Project: Improving crop productivity through efficient input management

Sub Project: Nutrient management strategies for wheat based cropping systems

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Genesis and rationale of the project

Scarcity of chemical fertilizers and their timely supply is becoming a major challenge for farmers of the area which affects the productivity of the major crops the area. Improving nutrient use efficiency especially of nitrogen, is becoming a major challenge in wheat based cropping systems. For achieving this aim it is important to produce more at reduced dose and cost so that farmers can become competitive in the world market in the period of globalization. Continuous cereal-cereal monoculture has also contributed to the depletion of soil resource. Hence, integration of organic sources and legume crops is also becoming the need of hour to reverse the decline of factor productivity and the degradation of natural resources caused by their over exploitation leading to stagnation/ decline in productivity of rice-wheat system.  In addition, indiscriminate use of mainly nitrogenous fertilizers seems to be responsible for poor yields due to imbalanced nutrition. This is also suspected to cause ground water pollution with nitrates. Decreasing factor productivity is mainly due to imbalanced nutrition leading to deficiency of secondary and micronutrients. Integrated nutrient management involving both inorganic and organic sources as well as legume crops will have manifold benefits. Therefore, studies were undertaken with following objectives.

 Objectives:

  1. To examine the productivity and profitability of wheat based cropping system.
  2. To study rice-wheat system productivity under integrated nutrient supply.
  3. To study the effect of green manuring and organic fertilization on Basmati rice-wheat cropping system.
  4. To find out effect of green manuring and legume crops on maize-wheat cropping system.

Major Achievements of the program

This is long term project continued since 2006-07 and a number of field experiments have been conducted in this project. The major findings these field experiments  are as under

  • Organic production technology for less nutrient requiring rice-wheat crop varieties (C 306 and Pusa 1509).
  • Application of top dressed urea just before irrigation in wheat is more beneficial.
  • Nitrogen application in rice and wheat crops can also be given through 15-25% urea spray.
  • Integration of organic and inorganic fertilizers is the best approach to improve factor productivity.
  • In organic production of wheat  it was found that the application of vermicompost 5 t/ha, farm yard manure (FYM) 15 t/ha+ vermicompost 2.5 t/ha or farm yard manure (FYM) 30 t/ha increased the biomass and grain yield significantly as compared to control (no organic or chemical fertilizer) treatment.
  • The highest grain yield was recorded in farm yard manure (FYM) 30 t/ha in rice-wheat as well as rice-wheat-moong cropping system treatment and was found significantly better than inorganic control.
  • The highest grain yield was recorded in treatment where all the major nutrients and FYM 15 t/ha were applied followed by the treatment in which all the major and micro nutrients as well as FYM 15 t/ha were applied.
  • In nitrogen scheduling it was found that significantly higher yield was obtained where nitrogen was applied in three equal splits (1/3b, 1/3T, 1/3J) compared to treatment where nitrogen was applied in four equal splits (1/3b, 1/3T, 1/3J, 1/3boot leaf).
  • Significantly higher biomass and grain yield were recorded in treatments where nitrogen was applied just before irrigation as compared to treatments where nitrogen was applied after irrigation at all the three nitrogen levels.
  • Applications of 1000 ppm Karanj oil, Palmarosa oil, Citronella oil and Neem oil coated urea at 120 kg N/ha gave statistically at par yield to that obtained with 150 kg N/ha indicating a saving of 30 kg N/ha i.e. 20% saving in fertilizer cost and higher nitrogen use efficiency.
  • Application of farm yard manure (FYM) 10 t/ha to 30 t/ha increased the biomass and grain yield of all the high yielding varieties (HD 2967, DPW 621-50, PBW 550 and WH 1105) of wheat significantly as compared to control (no organic or chemical fertilizer) treatment. However, the highest biomass and grain yield of all the high yielding varieties of wheat were recorded in the recommended NPK fertilizers (150:60:40 kg/ha) treatment.
  • In organic production trial among the high yielding varieties, PBW 550 recorded the highest grain yield followed by HD 2967, DPW 621-50 and WH 11.05. All the varieties performed similarly at all the organics levels.
  • In integrated nutrient management trial the highest and significantly more productivity was recorded in treatment where all the major nutrients along with Farm Yard Manure (FYM) 15 t/ha were applied.