Soil nutrient testing through the conventional analytical method is time consuming, expensive and need well-equipped laboratories leading to practical difficulties such as inaccessibility and affordability, thus, rendering the soil analysis an unfinished task. To help farmers, MCRC along with Indian Institute of Technology Madras has developed a chromatogram based for soil nutrient testing method called Alternative Analytical Technology (AAT), which can analyze all important factors such as pH, EC, organic carbon, humus and potential yield limiting factors such as macro, secondary & micro nutrients. This rapid soil testing method not only provides alerts on excess or deficiency of nutrients but also gives recommendations on optimum agri-input levels. The technology consumes less energy and is 20 times cheaper than conventional techniques.
As an easy access to farmers, a mobile laboratory equipped with AAT system was designed and built in the year 2011 to provide soil testing service near their location. This mobile laboratory has visited hundreds of villages of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
Another improved version of AAT, a portable AAT (PAAT) kit to test the soil samples at farmers' door step has also been developed. This can be carried at the back of a two-wheeler to the farm gates and the soil can be tested. It is an opportunity for an entrepreneur to use this facility. Over a decade, around 50000 soil samples from farmers of Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Dindigul, Kancheepuram, Karur, Kodaikanal, Kumbakonam, Perambalur, Salem, Sivaganga, Tirunelveli, Thiruvallur and Viluppuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were tested and fertilizer and crop recommendations suitable for that particular field were provided.