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Coventry D.R.,University of Adelaide | Poswal R.S.,Directorate of Wheat Research | Yadav A.,Haryana Agricultural University | Gupta R.K.,Directorate of Wheat Research | And 8 more authors.
Field Crops Research | Year: 2011

This article reports on field experiments with 4 different rotations that are commonly used throughout Haryana in NW India (rice-wheat, cotton-wheat, pearl millet-wheat, cluster bean-wheat), where we assess wheat yield and chapatti quality measures with different crop establishment methods and input of micronutrients. In a series of experiments conducted on farmers' fields in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 winter seasons, the addition of micronutrients and sulphur to wheat crops was used alongside the use of a common farmer practice, the use of farmyard manure (FM) and best practice inputs of N-fertilizer (150kgNha-1), P-fertilizer (26kgPha-1) and K-fertilizer (33kgKha-1). The application of FM with the recommended NPK treatment produced 9-13% more grain yield in the rice-wheat rotation when compared with the recommended NPK only treatment. Given that the farm sites used here had low levels of soil P, this may suggest that the recommended rate of 26kgPha-1 for the rice-wheat rotation is too low. The addition of FM did not improve any grain quality outcomes at any of the sites. There were no yield responses with S application with any of the rotations but the S input resulted in more wheat protein from all sites (average 8%). The addition of S also gave similar increases in grain hardness and the chapatti score. The inclusion of micronutrients (boron, copper, iron, zinc and manganese) with the recommended NPK treatment did not increase the grain yield at any of the sites when compared with the recommended NPK treatment, and sometimes, but not consistently, gave small responses with protein, grain hardness and chapatti score. In concurrent experiments wheat growth and chapatti quality were compared in zero till and conventionally sown systems, and with and without S fertilizer amendment. Here too there were no grain yield responses to S, and the protein, grain hardness and chapatti score were increased with S addition. Grain yields with zero till and conventional wheat were similar in the rice-wheat system and zero till sowing resulted in small increases in yield at all of the non-rice sites. The grain from the zero till treatments had higher protein (1-3%), grain hardness (3-10%) and chapatti score from all 4 rotations. Zero till has substantial adoption in the rice-wheat districts of Haryana but little farmer awareness and adoption in the areas where the other rotations are used. The data given here show that with zero tillage and an integrated practice of nutrient management farmers in Haryana can maintain grain yields of wheat whilst improving quality outcomes. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Coventry D.R.,University of Adelaide | Yadav A.,Haryana Agricultural University | Poswal R.S.,Directorate of Wheat Research | Sharma R.K.,Directorate of Wheat Research | And 8 more authors.
Field Crops Research | Year: 2011

