Adoption of resource conservation technologies (RCT) may improve the productivity, reduce cost and sustainability of wheat production in the irrigated areas of eastern Indo-Gangetic plains (IGP) of South Asia. Critical on â€“farm study on factors favouring adoption and non-adoption is required. Findings from an on-farm trial conducted during 2005-2009 are used to evaluate the on-farm impacts of zero tillage (ZT) in wheat from three sites at Tarai-Teesta flood plain of eastern IGP. On an average, there was 11.54% increase in productivity in ZT wheat over conventional tilled (CT) wheat. Water productivity increased from 1.99 kg m-3 in CT to 2.73 kg m-3 in ZT due to lower estimated water use (1147 m3 ha-1 in ZT than 1435 m3 ha-1 in CT) and higher productivity (3.38 t ha-1 in ZT than 3.03 t ha-1 in CT). Saving in tractor operation and diesel use in farmersâ€™ ZT wheat fields were 3.23 and 19.09 hours ha-1. Sowing can be done earlier by one week through adoption of ZT machine for better utilization of limited winter. Savings in ZT on farmersâ€™ fields were in the components of land preparation (1938 Rs ha-1), seed (462 Rs ha-1), nitrogen (269 Rs ha-1), phosphate fertilizer (104 Rs ha-1) and irrigation (380 Rs ha-1) over conventional wheat cultivation. Availability of zero-till seeder and its servicing, skilled operator and sometimes reluctance of local tiller operator for apprehension of lower earnings from single tillage pass are also revealed as the factors of non-adoption. More such in-depth studies should be conducted on site-specific basis so that it can be replicated more widely in areas for the benefit of the farming community.
Indo Gangetic Plain, Tarai-Teesta Flood plain, Wheat, Zero tillage
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