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The basic objective of the soil-testing programme is to give farmers a service leading to better and more economic use of fertilizers and better soil management practices for increasing agricultural production. High crop yields cannot be obtained without applying sufficient fertilizers to overcome existing deficiencies.
Efficient use of fertilizers is a major factor in any programme designed to bring about an economic increase in agricultural production. The farmers involved in such a programme will have to use increasing quantities of fertilizers to achieve the desired yield levels. However the amounts and kinds of fertilizers required for the same crop vary from soil to soil, even field to field on the same soil. The use of fertilizers without first testing the soil is like taking medicine without first consulting a physician to find out what is needed. It is observed that the fertilizers increase yields and the farmers are aware of this. But are they applying right quantities of the right kind of fertilizers at the right time at the right place to ensure maximum profit? Without a fertilizer recommendation based upon a soil test, a farmer may be applying too much of a little needed plant food element and too little of another element which is actually the principal factor limiting plant growth. This not only means an uneconomical use of fertilizers, but in some cases crop yields actually may be reduced because of use of the wrong kinds or amounts, or improper use of fertilizers.