Department of Soil Science and Water Management
Dr. Y. S. Parmar University of Horticulture & Forestry - Solan


Thrust area

  • Development of suitable technology for sustainable production in the areas of soil fertility and plant nutrition of horticultural and forestry species and formulation of nutrient management recommendation

  • Standardization of plant sampling techniques and critical limits for nutrient element in soils and crops to assess soil/plant health. Delineation of nutrient deficiency/ sufficiency areas and make suitable fertilizer recommendations.

  • Conduct research on conservation and management of soil and water resources, water -requirement of crops, irrigation scheduling, water use efficiency.

  • Conduct research on in situ moisture conservation, water harvesting, hi-tech irrigation system/fertigation and use of plastics for increasing crop productivity and quality.

  • Development of bio-fertilizer technology suitable for soils and crops of the State.

  • Delineation and management of problem soils and development of suitable technology for their management.

  • Evaluation of impact of various land uses on runoff and sediment yields.

  • Evaluation of different conservation measures in watersheds.

Salient achievements

  • Nutritional surveys based on soil and plant analyses of apple orchards of the state of Himachal Pradesh revealed low to medium levels of N, medium to high P and medium in K content coupled with a wide spread deficiency of Zn and B. Deficiency of Zn and B to the extent of 25-90 % and 21-65 %, respectively was recorded in plants.

  • Recommended NPK dose with bio-fertilizers and crop residue produced high quality yield, improved the soil health in all major vegetable crops (tomato, cauliflower, french bean and pea) grown under mid hill conditions of Himachal Pradesh. However, 50 % NPK in conjunction with enriched compost produced yield equivalent to 100 % NPK level, thus a saving of 50 % in chemical fertilizer can be achieved.

  • The technique for the preparation of enriched compost has been developed from the agricultural waste materials and leaves of non fodder trees with the use of urea, rock phosphate and efficient cultures of microbes in kachha pits in about three months period. The compost prepared has neutral pH, normal electrical conductivity, 22.10 % organic carbon, 1.02 % total N, 0.71 % total P, 21.67 C/N ratio with 258 X 106 total microbial count.

  • Current annual increments in the young plantations (5-6 years) of Pinus roxburghii, Grewia optiva, Albizia lebbek and Acacia catechu increased by 38, 50, 81 and 61 % by overcoming the nutrient and moisture stresses in the soil. For the better establishment of these species during the initial years of their plantation, P. roxburghii need to be fertilized with 120, 90 and 60 kg/ha, A. lebbek and A. catechu with 90, 90 and 60 kg/ha N, P2O5 and K2O, respectively, with irrigation at 15 days interval to bring the soil to field capacity

  • Application of chemical fertilizers in conjunction with different organic manures viz. FYM, Krushi-Gold , Vermi-compost gave markedly higher fruit yield and better growth parameters of apple compared to sole application of 100 % RD of chemical fertilizers. Treatment comprising 75 % RD + Krushi Gold @ 5 kg/tree gave maximum fruit yield and fruit weight, which were also significantly higher compared to 100 % RD of chemical fertilizers.

  • The present land use of Kiar-Nagali micro-watershed area exhibited 51.33 ha as cultivated area which includes agricultural crops and orchards. The land capability classification of area indicated that additional 8 ha land can be put under cuiltivation with precaution against permanent damage. The majority of lands are suffering from the limitations of steep slopes, soil erosion, soil depth and texture.

  • Comprehensive database of Mandhala watershed in district Solan having an area of 14 km2 has been prepared, which can be successfully used for effective natural resource management and land use planning for high crop productivity, Studies suggested that about 9% of the area in the lower Shiwaliks of HP is moderately suitable for raising tomato, pea and mustard crops and highly suitable for mango crop which have been noted to be highly remunerative. About 34% more can be brought under sub-tropical fruit cultivation.

  • Technology for LDPE lined farm pond with zero seepage has been standardized and demonstrated with cost of Rs 0.6/litre of stored water which is 4-5 times cheap as compared to RCC tank and has been recommended for efficient rain water harvesting.

