Posts Tagged ‘Zero tillage’

Compendium of deliverables of the conservation agriculture course 2014

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in CIMMYT Publications

Compendium of deliverables of the conservation agriculture course 2014. 2014. Verhulst, N.; Mulvaney, M.J.; Cox, R.; Van Loon, J.; Nichols, V. (eds.). Mexico, DF (Mexico): CIMMYT iv, 43 p.

99448.pdfThis book is the result of the hard work of 5 CIMMYT trainees who work on sustainable practices in India, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, and participated in the 2014 visiting scientist program “Conservation agriculture: Laying the groundwork for sustainable and productive cropping systems”. Over 5 weeks the scientists received an intense training program that combined mentoring and problem solving approaches. They actively participated in the ongoing cropping systems management activities of CIMMYT’s Global Conservation Agriculture Program, Latin-America, at the experimental stations near Mexico City at El Batán and Toluca, and in nearby farmers? fields. Emphasis was given to conservation agriculturebased technologies for both irrigated and rainfed conditions: reduced tillage, using alternative crop residue management strategies and crop rotation.Wheat and maize were the main crops under study.

On-farm economic and environmental impact of zero-tillage wheat: a case of North-West India

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Experimental Agriculture, 2014

Aryal, J.P.;Sapkota, T.B.Jat, M.L.Bishnoi, D.K.

Conducting farmers participatory field trials at 40 sites for 3 consecutive years in four rice-wheat system dominated districts of Haryana state of India, this paper tested the hypothesis that zero tillage (ZT) based crop production emits less greenhouse gases and yet provide adequate economic benefits to farmers compared to the conventional tillage (CT). In each farmer’s field, ZT and CT based wheat production were compared side by side for three consecutive years from 2009–10 to 2011–12. In assessing the mitigation potential of ZT, we examined the differences in input use and crop management, especially those contributing to GHGs emissions, between ZT wheat and CT wheat. We employed Cool Farm Tool (CFT) to estimate emission of GHGs from various wheat production activities. In order to assess economic benefits, we examined the difference in input costs, net returns and cost-benefit analysis of wheat production under CT and ZT. Results show that farmers can save approximately USD 79 ha−1 in terms of total production costs and increase net revenue of about USD 97.5 ha−1 under ZT compared to CT. Similarly, benefit-cost ratio under ZT is 1.43 against 1.31 under CT. Our estimate shows that shifting from CT to ZT based wheat production reduces GHG emission by 1.5 Mg CO2-eq ha−1 season−1. Overall, ZT has both climate change mitigation and economic benefits, implying the win-win outcome of better agricultural practices.

Seven years of conservation agriculture in a rice-wheat rotation of Eastern Gangetic Plains of South Asia: yield trends, economic profitability and carbon use efficiency

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Field Crops Research, 2014

Jat, R. K.Sapkota, T.B.Singh, R.G.Jat, M.L.Kumar, M.;Gupta, R.K. 

Water, energy and labour scarcity, increasing cost of production, diminishing farm profits and uncertain weather events are major challenges faced by the farmers under intensive tillage based conventional rice–wheat (RW) production system of Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) in South Asia. To address these challenges, conservation agriculture (CA) based crop management practices are being developed, adapted and promoted in the region. We evaluated agronomical productivity and economical profitability of various combinations of tillage, crop establishment and residue management practices in rice–wheat rotation of Eastern IGP of India: a smallholder, poorly resourced and most vulnerable regions for the climatic variability. The long-term trial was initiated in 2006 having 7 combinations of tillage, crop establishment and residue management in rice–wheat rotation. These consisted of conventional till puddled transplanted rice followed by conventional tilled wheat (CTR–CTW); CTR followed by zero tilled wheat (CTR–ZTW); direct seeded rice followed by wheat both on permanent raised beds (PBDSR–PBW); zero-till direct seeded rice followed by CTW (ZTDSR–CTW); ZTDSR followed by ZTW without residues (ZTDSR–ZTW); ZTDSR followed by ZTW with residues (ZTDSR–ZTW + R) and unpuddled transplanted rice followed by ZTW (UpTPR–ZTW). All these treatments were completely randomized and replicated thrice within a block.

