Hydrogel: A Boon For Increasing Agriculture Productivity In Water Stressed Environment

Hydrogel: A Boon For Increasing Agriculture Productivity In Water Stressed Environment

(Less Water-More Savings-Enhanced Productivity)

Team - Go Agro-Spirit of Innovation (Agriculture)

Introduction :

The 21st century has witnessed a steady decline of irrigation water potential conjugated with the ever-growing global population. It is estimated by 2025 water scarcity will be a major issue in India requiring immediate redressal. In the Indian scenario, Agricultural irrigation practices seem to be responsible for the consumption of 80% of the available potable water. The predominant irrigation practice is surface draining i.e. direct application of water to crops from the surface. It’s a problematic and flawed system as the crops can utilize only 50% of the provided water while the remaining is lost in conveyance, as runoff, and by evaporation. Modern methods like drip irrigation and use of sprinklers can effectively reduce the wastage of irrigation water but high initial costs, inadequate government subsidy, and cooperation, lack of technical input prohibits the farmers from opting these techniques.so to redressal this problem scientists has done extensive research all over the world and come up with a new interesting and innovative facet in the field of modern agricultural and also in rain-fed agricultural so-called hydrogel agriculture technology.


HYDROGEL :

The hydrogel is basically a water-absorbing polymer, which is classified as cross-linked, absorb aqueous solutions through hydrogen bonding with water molecules. Agricultural hydrogen is referred to as water retention granules because they swell to many times their original size when they come in contact with water. Hydrogel agriculture technology involves gel-forming polymers that are insoluble water-absorbing polymers designed exclusively for agricultural use by the late 1980s. Potassium Polyacrylate is the principal material used in the SAP industry and marketed as a hydrogel for agricultural use because of its longer retention and high efficiency in soil with nil toxicity issues. They are prepared by polymerizing Acrylic acid with a cross-linker.so they are commonly called as cross-linked three-dimensional networked water-absorbent polymers

Working of Hydrogel :

Hydrogel works as water reservoirs around the root mass zones of the plant. In the presence of water, it expands to around 200-800 times the original volume. There is ample possibility to trap irrigation and rainwater that can then be collected, stored, and gradually released for crop requirements over prolonged durations. Hydrogel mixed with soil increase soil permeability and improves germination rates. It is compatible with a wide range and type of soils and thus has, in general, a tendency to increase plant performance and yield. Rainwater retention, soil erosion by stormwater run-offs, especially in sloped terrains can be greatest averted. There is a proof of a decrease in fruit and vegetable loss due to insect by around 10-30 percent

Field performance :

The performance of Pusa Hydrogel has been evaluated at various levels, viz, Institute farms, farmers’ fields (by licensees and the Institute) and multilocation trials in collaboration with other institutes, namely, Central Potato Research Institute, Shimla; Directorate of Groundnut Research, Junagadh; Project Directorate of Soybean Research, Indore; Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow and Project Directorate of Farming Systems Research, Modipuram, Meerut, and All India Coordinated Research Project on Wheat. The evaluation has been carried out in several crops, Namely wheat, groundnut, potato, soybean, mustard, onion, tomato cauliflower, carrot, strawberry, opium, maize sugarcane, paddy, turmeric, chrysanthemum, cotton, etc.


Advantages of Hydrogel :

1. Increase water holding capacity

2. Increase water use efficiency

3. Enhance soil permeability and infiltration rate

4. Reduce irrigation frequency

5. Reduce compaction tendency

6. Stop soil erosion, farm run-off & surface leaching

7. Increase plant performance, particularly in structure-less soils stressed with drought condition

Conclusion :

Hydrogel application increases productivity in almost all the test crops (cereals, vegetables, oilseeds, etc..) in terms of crop yield. It also improves the quality of agriculture produce in terms of plant biomass, fruit and flower size, and color with improvement in the hydrophysical and biological environment of the soil. Hence hydrogel may become a practically convenient and economically feasible option in water-stressed areas for increasing agriculture productivity with environmental sustainability

Thank You.........