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Conservation Agriculture for Small Holder Irrigated Farming: Opportunities and Constraints of New Mechanized Seeding Systems: A Review

R K Naresh1, Raj K Gupta2, A K Misra3, Dipender Kumar4, Vineet Kumar1, and Vikas Kumar5
1. Department of Agronomy, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture & Technology, Meerut-250110 (U P), India
2. Experimental Farms, BISA, CIMMYT India Office, NASC Complex, Pusa New Delhi, India
3. K V K Moradabad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture & Technology, Meerut-250110 (UP), India
4. Department of Agronomy, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana (Pb), India
5. Krishi Vigyan Kendra Jhansi,Chandra Shakhar Azad University of Agriculture & Technology, Kanpur (UP)
Abstract—Small holder farmers in irrigated agriculture believe that soil tillage is needed to maximize crop yields. However, as cropping intensity, and hence tillage intensity increases, there may be a decline in particular physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil which limit crop yield. Shortage of mechanized options suitable for small holder farmers is creating an impediment to the adoption of conservation agriculture practices that would arrest the decline in soil quality in their fields.In North western India, 30-35 hp four-wheel tractors are replacing animal-drawn ploughing in small holder plots. This speeds the tillage operation and hence the turn around time between crops, which may increase opportunities for crop intensification, but the problems associated with full tillage remain. Over the previous decade planter attachments to four-wheel tractors have been developed which permit seed and fertilizer placement with minimum to zero tillage in a single-pass. Recent tests have demonstrated that use of these implements can produce crop yields equal to or better than conventional tillage involving hand broadcasting of seed and fertilizer. Further, fuel and labor costs, seed and fertilizer inputs and turnaround time between crops can be reduced.In north western India, the introduction of customer hiring tractor operated rippers and direct seeders, originally developed for small-scale farmers is considered as a major breakthrough to small-scale farmer mechanization. Experience shows that farmers, researchers, service providers and machinery manufacturers need to be linked within an innovation system that fine-tunes equipment and crop management while strengthening local institutions. Tools and concepts are now available to implement conservation agriculture for small holders and thereby increase profitability of their cropping practices and at the same time improve soil quality and sustainability of their livelihoods. However, much more adaptive research and on-farm evaluation is needed across a diverse range of soils, cropping systems and agro-ecological regions to bring conservation agriculture to more small holders.
Index Terms—resource conserving technologies, land holding, diversification, residue management
Cite: R K Naresh, Raj K Gupta, A K Misra, Dipender Kumar, Vineet Kumar, and Vikas Kumar, "Conservation Agriculture for Small Holder Irrigated Farming: Opportunities and Constraints of New Mechanized Seeding Systems: A Review," International Journal of Pharma Medicine and Biological Sciences, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 1-41, January 2014.
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