Effect of tillage and intercropping on crop productivity, profitability and soil fertility under tribal farming situations of India
A. Pradhan; T. Idol; P.K. Roul; K.N. Mishra; C. Chan-Halbrendt; J. Halbrendt; C. Ray
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Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT)
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Powerpoint presentation. ABSTRACT: Low crop yields due to continuous monocropping and deteriorating soil health in smallholder farm fields of tribal villages in India have led to a quest for conservation agriculture production systems (CAPS). This objective of the study was to assess the combined effect of reduced tillage, intercropping and residue management on 1) crop yield, 2) farmer’s profitability, and 3) soil physico-chemical properties. Selected treatments included an introduction of intercropping of maize with cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). Mustard (Brassica juncea L.) was grown as a post-rainy season cover crop in all the trial plots but there was no residue retention in control plots. The experiment was laid out in randomized block design with four treatments viz., T1: Conventional tillage with sole maize (CT-M) as control, T2: Conventional tillage with maize + cowpea (CT-M+C), T3: Minimum tillage with sole maize (MT-M), T4: Minimum tillage with maize + cowpea (MT-M+C). In the 2011/2012 cropping season, there was a significant interaction effect of tillage and intercropping on maize yield (P = <0.001). Cowpea was an additional yield to the farmers from the intercropped plots. Compared to control, MT-M+C increased profitability by 27%. Tillage, intercropping and mustard residue management had no significant effect on soil bulk density, organic carbon, available nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium at 0-5 and 5-10 cm depths. There was a trend of increasing soil fertility in the MT-M+C treatment. As this is an ongoing study, longer-term trends will be evaluated in subsequent years.