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Impact of Tillage and Mulch on Growth and Economy of Wheat Crop in Rice-Wheat Cropping System

Rafi Qamar, Atique-ur Rehman, Abdul Rehman, Shakeel Ahmad Anjum, Jamshaid Qamar, Amjed Ali, Muhammad Shoaib, Farwa Hassan, Mazhar Ali, Haseeb-ur Rehman, Hafiz Muhammad Rashad Javeed

Abstract


Farmers in the developing countries has the limited resources due to no subsidy on the agricultural inputs. Tillage is basic and essential tool for good soil preparation before sowing of any crop. Conservation and conventional tillage practices with soil surface mulch application in the postharvest rice field has notably influenced the crop yield of next wheat crop, and net return by decreasing the cost of intensive cultivation in south east Asia. Experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of different tillage methods and mulch materials in wheat (Triticum aestivum L. var. Sahar 2006) production. In 2009 to 2011, the field trial was set up with randomized complete block design in split plot arrangements having two factors: tillage methods (conventional tillage (CT), deep tillage (DT), zero tillage with zone disc tiller (ZDT) and happy seeder (HS)) and mulching materials (no mulch, rice straw (MRice), wheat straw (Mwheat), plastic sheet (MPlastic) @ 4 t ha-1, and natural mulch) in subplots. Significantly higher leaf area index, crop growth rate and grain yield were recorded in HS and DT compared with CT and ZDT. However, net assimilation rate was noticed substantially higher in CT comparison with other tillage treatments. Mulch treatment of MRice and MPlastic @ 4 t ha-1 were equally effective in promoting the measured crop characteristics, and thereby, improved the grain yield as compared to other mulch treatments during 2009-10 and 2010-11. Based on experimental results, the best management strategy is HS with MRice was concluded to be economically desirable for wheat cultivation.


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