The horticulture sector encompasses various crops, including fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, mushrooms, floriculture, medicinal and aromatic plants, nuts, and plantation crops like coconut and oil palm. This rapidly growing sector significantly contributes to the Indian economy, with India ranking second in horticultural production globally, following only China. Horticultural crops, known for their high value, require substantial fertilizers and regular irrigation to ensure proper crop growth, development, high productivity, and quality produce. The nutrient requirements of various horticultural crops vary widely, and even different varieties within one crop exhibit distinct nutrient needs due to genetic variability. The formulation of fertilizer recommendations is an ongoing process. Evaluating soil nutrient status, including micronutrients, is essential to successfully implement fertilizer management practices. Soil sampling for horticultural crops should be tailored to their root patterns. Factors such as nutrient uptake, changes in crop varieties, agricultural practices, cropping intensities, and yield targets necessitate periodic adjustments and updates to fertilizer recommendations. Meeting the nutrient requirements of horticultural crops must adhere to the 4Rs principle: the right rate, right source, right placement, and right timing of fertilizer application, ensuring more cost-effective utilization of fertilizer resources.
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