M.Sc.* 1972 Punjab Agricultural Soil Fertility and Chemistry
University, Thesis: Relative evaluation of nitric
Ludhiana, India phosphate fertilizers in three soils of Punjab
Ph.D.** 1976 Punjab Agricultural Soil Fertility and Chemistry University, Dissertation: Contribution of fertilizers to Ludhiana, India ground water pollution
* Awarded University Merit Fellowship
** Awarded Senior Research Fellowship by Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi
Honours and Awards:
Membership of National/ International Academies:
Fellow – Indian National Science Academy
Fellow – National Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Fellow – Indian Society of Soil Science
Member (1985-1996) - British Society of Soil Science
Life member - Association of Rice Research Workers
National/ International Awards/ citations/ recognitions:
FAI Silver Jubilee Award of Excellence -1984
Recognition by the XV World Soil Science Congress -1994
Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Memorial Prize - 1995
Recognition Award of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences -2000
FAI Silver Jubilee Award of Excellence – 2001
IFA International Crop Nutrition Award (first runner up) – 2007
Vice-chair of Commission 3.3 (Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition) of International Union of Soil Sciences – 2008
Dr. N.S. Randhawa Memorial Award of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences – 2008
Professor Krishna Sahai Bilgrami Memorial Medal of the Indian National Science Academy - 2009
Member of the Editorial Board of Pedosphere –an international journal published by Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press.
Member of the Editorial Board of the international journal - Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment published by Elsevier Science B.V., Netherlands
Editors of the Journal of the Indian Society of Soil Science published by the Indian society of Soil Science, New Delhi
Reviewer for Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Agronomy Journal, Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, Journal of the Indian Society of Soil Science, Oryza, and Indian Journal of Ecolog, Pedosphere, Field Crops Research
Invited by the organizers of the XV World Soil Science Congress to speak on Fertilizer Use and Nitrate Pollution of Groundwater in Developing Countries (August 1994)
Invited by National Academy of Agricultural Sciences to sum up the situation regarding green manures in Northern India at the National Symposium on Plant Nutrient Needs, Supply, Efficiency and Policy Issues: 2000-2025 held at CRIDA, Hyderabad (April 1996)
Invited to present a paper on Nitrogen use in agriculture and nitrate pollution of groundwater in the north western India at the International symposium on Agro-environmental Issues and Future Strategies: Towards 21st Century. University of Agriculture, May 25-30, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Invited to present a paper on ‘Organic matter for lowland rice and upland wheat rotation systems in India at Workshop on Management of Soil Organic Matter for Sustainable Agriculture in Asia held at Ubon Ratchhathani, Thailand, August, 1994.
Invited to contribute an article on green manuring of rice in Advances in Agronomy in 1991- the first from Punjab Agricultural University and sixth from NARS in India.
Invited to present a lead paper on Potassium nutrition of rice-wheat cropping system at the International symposium on Importance of Potassium in Nutrient Management for Sustainable Crop production in India held in New Delhi, December 2001
Invited to present a lead paper on Environmental implications of nutrient use and crop management within rice-based ecosystems at the International Rice Congress 2002 held in Beijing, China in September 2002.
Invited to contribute a chapter on Potassium nutrition of rice-wheat cropping system in Advances in Agronomy (volume 81, 2004)
Invited to present a paper on Impact of rice-wheat cropping system on soil and water quality in the International Conference on Soil, Water and Environmental Quality - - Issues and Strategies organized by IUSS and ISSS at New Delhi in 2005
Invited to contribute a chapter on Crop residue management for nutrient cycling and improving soil productivity in rice-based cropping systems in the tropics in Advances in Agronomy (volume 85, 2005)
Co-convener of the session on ‘Management of residues and by-products’ at the 2nd International Rice Congress held at New Delhi, October 2006.
Invited to present a paper on reactive nitrogen in Indian agriculture at the 4th International Nitrogen Conference held at Costa do Sauipe, Brazil, October, 2007.
Invited to present a paper on Improving Nutrient Management in Rice in the Indo-Gangetic Plain in India - the role of IRRI/IRRC at Irrigated Rice Research Consortium steering Committee Meeting held at Hanoi, Vietnam, 8-10 October, 2007.
