Supporting policy change: Bihar promotes early wheat sowing and zero tillage technology

CSISA’s efforts to promote early wheat sowing and zero tillage technology get full support from the Bihar Department of Agriculture. After three years of extensive work, CSISA has demonstrated that early wheat sowing – between November 1 and 15 – increases yields, primarily due to the crop’s ability to avoid terminal heat (35°C) during the grain-filling stage. This is a critical intervention in light of the changing climate of the eastern Indo-Gangetic Plains. CSISA has also shown that a zero-till seed drill can facilitate early sowing by sowing the crop faster and with less labor. Largely due to CSISA’s policy advocacy around these two issues, the Bihar Department of Agriculture promoted early wheat sowing and zero till technology in its 2013 advisory to farmers, reversing earlier guidance that wheat only be sown in the last two weeks of November, or even in early December. In preparation for the 2013 Rabi cropping season, CSISA, the Bihar Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Technology Management Agency launched a campaign to promote early sowing, zero tillage and to discuss best management practices for wheat. Workshops were held in Darbhanga, Begusarai, Vaishali, Lakhisarai, Samastipur and Muzaffarpur during 26 October to 2 November, 2Bihar advisory on early wheat planting013. CSISA conducted lectures, shared case studies, showed relevant videos, and engaged in discussions with State Department officers and field functionaries at the grassroots level to encourage farmers to advance their wheat sowing at least by 10 days compared to last year, since most farmers would have sown their wheat in late November or early December. The State Agriculture Officers also directed their Block Agriculture Officers, agriculture coordinators, and Krishi Salhakars (farm advisors at the Panchayat level) to ensure maximum area under early wheat sowing, preferably under zero-tillage. The CSISA hub team developed extension materials (factsheets) on the advantages of ‘early sowing of wheat’ and ‘management of Phalaris minor in wheat’ with the help of BAMETI, the extension and training wing of the Bihar Department of Agriculture. These factsheets are being distributed to thousands of field level extension staff.

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Posted on News & Announcements, Uncategorized, December 19, 2013