Focus Global Reporter    Volume:2 Issue No.13, August 2011 Issue , Edited By Dr. Arvind Kumar

Environment

On farm enhanced water use efficiency through rainwater management in Vidarbha region, India

S.M. Taley, Professor of Agriculture Engineering & Director, Agroecology & Environment Centre, Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Agricultural University., 444104.

 

ABSTRACT

In Vidarbha region (India) images (3).jpgrainfed agriculture is largely subjected to the vagaries of mansoon with instability of yield. Soil compaction is common problem in rainfed farming. This can be further aggravated by presence of hard pan or plough pan in sub soil, which restrict infiltration and storage of water as well as root penetration. Modified land configuration like cultivation across the slope, contour cultivation, opening of furrows in alternate crop rows, ridges and furrows, square basins, green manuring etc. decrease bulk density and increase infiltration of rainwater in to soil, reduce runoff, soil and nutrient losses and there by increase the moisture storage in soil profile, root proliferation and enhance the productivity. The results of the present study indicated that the modified land configurations enhanced the water use efficiency (kg/ha/mm) reduced the runoff, soil loss and nutrient losses, enhanced the soil moisture content in soil profile and increased the water and crop productivity significantly. Harvesting of runoff into farm ponds and utilization of this water body for providing one or two protective irrigations during kharif and rabi enhance the productivity and water use efficiency. As a result participating farmers convinced about impact of the technologies towards, “More Crop per Drop” and their attitudes are changing towards adoption because now they are thinking that this is the way to solve the water crises and to achieve water food and livelihood security under changing climate scenario in limited water availability.

INTRODUCTION 

Rainfed agriculture is the backbone of marginal or subsistence farmers and increasingly seen as better alternative to irrigated agriculture as a result of its environmental friendliness and sustainability over long period. Improving productivity and stability of production of rainfed areas will, therefore, be crucial in meeting the needs of the increasing population. India ranks first among the dryland agricultural countries in terms of both extent and value of produce. Out of every three hectares of cultivated land in India, nearly two hectares are under the influence of rainfed agriculture. Out of about 143 million hectares of cultivated area in India, Dryland accounts for 91.0 million hectares (64%) and in the foreseeable future also nearly 60 per cent of our population will still continue to depend on rainfed agriculture. Rainfed areas are not a homogenous region and vary in terms of soil type, rainfall, cropping pattern, literacy, land and labour productivity, therefore rainfed areas are highly diverse, ranging from resource-rich areas with good agricultural potential to resource-poor areas with much more restricted potential. Some resource-rich rainfed areas potentially are highly productive and have experience of adoption of improved technologies.

Agriculture in Maharashtra state and that in particular in Vidarbha region can be characterized by low irrigation (17% and 7%) and low rainfall. Approximately 85 per cent of cultivated area (17.64 million ha in M.S. and 4.99 million ha in Vidarbha) is rainfed, and agricultural performance is significantly influenced by the monsoon. Precipitation is concentrated in just a few months of the year and is highly variable in frequency, intensity and geographic coverage. There are large variations in the quantity of rainfall with different parts of the state. Access to supplemental irrigation (canal or groundwater) is very limited in the low rainfall areas. Agriculture contributes only 30 per cent of Maharashtra’s GDP, these drylands support 65        per cent of the rural population and are the principal supplies of cereals, pulses and oilseeds. The importance of rainfed agriculture in terms of rural employment, sustenance and livelihoods cannot be over emphasized.

In vidarbha the rainfed farming largely subjected to the vagaries of monsoon with instability of yields, incomes and water use efficiency. In the present situation involving the farmers and motivating them to undertake more responsibilities to enhance the rainwater use efficiency by reforming the cultivation practices for the benefits and welfare, envisages in their attitudes, mind sets and enhancing their skill and capacities towards insitu soil and water conservation, safe disposal of runoff, storage of runoff in farm ponds and recycling of water for protective irrigation during monsoonic break.

Since major agriculture is rain dependent, the appropriate rainwater management play very vital role in sustainable rainfed farming. Impact of climate change is visible on Vidarbha agriculture where assured rainfall zone has become a distress zone due to changing behaviour of rainfall. Therefore, the only way for sustainable rainfed farming is to adopt rain water management technologies by the farmers in participatory mode. This paper indicates the impact of the farmers participatory action research programme in terms of improved land and water productivity which provides the water, food and livelihood security under climate change.     