During the initial three years of experimentation, we recorded higher rice grain yield in conventional tillage based rice systems (i.e. CTR–CTW and CTR–ZTW) than in CA based systems (i.e. ZTDSR–ZTW, UpTPR–ZTW). During the fourth and fifth years, the rice yields under CT and CA were comparable whereas sixth year onwards, higher yields were recorded under CA based system than in CT based systems. However, the wheat yield was higher in CA based system right from second year onwards. We observed the lowest wheat yield in the system where preceding rice crop was grown with intensive tillage operations (CTR). RW system productivity was higher in almost all the CA based systems than in the CT based and mixture of CT and CA based systems from the second year onwards. The net returns were always higher in CA based systems than in CT based system although the significant differences were obvious only from fourth year onwards in rice and second year onwards in wheat as well as at the system level. The higher grain yields and economical advantage of CA was realized after 2–3 years as the adaptation of CA based component technologies evolved over the time. In medium term, we found CA based systems to be agronomically and economically superior to CT based systems for rice–wheat rotation in a smallholder production system of Eastern IGP of South Asia. Hence, CA based RW production system is one of the pathways for improving productivity, income and food security while sustaining the natural resources in smallholder production systems of Eastern IGP.

Rastrojos: manejo, uso y mercado en el Centro y Sur de Mexico

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in CIMMYT Publications

Rastrojos: manejo, uso y mercado en el Centro y Sur de Mexico2013Velez Izquierdo, A.Guevara Hernandez, F.Gomez Castro, H.Ovando Cruz, J.Hellin, J.Espinosa Garcia, J.A.Sonder, K.Rodriguez Larramendi, L.A.Reyes Muro, L.Fonseca Flores, M.Ocaña Grajales, M.Borja Bravo, M.Pinto Ruiz, R.Camacho, C.Beuchelt, T.D.Hernandez Rodriguez, M. 1. ed.Aguascalientes, Ags. (Mexico)INIFAP / SAGARPA / CIMMYT / Centro de Investigacion Regional Norte Centro vii, 242 p. Series: Libro Tecnico. No. 7 

99007Los residuos de cosecha, también conocidos como rastrojos, desempeñan un papel preponderante en los sistemas agrícolas y pecuarios, y han sido estudiados desde diferentes perspectivas temáticas y metodológicas a nivel mundial.

Effect of different tillage and seeding methods on energy use efficiency and productivity of wheat in the Indo-Gangetic plains

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Field Crops Research 142 : 1-8, 2012

Vivak Kumar, Yashpal S. Saharawat,  Mahesh K. Gathala, Arjun Singh Jat, Sanjay K. Singh, Neelam Chaudhary and M.L. Jat

Conservation agriculture (CA) based crop management technologies specially zero- or minimum-tillage are being rapidly adopted by the farmers in intensively cultivated wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production systems of South Asia. Farmers use these tillage options considering them best as per their wisdom. However, scanty information is available on relative energy and economic efficacy of different tillage and seeding implements being used by the farmers for wheat production in the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) of South Asia. We investigated the effect of five wheat establishment methods (i) conventional tillage; (ii) reduced-tillage; (iii) rotavator tillage; (iv) raised bed planting; and (v) zero-tillage for their energy and economic efficiency in a Typic Ustochrept alluvial sandy loam soil in the IGP during 2005–2008. We hypothesized that (1) zero- or minimum-tillage implements would lead to improved operational field capacity; (2) the CA based technologies would enhance energy efficiency; and (3) overall these tillage and seeding methods would enhance net income and crop productivity. We measured implement efficiency, energy inputs and outputs, tillage and seeding efficiency as well as wheat productivity and economics. The results of the study showed that zero-tillage improved the operational field capacity by 81%, specific energy by 17% and the energy usage efficiency by 13% as compared to the conventional tillage. But, higher total effective field capacity (9.93 h ha−1) on raised beds is in contrast with our second hypothesis. The enhanced net income in zero-tillage (33%) and reduced-tillage (20%) compared to CT support the third hypothesis. The overall results of the study revealed that CA-based crop establishment practices are a viable options for the farmers not only in terms of energy and time efficiency but also for attaining higher productivity and profitability. There exists a large potential of CA based crop establishment practices in South Asia not only in terms of crop productivity and profitability but also their energy efficiency, global warming potential and soil health. The study also emphasizes for long-term strategic research in systems perspective for better understanding CA based technologies in different efficiency and soil health aspects.

 

Conservation agriculture, increased organic carbon in the top-soil macro-aggregates and reduced soil CO2 emissions

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Plant and Soil 355 (1-2) : 183-197, 2012

Mariela Fuentes,  Claudia Hidalgo,  Jorge Etchevers, Fernando De León, Armando Guerrero, Luc Dendooven, Nele Verhulst and Bram Govaerts

Background and aims

Conservation agriculture, the combination of minimal soil movement (zero or reduced tillage), crop residue retention and crop rotation, might have the potential to increase soil organic C content and reduce emissions of CO2.