Invited to contribute a chapter on crop residue management in rice-based cropping systems in Advances in Agronomy (volume 98, 2008)
Invited to present a paper at the Regional Workshop for SAARC countries on – Nutrient Use Efficiency in Agriculture held at CSSRI, Karnal, September 9-11, 2009
Invited to convene a session and present a paper on site-specific nutrient management for improved nutrient use efficiency in rice and wheat based cropping systems at the Indian Society of Soil Science Platinum Jubilee symposium on Enhancing Nutrient and Water Use Efficiency for Improving Crop Productivity and Environmental Quality - New Dimensions held at IARI, New Delhi on December 23, 2009.
Member of the Scientific Committee of the International Conference on Soil Fertility and Soil Productivity - Two Features to be Distinguished, Differences of Efficiency of Soils for Land Uses, Expenditures and Returns, held at Berlin, 17 to 20 March, 2010.
Delivered 2nd Dr. Gurcharan Singh Sekhon Memorial lecture of the Indian Society of Soil Science at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana on 29 September, 2011.
Invited as keynote speaker in the session ‘Cropping Systems and Sustainable Management’ at the 10th International Conference of the East and Southeast Asia Federation of the soil Science Societies held at Colombo, Sri Lanka from 10-13 October, 2011. The keynote address was on ‘Need-based nitrogen management for sustainable high productivity and fertilizer use efficiency in agro-ecosystems’
Invited to present a paper on potassium imbalances in agro-ecosystems at the the International Symposium on Role of Potassium in sustaining the yield and its quality held at Kandy, Sri Lanka from 27-29 October, 2011
Significant Research Achievements: Contributions on nitrogen balance in soil-plant systems have lead to better understanding for (i) enhancing nitrogen use efficiency in rice-wheat cropping system (ii) fertilizer nitrogen related environmental pollution, and (iii) integrated nutrient management. Initiated in early seventies, work on nitrate pollution of groundwater revealed that N fertilizers used as per recommended practices contributed very little to nitrate enrichment of groundwater. These findings along with work on heavy metals supported the cause of achieving sustainability in crop production systems through fertilizer usage.
Research on losses of N from soil-plant system has provided basis for enhancing fertilizer N use efficiency and avoiding possible pollution of the environment from fertilizers and helped in formulating more efficient fertilizer management practices for rice and wheat grown in coarse textured soils of north-western India where farmers apply large doses of N fertilizers. Recent work on scheduling fertilizer N to rice and wheat through need based fertilizer applications using leaf colour chart has provided a breakthrough in economizing fertilizer N usage.
Contributions in understanding the basic and applied aspects of integrated management of fertilizers, animal manures, green manures and crop residues have provided scientifically sound directions for achieving not only sustainable yields in rice-wheat system but also for maintaining soil fertility for the future generations.
Employment history: A. Job title: Assistant Soil Chemist (equivalent to Assistant Professor) in the All India Coordinated Agronomic Research Project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. April 1976 to July 1979 Working with a team of soil scientists and agronomists planned and conducted several field experiments on efficient management of fertilizers and manures in crop rotations based on wheat, corn, rice and legumes. Major research activity revolved around studying the leaching of nitrate beyond the root zone of the crops grown in a fixed rotation and how nitrate leaching influenced groundwater pollution. Other important area of research was monitoring of soil quality parameters in plots of long-term field experiments based on different fixed crop rotations and receiving varying amounts of nutrients through fertilizers and organic manures.
B. Job title: Assistant Soil Chemist at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana in joint International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)/ICAR project - Fate and Efficiency of Experimental Nitrogen Fertilizer Sources in Rice/Wheat. July 1979 to June 1984 Along with Dr JC Katyal worked in close collaboration with IFDC scientists - - Drs PLG Vlek, ET Craswell and RJ Buresh to conduct field and laboratory experiments to study the efficiency and pathways of nitrogen applied as urea, ammonium sulphate, urea supergranules and urea treated with urease and nitrification inhibitors. Field experiments were conducted using 15N -labeled fertilizer materials. It was convincingly proved that supergranule urea was a poor alternative to ordinary urea for rice grown in non-traditional highly percolating soils and thus, as such this source was not introduced in north-western India. It was demonstrated that a breakthrough in increasing the use efficiency on urea can be achieved by imparting slow release characteristics in the granules of urea. In field experiments using 15N labeled fertilizers, it was proved that urea N applied to irrigated wheat grown in coarse textured soils was lost from the soil-plant system by ammonia volatilization rather than leaching and nitrification-denitrification. Confirming that urea N transported to a depth in the soil with irrigation water is protected from loss via ammonia volatilization, it was recommended that urea should be top dressed just before an irrigation event.
