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International Potash Institute Conducts Facebook Live on Recent Advances in Cassava Plant Nutrition with Polyhalite for Kerala Soils.

Sugandh Bhatnagar
Sugandh Bhatnagar
Keynote speakers of the discussion Dr. Adi Perelman, Coordinator of India, International Potash Institute and Dr. Susan John, Principal Scientist, ICAR – Central Tuber Crop Research Institute (CTCRI).

International Potash Institute (IPI) conducted a live discussion on Krishi Jagran’s Facebook Page about the recent advances in Cassava plant nutrition with Polyhalite Fertilizer specifically for Kerala soils. The keynote speakers of the discussion were Dr. Adi Perelman, Coordinator of India, International Potash Institute and Dr. Susan John, Principal Scientist, ICAR – Central Tuber Crop Research Institute (CTCRI).     

You can find the recorded session on the official page of Krishi Jagran.

It was a detailed discussion which covered basic details about the crop- Cassava, its nutrient management, nutrient depletion under continuous cultivation of cassava, nutrient status of soils of Kerala in cassava growing regions, suitability of Polyhalite for Kerala soil.

Dr Susan John who has given remarkable contribution in the field of soil fertility and integrated crop nutrient management explained the methodology and findings of the research in very interesting and interactive virtual discussion.

In this article you can find the highlights of the discussion

A still from the live discussion.

Special attributes of Tropical Tuber crops compared to Cereals and legumes:

  • High Biological Efficiency (can give yield of up to 100 tons per hectare)

  • Can produce economical yields with marginal soils and environment.

  • Tolerant to biotic and abiotic stresses

  • Tubers are rich in starch which is raw material for many value added products like food, feed, adhesives, pharmaceuticals, ethanol, super absorbent polymers etc.

  • Tuber crops show high productivity and have high nutritive values especially antioxidants.

  • They are source of green energy and have lot of scope for the formation of Biopesticides by using cassava leaves

About the Research:

A study was designed by CTCRI in collaboration with International Potash Institute in Kerala and was conducted for 2 seasons over three regions AEU 3 (Onattukara sandy plains), AEU 9 (South central Laterites) and AEU 8 (mid central laterites) at a total 6 locations including farmer’s fields as well as CTCRI research institute itself. The budget allocated for this study was Rs 12.6 Lakhs.

Field experiment

The objectives of the research were to study:

  • Response of Cassava to Polyhalite in Laterite & Sandy Soils of Kerala with respect to tuber Yield, tuber quality, soil physical-chemical and biological properties and nutrient uptake.

  • Formulate an agro- advisory (Application details) of the multi nutrient fertilizer – Polyhalite for Kerala soils which are deficient in K, Ca, Mg and S.

  • POLYHALITE is extracted over 1200m below the Earth’s surface, under the sea, along England’s north-eastern coast from polyhalite layer of rock, deposited 260 million years ago. It caters to the need and deficiency of Sulphur, Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium in the soil.  

  • Polyhalite is not a mixture of salts but a single crystal, so all its constituents release into solution proportionally. However,  after solubilization each nutrient interacts with the soil differently and is affected by soil properties.  

Major observations made due to the Polyhalite application in Cassava production:

  • Bulking of tubers in good form

  • Better quality in terms of cooking

  • Improvement of starch content

  • Lowering of bitterness

Cassava Tubers


Polyhalite is a good soil ameliorant for cassava in the acid laterite and sandy loam soils of Kerala.

By the study of pooled data on tuber yield of the six locations over 2 years the following application doses can be recommended:

  • Half Lime and half dolomite as per requirement along with 1-2 ton per hectare Polyhalite which gives the yield 53.33 t/ ha.

  • Full dolomite along with Polyhalite gives yield of  50.23 t/ ha

  • Polyhalite alone has yield potential of 49.2 t/ha


From all the results it can be established that Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium are very important for the Cassava crop and the use of Polyhalite as per the specified dose treatments will prove to be very useful in improving the yield and quality of Cassava in Kerala.

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