Methods

Three management factors were analyzed: (1) tillage (zero tillage (ZT) or conventional tillage (CT)), (2) crop rotation (wheat monoculture (W), maize monoculture (M) and maize-wheat rotation (R)), and (3) residue management (with (+r), or without (−r) crop residues). Samples were taken from the 0–5 and 5–10 cm soil layers and separated in micro-aggregates (< 0.25 mm), small macro-aggregates (0.25 to 1 mm) and large macro-aggregates (1 to 8 mm). The carbon content of each aggregate fraction was determined.

Results

Zero tillage combined with crop rotation and crop residues retention resulted in a higher proportion of macro-aggregates. In the 0–5 cm layer, plots with a crop rotation and monoculture of maize and wheat in ZT+r had the greatest proportion of large stable macro-aggregates (40%) and highest mean weighted diameter (MWD) (1.7 mm). The plots with CT had the largest proportion of micro-aggregates (27%). In the 5–10 cm layer, plots with residue retention in both CT and ZT (maize 1 mm and wheat 1.5 mm) or with monoculture of wheat in plots under ZT without residues (1.4 mm) had the greatest MWD. The 0–10 cm soil layer had a greater proportion of small macroaggregates compared to large macro-aggregates and micro-aggregates. In the 0–10 cm layer of soil with residues retention and maize or wheat, the greatest C content was found in the small and large macro-aggregates. The small macro-aggregates contributed most C to the organic C of the sample. For soil cultivated with maize, the CT treatments had significantly higher CO2 emissions than the ZT treatments. For soil cultivated with wheat, CTR-r had significantly higher CO2 emissions than all other treatments.

Conclusion

Reduction in soil disturbance combined with residue retention increased the C retained in the small and large macro-aggregates of the top soil due to greater aggregate stability and reduced the emissions of CO2 compared with conventional tillage without residues retention and maize monoculture (a cultivation system normally used in the central highlands of Mexico).

Global warming potential of agricultural systems with contrasting tillage and residue management in the central highlands of Mexico

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 152(1): 50-58, 2012

Luc Dendooven, Leonardo Patiño-Zúñiga, Nele Verhulst, Marco Luna-Guido, Rodolfo Marsch, Bram Govaerts

Conservation agriculture based on (1) minimal soil movement, (2) retention of rational amounts of crop residue, (3) economically viable crop rotations restores soil fertility. Conservation agriculture improves soil characteristics, but it remains to be seen how zero tillage (ZT) affected greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and the global warming potential (GWP) compared to conventional tillage (CT) when crop residue was kept or removed in a maize-wheat crop rotation since 1991. The soil organic C content in the 0–60 cm layer was larger in ZT (117.7 Mg C ha−1) compared to CT (76.8 Mg C ha−1) when residue was retained, but similar when it was removed. Tillage and residue management had only a small effect on GWP of the GHG emissions. However, the C sequestered in the 0–60 cm was affected by tillage and crop residue management, resulting in a negative net GWP for ZT with crop residue retention (−6.277 Mg CO2 ha−1 y−1) whereas in the other management practices it ranged from 1.288 to 1.885 Mg CO2 ha−1 y−1. It was found that cultivation technique had little effect on the GWP of the GHG, but had a large effect on C sequestered in the 0–60 cm layer and the net GWP.

 

Molecular characterization of soil bacterial communities in contrasting zero tillage systems

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Published in Plant and Soil 329(1-2): 127-137

Molecular characterization of soil bacterial communities in contrasting zero tillage systems

Javier A. Ceja-Navarro, Flor N. Rivera, Leonardo Patiño-Zúñiga, Bram Govaerts, Rodolfo Marsch, Antón Vila-Sanjurjo and Luc Dendooven

It is well known that agricultural practices change the physical and chemical characteristics of soil. As a result, microbial populations can also be affected. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect on soil bacterial communities of zero tillage (ZT) under maize monoculture (MM) with crop residue removal (-R) (MM/-R treatment), compared to a ZT system under wheat monoculture (WW) with crop retention (+R) (WW/+R treatment). Phylogenetic analysis was used to characterize soil bacterial communities. Phylogenetic groups found exclusively in MM/-R were Caldilineales, Chromatiales, Oscillatoriales, Legionellales, Nitrosomonadales and unclassified ∂-Proteobacteria, while Bacillales, Burkholderiales, Pseudomonadales and Rubrobacteriales were found only in WW/+R. Sequences of bacteria related to fluorescent Pseudomonas sp. were detected only in WW/+R. Acidobacteria, a largely unknown group of bacteria, were the dominant group in both treatments with a relative proportion of 0.703 and 0.517 for MM/+R and WW/-R respectively. It was found that zero tillage with removal of crop residue in soil cultivated with a monoculture of maize strongly reduced microbial diversity (H = 3.30; D = 0.9040) compared to soil where crop residue was retained in a wheat zero tillage situation (H = 4.15; D = 0.9848).