C. Job title: Visiting Commonwealth Research Scholar at AFRC Institute for Grassland and Animal Production, Hurley, Berkshire / the University of Reading, Reading, UK. January 1985 to January 1986 Worked with late Dr JC Ryden and Professor A.Wild and studied the interaction effects of soil organic matter and moisture on the rate of denitrification under field situations. Relationships between different forms of organic carbon readily available to denitrifiers and potential denitrification losses were also investigated for field moist and air dried soils under grassland and arable cropping.
Job title: Assistant Soil Chemistin the project Chemical, Physical and Biological Studies in Waterlogged Soils, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. July 1984 to December 1984 and January 1986 to July 1986
Job title: Soil Chemist (equivalent to Associate Professor) in the project Chemical, Physical and Biological Studies in Waterlogged Soils, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. July 1986 to July 1994
Job title: Senior Soil Chemist (equivalent to Professor) in the project Chemical, Physical and Biological Studies in Waterlogged Soils, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. July 1994 to May 2006
In the project - Chemical, Physical and Biological Studies in Waterlogged Soils duties include planning and conduct of field and laboratory experiments to find means and ways to efficiently manage nitrogen fertilizers and organic manures including green manures in rice based crop rotations. Dose, time, method of application and source of fertilizer and fate and efficiency of nitrogen applied to rice through bulky organic manures were studied during initial years. Transformations of nitrogen in submerged soils as these are related to fertilizer use efficiency and losses of N applied to wetland rice also constituted an important part of our investigations.
Our research has clearly demonstrated that green manuring offers an opportunity to achieve long-term sustainability in crop production systems by reducing external inputs and improving quality and quantity of internal resources. The finding that the yield of rice from N in green manure incorporated in amounts comparable to N supplied by urea equals or surpasses yields from urea should have far reaching positive effects on the adoption of green manures in the years to come; provide farmers can ensure sufficient accumulation of N by green manure crops.
On the basis of our work on green manuring in rice-wheat system and integrated use of organic manures and fertilizers, we could win in 1995 the most prestigious Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Memorial Prize of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. An exhaustive review on green manuring of rice contributed in Advances in Agronomy was the first review ever published in the prestigious journal from the Punjab Agricultural University and sixth from India. A FAO Bulletin on green manuring for soil productivity improvement was also published in 1994.
In recent years, emphasis has been on sustainability and productivity issues related to nutrient management in rice-wheat system. Need based fertilizer N management is being worked out using chlorophyll meter. So as to ensure sustainability of the highly productive rice-wheat system, fate and efficiency of fertilizer nitrogen is being studies in conjunction with crop residue management. Field experiments using 15N labeled fertilizer were conducted in close collaboration with Dr. K.F. Bronson, Soil Fertility Specialist at International Rice Research Institute, Philippines to study fertilizer N management in crop residue amended soils under rice-wheat system. In collaboration with Drs. A. Dobermann and KF Bronson, resin capsules are being used to study the nutrient supplying capacity of soils in plots of long-term fertility experiments. During January/February 1998, worked as a consultant in Soils and Water Sciences Division of IRRI to write papers jointly with Drs. Dobermann and Bronson on these aspects. Continuing the collaboration with IRRI, perfected the technology for real time nitrogen management in rice based on Leaf Color Chart in the Punjab, India. Presently, collaborating with Drs. R. Buresh , J.K. Ladha and V. Balasubramanian of IRRI to work on different aspects of sustainability of rice-wheat cropping system. In particular, emphasis is on efficient management of rice residues and nitrogen fertilizers in rice-wheat system. From 2003 onwards associated with PAU/CSIRO/NSW Agriculture ACIAR -funded bilateral research project entitled; 'Permanent raised beds for sustainable rice-wheat and alternative cropping systems in NW India and Australia' to work on simulation modeling aspects of the project. Recently initiated work on UDAID funded project: Accelerating the tillage revolution in the Indo-Ganges basin- Fostering adoption of resource conservation technologies to promote economic growth, resource conservation and food security- Part II: Green seeker sensors for efficient nitrogen management. This project involves calibration of Green Seeker sensor for managing nitrogen fertilizers on rice-wheat cropping systems.
