Sustainable use of natural resources for crop intensification and betterlivelihoods in the rainfed semi-arid tropics of Central India
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Suhas Wani, Girish Chander, Kanwar Lal Sahrawat, Dilip Kumar Pal, Prabhakar Pathak, G. Pardhasaradhi, P. J. Kamadi. (30/9/2016). Sustainable use of natural resources for crop intensification and betterlivelihoods in the rainfed semi-arid tropics of Central India. NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 78, pp. 13-19.
tIn Indian semi-arid tropics (SAT) in general and central part i.e. Madhya Pradesh state specifically; thereare large yield gaps in most of the rainfed crops between current farmers’ yields and achievable ones.Soil fertility related degradation due to deficiencies of secondary and micronutrients mainly sulphur,boron and zinc in addition to macronutrients is mainly responsible for poor crop productivity, and alongwith poor hydraulic properties of Vertisols is responsible for about 2 million ha rainy season fallows.Soil health assessment of 11 districts in Madhya Pradesh, India has revealed that in most of the districtsonly few fields with adequate levels of sulphur, boron, zinc and phosphorus indicating their widespreadlow levels. Potassium was in general adequate. Farmers’ current blanket fertilization practices focusedat macronutrients viz. nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium only, thus does not meet the variable soilfertility needs. Through participatory action research on soil test based fertilizer application, farmersrealized benefits in crop productivity to the tune of 5 to 45% in the season of application and additionalyield by 5 to 27% due to residual effects of S, B and Zn in succeeding three seasons. An economic assessmentshowed the balanced nutrition a profitable option in the 1stseason itself. In current rainy fallow regions,the landform management as broadbed and furrow or conservation furrow along with balanced nutritionhas shown that fallow lands in black soil regions in Madhya Pradesh can be successfully cultivated togrow soybean crop. In succeeding post-rainy season, the rainy season cultivated plots also yielded moreas compared to adjoining plots having one crop only in post-rainy season. This study thus found thatsoil test based fertilization and landform management are the twin technologies for sustainable cropintensification in black soils of Central Indian region