Adoption of Soil Analysis Improves Soil Health in Kheda Khalilpur Village
By: Satveer Saini and Shashank Devra

Kheda Khalilpur village is in Nuh district, Haryana. The village has a population of around 5,000 people, and the primary occupation is agriculture. The village has around 4,000 acres of agricultural land, and a water channel is the primary source of irrigation. This channel flowing in the village carries polluted water from factories and contains a large quantity of harmful chemicals. The pollutants create a lot of negative externalities in the soil of the farmlands, as chemicals, heavy metals, and industrial pollutants contaminate the soil, reducing the soil fertility affecting plant growth, resulting in decreased yield.
TLG India Private Limited has been supporting “Gram Uday” project in Kheda Khalilpur village since April 2023, implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation. The project undertakes the demonstration and promotion of better soil health management practices among farmers, which requires a soil health analysis. In a farmers’ meeting in April 2023, the necessity of soil sample analysis was emphasized by the S M Sehgal Foundation’s field assistant. Many farmers indicated an interest in having soil samples taken from their fields, and seven were chosen for soil sample analysis demonstrations.
In September 2023, the soil sample analysis reports were handed over to farmers, and their interpretation was taught to the farmers. The pH (potential of hydrogen) and EC (electrical conductivity) are two important measurements in the evaluation of soil characteristics. The pH, which measures the soil’s acidity or alkalinity, was found to be neutral in the village. EC, which measures the soil’s ability to conduct electrical currents due to the presence of dissolved salts, was found to be high in the soil, indicating high salt content, which affects plant growth by limiting water uptake, causing toxicity issues.
To reduce the impact of high EC value, the application of gypsum (calcium sulfate) was recommended. When gypsum is added to sodic soils, it reacts with the sodium ions and exchanges them with calcium ions, thus improving the soil by reducing soil salinity.
The farmers were also provided the information about how to obtain gypsum at subsidized rates from the government. In October 2023, farmers purchased approximately 1,000 bags of gypsum at subsidized rates of ₹105 per bag. Farmers applied 20–25 sacks of gypsum per acre as advised by the project field assistant.
Farmers are observing that the application of gypsum, has improved the germination and plant growth of wheat and mustard crops. Vibrant green color, uniform growth, strong stem and branching, and abundant flowering are visible in plants. Therefore, the farmers are expecting better yields of wheat and mustard crops this year.
The farmers noted that previously, sowing had to be done two to three times; however, when the fields were treated with gypsum, germination took place in a single sowing. This directly saves around ₹1500–2000 per acre for the farmers, due to reduced seed cost.
One beneficiary, Mahesh, said, “Addressing the salinity issue by applying the gypsum can create a positive impact on the agricultural landscape of the village. The change is uniformly visible in all the farmlands where it was applied, and the farmers are now aware of one of the root causes of low crop yield in our village.”
(About the authors: Satveer Saini, field assistant and Shashank Devra, program lead, Local Participation and Sustainability, S M Sehgal Foundation)
Source: sonia.chopra@smsfoundation.org

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