Wheat in Haryana (NW India) is grown as a winter crop in an annual sequence with rice, cotton, pearl millet or cluster bean as the main monsoon crops. Higher wheat yields in Haryana are associated with the use of modern varieties, increase in fertiliser use, improved irrigation practice and conservation tillage, and the recommendation to farmers for N fertiliser rates and timing and irrigation practice have an emphasis on optimising yield and input efficiencies. In India the importance to consumers of product quality does exist and, although the market place presently does not actively reward farmers for better quality wheat, the need for creating suitable and targeted marketing opportunities is now recognised. This paper examines aspects of input efficiencies and focuses on combinations of N-fertiliser and irrigation input in wheat crops grown with these four rotations (rice-wheat, cotton-wheat, pearl millet-wheat and cluster bean-wheat). Management practices that optimise grain production as well targeting grain that achieves best chapatti (Indian flat bread) quality are evaluated within a split-plot experiment where 4 irrigation schedule treatments were split with nitrogen management treatments involving a 2-way or 3-way split of N fertiliser. With the rice-wheat system, there were no differences between different split timings of N with grain yield, however with the 3 other wheat systems the 3 way split of N-fertiliser application, with N applied equally at N-fertiliser applied at seeding, early tillering and first node stage, always gave the highest yield. With all 4 rotations the highest protein level was achieved (range 11.8-12.5%) with this 3-way N application split. Grain yield increased in a step-wise manner as additional irrigation was implemented with all rotations and the highest protein outcomes were achieved with the least irrigations. The apparent recovery of N fertiliser applied was similar and highest with the 3-way split, and the 2-way split that did not include a basal N fertiliser application. Different rates of N fertiliser were included in separate experiments using the 3-way split of N application, and with the rice-wheat rotation the GreenSeeker instrument was used to establish the rate for the third application of N. The application of extra N-fertiliser with the non rice-wheat rotations produced no additional grain yield with an increase in the N-fertiliser input beyond 150kgNha-1, although protein and N-content increased incrementally. Grain hardness and chapatti score trended higher with increases in N-fertiliser input but the increases were relatively small. The use of the GreenSeeker instrument with the rice-wheat rotation resulted in N saving of 21-25kgNha-1 with similar grain yield, protein and grain hardness to that provided by using the recommended 150kgNha-1. Where the GreenSeeker was used the apparent recovery was 70-75% compared with 60% with the wheat receiving the recommended 150kgNha-1, suggesting farmers are likely to be over-fertilising their wheat crop. The best yields obtained in these experiments were about 5.5-6.0tha-1 and these yields are consistent with a decade-long attainable yield identified for wheat in rice-wheat rotation for Haryana. If farmers can achieve market recognition for chapatti quality, and with the use of appropriate varieties, then farmers can assume that the best practice outlined here for optimising grain yield with integrated nutrient and soil management will be the same practice that optimises chapatti quality. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Coventry D.R.,University of Adelaide | Gupta R.K.,Directorate of Wheat Research | Yadav A.,Haryana Agricultural University | Poswal R.S.,Directorate of Wheat Research | And 9 more authors.
Field Crops Research | Year: 2011

Of the wheat grown in North-West India the majority is consumed as traditional Indian flat bread (chapatti). Chapatti quality is important to consumers and people are willing to pay more for better quality wheat flour, but farmers do not specifically target quality outcomes as the majority of their wheat is sold with no segregation. For farmers the main objective is to harvest maximum yields, but in the last decade productivity growth for wheat yields has slowed in the areas where the wheat is grown in a double cropping pattern. Nutrient depletion and temperature-related stress are possible causes for this decline in productivity growth. Farmers meanwhile are looking to opportunities to maintain profitability and, with consumers willing to pay a higher price for better chapatti wheat, an opportunity exists for farmers to manage their wheat to improve both the yield as well as quality of wheat. In this paper we evaluate management practices that best achieve high yield and better chapatti quality, and assess the temperature environment for the winter wheat growing season. A step-wise analysis of the long-term temperature trend for sites in NW India showed that mean annual temperature has increased by 0.7-1.0. °C during the last decade. Field experiments with wheat varieties (C-306, WH-283, DBW-17, PBW-343, PBW-502, PBW-550, Raj-3765 and WH-1025) were conducted at farmers' fields under 4 different sequential cropping rotations for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 winter seasons in Haryana (India). C-306 and WH-283 are varieties with excellent chapatti quality but are lower yielding by 15-26% than the more widely grown varieties such as PBW-343 and PBW-502. The replicated experiments involved three sowing times, these being an early sowing (late October to early November, timely sowing (mid November) and a late sowing (early December). A differential response of varieties was observed to sowing time with the yield of C-306 better whereas that of WH-283 and Raj-3765 was poor in early sown conditions. The varieties DBW-17, PBW-343 and PBW-502 were the highest yielding wheat with similar performance under early as well as timely sowing. All the varieties had lowest yield in December sowing. In general, late sowing had lower thousand grain weight but higher protein content. Of the quality measure grain hardness was the only attribute with a consistent positive correlation with chapatti quality. The chapatti score was higher for varieties C-306 and WH-283 compared to the other varieties but grain hardness and chapatti score was not much affected by sowing time. With all varieties included in the analysis there was no correlation between protein and chapatti score, but within an individual variety usually higher protein resulted in a higher chapatti score. There was no association of grain test weight or sedimentation value with chapatti score. From the results shown here it is evident that farmers will be able to manage with variety choice and timely sowing to obtain chapatti quality without losing grain yield benefits. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Coventry D.R.,University of Adelaide | Poswal R.S.,Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research | Yadav A.,Haryana Agricultural University | Riar A.S.,University of Adelaide | And 10 more authors.
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2015

