Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Forage and Livestock Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #363129

Research Project: Bridging Project: Integrated Forage Systems for Food and Energy Production in the Southern Great Plains

Location: Forage and Livestock Production Research

Title: Water, nutrient, and energy-use efficiencies of no-till rainfed cropping systems with or without residue retention in a semi-arid dryland area

Author
item AMGAIN, LAL - Tribhuvan University
item SHARMA, A. - Central Agricultural University
item TIMSINA, JAGADISH - University Of Melbourne
item Wagle, Pradeep

Submitted to: Grazinglands Research Laboratory Miscellaneous Publication
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/7/2019
Publication Date: 12/7/2019
Citation: Amgain, L.P., Sharma, A.R., Timsina, J., Wagle, P. 2019. Water, nutrient, and energy-use efficiencies of no-till rainfed cropping systems with or without residue retention in a semi-arid dryland area. Global Journal of Agricultural and Allied Sciences. 1(1):30-42. https://doi.org/10.35251/gjaas.2019.004.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.35251/gjaas.2019.004

Interpretive Summary: Conservation agricultural systems (e.g., residue management, reduced or no till) have gained popularity to reduce production costs and enhance resource-use efficiency. However, the complexities associated with residue management in no-till systems indicate the need for more research for improved and efficient utilization of crop residues. This study was conducted to determine the influence of nine diverse no-till double cropping systems on water and nutrient uptake and balance, energy relations, and resource-use efficiencies in a semi-arid environment of north-west India. Retention of crop residues significantly increased soil moisture, consumptive use of water (CW – total water requirement), and water-use efficiency (WUE – efficiency of using water for production) of all cropping systems. Crop nutrient uptake increased substantially under crop residue and Leucaena twigs treatments as compared to no-residue due to enhanced crop growth and addition of nutrients. However, nutrient uptake and apparent nutrient balances varied greatly across cropping systems. Application of crop residues and Leucaena twigs increased energy input requirement approximately 10 times. As a result, no-residue treatments had substantially higher net energy balance and energy use efficiency (EUE). Higher net energy balance and EUE for Leucaena twigs treatments than crop residue treatments indicated the importance of leguminous residues in crop production. Our results suggest the necessity of practicing optimal tradeoff between retention of crop residues and energy inputs for the long-term sustainability of cropping systems.

Technical Abstract: No-till systems are gaining importance to make farming more profitable by cutting down production costs, thereby enhancing resource-use efficiency. Field studies were conducted at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute, New Delhi, India during the rainy and winter-seasons of 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 to examine the influence of residue retention on consumptive use of water (CW), water-use efficiency (WUE), nutrient uptake and balance, and energy-use efficiency (EUE) of nine diverse cropping systems under no-till semi-arid rainfed condition. Retention of crop residues significantly increased soil moisture, CW, and WUE of all cropping systems. The luxurious growth of mustard (Brassica juncea L.), chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) after clusterbean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba L.), and large amount of clusterbean green pods resulted in substantially higher CW and WUE of clustebean-based systems as compared to pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.) and greengram (Vigna radiata L. Wilczek)-based systems. Crop nutrient uptake increased substantially under crop residue and Leucaena twigs treatments as compared to no-residue due to enhanced crop growth and addition of nutrients. However, nutrient uptake and apparent nutrient balances varied greatly among cropping systems. Energy input requirement increased by ~10 times under crop residue and Leucaena twigs treatments. As a result, net energy balance and EUE were substantially higher for no-residue treatments. In comparison, Leucaena twigs treatments had higher net energy balance and EUE than crop residue treatments, indicating the importance of leguminous residues in crop production. The results indicate the necessity of exercising optimal tradeoff between retention of crop residues and energy inputs for the long-term sustainability of cropping systems.