Weathered basalt application for management of Vertisols: A traditional knowledge of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea) growers of Gujarat, India
Gujarat tops with 27.87% of total groundnut production. The basaltic shrink-swell soils are generally evaluated as unsuitable for groundnut production in Saurtashtra region of Gujarat. They have untapped source of traditional knowledge for managing heavy shrink-swell soils of basaltic terrain. Groundnut growers of the region are applying weathered basalt (WB, Vēraḍēḍa bēsālṭanuṁ in Gujarati) in pure form which is naturally available or sometimes treated by mixing the farmyard manures (FYM) or groundnut husk, and/or fortified with nitrogenous and phosphatic fertilizers. A study was planned to find out the reason for higher production of groundnut with the application of WB before sowing the seed. For this study the farmers were divided in to 05 groups on the basis of forms and combinations of WB application in groundnut fields. The participatory approaches and personal interviews were combined to collect the data from 25 farmers of each group. After interviewing the farmers, we came to know that this practice is being followed since 40 years. The study revealed that the practice significantly reduces the contracting and expanding phenomenon in black Vertisols and improve physico-chemical properties of soils like hydraulic characteristics (infiltration, permeability, percolation and drainage), aeration, bulk density, porosity, thermal conductivity and also improve availability of secondary (Ca, Mg & S) and micronutrients (Fe, Mn, Zn & Cu). The present study forms the basis for upgrading the traditional management packages for sustainable groundnut production in black soil region of India.
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