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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
Dr.(Ms.) D M D I Wijebandara, PhD
(University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Banglore, India)
Senior Research Officer

Dr.(Ms.) H M I K Herath, PhD 
(Massey University, New Zealand)

Research Officer Ms. M K F Nadheesha, MSc
Research Officer Ms. P G Synthiya
Research Officer Ms. D M P D Dissanayake
Technical (Research)
Experimental Officer Ms. D M P D Dissanayake
Experimental Officer Ms. N H R M  De Silva
Experimental Officer Ms. C P A Kurundukumbura, BSc (Agric)
(University of Peradeniya, SL)
Experimental Officer Mr. K P A Pathirana
Experimental Officer

Mr. K P I E Ambagala

Technical Officer Mr. E M A Thilakaratne Banda
Technical Officer Ms. H L A  Padmini
Technical Officer Mr. B S V J Perera
Technical Officer Ms. N M Piyasena
Technical Officer Ms. G A M Samanthi
Non Research
Lab and Field Assistant Mr. W Gunasena
Lab and Field Assistant Mr. J A R T Jayasinghe
Lab and Field Assistant Ms. B M A U Amarathunga
Lab and Field Assistant Mr. H M H P Herath
Lab and Field Attendant Mr. E A Chandradasa
Lab and Field Attendant Mr. W Wimalasiri
Lab and Field Attendant Mr. K K A Mendis
Lab and Field Attendant Mr. W R P Tissera
Lab and Field Attendant Mr. H M S Nayanakumara
Lab and Field Attendant Mr. J A S L Jayasinghe
Lab and Field Attendant Ms S M A Chiranthi
Lab and Field Attendant Mr. L M G D Liyanage

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. Herath, I., Green, S., Horne, D., Singh, R. and Clothier, B. 2014. Quantifying and reducing the water footprint of rain-fed potato production Part I: Measuring the net use of blue and green water. Journal of Cleaner Production, DOI:10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.06.026
  2. Herath, I., Green, S., Horne, D., Singh, R. and Clothier, B. 2014. Quantifying and reducing the water footprint of rain-fed potato production Part II: A hydrological assessment using modelling supported by measurements. Journal of Cleaner Production, DOI:10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.06.025
  3. Herath, I. 2014. The Water Footprint of Coconut production: A Preliminary Assessment. Proceedings of the 5th symposium on Plantation Crop Research 15-17 October, BMICH, Colombo.
  4. Herath, I., Green, S., Horne, D., Singh, R. and Clothier, B. 2014. Using water footprinting to reduce the impact of the use of agricultural water and agrichemicals on water resources. Proceedings of 20th World Congress of Soil Science, 9-13 June 2014, Jeju, South Korea.
  5. Herath, I., Green, S., Horne, D., Singh, R. and Clothier, B. 2014. Variability in water footprints: A case study of New Zealand wines. Proceedings of 20th World Congress of Soil Science, 9-13 June 2014, Jeju, South Korea.
  6. Herath, I., Green, S and Clothier, B. 2014. Grey water foot-printing to reduce the impacts of agriculture on water resources: A case study from New Zealand potato production. Proceedings of the Third Young Scientists Forum Symposium. ISBN 978-955-8630-06-8.  PP 65-67.
  7. Clothier, B., Green,S., Herath, I., Périé E,. van den Dijssel C., Deurer, M. Mason, K., Dryden, G and Butcher, M. 2014. Minimizing the Water Footprints of Fruit for Multiple Benefits.  Acta Horticulturae. Vol.1038. pp 27-34. ISSN 05677572
  8. Ganga, D. D. E. H., Herath, I. Scynthya, P. G., Fernandupulle, M. N. D. 2014. Effect of long-term phosphorus fertilizer application on phosphorus solubilizing bacteria in coconut growing soils. Proceedings of the 13th Agricultural Research Symposium. Wayamba University of Sri Lanka.  ISBN 978-955-4709-17--1.
  9. Wijebandara, D.M.D.I., Vidhanaarachchi, V. R. M., Gunathilaka, T. R. and Tennakoon, N. A. (2014).   Effect of Copper and Zinc on Embryo Germination and Seedling Growth of Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.).  Proceedings of the 5th Symposium on Plantation Crop Research, 71 – 76.
  10. Weerasinghe, W.D.M.D., Wijebandara, D.M.D.I. and Fernandopulle, M. N. D. (2014).  Dissolution of Eppawela Rock Phosphate in Dry Zone Coconut Growing Soils.  Proceedings of the 13th Agricultural Research Symposium, 12th - 13th August, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, pp 457 - 479.

