Impact of KVK

Resource Conservation Technology in Rice-Wheat System in

District Pratapgarh – A Case Study

J. B. Singh, Naveen Kumar Singh, A. K. Srivastava

Raja Dinesh Singh Krishi Vigyan Kendra

Avadheshpuram (Ainthu), Kalakankar, Pratapgarh.

Abstract

Rice wheat is one of the major important cropping systems of Pratapgarh. It is a major system for food security in the region and provides livelihoods and income to farmers and workers. Continuously, need is being felt to explore the possibilities of saving critical inputs by adopting alternative resources conservative technologies as zero tillage and direct seeded rice. Main aim of this case study is to see the impact of resource conservation technology (zero tillage technology) in rice wheat system in Pratapgarh.

Economic analysis of the data presented in this case study shows that zero tillage method for wheat cultivation & DSR is the most economical and attractive option for farming community. The high yield grain and less cost of production per hectare were noted on zero tillage and DSR fields as compared with conventional fields. Finally, the adoption of zero tillage technology and direct seeded rice increase farmer’s profit, improves his livelihood and eventually reduces poverty.

Background Information

District Pratapgarh falls under eastern plain zone of Uttar Pradesh. The total geographical area of the district is 3717 sq. km. and having 17 blocks, 1105 village Panchayat, 04 Nagar Panchyat, 01 Nagar Palika Parishad and total population are 2731175. Net irrigated area of the district is194800 ha. and 16700 under orchard crops. There is 9249 thousand ha. is Problematic soils under total cultivated area. The average rainfall of the district 977 mm. the climate is characterized by hot and humid rainy season, cold and dry winter season and hot and dry summer season. Net cultivated area of the district is 223 thousand ha, out of which 43 per cent is irrigated by tubewell and 28 per cent irrigated by canal. Rice is major kharif crop with a cultivated area of 116.2 thousand ha (74%) and an average productivity of 22.90 q/ha., where as wheat is a dominant rabi crop142.9 thousand ha (76% area) with an average productivity of 27.34 q/ha (2007-08). Low rice and wheat productivity in Pratapgarh is due to its cultivation in highly variable & heterogeneous condition. Attempts were initiated to disseminate Direct Seeded Rice, Zero tillage wheat which is versatile in most of agro ecological condition or at least for major Rice growing area of the district to increase rice and wheat productivity while avoiding social imbalances.

After independence Indian Agriculture has witness many changes, the green revolution has encourage the farmer to invest on the inputs but reducing factor productivity and increasing cost of cultivation day by day because of increasing prices of inputs pilfered the profitability of the farmers. Rising prices of diesel, tractor, and fertilizer, seeds and farm machinery has worsened the situations. Therefore serious efforts are urgently required to reduce the cost of cultivation and to boost the production to maintain the sustainability and increase the profit margin to the farmers. Conversation of natural resources through resource conservation technology is the need of hour. Therefore Krishi Vigyan Kendra has initiated to disseminate resource conservations technologies such as Direct Seeded Rice, Zero Tillage in Wheat. Introduction of Zero tillage technology in wheat in district Pratapgarh :

The KVK has got two Pantnagar Zero Till Seed cum Ferti Drills from Allahabad Agriculture Institute (Deemed University), Allahabad in year 2000 under All India Coordinated Research Project (Farm Machinery). The first demonstration was planted during Rabi season 2001-02 in village Alapur with a participatory farmer Mr Ram Ajor Tripathi, similar demonstrations was laid at KVK farm in comparison with conventional tillage wheat. The initial results were encouraging and since then the KVK have been trying to disseminate such a farm worthy technology in Pratapgarh. Therefore, a detail plan was chalked out to disseminate the technology by increasing the coverage and adoption in term of no. of villages and no. of area/farmer.

Objectives

Immediate Objectives

  1. To study the effect of resource conservation options on water, nutrient, energy-use-efficiency and crop productivity.
  2. To monitor the changes in physical, chemical and biological properties of soil as influenced by different resource conservation options.
  3. To work out salt, water, nutrient, energy fluxes in selected treatments to monitor impacts of conservation agricultural practices in moderating climatic variations.
  4. To monitor changes in plant growth, yield and economics in different treatments.

Long-term Objectives

  1. To evaluate different resource conservation options for the sustainability of rice-wheat cropping system.
  2. To recommend the most profitable, eco-friendly and resource upgrading technology to the farmers of the region.
  3. To provide input for making suitable policy for the management of natural resources for rice- wheat cultivation in Indo-Gangetic Plains.

