The analytical result data of these samples is uploaded on “Meri Zameen” website prepared by PITB for future planning and in-reach of every farmer of the District for fertilizer use. Soil Health Cards are provided to each farmer having soil analytical result.