  1. Herath, H.M.I.K. 2013. Is the grey-water footprint helpful for understanding the impact of primary production on water quality? Paper presented at the conference on Accurate and efficient use of nutrients on farms organised by Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, 12th February 2013.
  2. Herath, H.M.I.K. 2013. “Water Foot printing: An Indication of Impacts of Agriculture on Water Resources”. Paper presented at the International Symposium on Agriculture and Environment (ISAE) Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna on 28th November 2013.
  3. Herath, H.M.I.K. 2013. “Use of water foot printing to quantify and reduce the impact of nutrient leaching on water resource”. Paper presented at the Soil and Fertilizer Day organized by the Soil Science Society of Sri Lanka, University of Peradeniya on 6th December 2013.
  4. Tennakoon, N.A. 2013. A series of paper articles on Inorganic and organic fertilizer for coconut. “Kapruka” supplementary of Daily News on 8th March, 12th April and 14th June 2013.
  5. Tennakoon, N.A. and Ranasinghe, C.S. 2013. Coconut leaf burn yellowing temporary. “Kapruka” supplementary of Daily News on 12th April 2013.
  6. Tennakoon, N.A. 2013. Incentives for coconut cultivators using organic fertilizer. “Kapruka” supplementary of Daily News on 14th June 2013.
  7. Wijebandara, D. M. D. I. and  Kurudukubura, C.P.A. (2013).  Evaluation of Phosphorus availability in a lateritic gravelly coconut grown and long term phosphate fertilizer applied soil in Sri Lanka with an indicator plant. COCOS 20: 1. 59 - 70.
  8. Wijebandara, D. M. D. I. participated an agricultural radio programme on “Coconut soil nutrients and soil conservation” produced by  Television and Farm Broadcasting Service, Department of Agriculture on 17th May 2013.
  9. Kulasinghe, K. P. N., Wijebandara, D. M. D. I., Nugawela, A. and Fernandopulle, M.N.D. (2013).  Performance of Eppawela Rock Phosphate with organic manure as a phosphate source for adult coconut palms in Dry Zone.  Proceedings of 12th Agricultural Research Symposium, Faculty of Agriculture and Plantation Management, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka.
  10. Wijebandara, D. M. D. I. (2013). Phosphorus Adsorption Maximum as Measured by the Langmuir Equation and its Relationship to Soil Properties in Coconut Growing Soils of Sri Lanka.   Proceedings of the 11th International Conference of East Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies (ESAFS 11) 25-30.

  1. Herath, I., Clothier, B., Green, S., Horne, D. and Singh, R. 2012. Methodological challenges in agricultural product water footprinting: A case study of New Zealand wine. Proceedings of the Joint Australian and New Zealand Soil Science conference, Hobart, 2 - 7 December 2012.
  2. Herath, I., Clothier, B., Green, S., Deurer, M., Horne, D., Singh, R. and van der Zijpp, S. 2012. Variability in agricultural product water footprints: A case study of New Zealand wine. Proceedings of the 2nd New Zealand Life Cycle Assessment Centre Conference 28th–29th Mar 2012. Auckland, New Zealand.
  3. Herath, I., Clothier, B., Green, S., Horne, D., Singh, R., Marsh, A., Buchanan, A. and Burgess, R. 2012. Measuring the Grey Water Footprint of Potatoes. In: Advanced Nutrient Management Gains from the Past - Goals for the Future. (Eds L.D. Currie and C.L. Christensen). Occasional Report No. 25. Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
  4. Wijebandara, D.M.D.I. and Zanofar, A.A. 2012. Distribution of Zn fractions with relation to soil properties in coconut lands.  Proceedings of the 4th Symposium on Plantation Crop Research at Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka on 20th - 21st September 2012. (PP 217 - 225)
  5. Wijebandara, D.M.D.I. and Tennakoon, N.A. 2012. Integrated nutrient management in Weligama Coconut Leaf Wilt Disease, Chapter 3, Coconut Research Institute, Lunuwila.
  6. Wijebandara, D.M.D.I. 2012. Micronutrients for coconut. Coconut Technology Update, publication of Coconut Research Institute, Issue 1, April 2012.
  7. Wijebandara, D.M.D.I. 2012. Can you apply urea based NPK fertilizer with dolomite to coconut? Coconut Technology Update, Publication of Coconut Research Institute, Issue 1, April 2012.
  8. Wijebandara, D.M.D.I. 2012. Weligama Coconut Leaf Wilt Disease (WCLWD); Is it due to nutrient deficiency? Coconut Technology Update, Publication of Coconut Research Institute, Issue 2, August 2012.

