On-farm impacts of zero tillage wheat in South Asia's rice–wheat systems uri icon

abstract

  • The recent slow down in productivity growth in the irrigated areas of the Indo-Gangetic Plains of South Asia has led to a quest for resource-conserving technologies that can reduce production costs, save water and improve production. Findings from farm surveys are used to evaluate the on-farm impacts of zero tillage (ZT) wheat in the rice-wheat systems of India's Haryana state and Pakistan's Punjab province. ZT-induced effects primarily apply to the establishment and production costs of the wheat crop. Both study sites confirmed significant ZT-induced resource-saving effects in farmers' fields in terms of diesel, tractor time and cost savings for wheat cultivation. Water savings are, however, less pronounced than expected from on-farm trial data. It was only in Haryana, India that there were significant ZT-induced water savings in addition to significant yield enhancement. The higher yield and water savings in Haryana, India result in significantly higher water productivity indicators for ZT wheat. In both sites, there are limited implications for the overall wheat crop management, the subsequent rice crop and the rice-wheat system as a whole. The combination of a significant "yield effect" and "cost-saving effect" makes adoption worthwhile and provide a much needed boost to the returns to wheat cultivation in Haryana, India. In Punjab, Pakistan, ZT is primarily a cost-saving technology for wheat cultivation. The prime driver for ZT adoption is not water savings or natural resource conservation but monetary gain in both sites. Water savings are only a potential added benefit. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2008
  • 2008