Early Wheat Sowing Improves Yield and Supports System Optimization – Eastern UP

A public harvest activity for wheat in the village Laser Mahadeva of Maharajganj district in Uttar Pradesh was organized by CSISA on 7 April. The field belonged to farmer Mr Parmod Chaudhary, a champion farmer associated with CSISA since 2010.

The wheat grain yield of 6.45 t/ha harvested at this site demonstrates that excellence in agronomy matters for the sustained growth of the cropping system, especially with increasing climate change threats.

The activity saw the participation of Dr U.S. Gautam – Deputy Director General (Agri. Extension), Dr Sanjay Singh – DG, UP Council of Agricultural Research (UPCAR),  Dr S.K. Dubey – Director, ATARI (Kanpur), Rajashi Roy Burman – ADG ( AE), ICAR and heads of participating KVKs, farmers from adjoining districts and CSISA scientists.

CSISA’s long-term demonstrations sites

R.K. Malik from the KVK-CSISA network provided the background information on the site where CSISA began interventions in 2010-11. On these fields in the district and across eastern UP earlier, wheat sowing used to start around  2 December on average. Today, with CSISA intervention and results, the sowing has been advanced by at least ten days in most parts of the region. Also another essential intervention was zero tillage in wheat, which has proven to be sustainable for a long time.

During the last 12 years, wheat grain yield, on average, has stayed more than 6.0 t/ha in the region. Even paddy yields have remained more than 6.5 t/ha during that period. The harvested wheat grain from the site in everyone’s presence was weighed using a weighing machine. Heads of KVKs participated in the quantification of yield, and so did the farmers.

The impressive yield performance consistently for the last 12 years debunks the argument that these ecologies are sub-optimal for wheat. Best agronomic management promoted has narrowed the rice-wheat cropping system (RWCS) yield gap between this site and others in best-performing states like Punjab. These new initiatives are intended to manage “time” using new crop establishment methods – machine-transplanted rice followed by zero tillage wheat  – with best agronomic management using existing high-performing rice and wheat varieties. All through, these best practices has helped this farmer with huge dividends – except when the farmer diversified into mint cultivation, which was not that productive. This farmer has laser levelled his field thrice in the last 12 years. The site has the facility of an electric tube well, an essential component to ensure timely irrigation.  This year the farmer applied three irrigations during wheat cropping. In the rice phase, these fields do not remain continuously under submerged conditions, especially in the first half of the growing season, as in Punjab. The wheat crop has remained in the field for more days than the other farmers. In adjacent farmers’ fields, delayed seeding of the same variety was harvested by 7 April, with wheat yields ranging from 14 to 17 Q/acre only compared to 25.9 Q/ha at this site.

DDG (AE) said that the grain yield of 25.9 Q/ha reflects the unprecedented task that the CSISA-KVK network has done in this district. “The continued work of 12 years at the same site and with the same cropping system reflects system productivity as good as that of Punjab. A shift towards the cropping system approach is changing the “Cropping System Optimization” concept in UP through time management”, said DDG Gautam. “We should be creating a good number of clusters of 100-200 acres to repeat such success stories,” he added.

The other dignitaries interacted with the farmers and stressed the importance of new varieties and a system for the seed replacement process – seeds that are better suited for these ecologies. They also assured all support of their departments and advised farmers to consider diversifying and organizing around FPOs.

Posted on India-news, News - Homepage, Trainings and Events, June 30, 2023

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