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Agriculture is the main occupation in Nepal and around 60.4% Nepalese are actively engaged in the agricultural sector. Wheat is the third most important cereal crop after rice and maize in terms of area and production, in Nepal. Currently, less than 2 % area of the total wheat cultivation, is under zero – till wheat. Zero tillage (ZT) is a vital component of resource conserving technologies (RCTs) that are implementing to produce crops with lower inputs resulting in higher profit. ZT of wheat after rice generates significant benefits at the farm level, both in terms of significant yield gains (6–10%, particularly due to more timely planting of wheat) and cost savings (5–10%, particularly tillage savings) as compared to conventional tillage (CT). The paper reviews the prospects of ZT wheat technology in Nepal, based on the published information. ZT is the most widely used technology of wheat in Nepal, among other resource – conserving technologies. ZT wheat yielded 3.44 t ha-1 whereas CT wheat yielded 3.22 t ha-1. The total cost incurred under ZT wheat is NRs. 39,431/- whereas NRs. 48,300/- is of CT. The benefit: cost ratio was found 2.38 in ZT compared to 1.81 in CT which was 31.5 % more over the CT method of wheat cultivation. Hence, ZT technology in Nepal is cost – effective technology facilitating 15 days earlier sowing of wheat with higher yield and needs to be promoted on a large scale.
Fundamental and Applied Agriculture
Vol. 5(4), pp. 484–490: 2020
doi: 10.5455/faa.109442
Zero-till wheat (Triticum aestivum L.): A Nepalese perspective
Bisheshwor Prasad Pandey 1*, Narayan Khatri1, Khem Raj Pant1, Mathura Yadav1,
Mahendra Marasini1, Govinda Prasad Paudel1, Madhav Bhatta1
1National Wheat Research Program, Bhairahawa, Nepal
2Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Kathmandu, Nepal
Article History
Submitted: 18 Aug 2020
Accepted: 06 Sep 2020
First online: 29 Dec 2020
Academic Editor
Sharif Ahmed
*Corresponding Author
Bisheshwor Prasad Pandey
Agriculture is the main occupation in Nepal and around 60.4% Nepalese are
actively engaged in the agricultural sector. Wheat is the third most important
cereal crop after rice and maize in terms of area and production, in Nepal.
Currently, less than 2% area of the total wheat cultivation, is under zero-
till wheat. Zero tillage (ZT) is a vital component of resource conserving
technologies (RCTs) that are implementing to produce crops with lower
inputs resulting in higher profit. ZT of wheat after rice generates significant
benefits at the farm level, both in terms of significant yield gains (6–10%,
particularly due to more timely planting of wheat) and cost savings (5–10%,
particularly tillage savings) as compared to conventional tillage (CT). The
paper reviews the prospects of ZT wheat technology in Nepal, based on the
published information. ZT is the most widely used technology of wheat in
Nepal, among other resource - conserving technologies. ZT wheat yielded
3.44 t ha
whereas CT wheat yielded 3.22 t ha
. The total cost incurred
under ZT wheat is NRs. 39,431 whereas NRs. 48,300 is of CT. The benefit:
cost ratio was found 2.38 in ZT compared to 1.81 in CT which was 31.5 %
more over the CT method of wheat cultivation. Hence, ZT technology in
Nepal is cost-effective technology facilitating 15 days earlier sowing of wheat
with higher yield and needs to be promoted on a large scale.
Conventional tillage, rice-wheat system, yield, reduced tillage,
resource-conserving technology
Cite this article:
Pandey BP, Khatri N, Pant KR, Yadav M, Marasini M, Paudel GP, Bhatta M.
2020. Zero-till wheat (Triticum aestivum L.): A Nepalese perspective. Fundamental and Applied
Agriculture 5(4): 484–490. doi: 10.5455/faa.109442
1 Introduction
Nepal is a small land-locked mountainous coun-
try with diverse agroecologies, culture and agricul-
ture (Gauchan and Shrestha,2017). Wheat (Triticum
aestivum L.) is one of the most important food
crops worldwide for human nutrition, originated
8000–10,000 years ago (Dubcovsky and Dvorak,2007;
Brenchley et al.,2012). Wheat covers 17% (one sixth)
of the total cultivated land in the world (Shrestha
et al.,2018) feeding about 40% (nearly half) of the
world population and providing 20% (one fifth) of
total food calories and protein in human nutrition
(Gupta et al.,2008). Wheat is the third most impor-
tant cereal crop after rice and maize in terms of area
and production, in Nepal. In Nepal, currently 21%
land is used for agricultural crop production and
wheat was cultivated in 7,03,992 ha with production
of 20,05,665 metric tons, in the fiscal year 2075–76
(2018–19) (MoALD,2020). Among wheat cultivated
area currently less than 2% is only under zero-till.
