CORESTA Congress, Kyoto, 2004, A 02

Decision support system for soil fertility and water quality - evaluation in FCV tobacco- growing zones of India

Central Tobacco Research Institute (CTRI), Rajahmundry (A.P.) India

Information Technology has become an integral part of our day-to-day life. In agriculture, computers are extensively used to disseminate the information on soils, water, climatic conditions, pest and disease management and one such information system is concerned with "Soil Fertility and Irrigation water quality evaluation and Fertilizer recommendations" to different crops. Soil fertility status and Irrigation water quality of Flue-Cured Virginia (F.C.V.) tobacco zones of India have been evaluated by the Soil Science Laborartory of CTRI, Rajahmundry and a huge database was created on fertility status of FCV tobacco soils and water quality / suitability. Using the database of soil and water analysis, we made an attempt to develop a computer software using Visual Basic, a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) as a Front-end tool and Oracle as a Back-end tool to store, retrieve and provide suitable recommendations to different tobacco types and take the hard-copy according to the requirements of the user. With little modifications and incorporation of some more data on soil, irrigation water and crop requirements, it is possible to suggest soil and water suitability and fertilizer recommendations to different crops grown in varied agro-climatic zones of the country.Further, with this developed software, it is possible to identify the soil texture (soil type) and one can group the villages having similar soil characteristics for drawing rational and balanced fertilizer recommendations for Flue-cured tobacco on different soil types . For the on-line recommendations, the developed software was modularized into five modules viz., Northern Light Soils (NLS), Traditional Black Soils (TBS), Southern Light Soils (SLS), Southern Black Soils (SBS) and Karnataka Light Soils (KLS). Each module, once again has been classified into three sub-menus viz., available N, P, K; and in turn, each one is further subdivided into 'Low', 'Medium' and 'High' fertility classes. Through this routine, the user can identify and retrieve the information like the areas (village /mandal /taluk /district) in which available nitrogen (organic carbon) content is low / medium / high and it is also possible to draw optimum N , P , K fertilizer doses and manurial recommendations for flue-cured tobacco crop on any soil type under any agro-climatic situation in the country. Similar systems for available phosphorus and available potassium were also developed to rationalize P and K recommendations. Moreover, using this software of water suitability, farmers/researchers/ Tobacco Board officers can easily identify whether a given bore water / well water / canal water is fit for irrigating FCV tobacco and other crops.