  • Nitrogen application through fertigation in apricot gives 40% saving of N besides 9.81 % higher yield compared to conventional basin application + surface irrigation.

  • Modification of crop geometry in pea, tomato, cauliflower and capsicum helped in the reduction of drip installation cost by 20.0, 18.6, 27.0 and 41.0 %, respectively, with a consequent yield increase of 28.0, 22.5, 14.5 and 16.0 % over traditional practices

  • Use of mulches has indicated a positive response and drip irrigation alongwith different mulches in strawberry and pea indicated the superiority of black polythene mulch giving 20 % higher yields besides saving 50 % irrigation water.

  • In situ moisture conservation and its carry over for pea and tomato crops through conventional tillage + straw mulch @ 5 t/ha + manual weeding is the best practice and conserved 8.8 and 10.9 mm higher moisture over conventional tillage + manual weeding with yields of 103.99 q/ha-pea and 312.20 q/ha tomato.

  • In situ moisture conservation in fruit/vegetable crops through black plastic mulch is being demonstrated across the state of Himachal Pradesh.

  • Black polyethylene mulch for in-situ moisture conservation in fruit (100 micron thickness) and vegetable crops (50 micron thickness) is being demonstrated across the state of Himachal Pradesh

  • Water requirement of pea and tomato has been worked out 54.7 and 99.5 cm at 0.75 cumulative pan evaporation of the previous week. Bearing mango required 125 cm of irrigation water at 40 % available soil moisture depletion. Likewise, young non-bearing litchi (4-5 years), requires 80 cm irrigation water at 40 % available soil moisture depletion for optimum growth.

  • Propagation through rooting of cuttings of kiwifruit (hardwood and softwood) and carnation were studied for their rooting percentage and other growth parameters using different media combinations, wherein the best media was observed to be sawdust +soil (2:1) in case of hardwood kiwifruit cuttings and carnation for both conditions of growing.

  • For softwood kiwifruit cuttings raised exclusively under polyhouse condition, sand was found to be the best media. When comparing the growing conditions, the % increase in rooting under polyhouse over open condition ranges from 11 to 28.5 % for hardwood kiwifruit and from 17 to 36 % for carnation depending upon the rooting media used.

  • Varietal evaluation of tomato, cucumber and spinach were tried for year round utilization of polyhouse. Naveen, Poinsette and Multicut cv. of tomato, cucumber and spinach performed best and gave BC ratio of 5.8, 5.4 and 3.4, respectively.Tomato- Mar- Sep; Cucumber- Sep-Dec and Spinach- Dec-Mar.

  • Water requirement of capsicum and cauliflower under drip irrigation has been worked out. Capsicum crop grown in the gravely loamy sand soils of mid hills of Himachal Pradesh under drip irrigation system requires 25 cm of irrigation water. The drip system having in-line emitters with a discharge rate of 4 litres/hour needs to be operated on alternate days during May and June and bi-weekly during rainy season. Cauliflower requires 18 cm of irrigation water. The drip system having in-line emitters with a discharge rate of 4 litres/hour needs to be operated bi-weekly. Drip irrigation+ plastic mulch increased the yield of capsicum and cauliflower over surface irrigation to about 38% and 47%, respectively. The drip irrigation water requirement for different months have been worked out.

  • For fertigation of tomato in open fields, Drip irrigation at V volume on bi-weekly basis should be followed along with fertigation schedule as 12-61-00 @ 2 kg/acre/day for 30 days after planting+ 13-00-45 @ 2.0 kg/acre/day for 31-50 days after planting +16-05-24 @ 2 kg/acre/day for 51--80 days after planting + 05-15-30 @ 2 kg/acre/day for 81-95 days after planting + Calcium nitrate + Plastic mulch. Drip irrigation along with fertigation and plastic mulch increased the yield by 30 percent while saving in water and fertilizer was of about 30 per cent each. The drip irrigation helped in precise application of water and fertilizer that was not possible through conventional method of irrigation and fertilization.

