Integrated Plant Genetic and Balanced Nutrient Management Enhances Crop and Water Productivity of Rainfed Production Systems in Rajasthan, India
Analysis of soils from 421 farmers’ fields in eastern districts of Rajasthan, India, revealed widespread deficiencies of sulfur (S; 43 to 87% fields deficient), boron (B; 25 to 100%), and zinc (Zn; 0 to 94%) in addition to phosphorus (P; 10 to 73%) and soil organic carbon (1 to 84%). An integrated approach of application of deficient S, B, and Zn along with N and P to high-yielding crop cultivars increased yield over farmers’ practice of N and P application to local cultivars by 92 to 204% in maize, 115 to 167% in pearl millet, and 150% in groundnut. Benefit-to-cost ratio of the integrated strategy varied from 3.33 to 8.03 in maize, 2.92 to 3.40 in pearl millet, and 1.15 in groundnut. The integrated approach effectively utilized scarce water in food production and increased rainwater-use efficiency at 67 to 145 kg mm−1 ha−1 from 21 to 50 kg mm−1 ha−1 under farmers’ practice.