Increasing water and labor scarcity and high cost of
production as well as climate change are compelling
farmers to change to zero tillage technology of wheat
from conventional farming. One of the major hin-
drances to optimum production of wheat on the 13.5
million hectares of land (rice – wheat system) in the
Indo - Gangetic flood plains (IGPs) of South Asia is
late planting and resulting in poor plant stands due
to low tillering. Late harvest of the previous rice crop,
as there are mostly long duration rice varieties or long
Pandey et al. Fundam Appl Agric 5(4): 484–490, 2020 485
turnaround time from rice harvest to wheat planting
are two major causes of late wheat planting (Hobbs
and Giri,1997). Reduced or zero tillage options are
becoming more effective in overcoming the late plant-
ing and poor plant stands in the rice-wheat systems
of Asia.
The process of direct drilling of wheat seeds us-
ing zero-till seed drills fitted with inverted T-openers
to place seed and fertilizers into a narrow slot with
only minimal of soil disturbance and without land
preparation is called Zero till (ZT) technology. ZT is
also known as zero till, no till, direct seeding and di-
rect drilling/planting without tillage (Erenstein and
Laxmi,2008). The existing ZT technology in the
IGP uses a tractor - drawn zero-till-seed drill to seed
wheat directly into unplowed fields with a single pass
of the tractor. The typical ZT drill has Inverted - T
openers and opens a number (6–13) of narrow slits
for placing seed and fertilizers at the depth not more
than 5 cm into the soil (Tripathi,2014). The most
widely used ZT drill in Nepal has nine Inverted - T
openers at a distance of 17.5 cm to 20 cm; jointed with
clamp. In contrast, conventional tillage (CT) prac-
tices in wheat typically involve ‘intensive tillage with
multiple passes of the tractor to accomplish plow-
ing, harrowing, planking, and seeding operations’
mechanically (Erenstein et al.,2008).
In various researcher-managed field trials across
South Asia, ZT with and without residue retention
(‘conservation agriculture’ implies ZT with residue
retention) has demonstrated considerable agronomic
and economic benefits, while improving the environ-
mental footprint of agriculture by reducing energy
costs and improving soil fertility and water use ef-
ficiency (Erenstein and Laxmi,2008;Chauhan et al.,
2012;Gathala et al.,2013;Mehla et al.,2000). Agro-
nomic factors leading to productivity advantages in
ZT wheat are related to (i) time - savings in crop es-
tablishment, allowing earlier sowing and, hence, re-
ducing risks of terminal heat stress during the grain-
filling phase; (ii) better control of weeds, such as
Phalaris minor; (iii) better nutrient management; and
(iv) water savings (Gathala et al.,2013;Mehla et al.,
Long term adoption of the ZT resulting in acidi-
fication of the surface soil which further affects the
supply and distribution of other nutrients within the
rhizosphere. Under ZT, a significant lowering of pH
observed at the upper soil 0-7.5 cm on silt loam soil
(Dick et al.,1986). In Kentucky, soil acidity with ZT
observed due to decomposition of organic residues at
the surface with subsequent leaching of organic acids
into mineral soil (Blevins et al.,1977;Moschler et al.,
1973). ZT reported to increase the bulk density to the
highest level (1.69 Mg m
) while residue incorpora-
tion lowered it (1.59 Mg m
) (Gangwar and Singh,
2010). ZT performance is still in question because of
higher weed biomass (Bhatt,2017).
Most of the Nepalese farmers are resource – poor.
Very few farmers possess their own tractors and spe-
cialized seed drills required to implement the ZT tech-
nology of wheat. As a result, adoption of ZT largely
hinges on affordable access to custom hire services.