An extensive stratified survey was conducted in two different wheat growing seasons in all districts of Haryana (India) to evaluate current agronomic practices and assess performance in wheat production with the purpose of identifying where farmers can make further changes in practices. The survey involved 116 villages (927 farmers) in 2008 and 103 villages (823 farmers) in 2010. Different sized farming operations from each village were surveyed to represent all socio-economic categories of farmers. Agronomic inputs (tillage method, fertilizer practice, variety choice, time of sowing, irrigation, and rotation practice) and yield data are presented as mean data, and individual farmer's information is represented by regression tree (RT) analysis to highlight primary associations between cropping management and wheat yield and the technical efficiency (TE) measure. TE was calculated using the key agronomic variables obtained from the survey, and the farms with the highest TE values were assessed as having the superior 'best practice' technology. In the districts where the rice-wheat rotation was adopted, there was an overall higher level of TE. Where rice-wheat rotation is the main cropping practice (for example in Kaithal and Kurukshetra), many of the farmers have adopted zero tillage farming methods, with one third of farmers in Kaithal using zero tillage for planting wheat. In contrast, in Sirsa district where cotton was favoured by the farmers as their monsoon season crop, there were no farms where zero tillage was practised. Also, there was also no zero tillage farming where the pearl millet/cluster bean rotation was used as the monsoon season crop. In most cases farmers use a two applications of nitrogen fertilizer applied post-emergence, particularly in the rice-wheat and cotton-wheat districts. The survey also showed that application of potassium fertilizer and use of zinc is regionally specific and this is consistent with the soil maps that show the potential for deficiency of these nutrients in Haryana districts. Sowing in the rice-wheat districts was mostly at the recommended time in early November. The highest number of irrigations occurred in the districts using the pearl millet-wheat and cluster bean-wheat rotations where sprinkler irrigation is the main application practice. The analysis of TE provides a useful comparison when the 5 different farm size categories are separated. There was no difference in TE with farm size, suggesting the message concerning best practice for wheat production is available to and adopted by farmers irrespective of scale of operation. This analysis highlights where extension messages could be focused, whether for zero tillage in the non-rice districts, management of macro-nutrients, or the targeted use of micronutrients. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Choudhary R.,Haryana Agricultural University | Singh P.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | Sidhu H.S.,Borlaug Institute for South Asia BISA | Nandal D.P.,Haryana Agricultural University | And 3 more authors.
Field Crops Research | Year: 2016

Intensive tillage-based conventional cotton-wheat system (CWS) entails high production costs and has low crop and water productivity thereby threatening its sustainability in the north-western India. Conservation agriculture (CA) based management practices such as conservation tillage, permanent raised beds and relay planting have the potential to improve sustainability, profitability, and water use efficiency in CWS. A two-year (2013–2015) field experiment was conducted to evaluate CA based management practices such as zero tillage (ZT), permanent beds, relay seeding (RS) of wheat, seeding configuration, and integration of mungbean (MB) in terms of crop productivity, input use efficiency (water and energy) and profitability in the CWS system. Treatments included; permanent narrow (67.5 cm, PNB) and broad (102 cm, PBB) raised beds with cotton planted in the centre of beds, ZT narrow flats (67.5 cm, ZTNF) and broad flats (102 cm, ZTBF), and PBB with cotton planted on one side of bed and intercropped with MB (PBBc + MB) or no MB (PBBc). In the above treatments, wheat was relay seeded in standing cotton after second picking. In addition, conventional till (CT) CWS on flats was included as control treatment. PBBc + MB produced 37% and 10% higher system productivity (2 yrs’ mean) over CT and PBB, respectively. Relay seeded wheat on PBB produced 50% higher yield and required 40% less irrigation water compared to CT wheat in both the years. Mean system irrigation water productivity (WPI) was 131% higher with PBBc + MB compared with CT. The energy input was 61% higher in CT compared to PBB but energy output was 21% higher with PBB than with CT. PBB and PBBc + MB recorded 52–54% higher energy productivity and 64–69% higher net returns compared to CT. In conclusion, PBB and PBBc + MB were the best options for sustainable CWS under similar soil and climatic conditions in India. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

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