  1. Asara, A.F., Wijebandara, D.M.D.I. and Gunathilake, H.A.W.S. 2011.  Phosphorus fixation capacities of some coconut growing soils of Sri Lanka.  Proceedings of the 11th Agricultural Research Symposium was held at Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Makandura, Gonawila on20 -21 September. pp 20 – 21. 2011.
  2. Cooray, N.C.S., Nadheesha, M.K.F., Weerakkody, W.J.S.K., and Tennakoon, N.A. 2011. Net nitrogen mineralization in coconut soil after amelioration by adding organic manure in Boralu and Sudu series. In proceedings of 11th Agriculture Research Symposium held in Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Makandura on 20-21 September. pp 347-351.
  3. Ekanayaka, E.M.R.A., Nadheesha, M.K.F., and Weerakkody, W.J.S.K.  Potential buffering capacities of some coconut (Cocos nucifera) growing soils in relation to potassium in Sri Lanka. In proceedings of 11th Agriculture Research Symposium held in Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Makandura on 20-21 September. pp 347-351.
  4. Jayasekara, D.R.L.W., Nadheesha, M.K.F., Gunerathna M.H.J.P., and Tennakoon, N.A. 2011. Irrigation and Fertilizer on nutrition and on yield of coconut palms. Proceedings of Undergraduate Research Symposium held in Rajarata University on 16th September P 57.
  5. Herath, I., Deurer, M., Horne, D., Singh, R., and Clothier, B., 2011. The water footprint of hydroelectricity: A methodological comparison from a case study in New Zealand. Journal of Cleaner Production 19: 1582-1589.
  6. Herath, I., Deurer, M., Horne, D., Singh, R. and Clothier, B. 2011.The water footprint of hydropower: a vital input for the water footprinting of New Zealand’s agricultural products. Proceedings of the 2nd Annual Doctoral Students’ Symposium. December 5, 2011. Massey University Palmerston North, New Zealand.
  7. Herath,I., Deurer, M. Clothier, B., Horne, D. and Singh, R. 2011. Water footprints of agricultural products: indicators of water sustainability. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of East and Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies. October 10-13, 2011, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  8. Nadheesha, M.K.F. and Tennakoon, N.A. 2011. Foliar Nutrient status of coconut growing areas in Sri Lanka. Proceedings of the 10th International conference of the East and Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies - Soil, a precious natural resource: agricultural ecosystems, Environmental Health  and Climatic Change (Eds. Dharmakeerthi, R.S.,  Vitharana, U.W.A., Mapa, R.B., Jayakody, A.N., Nayakakorala, H.B. and Weerakoon, W.M.W.) Soil Science Society of Sri Lanka held in Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, Colombo Sri Lanka on  10th - 13th October, pp 105-106.
  9. Sooriyaarachchi, N.D., Nadheesha, M.K.F., Rajakaruna, R.M.P., and Tennakoon, N.A. 2011. Effectiveness of Ipil Ipil (Leucaena lucocephala) and Acacia (Acacia leprosa) on Rehabilitation of degraded coconut growing soils. Proceedings of Undergraduate Research Symposium held in Rajarata University on 16th September P 49.
  10. Tennakoon, N.A. 2011. Land Use Patterns in Coconut Sector. Journal of the National Institute of Plantation Management, Athurugiriya, Sri Lanka. Vol 23 (1), pp 15 - 16.
  11. Tennakoon, N.A. 2011. Soil Fertility and Water Management through Coconut Based Agro Forestry. Proceeding of a Symposium on Increasing Coconut Land Productivity Through Agro Forestry 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 - 46.
  12. Tennakoon, N.A. 2011. Potassium Status and Requirement of Coconut Soils in Sri Lanka. Paper presented at the International Symposium on Role of Potassium in Sustaining the Yield & Its Quality held in Hotel Topaz, Kandy, Sri Lanka on 27 - 28 October 2011.
  13. Wijebandara, D.M.D.I. and Kurundukumbura, C.P.A. 2011. Residual phosphorus availability of coconut growing soil after long term application of different phosphate sources.  Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of East & Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies.  pp 269-270.
  14. Wijebandara, D.M.D.I., Dasog, G.S. and Patil, P.L. 2011. Effect of submergence on transformation of Zinc fractions in paddy growing soil.  Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of East & Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies. pp 207-208.
  15. Wijebandara, D.M.D.I., Dasog, G.S., Patil, P.L. and Manjunath Hebbar, 2011. Zinc Fractions and their Relationships with Soil Properties in Paddy growing Soils of Northern Dry and Hill Zones of Karnataka.   Journal of the Indian Society of Soil Science, Vol. 59, No. 2, pp 141-147.
  16. Wijebandara, D.M. D. I., Dasog, G.S., Patil, P.L. and Manjunath Hebbar, 2011. Zinc Effect of Nutrient Levels on Rice (Oryza sativa L.) under System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Traditional Methods of Cultivation.   Journal of the Indian Society of Soil Science, Vol. 59, No. 1, pp 67-73.
  17. Zanofar, A.A., Wijebandara, D.M.D.I. and Fernandopulle, M. 2011.  Effect of Soil Properties on Distribution of Different Forms of Zinc in Some Coconut Growing Soils in Low Country Intermediate Zone of Sri Lanka.  Proceedings of the 11th Agricultural Research Symposium was held at Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Makandura, Gonawila on 20 -21 September. pp 323 -327.

  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, 28 January 2016 06:51  

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