Competition of crop residues between ZT use and
livestock feeding, burning of crop residues, availabil-
ity of skilled and scientific manpower are also the
major constaints for promotion of ZT in Nepal. The
need to develop the policy frame and strategies is ur-
gent to promote ZT (Sah,2017). This article reviews
and synthesizes the experience with ZT wheat in the
rice – wheat systems of Nepal.
2 Prerequisites of zero-till wheat
Soil moisture
Land should be moist at the time of
planting wheat under zero tillage, so that the seed
drill can be operated under unploughed land after
the rice harvest. If there is no sufficient moisture,
one pre-sowing irrigation should be provided before
sowing of wheat (Tripathi,2014).
Land topography
The land where zero- till wheat
is going to be practiced should not be undulated. The
land should be well prepared at the time of puddling
of land, in rice season (Tripathi,2014). Laser-assisted
precision land leveling considered as a precursor tech-
nology for RCTs has been reported to improve crop
yields and input-use efficiency including water and
nutrients (Jat et al.,2006). Different studies have con-
firmed that laser levelling technology will decrease
farming costs in different cultivation and harvest
stages (Abdullaev et al.,2007). Laser land levelling
causes the reduction of pesticides consumption, im-
proves the use of nutritious materials and reduces
consumption of chemical fertilizers (Abdullaev et al.,
2007;Jat et al.,2006;Gonzales et al.,2009). Decreasing
the amount of water consumption, uniform distri-
bution of water, reducing irrigation frequency and
time and water wasting are among the most impor-
tant impacts (Abdullaev et al.,2007;Jat et al.,2006;
Jehangir et al.,2007;Gonzales et al.,2009;Das et al.,
2018;Shahani et al.,2016;Ashraf et al.,2017). Re-
ducing the use of seeds, uniformity of germination
and crop growth and increasing yield have been men-
tioned in some studies (Abdullaev et al.,2007;Jat
et al.,2006;Jehangir et al.,2007). Jat et al. (2006) noted
that the amount of fuel consumed by pump engine for
pumping water and agricultural machinery would be
reduced by this technology. Also, land leveling led
to an increase in the cultivable area (farm useful area)
and under-cultivated area based on accessible water
supply. Abdullaev et al. (2007) and Jat et al. (2006)
indicated that farmers’ income will be increased by
levelling lands. Other impacts of land levelling are re-
ducing family workforce and the number of laborers
Pandey et al. Fundam Appl Agric 5(4): 484–490, 2020 486
Table 1.
Benefits of zero-tillage over conventional tillage for the planting of wheat after rice in Haryana, India
Item Farmers’ perceptions Researchers’ findings
Wheat sowing earlier by 5 - 8 days (small-
to-medium farms) to 2 weeks (large farms)
On average, wheat sowing can be ad-
vanced by 5 – 15 days
Fuel savings Not available On average 60 litre diesel ha1
Cost of cultivation US$ 42-92 ha1US$ 37- 62 ha1
Plant population
20 – 30 % more plants in zero-tillage fields
13.5% more plants in zero-tillage fields
Weed infestation
20% less and weaker weeds in zero-tillage
43% fewer weeds in zero-tillage fields
Saves 30 - 50% water in the first irrigation
and 15 - 20% in subsequent irrigations
36% less water used, on average
Rice stem borer in-
Less, because of less stubble sprouting
Winter coolness impairs sprouting and
thus borer development. Beneficial in-
sects in stubble help control borers
Rice stubble Decayed faster Decayed faster
High Higher because of placement
Wheat yields
Higher than under conventional system
depending on days planted earlier
420-530 kg more ha1
needed for different farming operations (Abdullaev
et al.,2007;Akhtar,2006).
Weed management
Before operating the zero till
seed cum fertilizer drill, the land should be either free
or made free from weeds. If the land is not free from
weeds, use of non - selective herbicides is suggested;
before 7 days of sowing of zero-till wheat (Tripathi,
Calibration of zero-till-seed cum fertilizer drill
Calibration is needed before practicing zero-till wheat
to ensure appropriate amount of seed and fertilizer to
be placed in the soil, simultaneously (Tripathi,2014).
