Project: Improving crop productivity through efficient input management

Sub Project: Improving water use efficiency and mitigate abiotic stresses in  wheat under conservation and conventional tillage practices




Genesis and rationale of the project:

Wheat is one of the most important cereal crops, cultivated to meet demands of the ever burgeoning population for food as well as for straw for livestock feeding. Wheat crop cultivated under irrigated conditions in India and Indian agriculture is the single largest user of water that accounts for as much as 85 per cent of the total amount withdrawals. At present about 70-80 per cent of agricultural production in India depend on ground water irrigation. The biggest challenge in irrigation management is to improve the efficiency and productivity of water use in existing systems. In changing climatic scenario a number of abiotic stresses including water scarcity, drought, heat, cold and water lodging due to climate change, exacerbate the challenges. At the same time, more food production will require to meet the growing demand with using less water under changing climatic scenario (drought, heat, cold, salt etc.). Under such circumstances, using conservation agriculture, plant growth regulators such as salicylic acid, and plant nutrients such as potassium might be an effective strategy to prevent destructive effect of abiotic stress and provide plant compatibility for higher input use efficiency including water use efficiency.


  1. To study the water use efficiency of different genotypes under various moisture levels
  2. To study the role and effect of potassium and salicylic acid on water use efficiency of wheat crop
  • To study the role and effect of potassium and salicylic acid on wheat crop under various abiotic stresses

Major research results and achievements (in bullets)

  • 30 genotypes of wheat were evaluated at various level of soil moisture. 10 genotypes (DBW 166, DBW 88, WH 1105, DBW 16, 118WSN938, SAGSYT118, HD2967, WH1022, PBW550, LBP2015-3) were found having Water Use Efficiency of >1.4 kg/m3 with desirable level of yield under 80% of CPE moisture level.
  • Residue retention to the tune of 4 ton/ha proved advantageous over no residue retention. Residue retention with two irrigations produced grain yield 50 q/ha which was significantly higher over no residue retention (42.7 q/ha). Water use efficiency of 2.2 kg/M3 recorded with appropriate level of yield (49.0 q/ha) by two irrigations and 2.6 Kg/M3 by one irrigation.
  • Significantly higher grain yield (47.7 q/ha) was recorded by foliar application of Nitrogen @ 0.5% and Potassium @ 2.0 % over control (45.8 q/ha). Total three sprays were done at fortnightly interval, began from 30 DAS.
  • Under salinity stress conditions seed priming with CaCl2 and foliar application of Nitrogen @ 0.5% and Potassium @ 2.0 % seems to be advantageous.
  • Precise application of irrigations at critical growth stages revealed that 25 per cent saving in the amount of irrigation water is possible to harvest the same yield as it is in normal irrigations of 60 mm water flooding per irrigations.

Project Team

PI: Raj Pal Meena

CoPI: Kailash Prajapat (up to 14.03.2017)