Management influence on maize–wheat system performance, water productivity and soil biology uri icon

abstract

  • Cereal cropping productivity in the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) of India is declining, which may be overcome by diversification, alternate crop establishment methods and mulching. This study was conducted to determine whether no-till flat (NTF), permanent raised beds (PRB) and nontraditional ex situ mulching would improve crop and water productivity, economic profitability and soil biological properties in an irrigated maize (Zea mays)-wheat (Triticum aestivum) system (MWS). NTF systems produced 10% higher economic net returns compared with PRBs. Non-traditional mulching (Sesbania, Jatropha and Brassica) increased yields by >10% and net returns by >12% compared with no-mulch. The water saving in PRBs compared with NTF systems was 79, 94 and 173mm/ha in maize, wheat and MWS, respectively. PRBs saved 29.2% of irrigation water and improved the MWS irrigation water productivity (WPI) by 24.5% over NTF. On average, mulching saved 23.8mm/ha irrigation water over no-mulch and improved WPI by 12.0%. PRBs with ex situ mulching produced wheat and maize equivalent system yields lower than NTF but improved WPI and soil biological properties. Jatropha and Sesbania mulching improved yield, water saving, WPI and system profitability. In limited irrigation and no crop residue availability conditions, Sesbania, Jatropha and Brassica vegetation material have potential applications for ex situ mulching under PRBs for water saving and NTF for productivity.

publication date

  • 2015
  • 2015