Agronomic and economic evaluation of permanent raised beds, no tillage and straw mulching for an irrigated maize-wheat system in northwest India.

Experimental Agriculture (Impact Factor: 1.07). 01/2012; 48(1):21-38. DOI: 10.1017/S0014479711000809

ABSTRACT No-tillage and raised beds are widely used for different crops in developed countries. A field experiment
was conducted on an irrigated maize-wheat system to study the effect of field layout, tillage and straw
mulch on crop performance, water use efficiency and economics for five years (2003–2008) in northwest
India. Straw mulch reduced the maximum soil temperature at seed depth by about 3 ◦C compared to the
no mulch. During the wheat emergence, raised beds recorded 1.3 ◦C higher soil temperature compared
to the flat treatments. Both maize and wheat yields were similar under different treatments during all the
years. Maize and wheat planted on raised beds recorded about 7.8% and 22.7% higher water use efficiency
than under flat layout, respectively. Straw mulch showed no effect on water use and water use efficiency in
maize. The net returns from the maize-wheat system were more in no tillage and permanent raised beds
than with conventional tillage. Bulk density and cumulative infiltration were more in no tillage compared
with conventional tillage.

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