Crop establishment with conservation tillage and crop residue retention in rice-based cropping systems of Eastern India: yield advantage and economic benefit uri icon

abstract

  • Continuous practice of tillage intensive puddled rice-based systems in South Asia has developed serious issues related to soil health and production sustainability. This has exaggerated the need for sustainable alternatives. Here, the impact of four tillage cum crop establishment practices [conventional puddled transplanted rice followed by conventional till maize/wheat (CTTPR-CT), non-puddled transplanted rice followed by zero-till maize/wheat (NPTPR-ZT), zero-till transplanted rice followed by zero-till maize/wheat (ZTTPR-ZT), zero-till direct seeded rice followed by zero-till maize/wheat (ZTDSR-ZT)], two residue management [residue removal, residue retention (similar to 33.0%)] and two rice-based rotations (rice-wheat, rice-maize) on crop performance, system productivity, and production economics were evaluated. At 4th and 5th year of rotation, complete zero-tillage-based crop establishment (ZTDSR-ZT, ZTTPR-ZT) enhanced the grain yield of rice (9.3-20.6%), wheat (18.4-22.6%), and maize (10.8-11.8%) over CTTPR-CT, whereas yield advantage in NPTPR-ZT was marginal for all the crops. The higher grain yield of rice and wheat in ZTDSR-ZT and ZTTPR-ZT treatments was mainly attributed to higher tiller production (rice 11.5-23.2%; wheat 29.5-34.9%). Likewise, the higher aboveground biomass, cob length, cob weight, and grains weight cob(-1) led to higher maize yield in conservation tillage treatments (NPTPR-ZT, ZTDSR-ZT, and ZTTPR-ZT). Retention of crop residue improved (p < 0.05) the yield of all crops being higher in maize (6.9-10.3%) followed by wheat (5.3-10.5%). The reduced cost of cultivation and higher return from produce in ZTDSR-ZT, ZTTPR-ZT, and NPTPR-ZT enhanced the net income by INR 48164, 35800, 25632, respectively, over CTTPR-CT. Thus, zero-tillage-based crop establishments with crop residue retention were found as potential alternative for improving crop productivity, profitability and sustainability of rice-based production systems.

publication date

  • 2018
  • 2018
  • 2018