Assessment of Soil Site Suitability for Cotton Farming in the Semi-arid Regions of Central India: An Analytic Hierarchy Process
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K. Karthikeyan, Nirmal Kumar, Ajit Govind, Dr Pushpanjali, Prasad Jagdish. (1/8/2020). Assessment of Soil Site Suitability for Cotton Farming in the Semi-arid Regions of Central India: An Analytic Hierarchy Process. Journal of the Indian Society of Soil Science, 67 (4), pp. 402-410.
Cotton is an important cash crop and is primarily grown under rainfed condition in deep swelling clay soils of semi-arid tropical regions of Central India. As multiple factors are involved in deciding the cotton productivity, predicting the crop performance in an area through different parameters in conventional and multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) has its own pros and cons. For a robust objective-oriented crop production, the method adopted for decision making process should be simple and intuitively appealing to the decision maker. The Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) offers a practical decision analysis method, which can accommodate a variety of criteria, both quantitative and qualitative, in addition to having expert opinions. This study was designed to assess the soil site suitability for cotton farming across the semi-arid region of Central India, using the AHP method. We developed the soil suitability criteria for cotton crop using five critical parameters based on the alternatives which directly affects the crop production namely clay, exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP), saturated hydraulic conductivity (SHC), available water content (AWC) and organic carbon (OC). An exhaustive soil survey (1:10000) was conducted in these cotton-growing regions and eight representative sites were selected for this study. The best site for the cotton crop was D1 (Dhar-1 site), and D2 (Dhar -2 site) was classified as marginally suitable due to various constraints viz., low SHC and high exchangeable magnesium percentage (EMP), and these constraints were clearly captured by the AHP. This emphasized that, along with the site characteristics features, physical and chemical parameters play a vital role in deciding the crop suitability.
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