Direct Seeded Rice

Manual Transplanting of Rice after 2–3 puddling operations with 30 – 50 days old rice seedling is common in the District. However, this system is labor intensive, requires huge tractor usage which often delays transplanting of paddy up to second week of August, it ultimately lead is poor tillering, poor grain formation and low yields of rice (22.90 q/ha). Apart from this, delayed transplanting of rice also delays sowing of wheat that continues up to the end of December and results in to poor yield of wheat (19.34 q/ha).

Direct Seeded Rice

Never the less, puddling and transplanting of rice has certain advantages, it checks percolation of water, controls weeds, improves nutrient availability, creates favorable condition for initial seedling establishment. However, puddling result in to poor soil structure, develops plough sole layer, leads to poor hydraulic conductivity of soil, dispersed clay particles etc. it is also evident that rising cost of diesel and labor further increased cost of cultivation of transplanted rice. Under such situation direct seeding of rice is an alternate method where we can assure timely sowing of paddy with reducing the cost of cultivation of to a great extent Direct Seeding of rice (DSR) is not new for the farmers. It has been practiced since long back, but weeds become major problem in DSR and reduce crop yield, and therefore, role of herbicides is extended to boost production without pudding and manual transplanting.

This technology is especially carried on those areas where irrigation facilities was assured and farmers are growing MTU-7029 variety, particularly in canal seepage areas where timely planting of wheat is not possible due to high soil moisture. It is as well in salt stress condition and poor hydraulic conductivity of soil effect initial seedling growth adversely.

Zero Tillage Wheat

Zero tillage is an extreme farm of reduce tillage were wheat is planted in prepared soil after rice harvest in a narrow slit wide enough to cover the seeds without any tillage. It insures timely planting improve soil condition due to slow decomposition of crop residues and high biological activities. High infiltration rate lesser soil compaction and less soil erosion due to crop residue mulch is other added advantages. In this system mechanical tillage is replaced by biological tillage and therefore it is eco friendly economic. It favors the crop by low annual weed population and less immobilization of soil nitrogen with early germination, which boost seeding bigger at initial stage. Uniform plant population proper fertilizer placement is the added advantages with zero tillage wheat than conventional tillage wheat.

This technology is especially a boon, particularly in canal seepage areas where timely planting of wheat is not possible due to high soil moisture. It is as well in salt stress condition where only upper 2-3 cm soil is reclaim and poor hydraulic conductivity of soil effect initial seedling growth adversely.

Methodology

Demonstration on Zero tillage wheat was started during Rabi season of 2001-02. The first demonstration was planted in village Alapur with a participatory farmer Mr. Ram Ajor Tripathi, similar demonstrations was laid at KVK farm in comparison with conventional tillage wheat. The initial results were encouraging and since then we have been trying to disseminate technology in Pratapgarh. Nevertheless such technology could reach upto 29.5 ha with 18 farmers in 5 villages viz Bhitari, Janwamau, Shekh Hisampur, Sabishpur and Ainthu with in radius of 10 km from the KVK upto 2003-04. Considering the response of farmer it was decided to increase the coverage and adoption in the district with more number of villages and farmers. The previous results were analyzed to find out gaps and to seek support of every one in dissimilation of such a technology of global significance.

The crop was planted after Rice crop; there was no land preparation, no cultivation on the field. Wheat sowing was done after harvesting of paddy crop and treating seeds with Azotobactor and PSB and sowing by Pantnagar Zero-till Seed cum ferti drill at a seed rate of 25 kg/ha with a basal application of Dia ammonium phosphate (18:46:0) @ 130 kg/ha. Urea was applied @ 200 kg/ha in 2 split dozes based on Leaf color chart. ZnSo4. H2O (33%) @ 08 kg/ha. was applied with the 1st top dressing of urea at 25 days after sowing (DAS). Weeds population were the major threat in Zero tillage wheat therefore Isoproturon 75WP @ 1.5 kg/ha and application of 2, 4-D @ 1.2 kg /ha in 500 liter of water to control Phalaris minor, broad leaf weeds and sedges at 25 DAS.

