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Soils and Plant Nutrition Division



Mission

Develop cost effective technology for the maintenance of nutrient status of coconut palms and other associated crops by the application of inorganic and organic fertilizer. Conservation of productive soil and improvement of sub optimal soils for coconut production and management of soil moisture for sustainable productivity of coconut plantation in diverse soils and agro ecological conditions. Identify the suitable non-traditional lands for coconut cultivation through land suitability tests.

Staff

Research
Head/ Principal Soil Scientist
Dr. A Tennakoon, PhD
(University of Aberdeen, UK)
Senior Soil Scientist Dr.(Ms.) D M D I Wijebandara, PhD
(University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Banglore, India)
Soil Scientist Ms.M K F Nadheesha, MSc (on study leave)
Soil Scientist Ms. H M I K Herath, MSc (on study leave)


Technical (Research)
Experimental Officer Ms. N H R M De Silva, BSc
(University of Peradeniya, SL)
Experimental Officer Mr. D P Panditharatne
Experimental Officer Ms. S D H Bandara, BSc
(University of Peradeniya, SL)
Experimental Officer Ms. C P A Kurundukumbura, BSc (Agric)
(University of Peradeniya, SL)
Senior Technical Officer Mr. E M A Thilakaratne Banda
Technical Officer

Ms. H L A P Liyanage, Diploma in Agriculture

Technical Officer Mr. K P A Pathirana, Diploma in Agriculture
Technical Officer Mr. B S V J Perera, Diploma in Agriculture
Technical Officer Mr. K P I E Ambagala, Diploma in Agriculture


Non Research
Senior Lab and Field Assistant Mr. W Gunasena
Senior Lab and Field Assistant Mr. F H A J R Silva
Senior Lab and Field Assistant Mr. K L Ranasinghe
Lab and Field Assistant Mr. K J S Perera
Senior Lab and Field Attendant Mr. E A Chandradasa
Senior Lab and Field Attendant Mr. W Wimalasiri
Lab and Field Attendant Mr. K K A Mendis
Lab and Field Attendant Ms. M S M Dharmaratne
Lab and Field Attendant Mr. H M S Nayanakumara


Research Highlights

  • Substitution of low cost phosphate (ERP) in place of imported rock phosphate and other low cost local materials in place of muriate of potash for coconut palms in different agro ecological regions
  • Development of fertilizer mixtures for young and adult coconut palms tapping palms and fertilizer application techniques
  • Evaluation of the productivity of coconut palms in response to high dose of chemical fertilizer and development of criteria for Differential Fertilizer Recommendation (DFR)
  • Studies on the role of micronutrients in relation to coconut
  • Development of irrigation systems in Dry and Intermediate zones
  • Studies on chemical and mineralogical properties of coconut growing areas (Nutrient Mapping)
  • Studies on long term effect of organic manure/green manure application to coconut
  • Land suitability assessment
  • Potassium behavior studies

Achievements

Fertilizer

  • Fertilizer recommendation for coconut is introduced based on 100% addition of Eppawela Rock Phosphate to the coconut palm in Wet and Intermediate zones
  • Recommendation of Inorganic Fertilizer
    • (a) Fertilizer Mixture for Adult Coconut Palm in Wet and Intermediate Zones (APM-W)
    • (b) Fertilizer Mixture for Adult Coconut Palm in Dry Zone (APM-D)
  • A fertilizer recommendation is introduced for king coconut palms
  • The fertilizer mixture is recommended for palms tapped for toddy
  • The coconut palms treated with high doses have shown nut yield increase from the palm receiving double or trible doses than normal recommendation
  • Zn and Cu is probably limiting for the coconut palms but Fe and Mn was not limiting for coconut
  • Recommendation of Organic manure for Adult Coconut Palm
  • The fresh poultry manure was harmful to both primary and secondary roots and this effect was greater with the broiler poultry manure than with the layer poultry manure
  • Trench application of poultry manure was mulch damaging to the roots than surface application
  • Organic manure i.e. poultry applied coconut palms increased the nut yield by 38-45% compared to the control palms (no fertilizer) while the nut yield increase by recommended inorganic fertilizer applied coconut palms was 17 - 25% compared to the no fertilizers. Among other organic source such as cattle manure, goat manure and gliricidia, the yield increases were 26%, 30% and 18% over the control respectively. Twenty seven percent nut yield increase was observed in palms receiving organic manure (poultry manure) over recommended inorganic fertilizer
  • Poultry manure applied soils has increased the moisture content by 37% and 34% compared to control (no fertilizer) and inorganic fertilizer applied soils respectively while soil hardness was decreased in gliricidia applied soils by 15% and 20% compared to control (no fertilizer) and inorganic fertilizer applied soils respectively. Poultry manure applied soils have decreased the bulk density of soils by 10% and 17% over the control (no fertilizer) and inorganic fertilizer applied soils
  • Organic manure treatments improved bulk density, moisture levels, available water, root penetration in the soil compared to chemical fertilizer treatment

Irrigation

  • Designed a suitable drip irrigation system for coconut (Water requirement)

Land Suitability

  • Entire coconut lands in coconut triangle and southern region have been classified into five classes and mapped
  • Deep ground water availability in Puttalam and Kurunegala District has been surveyed and mapped
  • Land suitability experiments in Monaragala, Jaffna, Eastern province, Anuradapura and Polonnaruwa are in progress.