PARTICIPATION PROFILE

In the beginning farmers were reluctant to participate in the action research programme. Due course of time due to appropriate knowledge communication in all 529 research demonstrations were organized with the participation of 278 farmers from 106 villages in Akola, Amravati, Buldana, Washim, Yavatmal and Wardha district of Vidarbha region in Maharashtra. 

Transfer of Technologies :

Following technologies were demonstrated with the participation of farmers for in-situ recharge of rainwater and evaluated scientifically. Farmers cultivation practices of along the slope cultivation needs reform in such a fashion that the rainfall get infiltrated into the soil profile and becomes available to the crop during prolonged monsoonic break. This requires the efforts and involvement of every farmer to go for insitu soil and water conservation. Keepingin view the following technologies were scientifically demonstrated with the participation of farmers on their fields.

  • Kharif and Semirabi  :
    • Deep cultivation
    • Across the slope cultivation
    • Opening of furrows in between alternate crop rows after 30 days of sowing
    • Contour cultivation
    • Opening of contour furrows in between alternate crop rows after 30 days of sowing
    • Opening of tied furrows along the slope in between the crop rows.
  • Cultivated fallow during Kharif in Vertisol :
    • Across the slope cultivation
    • Contour cultivation
    • Adoption of square basin with and without green manuring.
  • Rainfed rabi (Second crop) :
    • Across the slope cultivation
    • Contour cultivation
  • Rainfed kharif and rabi with protective irrigation
    • Sprinkler system
    • Drip system

RESULTS

The benefits of adoption of the above cultivation practices over traditional practice of cultivation along the slope during kharif and semirabi season were discussed below,

i)  Deep cultivation :

The soil moisture content was found enhanced by 22.72, 19.14 and 26.93 per cent in cotton sole, soybean sole and intercrop of cotton+soybean (1:2) respectively over shallow cultivation. The yield levels in sole crop of cotton and soybean enhanced by 11.34 and 20.05 per cent respectively. However in intercropping system of cotton + soybean (1:2) the yield of cotton and soybean enhanced by 36.84 and 36.95 per cent respectively over the period of 12 years (1995-96 to 2009-10). Similarly the rain water use efficiency in sole crop of cotton and soybean found enhanced from 0.98 to 1.09 and 1.24 to 1.49 kg/ha/mm respectively. However in intercrop of cotton + soybean was observed enhanced from 0.54 to 0.74 kg/ha/mm in cotton and from 0.81 to 1.11 kg/ha/mm in soybean. From the results it is concluded that deep cultivation gives the better performance in terms of enhanced productivity and rainwater use efficiency in sole and intercropping system of cotton and soybean over shallow cultivation. This experiment was conducted at Agroecology and Environment Centre, Dr. P.D.K.V., Akola.

ii) Across the slope cultivation:

The soil moisture content gets enhanced by 11.82 to 38.35 per cent in Cotton, Soybean and Green gram. Similarly during semi Rabi in Sunflower soil moisture content enhanced by 9.22 to 36.95 per cent at 15 to 60 cm depth. The yield levels get enhanced by 20.83 to 36.25 per cent in Cotton, Green gram, Soybean and Hy. Jowar. In intercrop of Green gram + Pigeonpea, the yields of Green gram are enhanced by 25 per cent and Pigeonpea by 50 per cent. Similarly in Soybean + Pigeonpea, the yields are enhanced by 20.83 per cent in Soybean and by 50 per cent in Pigeonpea and in Sunflower during semi- Rabi the yields get enhanced by 25 per cent.
Rain water use efficiency (WUE) is enhanced from 0.55 – 2.67 to 0.74 – 3.26 kg/ha/mm, in Cotton, Soybean, Green gram, Black gram, and Hy. Jowar. In intercrop of Green gram+Pigeonpea the rain WUE is enhanced from 0.59 to 0.74-0.89 kg/ha/mm. In Soybean+Pigeonpea enhanced from 1.78 - 0.59 to 2.15 – 0.89 kg/ha/mm respectively and in Sunflower during semi-Rabi rain is WUE enhanced from 1.48 to 1.85 kg/ha/mm,

iii) Opening of furrows in between alternate crop rows after 30 days of sowing:

The soil moisture content is enhanced by 14.59 to 44.09 per cent in Cotton, Soybean and Hy. Jowar. The yields enhanced by 25 to 40.62 per cent in Cotton, Soybean and Hy. Jowar and in intercrop of Soybean + Pigeonpea, the yield of Soybean enhanced by 25 per cent and Pigeonpea by 56.25 per cent. The rain WUE enhanced from 1.18 – 2.67 to 1.67 – 3.41 kg/ha/mm in Cotton, Soybean and Hy. Jowar and in intercrop of Soybean + Pigeonpea, the rain WUE enhanced from 1.78 – 0.59 to 2.22 – 0.92 kg/ha/mm in Soybean and Pigeonpea respectively.

iv) Contour cultivation:

The soil moisture content enhanced by 21.78 to 74.71 per cent in Cotton, Soybean and Green gram crops at 15 to 60 cm depth and the yield enhanced by 38.88 to 87.50 per cent in Cotton, Green gram, Soybean and Hy. Jowar. In intercrop  of Green gram + Pigeonpea the yields enhanced by 62.50 to 75 per cent and in Soybean + Pigeonpea by 45.83 to 50 per cent. In Sunflower during semi rabi moisture content enhanced by 41.08 to 77.71 per cent at 15 to 60 cm depth and the yields enhanced by 50 per cent.

Rain water use efficiency (WUE) is enhanced from 0.55 – 2.67 to 0.92 – 3.71 kg/ha/mm in Cotton, Soybean, Green gram and Hy. Jowar. In inter crop Green gram+Pigeonpea the rain WUE is enhanced from 0.59 to 0.96 in Green gram and from 0.59 to 104 kg/ha/mm in Pigeonpea. Similarly in Soybean+Pigeonpea WUE gets enhanced from 1.78 – 0.59 to 2.60 – 0.89 kg/ha/mm respectively. In Sunflower during semi-Rabi, rain WUE enhanced from 1.48 to 2.22 kg/ha-mm.

v) Opening of contour furrows in between alternate crop rows after 30 days of sowing:

The moisture content is enhanced by 25.46 to 90.97 per cent in Cotton, Soybean and Green gram. The yields enhanced by 58.33 per cent in Soybean and 93.78 per cent in Cotton. In intercrop of Soybean + Pigeonpea yields of Soybean are enhanced by 54.16 per cent and Pigeonpea by 75 per cent. Rain water use efficiency (WUE) in cotton enhanced from 1.18 to 2.30 kg/ha-mm and in Soybean enhanced from 1.78 to 2.82 kg/ha/mm. In intercrop of Soybean + Pigeonpea, the rain WUE gets enhanced from 1.78 to 2.74 kg/ha/mm in Soybean and 0.59 to 1.04 kg/ha/mm in Pigeonpea.

vi)  Opening of tied furrows along the slope in between the crop rows

When the farmers do not have any other option to cultivate his land along the slope in such cases it is recommended to open tied furrows in crop rows after 30 day of sowing. The soil moisture content is enhanced by 0.74 to 7.29 per cent in Cotton, Soybean and Green gram. During semi-Rabi soil moisture content enhances by 0.96 to 7.60 per cent in Sunflower crop. The yields enhanced by 4.16 to 14.28 per cent in Cotton, Soybean, Hy. Jowar and Black gram and the rain WUE is enhanced from 1.78 to 1.85 kg/ha/mm in Soybean and 1.04 to 1.18 kg/ha/mm in Black gram and from 2.67 to 2.82 kg/ha/mm in Hy. Jowar.

Rainfed Rabi in deep black soils

1. Cultivated fallow during Kharif :

images (4).jpg In across the slope cultivation soil moisture content enhanced by 16.43 to 36.47 per cent at 15 to 60 cm depth, yields by 33.33 per cent and rain WUE from 0.89 to 1.18 kg/ha/mm in Chickpea. However the Safflower yield enhanced by 25 per cent and rain WUE from 1.78 to 2.22 kg/ha/mm. The contour cultivation with opening of contour furrows at 20 m HI enhanced yields of Chickpea by 50 per cent and rain WUE from 0.89 to 1.33 kg/ha/mm similarly formation of Square basins (20 m x 20 m) prior to commencement of rains enhanced the yields of Chickpea by 66.66 per cent and rain WUE from 0.89 to 1.48 kg/ha/mm.