Trained driver
The driver should be well trained
for operating zero-till-seed cum fertilizer drill (Tri-
3 Impact of zero tillage
3.1 Crop yield
Research from Pakistan and India have reported the
higher wheat yields following the adoption of ZT in
rice–wheat rotations. In 34 zero-tillage on-farm trials
over 3 years in the rice-growing belt of the Pakistan
Punjab, higher yields were observed with zero-tillage
than the farmers’ practice. This is mainly due to the
time saved in land preparation that enabled a more
timely planting of wheat crop. It has been reported
from the simulation study that planting time of wheat
regulates yield, governed by the climatic parameters,
mainly through temperature and delayed planting
results in significant losses in yield (Rai et al.,2004).
Based on on-farm trials in Haryana, Mehla et al. (2000)
estimated a ZT induced yield gain of 15.4%, which
they attributed to timely sowing (9.4%) and enhanced
fertilizer- and water use efficiency, as well as weed
suppression (6.0%).
A field experiment conducted in Nepal during the
winter season of 2012 and 2013 showed that grain
yield under conventional and zero tillage was at par.
However, the yield was slightly higher (5.48%) with
conventional tillage than zero tillage in 2012 and
5.33% higher in 2013 (Pandey et al.,2016). Since
wheat was sown on the same date under zero and
conventional tillage, the yield might have been lower
with zero tillage. Another field experiment in Nepal
conducted during the wheat growing seasons of 2013
to 2016 showed that conventional tillage yielded sig-
nificantly higher grain yield than zero tillage in first
year but was at par in the second and third year
(Pandey and Kandel,2020).
3.2 Cost comparison under zero tillage
systems with conventional practices
ZT has the potentiality to saves in energy, water, la-
bor as well as other inputs. ZT drastically reduces
the tillage operations and the cost of the tillage op-
eration—a major cost of crop production in the IGP.
The ZT drill potentially saves seed and fertilizer, plac-
Pandey et al. Fundam Appl Agric 5(4): 484–490, 2020 487
Table 2. Expenditure and income (NRs ha1) in wheat production using ZT and CT methods of sowing in
farmers’ field of Kailali district, Nepal during 2017-18
Particulars (Cost NRs.) Zero tillage Conventional tillage Change (%)
Variable cost
Cost of human labour 8000 8,800 10
Cost of machinery labour 11,250 20,250 80
Cost of seeds 6,600 8,250 25
Cost of fertilizer 7,531 3,450 -54
Cost of herbicides 2,700 2,700 0
Cost of irrigation 3,000 4,500 50
Total variable cost 39,081 47,950 23
Fixed cost 350 350 0
Total operational cost 39,431 48,300 23
Gross income 93,657 87,598 -7
Net income 54,226 39,258 -28
Benefit : cost ratio 2.38 1.81 -24
ing them at the desired depth and vicinity and in the
right quantities as compared to broadcasting (Eren-
stein and Laxmi,2008). Two factors contributing to
the overall profitability of ZT are : (i) the value of the
yield increase (the ‘yield effect’) and (ii) the savings in
production cost (the ‘cost-saving effect’). The ZT yield
effect averages Rs 2030 ha
(US$ 45) across IGP stud-
ies. The ZT cost-saving effect averages Rs 2320 ha
(US$ 52) across IGP studies (Erenstein and Laxmi,
2008). The production cost and returns of wheat pro-
duction using ZT and CT methods has been depicted
in Table 2. The table reflected that the gross incomes
were NRs. 93,657 ha
in ZT and NRs. 87,598 ha
in CT method of wheat cultivation. The net returns
of wheat were NRs. 54,255.5 ha
in ZT and NRs.
39,298 ha
in CT method of wheat production. The
net income of ZT method were found higher due to
higher grain yield and lower production cost than
the CT method of wheat cultivation. The total cost of
production amounted to NRs. 39,081 in ZT method
and NRs. 47,950 in CT method. The lower cost of
production was due to lower expenses on human
labour by 10%, machinery labour by 80%, seed cost
by 25%, irrigation cost by 50%, and no cost for the
land preparation in ZT compared to the CT method of
wheat cultivation. The benefit: cost ratio was found
2.38 in ZT compared to 1.81 in CT which was 31.49%
more over the CT method of wheat cultivation. Yield,
expenditure and income in ZT and CT methods of
wheat production in farmers’ field at Kailali district,
Nepal during 2017-18 has been presented in Table 3.
