Binita Sahu, Nirmal Kumar Jena, Amitabh Mahapatra, Ditikrushna Sahu and Bibhudatta Pradhan
A large amount of paddy straw (crop residue) is being generated with mechanised harvesting using combine harvesters in the irrigated paddy fields. This crop residue is burnt in the same field as a quick and easy method of removing it for the next crop, as the same fields are used for double cropping in a year. This practice damages micro-organisms present in the upper layers of the soil, including the soil's organic quality. The present investigation was conducted during January 2021 (rabi crop) and July 2021 (kharif crop) for the appraisal of the physicochemical parameters of soil samples collected from such agricultural fields of some selected villages in the Attabira block of Western Odisha that were irrigated by the Bargarh main canal, which flows from the Hirakud reservoir. The soil samples were analyzed by observing standard procedures, and the results revealed that the soil pH, electrical conductivity, and available potassium content increased due to crop residue burning. On the contrary, soil organic carbon content, available nitrogen, available phosphorous, and available sulphur were observed decreasing in the crop residue burnt fields. As crop residue burning helps in increasing the soil pH and EC levels, continuing this practice for a longer period may shoot up the soil pH and EC levels beyond the threshold levels, which may adversely affect the growth of the crop and the yield.
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