  • For production of apple nursery in polyhouse, Budding or grafting in the month of September gives better performance as compared to those in the month of August and October. Among the methods of propagation, Chip budding appears to be more successful than the other methods of propagation. This helps in shortening the period of nursery production by one year.

  • For production of Brahmi, Drip irrigation during afternoon hours is beneficial for meeting out the water requirements of the crop and getting maximum yield while sprinkler irrigation can be used during morning hours.

  • Model Organic Farm of 1.0 ha. Area has been developed at the departmental research farm at Majhgaon which comprises of vermicompost unit, NADEP compost unit, rainwater harvesting and farm pond of 5.0 lakh lt. Capacity, since April 2007, for demonstration of organic farming technology to the farmers

Ongoing Research Projects  (Externally Funded)



Title of the project(s)

Principal Investigator/


Funding Agency

Date of


Date of



(Rs. In Lakhs)


Augmentation of Water Resources through Rain Water Harvesting and Enhancing Ground Water Availability at Nauni


Er.  Ghanshyam Agrawal (Co-PI)

CGWB, MoWR, GoI, New Delhi

April, 2012

March, 2014



Augmentation of Water Resources through Rain Water Harvesting and Enhancing Ground Water Availability at Nauni

Dr. Kamal Sharma (PI)



Er.  Ghanshyam Agrawal (Co-PI)

CGWB, MoWR, GoI, New Delhi

April, 2012

March, 2014



Precision Farming Development Centre



Long Term


   50.00        (Annual)


Augmentation of Water Resources through Water Harvesting in Hill Areas.

Er. Ghanshyam Agrawal


April, 2010





Integrated project on quality seed/planting material production, irrigation Management and Soil Health concerns in vegetable and Spice crops

Dr. H S Kanwar - PI

Dr. Uday Sharma - Co-PI

Mr. R.S. Spehia - Co-PI


June , 2013

May 2014



Production of vegetables and flowers under Hydroponic system

R S Spehia

DeitY, Ministry of Communication and IT, GOI through CDAC

July, 14

Dec, 16 (expected)

91.5 (in collaboration with CDAC)



Research Projects  completed


Title of the project

Funding agency





Evaluation of Water Use Efficiency for Maximization of Pea and Tomato Productivity  in North-West Himalayan Region

Dept. of Science & Technology, GOI, New Delhi.


Three years


Farmers Participatory Action Research Programme

Central Water Commission MoWR, New Delhi

1.0 Crore

Three years


Land evaluation for resource management and land use planning in Kothon Sunhol  micro-watershed

HP State Land Use Board, Dept. of Forest. 


Two years


Studies on use of Granulated (Max-Crystals) and Liquid (Max-Power)OrganicManuresin     Fruit and Vegetable Crops. 

M/S Max Grow Pvt. Ltd.   Model Town Ludhiana


Three years


Land use planning for management of Agricultural Resources.

NATP/ ICAR, Delhi 


Three years


Conjoint use of chemical fertilizers with crop residue/organic manures and bio-fertilizers for higher nutrient efficacy and sustainable off season vegetable production.



Three years


Microbial diversity in different geo-climatic zones of HP.

DST  New Delhi.


Four years


National Project on Organic farming



Six years


Development of land use plan for Mandhala watershed in Solan district.

DST New Delhi.


Four years


Use of Vriksha Mitra Bio fertilizer on apple

Chambal   Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd.


Three years

1 1.

Studies on use of Granulated (Max-Crystals) and Liquid (Max-Power)OrganicManuresin     Fruit and Vegetable Crops. 

M/S Max Grow Pvt.Ltd.   Model Town Ludhiana


Three years


Status of Micro irrigation in Himachal Pradesh

Himmotthan, TATA TRUST, Dehradun


One year


Evaluation of water use efficiency for maximization of pea and tomato productivity in North-West Himalayan Region

DST, GOI, New Delhi


Three years


M& E Study in the Saturated & Unsaturated Micro Watersheds of HP under RVP & FPR Projects

Deptt. Of Forest, HP


Three years


Nutrient and irrigation management for yield maximization in pea tomato rotation in mid hills of Himachal Pradesh



Three years