Conservation agriculture and precision nutrient management practices in maize-wheat system: Effects on crop and water productivity and economic profitability uri icon

abstract

  • Excessive pumping of groundwater over the years to meet the high irrigation water requirement of rice-wheat system has resulted in over exploitation of groundwater in the Indo-Gangetic plains (IGP) of India. Replacement of traditional rice with less water crops such as maize under conservation agriculture (CA) based management (tillage, crop establishment and residue management) practices are required to promote sustainable intensification. Furthermore, inefficient nutrient management practices are responsible for low crop yields and nutrient use efficiencies in MW system. A 3-year field experiment was conducted in farmer's participatory strategic research mode at Taraori, Karnal, India to evaluate the effects of tillage and crop establishment (TCE) methods, residue management, mungbean integration, and nutrient management practices on crop yields, water productivity and profitability of MW system. The main plot treatments included four combinations of TCE, residue and mungbean integration [conventional tillage (CT), conventional tillage with mungbean (CT + MB), permanent bed (PB) and permanent bed with MB (PB + MB] with three nutrient management practices [farmer's fertilizer practice (FFP), recommended dose of fertilize (RDF) and site specific nutrient management (SSNM)] using Nutrient Expert((sic)) as sub plot treatments. System productivity, water use efficiency (WUE) and net returns under PB + MB were significantly increased by 28.2-30.7%, 27.8-31.0% and 36.8-40.5% compared to CT respectively, during three years of experimentation. Integration of MB in MW system contributed 24.9 and 27.6% increases in system productivity and net returns compared with no MB, respectively. SSNM based nutrient management increased the mean (averaged across 3 yrs) system productivity, WUE and net returns of MW system by 13.4%, 13.3% and 15.3% compared with FFP, respectively. Study showed that conservation agriculture based sustainable intensification (PB + MB) and SSNM approach provided opportunities for enhancing crop and water use efficiency, and profitability of MW system in North-West IGP of India.

publication date

  • 2018
  • 2018