Saturday, 15 July 2006

Productivity and Quality of Wheat and Basmati Rice as Influenced by Organics.

Ajit S. Kharub, Directorate of Wheat Research (ICAR), PB No. 158, Kunjpura Road, Karnal, India

Conservation and sustenance of organic matter remains the mainstay of soil and crop quality in the 21st Century. According to Planning Commission Report, “ In the wake of the negative fallouts of the high-tech farming based on costly and ecologically disruptive chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the concept of organic or sustainable farming is picking up in the country”. It is, therefore, pertinent to arrest decline of soil organic matter to fight against unabated soil degradation and imperiled sustainability of agriculture. Improving organic carbon is, therefore, crucial in sustenance of soil quality and future agricultural productivity. In view of poor adoption of green manures and limited availability of farmyard manure and composts, other easily and locally available organic matter prepared from municipal waste and bio-organic waste of fruits, vegetables & leaves, sugarcane factory compost and vermicompost are needed to be encouraged to release the burden on farm yard manure. With this background, a field experiment was conducted at DWR research farm, Karnal with the objective to study the organics application in wheat and rice and its effect on soil health. The results of experiment to explore the possibility of enhancing quality and sustainability of wheat production system through organic sources shows that different varieties (six) were screened for their performance under organic and inorganic fertilization. Different varieties produce differently and the yield reduced by 17% in WH 533 to 47% in PDW 233 under organics as compared to inorganic fertiliser. In absolute terms, the highest yield was recorded in HI 8496 even after 34% reduction. WH 147, C 306, WH 533 and PBW 343 produced similar yield under organics although the highest production under inorganic fertilization was in PBW 343 and PDW 233. In another experiment, FYM and Vermicompost were tried with or without biofertiliser. The results shows wheat productivity decreased by 29 and 38 % with 100 % organic application of FYM and vermicompost, respectively as compared to inorganic fertilizer. 125 and 100% N supplied through FYM + PSB + Azotobacter gave significantly higher yield than all other treatments but significantly lower than the fertilized control. Earhead /m2 decreased with organic fertilizers resulted in lower yield. The organic sources were similar in protein content but significantly less than the inorganic fertiliser. In case of rice, the yield was 20-25% less with full organic compared to inorganic fertilizer whereas 05-15% yield reduction was recorded in basmati rice. Of course, soil organic matter status improved starting from first year.

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