Often referred to as Plants out of time and out of place, weeds are unwanted plants that negatively affect the utilisation of land and water resources. Considered as a crucial factor in the management of all water and land resources, these plants compete with desired vegetation in main crop for lands, forests and aquatic systems. Studies have revealed that the losses caused by weeds exceed the losses caused by any other category of agriculture pests, thereby affecting human welfare in an adverse way.
Plant nutrition: From a farming perspective
Just like humans or animals, plants too have basic nutritional requirements that need to be fulfilled. Plants require a consistent supply of a range of Macro, Minor and Micro nutrients which they obtain all the nutrition they need through the soil, air, water.
The macronutrients are further classified into primary and secondary macronutrients. Primary macronutrients are those that are needed in higher concentrations like Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Secondary macronutrients also referred as minor are essential for sustained plant health, and include Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulphur. , Micronutrients required in trace amount are essential for a plant’s growth and development and Boron, Zinc, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Molybdenum, and Chlorine are some of the critical Micronutrients.
Weeds: Kharif crops’ worst enemy
Weeds interfere in all crops in a cropping system competee for nutrients, water, sunlight, air and other resources, and causes a significant amount of yield loss. Weeds have greater potential to thrive and flourish then main crop, and if they flourish well in the initial crop phase, they even have the potential to take over the growth and development of the main crop. The kharif season, with the presence of monsoon, and favourable temperatures for growth and development is the main season when the maximum weed fauna flourish, thus the kharif crops to compete more as compared to the Rabi crops.
Main Kharif Crops Weeds
Weeds are one of the main factors that are responsible for production losses in different types of crops. Paddy is one of the main staple crop of India and affected by major weeds like Echinicloa, Commelina, Eclipta alba, etc., Cotton known as white gold is prone to weeds like Acalypha indica, Euphorbia spp, etc. Soybean is prone to broadleaf weeds like Amaranthus spp, Bracharia spp, etc. Apart from these, one segment of weeds that affect all these crops is the Sedges.
Weed management is important for crop production optimization. Various plant resources like nutrients and water are lost if they are utilised by the weeds instead of the crop. This also results in crops being overpowered by weeds and thereby causing major losses in terms of additional cost of cultivation and production losses.
Key nutrients to be managed for major Kharif Crops
Paddy, cotton, and soybean are three of the main Kharif crops in India. In the case of paddy, nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc need to be managed before transplanting through soil test results. For cotton, it’s nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients need to be managed before sowing as basal application through soil test based nutrient application. For soybean, nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulphur need to be managed before sowing as basal application. It is also important to watch out for the presence or absence of Boron and Zinc through soil tests.
Benefits of Weed and Nutrient Management
The main objective of weed management is to maintain weed densities at manageable levels in order to make sure that they do not compete with the main crop for nutrients and other resources. When managed well, it can:
- Help the plant consume optimum nutrition.
- Reduce the competition for space, water, and nutrients.
- Directly affect yield and other quantitative attributes.
Nutrient Management in Cotton Farming
Plant nutrition has a direct impact on cotton growth, so effective nutrient management in cotton can help improve both quality and yield. Symptoms like malformation, dwarfness, chlorosis, stuntedness, and poor plant growth are among the most common indications of nutrient deficiencies. In the case of cotton, plant nutrients take part in partitioning, formation, and utilisation of photosynthesis.
Comprehensive understanding of cotton nutrition has become very important for growers. The future of cotton nutrient management lies in improving nutrient use efficiency through balanced nutrient management including micro and macro nutrients.
Soil Nutrient Management
With regards to management of soil nutrient availability, some facts related to application of essential nutrients through fertilisers need to be understood. For the management of nitrogen, we need to apply urea or any other nitrogenous fertilisers at 2-3 cm depth in order to avoid losses. For phosphorus, we need to apply DAP or SSP at the root zone to increase its use efficiency and decrease the fixation losses. Also, for potassium we need to apply MOP in basal dose to increase its usage efficiency. For micronutrient management, soil test reports value should be considered as standard basis to evaluate deficiency or sufficiency of a particular micronutrient. Thus, these methods will help us in maintaining long term sustainable soil nutrient management. Krish-e centres provide soil test based nutrient advisory to Takneek plot farmers.
Farm advisory services through Krish-e app or Takneek Plot app and on-field visit of any Krish-e representative provides timely information to the farmer for weed and nutrient management. Join the Krish-e or Takneek Plot App for application of pre and post emergence weedicides for weed management at the right stage of crop and weed. Krish-e’s advisory services also include intercultural operations like hoeing and manual weeding at the right time for sustainable weed management.
These services also include soil-test based nutrient advisories which help the farmer to plan the purchase of required inputs like organic manures, inorganic fertilisers, biofertilizers, etc. The application pattern provided through Krish-e’s advisory services also helps the farmers in balanced application of nutrients at recommended timelines to avoid excessive use of any fertilisers.