3.3 Impact on soil
ZT improves the soil physical, chemical and biolog-
ical properties but it might have some adverse con-
sequences viz. increased bulk density (Bhatt,2017).
Under-ground water pollution chances are very small
under ZT because of dramatic reduction in runoff.
Further, under zero tilled plots, herbicides are very
quickly broken down by soil organisms into harmless
compounds (Duiker and Myers,2005). When such
agrochemicals are used in intensively ploughed soil
they move more freely beyond the vadose zone com-
pared to how it would be in the zero tilled plots. Con-
servation tillage practices, such as zero and minimum
tillage are viable answer to the uplift the soil envi-
ronment as it includes the full residue onto the plots
(Miura et al.,2008;Bhatt and Khera,2006). Therefore,
conservation tillage approach is a must for practising
sustainable and climate smart agriculture by covering
the bare soils, minimizing the erosion losses.
3.4 Impact on environment
Straw retain on the soil surface reduces weed seed
germination and growth, moderates soil temperature
and reduces loss of water through evaporation. Crop
residue is also an important source of fodder for ani-
mals in the IGP countries. Despite these potential ben-
efits, however, large quantities of straw (left over af-
ter rice and wheat harvesting) are burnt each year by
farmers to facilitate land preparation for crop plant-
ing in Nepal too. It is estimated that the burning of
one ton of straw releases 3 kg particulate matter, 60
kg CO, 1460 kg CO
, 199 kg ash and 2 kg SO
. Nowa-
days, new seed drills have been developed which
are able to cut through crop residue, for zero-tillage
crop planting. These seed drills help to avoid burn-
ing of 10 t ha
of straw which potentially reduces
release of about 13–14 tons of carbon dioxide (Gupta
et al.,2004). Elimination of burning on just 5 mil-
Pandey et al. Fundam Appl Agric 5(4): 484–490, 2020 488
Table 3.
Yield, expenditure and income in ZT and CT methods of wheat production in farmers’ field at Kailali
district, Nepal during 2017-18
Particulars Zero tillage Conventional tillage Change (%)
Grain yield (kg ha1) 3440 3224 -6.28
Straw yield (kg ha1) 2811 2516 -10.49
Total cost (NRs.) 39431 48300 22.49
Gross income (NRs.) 93657 87598 -6.47
Net income (NRs.) 54226 39298 -27.53
Cost of grain production (NRs. kg1) 10.65 14.20 33.40
lion hectares would reduce the huge flux of yearly
emissions by 43.3 million tons (including 0.8 mil-
lion ton CO
produced upon burning of fossil fuel in
tillage). Zero-tillage on an average saves about 60 L
of fuel ha
thus reducing emission of CO
by 156 kg
ha1yr1(Grace et al.,2015;Gupta et al.,2004).
3.5 Socioeconomic and system impacts of
zero tillage in Nepal
Locally adapted resource conserving technologies,
RCTs (zero tillage, reduced tillage, surface seeding,
bed planting systems) are really a boon to farmers and
the biophysical environment. RCTs hold potential to
improve management of natural resources and pro-
vide sustainable increases in productivity. Zero tillage
technology provides opportunities to reduce the cost
of production with remarkable savings on water and
nutrients, increase in yield, improved efficiency in us-
ing the resources, and benefits the environment. This
would help the farmers to gain more profit from ZT
as compared to that of CT. Thus, economic condition
of the farmers would rise to some extent accompany-
ing increased social status, in the long run. Exercising
of ZT in wheat opens the scope for new technolo-
gies including the application of ZT to other crops
(e.g., pulses and cereals) and permanent beds. ZT
also has the potential of increasing cropping intensity
and diversity in selected areas of Nepal (e.g., mov-
ing towards double cropping in rice–fallow systems;
introducing triple cropping in rice–wheat systems).