Direct Seeded Rice during kharif season of 2004-2005, with CV. NDR – 359 at three locations viz. Shekh hisampur, Dhaurehat and Alapur and with Pant – 12 at Alapur. The crop was planted after Wheat crop, the land was prepare three cross ploughing and plankings. Rice sowing was done after a pre sowing irrigation and treating seeds with Azotobactor and PSB and sowing by Pantnagar Zero-till Seed cum ferti drill at a seed rate of 50 kg/ha with a basal application of Dia ammonium phosphate (18:46:0) @ 130 kg/ha. Urea was applied @ 200 kg/ha in 4 split dozes based on Leaf color chart. Znso4. H2o (33%) @ 15 kg/ha. was applied with the 1st top dressing of urea at 15 days after sowing (DAS). Weeds population were the major threat in direct seeded rice therefore pendimethaline @ 1 kg a.i./ha was applied next day after sowing using 500 l aqueous solution, it was followed by application of 2,4-D @ 0.5 kg a.i./ha in 500 l of water to control broad leaf weeds and sedges at 25 DAS. One manual weeding was also done at 35 DAS to eliminate some of the escaped wheat. Other cultural operation were similar to transplanted rice except application of butachlore @ 1.25 kg a.i./ha at 2 days after transplanting (DAT).

Extension of Resource Conservation Technology :

Comparison between direct seeded rice and transplanted rice in Pratapgarh (up to sowing / transplanting).

It was observed that zero tillage leads to higher yield with saving in tillage in cost at the same time less time is required to irrigate crop planted with the zero tillage drill than conventional tillage wheat. Adopting zero tillage also reduces weed emergence and quite low Phalaris population was observed than in conventional tillage wheat (Table –2). In conventional tillage wheat the crop turns pale yellow after 1st irrigation where as it remain lush green in zero tillage wheat. It might be due to low immobilization of soil nitrogen.

Comparative study of leaf colour chart

Treatment Crop color 7 days after irrigation
Zero Tillage Wheat Green
Conventional Method Wheat Yellow

It has been observed that wheat rooting is often restricted conventional tillage plot because sub soil remains wet and compact due to pudling, at the same time in zero tillage plot biological tillage and mulch created by crop resedue favours the root development. Apart from this placement of fertilizer (DAP or NPK mixture) below seed in zero tillage wheat gives added advantage than conventional broadcasting methods of sowing and fertilizer application.

* Average of three locations with CV. NDR – 359

The limited tractor uses and controlled water use in DRS reduce the cost of cultivation to Rs. 6000/- ha and therefore increases the profit margin to the farmers at Rs. 8000-10,000/ha.

Detail of Front Line Demonstration on Direct Seeded Rice.

S.N. Item Locations
1 Cultivated Variety Shekhhisampur : NDR-359
Alapur I : Pant-12
Alapur II : NDR-359
Dhaurehat : NDR-359
2 Soil Type Shekhhisampur : Clay Loam
Alapur I : Loam
Alapur II : Loam
Dhaurehat : Loam
3 Category of Farmer Shekhhisampur : Small
Alapur I : Large
Alapur II : Large
Dhaurehat : Medium
4 Source of Irrigation Shekhhisampur : Diesel Pump
Alapur I : Electric Tube Well
Alapur II : Electric Tube Well
Dhaurehat : Electric Tube Well
5 Area (ha ) Shekhhisampur : 0.25
Alapur I : 0.25
Alapur II : 0.25
Dhaurehat : 0.25
6 Grain Yield q/ha Shekhhisampur : 60.0
Alapur I : 42.5
Alapur II : 48.6
Dhaurehat : 51.4
7 Farmers Response Shekhhisampur : *Less tractor uses, * Saving of irrigation water, * Early maturity, * Optimum plant population, * Good yield, * Economic
*Less chaffy grains, *Good plant population, * Line sowing facilitate tillering *Economic, *Good returns
Optimum plant population, *Longer ear heads, * Early maturity, *Less tractor loads, * Good returns *Weeds are major threat
*Good crop emergence, *Good tillering, *Longer ear heads, *Early maturity, * Easy harvesting, *Good returns, *Weed are major threat

Results of DSR:

Good seedling emergence was observed in direct seeded rice at 7 DAS however few gaps were observed at 15 DAS which were filled at 1st irrigation 20-25 DAS by uprooting extra seedling from areas having dense plant population, thus maintaining good planting geometry. Weeds started germinating 3-4 DAS. Major weeds observed in DSR were Echinocloa sp., Dactyloctenium aegyptium, Paspalum sp among grassy and Eclipta alba, Caesulia axillaries, Commelina sp among broad leaf weeds and Cyperus defformis and C. rotundus among sedges. Pendimethaline gave good control of grasses and broad leaf weeds, however 2, 4-D controlled dense population of sedges to some extent. The yield of DSR was higher than transplanted rice at all three locations in both the cultivars with an average yield 5.3 t/ha. However, the yield of transplanted rice was 4.8 t/ha thus a yield increment of 9.4% was observed due to this technology.

It was observe that zero tillage leads to higher yield with saving in tillage cost. Adopting zero tillage the grass margin and benefit cost ratio was higher in compression to traditional tillage.