Specification effects in zero tillage survey data in South Asia’s rice-wheat systems

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Published in Field Crops Research 111(1-2): 166-172

Specification effects in zero tillage survey data in South Asia’s rice–wheat systems

Olaf Erenstein

Specification effects in terms of how technology options are contrasted can introduce bias in impact assessment. In a companion paper we evaluated the on-farm impacts of zero tillage (ZT) wheat as a resource-conserving technology in the rice–wheat systems of India’s Haryana State and Pakistan’s Punjab province [Erenstein, O., Farooq, U., Malik, R.K., Sharif, M., 2008. On-farm impacts of zero tillage wheat in South Asia’s rice–wheat systems. Field Crop Res. 105, 240–252]. The underlying field work surveyed plots of full adopters (only ZT plots), partial adopters (ZT and conventional tillage [CT] plots on same farm) and non-adopters (only CT plots). The companion paper assumes that the comparison between the ZT plots of full plus partial adopters and CT plots of partial adopters is the least-biased assessment of ZT’s on-farm impact. Here we revisit this underlying assumption and draw on complementary farm survey findings to illustrate the extent of specification effects in the assessment of on-farm impacts of ZT wheat in the same study areas. The study thereby distinguishes between three contrasts between ZT and CT within the same dataset: (1) plain contrast (all plots of adopters and non-adopters); (2) adopter-only contrast (full and partial adopters only, as used in Erenstein et al. [Erenstein, O., Farooq, U., Malik, R.K., Sharif, M., 2008. On-farm impacts of zero tillage wheat in South Asia’s rice–wheat systems. Field Crop Res. 105, 240–252]); (3) pair-wise contrast (partial adopters only). Proceeding from type 1 to type 3 comparisons the number of observations decrease but this is compensated by an increasing ability to control for variation. The ability of type 3 comparisons to pick up relatively small but significant differences is an important consideration in farm survey impact assessment. However, there is also an increase in partial adoption bias and further follow-up studies are needed to understand the implications of this. The comparisons show that the ZT effects on savings for diesel, tractor time and cost for wheat cultivation are particularly robust. In Haryana ZT’s positive implications for yield and the other financial indicators were also statistically robust, but in Punjab these were sensitive to specification effects. Particularly sensitive to specification effects were the ZT effects on the productivity of applied water in both sites.

Specification effects in zero tillage survey data in South Asia’s rice–wheat systems

Posted by on , in Journal Articles

Published in Field Crops Research 111(1-2): 166-172

Specification effects in zero tillage survey data in South Asia’s rice–wheat systems

Olaf Erenstein

Abstract:  Specification effects in terms of how technology options are contrasted can introduce bias in impact assessment. In a companion paper we evaluated the on-farm impacts of zero tillage (ZT) wheat as a resource-conserving technology in the rice–wheat systems of India’s Haryana State and Pakistan’s Punjab province [Erenstein, O., Farooq, U., Malik, R.K., Sharif, M., 2008. On-farm impacts of zero tillage wheat in South Asia’s rice–wheat systems. Field Crop Res. 105, 240–252]. The underlying field work surveyed plots of full adopters (only ZT plots), partial adopters (ZT and conventional tillage [CT] plots on same farm) and non-adopters (only CT plots). The companion paper assumes that the comparison between the ZT plots of full plus partial adopters and CT plots of partial adopters is the least-biased assessment of ZT’s on-farm impact. Here we revisit this underlying assumption and draw on complementary farm survey findings to illustrate the extent of specification effects in the assessment of on-farm impacts of ZT wheat in the same study areas. The study thereby distinguishes between three contrasts between ZT and CT within the same dataset: (1) plain contrast (all plots of adopters and non-adopters); (2) adopter-only contrast (full and partial adopters only, as used in Erenstein et al. [Erenstein, O., Farooq, U., Malik, R.K., Sharif, M., 2008. On-farm impacts of zero tillage wheat in South Asia’s rice–wheat systems. Field Crop Res. 105, 240–252]); (3) pair-wise contrast (partial adopters only). Proceeding from type 1 to type 3 comparisons the number of observations decrease but this is compensated by an increasing ability to control for variation. The ability of type 3 comparisons to pick up relatively small but significant differences is an important consideration in farm survey impact assessment. However, there is also an increase in partial adoption bias and further follow-up studies are needed to understand the implications of this. The comparisons show that the ZT effects on savings for diesel, tractor time and cost for wheat cultivation are particularly robust. In Haryana ZT’s positive implications for yield and the other financial indicators were also statistically robust, but in Punjab these were sensitive to specification effects. Particularly sensitive to specification effects were the ZT effects on the productivity of applied water in both sites.