The ever increasing demand for basic cereals in
the future would need to be met largely through in-
creased productivity, allowing some land (and other
resources) for diversification for greater income gener-
ation. Clearly, market forces and national and provin-
cial policies will drive the pace and form of the di-
versification. An additional factor influencing the
diversification of rice – wheat systems (RWSs) would
be the new ‘platform’ made possible by the RCTs. Cul-
tivating wheat via zero tillage technology facilitates
wheat sowing 15 days earlier as compared to that
of conventional tillage. The limited human labour
and time required for the use of tractor as well as
pumping sets for irrigation could also be consider-
ably reduced along with requirement of diesel which
ultimately reduced the cost of cultivation in case of
ZT method. For the upliftment of zero tillage tech-
nology of wheat in Nepal, the government should
either donate ZT seed-cum-fertilizer drill to the farm-
ers’ cooperatives or lower the tax in import of it from
neighboring countries.
4 Conclusions
Zero tillage technology of wheat is facilitating wheat
sowing by 15 days earlier in Nepal which is also cost
effective, less labour requirement, higher fertilizer-
use efficiency and higher yielding very crucial tech-
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of inter-
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... (4) Zero tillage in wheat (ZTW) Pandey et al, (2020) in an experiment at Bhairahawa, Nepal find out that ZTW out-yielded (3.44 tha -1 ) the conventionally tilled (CT) wheat (3.22 tha -1 ). They reported the benefit: cost ratio of 2.38 in ZT compared to 1.81 in CT and wheat seeding can be done at least 15 days earlier than CT. ...
... (4) Zero tillage in wheat (ZTW) Pandey et al, (2020) in an experiment at Bhairahawa, Nepal find out that ZTW out-yielded (3.44 tha -1 ) the conventionally tilled (CT) wheat (3.22 tha -1 ). They reported the benefit: cost ratio of 2.38 in ZT compared to 1.81 in CT and wheat seeding can be done at least 15 days earlier than CT. ...
Conservation agriculture (CA) system involves minimum soil disturbance, permanent soil cover, and crop rotations. In Nepal, efforts to develop, refine and disseminate conservation-based agricultural technologies started since the rice-wheat consortium in Terai in the 1990s. There are more payoffs than tradeoffs for the adoption of CA. Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) with CIMMYT and IRRI has been working on it under various ecologies. Studies revealed that it reduces the production cost, saves water and nutrients, increases yields, improves soil health, mitigates global warming and improves resource use efficiency. However, there are many bottlenecks for its promotion; like lack of appropriate CA machineries, trade-offs of using crop residue in crop-livestock systems, crop residue burnings, unavailability of skilled manpower and peoples’ mindset. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop strategies to mainstream the CA in Nepal. The paper highlights on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of CA for promotion and the way forward.
... [48], permits earlier wheat planting in rice-wheat system and control the problem of Phalaris minor [46]. Pandey et al. [49] reported higher grain yield (3440 kg/ha) and B:C ratio (2.38) for zero tilled wheat as compared to conventionally grown wheat with a grain yield of 3224 kg/ha and B:C ratio of 1.81 in Kailali district of Nepal. Since residue retention is a common practice in zero tillage system, so the organic matter content of the soil is also increased and soil compaction is reduced due to enhancement of biological activities in soil. ...
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Traditional practices of growing rice and wheat in Asian countries involve a huge cost in establishment methods adopted by farmers which not only limit the yield and return but also degrade soil and require more water. Adaptation of improved crop establishment methods suitable under adverse climatic conditions is of utmost importance for scientific utilization of natural resources and to maintain the sustainability of rice-wheat cropping system Therefore, an attempt has been made in this chapter to review precision rice establishment methodology viz., direct seeding, non-puddle/unpuddled transplanting, bed transplanting, strip tilled and single pass shallow tilled rice, double transplanting and system of rice intensifica-tion (SRI) and wheat establishment methods viz., zero tilled, strip tilled and bed planted wheat. These are recent improved crop establishment techniques that can be used under specific agro-ecological conditions for enhancing yield and resource conservation in Indo-gangetic plains of Eastern India.
