EVALUATION OF PRECISION LAND LEVELING: RESOURCE UTILIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY OF RICE-WHEAT CROPPING SYSTEMS IN NORTH WESTERN INDIAR.K. Naresh, S.P. Singh, Dipender Kumar3, S.S. Dhaliwal, A.K. Misra and Vineet Kumar
Rice -wheat (RW) is the dominant cropping system in north western (NW) India and a major contributor to national food production. However, the productivity and sustainability of RW systems are under threat. Conservation agriculture (CA)-based resource-conserving technologies (RCTs) such as precisionconservation crop management techniques, transplanting on raised beds and transplanting under unpuddled flat beds can help counter balancing these threats have shown promise as alternatives to conventional production technologies to overcome these problems. A farmers participatory field experiment was conducted for 2 years to evaluate various crop establishment methods under precision land leveling (PLL) and traditional land leveling (TLL) practices to improve water productivity and economic profitability. Irrespective of crop establishment methods, PLL improved RW system productivity by 7.4% in year 2 as compared to TLL. Total irrigation water savings under PLL versus TLL were 10-12% in rice and 14-20% in wheat. Yields were higher in conventionally transplanted rice followed by transplanting on slit opened in zero till with precision land leveling. In wheat, yields were higher on permanent beds with residue retained when followed by ZT than in the conventional-till (CT) system. Among different crop establishment methods, conventional puddled-transplanted rice-conventional till wheat required 23&20% more water than other crop establishment techniques. The infiltration rate was higher under raised beds and lower in the conventional tillage system. Macroaggregates increased under a slit open transplanted rice in zero till with precision land leveling and zero till wheat seeding with residue retained rotation than other crop establishment methods. Bulk and aggregate associated C increased in zero till or reduced till systems with greater accumulation in macroaggregates.
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