Benefit cost analysis of paddy with various techniques

Particulars Traditional Zero Tillage
Yield in kg per hectare 57.30/ha 59.20/ha
Total cost of production in Rs. Per hectare 24580 13420
Benefit cost ratio 1:1.09 1:2.19

How zero tillage wheat becomes successful?

The reasons were some myths among the farmers, which were restricting them to adopt this technology. The myths were as under;

  1. More you will plough and make your soil friable the more you will harvest.
  2. Zero tillage will lead to serious weed problem.
  3. Rice ratoons will regenerate and check the growth of wheat.
  4. Zero tillage in wheat will lead to poor seed germination and poor seedling growth and crop may lodge.
  5. The birds will pick up open seed in slits.
  6. The open seeds in slits will not germinate un till it is covered with soil.
  7. Some special kind of wheat seed in needed for zero tillage cultivation.
  8. The soil will become barren after 2-3 cycles of zero tillage wheat.

To overcome these myths we have done early demonstration in different location coupled with close farmer interaction and regular media coverage (20) in leading hindi news papers and All India Radio. Training program and gosthie, which ultimately brought awareness among the farmers, also supported it. Early demonstration (Planted before 20th Nov.) at different resulted into good germination early plant vigour that boosted up the quench for this technology and farmers started asking for zero tillage wheat.

The technology has been given to all section of farmers from marginal to lodge and to resource poor to resource rich farmers.

Environment

With the challenges of sustainability, any intervention in technology is acceptable only when it is easily applicable, economically viable as well as environmentally beneficial. Zero tillage technology provides an opportunity of improving water use efficiency and conservation. Other benefits which zero tillage technology provides are in reducing the need for applying herbicides, controlling erosion, reducing the amount of N that "leaks" into the environment, providing environmentally friendly options for managing crop residues, reducing soil compaction and bettering soil physical structure over time.

Farmer’s Response

A) Participatory Farmers :

  • Timely planted may be assured by adopting DSR because the less dependence on labourers at peak transplanting season.
  • Less tractor maintenance is possible in DSR due to low tractor traction in dry friable soil as comparison with wet puddled soil.
  • Saving of irrigation cost in DSR because of no puddling and no nursery raising.
  • Early maturity of rice crop (7 days) will facilitate timely planting of wheat.
  • No drudgery to farm laborers.
  • No nursery raising.
  • Weeds are the major threat.
  • B) Visiting Farmers :

  • Good crop stand.
  • Longer ear heads, less chaffy grains & high crop yield.
  • Direct seeding of rice means easy economical and eco friendly rice culture.
  • Most of the farmers accepted it and agreed to adopt it in coming kharif season.
  • Change in the attitude of farmers:

    Initially farmers were having a lot of doubts regarding this technology they have their own myths and were always criticizing and making mockery of zero tillage wheat. They were of the view the zero tillage wheat will not germinate or if it will germinate it will not produce good wheat crop. But slowly their attitude starts changing after seeing initial performance of the demonstration and now they are well coming for such a technology, which may become regular practice in years to come

    Suggestions to Improve DSR :

  • Field should be well labeled before DSR.
  • Pre sowing irrigation is must even after a pre mansoon shower, so that enough soil moisture is available for early seed germination and initial crop stand.
  • Shallow sowing should be done (2-3 cm). Deeper sowing will affect the seed germination and crop stand.
  • Herbicide application (Pendimethalin) should done within 2-3 DAS at good soil moisture for obtaining good results.
  • Preference should be given to 2,4-D ethyl ester than 2,4-D Na salt, because under salinity condition sodium salt may not yield good results.
  • Weed management is critical and therefore integrated approach should be followed.
  • Conclusions

    The study assessed the status of DSR and zero-tillage technology in the rice-wheat system of Pratapgarh. Such an assessment was required not only to understand the current status of technology but was also needed to provide feed back from farmers’ field regarding its impact on yield and farm incomes in wheat and paddy crops.

    The wheat acreage sown with zero-tillage technology is expected to expand rapidly in the rice-wheat zone. The study confirms that the zero-tillage technology enhances water and fertilizer use efficiency. However, sufficient evidence was not available to prove any positive or adverse affect of the technology on incidence of weeds in wheat crop

    The new technology reduces costs of production with comparable wheat yields to that obtained using other methods and thus results in higher net farm returns. The farmers of the area have started appreciating the reduced tillage cost aspect of the technology.

    Rice-wheat is the dominant cropping system followed by majority of the farmers in the area. In future, possibility of extension of the technology to sow wheat following other crops also needs to be explored.