On Going Research

  • Assessment of the effect of phosphates from different sources on the growth and yield of coconut in Intermediate and Dry zones and southern soils
  • Use of mica and feldspar and other locally available sources as a potassium source for coconut
  • Assessment and improvement of soil quality depletion in coconut lands at 3 sites covering major Agro climate zones
  • Formulation of an effective fertilizer mixture for young coconut palm
  • Study the behavior of urea and dolomite in Dry zone coconut soil (high pH soils)
  • Studies on application of kieserite with NPK for minimizing K and Mg interaction
  • Making a mechanical deviser for fertilizer application
  • Determination of critical levels of nutrients in young coconut palms of Sri Lanka
  • Evaluation of the effect of applying high doses of dolomite to improve Mg levels of the coconut
  • Evaluation of different fertilizer placement techniques on the yield of coconut
  • Evaluation of the effect of applying high doses of chemical fertilizer on the coconut yield and develop criteria for differential recommendation
  • Studies on Zn and Cu chelates as micronutrient sources for coconut
  • Evaluation of suitable Zn and Cu source for young coconut palm
  • Study the different axil feeding methods on increase of leaf Cu and Zn levels of coconut palm
  • Study the response of Cu and Zn nutrients on embryo cultured coconut
  • Study the response of Cu and Zn nutrients on germination of coconut seed nuts
  • Study the response of Cu and Zn nutrients on growth of young coconut palms in sand culture
  • Evaluating the effect of fertigation in coconut
  • Evaluation of nutrient status of different types of coconut growing soils
  • Comparative assessment of three organic manures, green manure against APM
  • Amelioration of Boralu & Sudu series soils by adding organic manure for improvement of the soil
  • Determination of heavy metals in nut water & kernel after long-term application of organic manure
  • Land suitability assessment for coconut in Eastern coastal region, Jaffna Peninsula, Moneragala, Ampara and Polonnaruwa Districts
  • Potassium behavior studies

Recent Publications

  1. Tennakoon, N.A. (2011). Soil fertility and water management through Coconut based Agroforestry, In: proceeding and Symposium on Increasing Coconut Land Productivity through Agroforestry Interventions, Pushpakumara, D.K.N.G., Gunasena, H.P.M., Gunathilaka, H.A.J. and Singh, V.P. (Eds.), Coconut Research Institute of Sri Lanka, Pp. 45-56.

  1. Wijebandara, D.M.D.S. (2010). Phosphorus status of major coconut growing soils of Sri Lanka on the performance of Puereria phaseoloides, COCOS, 19: Pp. 27-40.

  1. Tennakoon, N.A. (2009). Land use patterns in coconut sector, Journal of the National Institute of Plantation Management, National Institute of Plantation Management, Aturugiriya, Sri Lanka, 23 (1): Pp. 15-16.

  1. Herath, H.M.I.K., Ranasinghe, K.L. and Tennakoon, N.A. (2008). Use of soil and foliar nutrient levels to identify the nutritional limitations of two coconut growing soils in Sri Lanka, In: proceedings of the 2nd Symposium on Plantation Crop Research - Export Competitiveness Through Quality Improvements, Nainanayake, N.P.A.D. and Everard, J.M.D.T (Eds.), Coconut Research Institute, Lunuwila, Sri Lanka held in BMICH, Colombo on 16 - 17 October, Pp. 350 - 356.
  2. Liyanage, L.R.M.C., Purusothaman, Y., Panditharatne, D.P. and Tennakoon, N.A. (2008). Evaluation of Girdle Sprinkler Irrigation System for coconut in Intermediate and Dry zone of Sri Lanka, In: proceedings of the 2nd Symposium on Plantation Crop Research - Export Competitiveness Through Quality Improvements, Nainanayake, N.P.A.D. and Everard, J.M.D.T (Eds.), Coconut Research Institute, Lunuwila, Sri Lanka held in BMICH, Colombo on 16 - 17 October, Pp. 357 - 367.
  3. Nadheesha, M.K.F. and Tennakoon, N.A. (2008). Removal of micronutrients from high and moderative yielding coconut plantation in Sri Lanka, In: proceedings of the 2nd Symposium on Plantation Crop Research - Export Competitiveness Through Quality Improvements, Nainanayake, N.P.A.D. and Everard, J.M.D.T (Eds.), Coconut Research Institute, Lunuwila, Sri Lanka held in BMICH, Colombo on 16 - 17 October. Pp. 164 - 169.

  1. Herath, H.M.I.K., Saumyakumara, A.P.A., Tennakoon, N.A. (2007). Soil fertility status of common coconut growing soil series in Sri Lanka, Journal of the Soil Science Society of Sri Lanka, Volume 18.
  2. Jayakody, J.A.D.S.S., Tennakoon, N.A. and Fernandopulle, M.N.D. (2007). Assessment of the available phosphorus in two soil series under different fertilizer used for coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) in Gampaha District, COCOS, Vol 18., Pp. 24-34.
  3. Tennakoon, N.A. (2007). Microbiological methods of Biomass C, Biomas N, Microbial Activity and Net N mineralization, In: biological properties of manual of soil sampling and analysis, R.S. Dharmakeerthi, S.P. Indraratne and D. Kumaragamage (Eds.), Special Publication No. 10 Soil Science Society of Sri Lanka, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Pp. 115 - 125.

  1. Tennakoon, N.A., Fernando, K.S.K.S. and Widanapathirana, S. (2005). Microbiological properties of root zone of coconut grown in different soil series in Sri Lanka, CORD, 21 (1): Pp. 1-12.

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 December 2012 05:07  

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