G. Job Title: ICAR National Professor at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. May 2006 to May 2012
To work on the project entitled: Plant-need based nitrogen management in rice and
Wheat to work out need based N management options using leaf colour chart and optical sensors. The project aims to work out strategies to enhance fertilizer nitrogen use efficiency in irrigated rice and wheat beyond that achieved through blanket fertilizer recommendations followed over large regions. The underlying philosophy in the project is to devise a combination of anticipatory (preventive) and responsive (during the growing season) decisions to apply fertilizer so as to achieve a congruence between crop uptake of nitrogen (determined by seasonal yield potential) from all sources which include fertilizer, soil, organic manures, residual effects of previously applied fertilizers and manures, crop residues and any atmospheric deposition. For in-season management of fertilizer nitrogen, crop-based approaches ranging from simple tools such as a leaf color chart (LCC) to chlorophyll meters (such as SPAD meter) and optical sensors (such as GreenSeeker hand-held optical sensor) are being used to deal with uncertainties in the prediction of the seasonal crop nitrogen demand as well as nitrogen supply from sources other than fertilizers so as to fine-tune both nitrogen rates and timing of fertilizer nitrogen applications.
Salient achievements from the project so far are:
Real-time nitrogen management in rice by monitoring leaf colour at 7- to 10-day intervals and applying fertilizer nitrogen whenever leaves are less greenish than leaf colour chart (LCC) shade 4 works very well in achieving high nitrogen use efficiency and yield.
Applying 30 kg N/ha at transplanting, 0, 30 or 45 kg N/ha at active tillering (21 DAT) and panicle initiation (42 DAT) for leaf colour to be ≥ LCC shade 5, ≥ LCC shade 4 but
Applying 30 kg N/ha at transplanting and following dynamic threshold approach using SPAD meter (90% sufficiency index – SPAD value of the test plot expressed as percentage of the SPAD value of the N rich plot) or LCC (0.5 unit less than N rich plot LCC value) for applying doses of 30 kg N/ha up to initiation of flowering in rice can take care of variability in cultivars in terms of leaf greenness
GreenSeeker optical sensor can be effectively employed to guide need based N applications at panicle initiation stage of rice when a prescriptive dose of 30 kg N/ha at transplanting and 45 kg N/ha at active tillering is applied.
A criterion for assessing whether wheat crop needs additional application of fertilizer nitrogen at maximum tillering stage has been developed. Leaf greenness less than 42.5 as measured with SPAD meter indicates that a significant response of wheat to fertilizer nitrogen can be expected.
A dose of 25 kg N/ha at planting of wheat (applied through diammonium phosphate to supply 26 kg P/ha) and 45 kg N/ha at first irrigation (crown root initiation stage) are the appropriate prescriptive fertilizer doses before applying a corrective fertilizer N dose of 30, 45 or 60 kg N/ha at 2nd irrigation as per SPAD meter values of the first fully opened leaf from the top to be: ≥42.5, 40 to <42.5 or <40, or LCC values to be: ≥ shade 4, between shade 3.5 to < shade 4 or < shade 3.5.
Fertilizer N use efficiency in wheat can be substantially enhanced by following Murdock or sufficiency index approaches which can very effectively take care of the effects of cultivar, season and other management practices on need based N management strategies. Applying a dose of 30 kg N/ha at planting of wheat and 45 kg N/ha at 1st irrigation (crown root initiation stage) are the appropriate prescriptive fertilizer doses before applying a corrective fertilizer N dose of 30, 45 or 60 kg N/ha at 2nd irrigation as per sufficiency index (SPAD value of the test plot expressed as percentage of SPAD value of the N rich plot) to be: ≥90%, between 85 to < 90% or < 85%, or leaf colour to be less than colour of the N rich plot by: 0.5 LCC unit, between 0.5 to 1 LCC unit or more than 1 LCC unit.
Application of 30 kg N/ha at planting and 45 kg N/ha at 1st irrigation before applying GreenSeeker guided fertilizer doses at 2nd irrigation is the best strategy for producing high wheat yields and improved nitrogen use efficiency.
Job Title: INSA Senior Scientist at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. May 2012 to date
Nature of this job is like a consultant. While working on decision support system for need based fertilizer management in wheat, writing reviews on fertilizer management related issues.