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International Potash Institute Conducts Webinar on Enhancing Yield and Quality of Turmeric Crop with Polyhalite Fertilizer

Sugandh Bhatnagar
Sugandh Bhatnagar
The key speakers of the discussion Dr P.K. Karthikeyan, Assistant Professor (soil science), Annamalai University & Dr Adi Perelman, Coordinator of India, International Potash Institute

International Potash Institute (IPI), conducted a live discussion on Krishi Jagran’s Facebook page about the benefits of wonderful fertilizer POLYHALITE, specifically for cultivation of Turmeric in India. The panel of the discussion consisted of Dr Adi Perelman, Coordinator of India, International Potash Institute and Dr P.K. Karthikeyan, Assistant Professor (soil science), Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu. 

The discussion focused on the study conducted by International Potash Institute in collaboration with Annamalai University in Erode district of Tamil Nadu. 

It was a very interesting and interactive discussion which was attended by people from different parts of India. Dr P.K Karthikeyan explained the whole methodology and results of the study he also answered any queries that the live audience asked. 

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

A still from the live discussion

About POLYHALITE 

It 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.  

About Turmeric 

Turmeric is a very important condiment in India. It is used as a dye, spice, drug and cosmetic in addition to the religious ceremonies. India is the leading producer and exporter of turmeric in the world. Curcumin which is the main ingredient of turmeric acts as an anti-coagulating agent.  

Indian states – Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Karnataka, west Bengal, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Maharashtra and Assam are important turmeric cultivating areas. Turmeric has a high potassium demand and the yield generally depends on the variety selected, as well as soil and prevailing weather conditions during the crop growth.  

Turmeric Rhizomes

Climate and Soil Conditions:  

  • This crop requires a tropical condition with temperature ranging from 25-39*C and is usually cultivated under rainfed conditions requiring rainfall of around 1500mm. 

  • It thrives best in well drained sandy or clayey- loam soils with a pH of 4.5-7.5 with good organic status. 

Nutrient Management for Turmeric: 

Along with major nutrients like Nitrogen and Phosphorous, turmeric requires Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium and Sulfur. This is where Polyhalite plays an important role.  

Composition of Polyhalite: 

  • 46% SO3 sulphur  source  and improves the efficacy of other nutrients (e.g. N and P)  

  • 13.5 % K2O helps in improving overall plant health. 

  • 5.5 % MgO Essential for Photosynthesis 

  • 16.5 % CaO important for cell division and strong cell walls 

Benefits of using Polyhalite: 

  • Prolonged release of nutrients so that the nutrients are not lost by leaching and it matches the uptake by the crop along the crop cycle. 

  • It is completely natural, mined, crushed, screened and bagged, hence equally good to use in organic farming too.

  • It is low chloride fertilizer good to use in chloride sensitive crops and its low carbon footprint, makes it environment friendly. 

  • It increases the quality and yield of turmeric in a sustainable way. 

Experiments: 

A study was conducted by the Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu in collaboration with International Potash Institute (IPI), Switzerland to test the effects of Polyhalite on the yield of turmeric in Indian settings  

This study was conducted in Erode district of Tamil Nadu and it comprised of pot culture experiment followed by field experiments in which different doses and treatments of Polyhalite were tested and the observations were made for the effect on Yield of rhizomes, Cholorophyll content and Curcumin content. 

Field experiment

Results: 

  • Turmeric responded significantly to the application of potassium through different sources and at various doses. 

  • The rhizome yield increased linearly with application of Polyhalite. 

  • With respect to application of potassium through MOP and Polyhalite(PH) in different ratios; addition of 2:1 or 1:2 or 1:1 ( MOP:PH) recorded significantly higher rhizome yield compared to individual addition  

  • Curcumin content was strongly affected by the addition of Polyhalite. The percentage increased from 14.2% to 73.9. 

  • The superior performance of turmeric to potassium fertilization stems from the fact that experimental soil reflected low K status. 

Conclusion:   

Based on all these results it can be concluded that potassium is very important for turmeric crop and use of Polyhalite along with MOP will prove to be very useful fertilizer in improving the yield and quality of turmeric. 

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