2. Green manuring  with and without square basin during Kharif :

In across the slope cultivation with Green manuring in kharif enhanced the yield of Chickpea in rabi by 16.66 per cent and rain WUE from 0.89 to 1.04 kg/ha/mm. Contour cultivation with green manuring in kharif enhanced the soil moisture content by 60.85 to 82.45 per cent, yields of Chickpea by 33.33 per cent and rain WUE from 0.89 to 1.18      kg/ha-mm similarly formation of square basins (20 x 20 m) with Green manuring in kharif enhanced the soil moisture content by 43.48 to 64.06 per cent, yields of Chickpea  by 37.50 per cent and rain WUE from 0.89 to 1.22 kg/ha/mm.

3. Chickpea in rabi as a second crop after Green gram in Kharif :

Across the slope cultivation enhances the soil moisture content by 30.27 to 45.57 per cent at 15 to 60 cm depth, yields of Chickpea enhanced by 16.66 per cent and rain WUE enhanced from 0.89 to 1.04 kg/ha/mm. The contour cultivation enhanced the soil moisture content by 58.78 to 84.85 per cent at 15 to 60 cm depth, yields of Chickpea by 33.33 per cent and rain WUE from 0.89 to 1.18 kg/ha/mm.

4. Safflower in rabi as a second crop after Green gram in kharif :

Across slope cultivation enhanced the yields of Safflower by 11.11 per cent and rain WUE from 1.33 to 1.48 kg/ha/mm respectively.

5. Rain fall Harvesting:

In deep black soils especially in saline tract of Purna river valley in Amravati, Buldana and Akola districts of Vidarbha region in Maharashtra (India) collection of runoff in to the farm ponds or community tanks is most important to provide the protective irrigation at least to some part of the farmers holding.

Protective Irrigation 

Application of protective irrigation in deep black soil by sprinkler and MIS to the extent of 50 mm depth for raising crops during non rainy periods enhancing the water and crop productivity with higher water use efficiency.

1. Protective irrigation in Kharif

     Two protective irrigations through drip system from farm pond water enhanced yields of Cotton by 51.37 per cent and WUE from 1.61 to 2.13 kg/ha/mm. One protective irrigation through sprinklers from Purna river enhanced yields of Soybean by 24.13 per cent and WUE from 2.15 to 3.48 kg/ha/mm and one protective irrigation through drip system from farm pond enhanced yield of Pigeonpea by 66.66 per cent and WUE from 0.89 to 1.38 kg/ha/mm.

2. Protective irrigation in Rabi 

One protective irrigation through sprinkler from farm pond enhanced the yields by 55 per cent and WUE from 1.48 to 2.14 kg/ha/mm in safflower. Two protective irrigations through sprinklers from Purna River to Chickpea (second crop after Soybean) enhance the yield by 166.66 per cent and WUE from 0.55 to 1.38 kg/ha/mm and one protective irrigation through sprinkler from river and open well to (second crop of after Green gram) Chickpea enhanced the yields by 42.85 per cent with WUE from 1.04 to 1.38 kg/ha/mm.

CONCLUSION

From the results It is concluded that, i) the adoption of cultivation across the slope, contour cultivation etc. along with the opening of furrow in between the crop rows and other practices like protective irrigation enhance the soil moisture, yield levels and rainwater use efficiency, resulted in to the, “More crop per drop“ ii) Involvement of farmers in research through the FPARP indicated the more diffused impact by changing their thinking about how water is and should be manage in agriculture to solve the water crises and to achieve the water, food and livelihood security.

REFERENCES

  • Gupta, S.K. and Rambhau, 1977, “Studies on efficiency of contour farming, channel terracing, with graded furrow for erosion control for 4 per cent sloping land”, Soil conservation 5 (2) : 29-32.
  • Patil, P.P., and Bangal G.B. 1987, “Effect of field soil conservation practices on sil erosion and runoff”, Indian J. Soil Conservation 15;72-76
  • Sharma, P.B.S., 1987, Programme on workshop cum seminar on water management Tech. WTC IARI, New Delhi.
  • Wani S.P., Sreedevi, T.K., rockstrom, J. and Ramakrishna, Y.S. (2009). “Rain-fed agriculture – past trend and future prospects”, in Wani S.P., J. Rockstrom and T. Oweis (eds), Rain-fed agriculture: Unlocking the Potential, Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture Series. CAB International, Wallingford, UK. pp. 1-35.
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Volume:2 Issue No.13, August 2011 Issue

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