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This study was conducted from 2008-2010, on five different farmer fields in district Sargodha, Pakistan, to evaluate the effect of precision-land leveling (PLL) on water application, crop yield, water-use efficiency (WUE), soil salinity and soil fertility. At each farm, one field was precisely leveled with laser-land leveler, whereas another unlevel field was treated as control. Except land leveling, all other cultural practices and crop inputs were kept the same in both fields. On an average, 51% water was saved under leveled fields, as compared to unleveled fields in a cropping year. Rice, wheat and maize (fodder) yields from level fields were 6-10% more than from unlevel fields. The average WUE of rice, wheat and maize (fodder) of the level fields was 33-38% higher than those from unlevel fields. The net annual income, obtained from level fields, was 32% higher, as compared to that from unlevel fields. The elevation difference that was ±2 cm immediately after land leveling in 2008 increased to ±3-6 cm by 2010. The cost incurred on laser-land leveling was recovered within one season. There was no significant and systematic effect of PLL on soil salinity and soil fertility.
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The crop productivity of far western region of Nepal is lower than that of the other regions of Nepal. The existing cultivation practices of this research area are conventional tillage (CT). Zero tillage (ZT) has been found as an effective crop management practice to rejuvenate soil fertility and increase crop yield. This research was conducted at Masuriya, Kailali district, the outreach site of Regional Agriculture Research Station (RARS), Doti, Nepal during October 2017 to March 2018 with the objective of identifying suitable tillage practice for high wheat crop profitability. ZT and CT were used as two treatments in 11 farmers' fields. Seed-cum-fertilizer drill machine was used in ZT, whereas CT as farmers' practice and field data as well as farmers' perceptions were collected for analysis. The results revealed that farmers saved 10% human labour, 41.67% machinery labour and 25% seed amount in ZT compared to CT method. The net return of wheat was NRs. 54,255.5/ha in ZT and NRs. 39298/ ha in CT method of wheat production. The benefit : cost ratio was found 2.38 in ZT compared to 1.83 in CT which is 23.64% more over CT method. Similarly, grain yield was found to be increased by 6.28% in ZT method. Farmers who had adopted ZT method of wheat cultivation were found interested for the continuation of this technology in future too. The ZT technology is an important alternative to save the scare resources and reduce the cost of production and enhance the net farm income with higher benefit : cost ratio.
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The crop productivity in Pakistan is very low as majority of the farmers are still practicing traditional farming techniques. The existing crop production technologies do not offer effective and efficient utilization of natural resources, particularly that of water. Moreover, a significant amount of irrigation water is wasted due to uneven fields and ditches. Unevenness of the soil surface also has a major impact on the germination, stand and yield of crops through nutrient water interaction and salt and soil moisture distribution pattern. Therefore, the water use efficiency along with yield per acre could be increase by adopting resource conservation technologies like laser leveling. A sample of 120 growers including 60 wheat growers and 60 cotton growers were selected from Mirpurkhas & Tando Allahyar districts of Sindh province of Pakistan. Study results revealed that about 21 percent irrigation water saved by the adoption of laser leveling technology and also obtained higher yield and profit margins comparatively. Study concluded that adoption of laser leveling technology helps in reducing the farm input costs, improve water use efficiency and enhance crop productivity.
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One of the major constraints to higher production of wheat on the 12 million hectares of rice-wheat grown in the Indo-Gangetic flood plains of South Asia is late planting and resultant poor plant stands. Late planting results in a linear decline in yield potential equivalent to 1–1.5% loss ha-1 d-1 when planting occurs after November. Late harvest of the previous rice crop or long turnaround time from rice harvest to wheat planting are two major causes of late wheat planting. Reduced or zero-tillage options are proving effective in overcoming late planting and poor plant stands in the rice-wheat systems of Asia. This paper presents data on zero-tillage systems, ranging from surface seeding to planting with four-wheel tractor seed drills, resulting in higher yields at lower costs and savings in fuel use and tractor wear and tear. Reduced tillage systems include ‘data-using’ drills that combine land preparation and seeding in one operation. Both two and four-wheel tractors have been used to achieve good results. This paper concludes that conventional tillage systems can be replaced by more economic reduced tillage options. However, it is important with reduced tillage that soil moisture at seeding is maintained at a high enough level to keep soil strength low, as occurs in tilled soils. Some longer term research is needed to determine medium term positive or negative effects of reduced tillage on sustaining wheat yields.
Recent decades have seen many changes in agricultural production systems in Nepal, such as increased mechanization for harvesting of major cereal crops, which leaves a large volume of crop residue in the field, increased herbicide application for weed control, and increased adoption of reduced tillage systems. In this study, we compared the effects of tillage, rice residue and weed managements on yield and yield attributes of wheat cultivated under rice-wheat rotation in the Southern Plain (Terai) region of Nepal. The study was conducted during the wheat growing seasons (November through April) of 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 in Rupandehi district. The experiment was deployed in a split-split plot design with tillage system as main plot [conventional tillage (CT) and zero tillage (ZT)], residue removal management as a sub-plot [whole residue retained (WR), partial residue retained (PR) and no residue retained (NR)], and weed management as a sub-sub plot [(manual weeding (MW) and chemical weeding (CW)], replicated three times. Analysis of variance was applied to the yield and yield attributes of wheat for fixed and interaction effects. Averaged across the years, the CT system (2.4 t ha-1) had significantly higher yield than ZT (2.2 t ha-1) but the difference was not consistent in all study years. While rice residue retention did not influence grain yield in Year1, WR produced greatest and NR produced lowest yield in Year2 and Year3, indicating potential yield increase in wheat following the whole rice residue retention in the long run. Grain yield did not significantly vary with weed management method, suggesting that manual weed control can be as effective as herbicide in weed management in wheat agroecosystem in the Southern Plains (Terai) region of Nepal.
Tillage-mechanical manipulation of the soil done to have a fine seed bed, get rid of weeds and to decrease the leaching and percolation losses for the better land productivity but on the long run observed to have negative effects on the soil properties, structure and finally onto the environment. Agriculture contributes to greenhouse gas affecting the atmosphere. Processes of climate change mitigation and adaptation delineate zero tillage (ZT) as environment friendly. But initially ZT performance is still in question because of higher weed biomass. Number of scientists reported differential effects of the ZT on soil health, properties and the environment. However, its adoption still under doubt as farmers doesn’t agree to divert from the old indigenous lines. Among tillage viz. conventional (CT), minimum (MT) and ZT-their effects on the soil properties and crop yield varied. Therefore, choice of any tillage system is too critical for maintenance of the soil physical properties necessary for crop growth. However, effect of different tillage systems on soil properties depends on the site-specific biophysical environment such as soil texture, prevailing climate variations, site characteristics, period of adoption, seasonal variability in rainfall, inherent soil fertility status. Till now there is confusion among not only in farmers but also in scientists regarding performance of different tillage systems with respect to soil health, land and water productivity and the environment. Further, their residual effects during intervening period have not been attended much till date. Keeping all this under consideration, this review is compiled to come out with a perfect tillage system which ultimately leads to the sustainable/climate smart agriculture. Finally, we concluded that minimum tillage has an edge from both other tillage system and found to be best in texturally divergent soils under different agro-climatic conditions.
Arable lands in the Indo-Gangetic Plains are already intensively cropped with little scope for expansion because of the competing end uses of land for urbanization and industry. Evidence from long-term experiments in the region indicates that cereal yields are declining, which is in stark contrast to the needed increases in production to meet population demand in the future. The intensification of rice-wheat rotations has resulted in a heavy reliance on irrigation, increased fertilizer usage, and crop residue burning, which all have a direct effect on the variable that most affects global climate change–emissions of greenhouse gases. We estimate that the CO2 equivalent emissions from a high-input conventionally tilled cropping system with residue burning and organic amendments would equal 8 Mg C or 29 Mg CO2 yr⁻¹ if applied to 1 million hectares of the Indo-Gangetic Plains. In a no-till, residue-retained system, with 50% of the recommended NPK application, the total emissions would equal 3.7 Mg C, or 14 Mg CO2 yr⁻¹, an effective halving of emissions as we move from a high- to low-input system with improved nutrient use and environmental efficiency. The transition to intensified no-tillage systems, with recommended fertilizer levels, can be both productive and environmentally sound in a world that is rapidly becoming aware of the significant effects of global climate change in both the short and long term. Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left. Copyright © 2003. . Copyright © 2003 by the American Society of Agronomy, Inc., Crop Science Society of America, Inc., Soil Science Society of America, Inc., 5585 Guilford Rd., Madison, WI 53711 USA