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Improved Soil Physical Properties, Yield and Water Productivity under Controlled Traffic, Raised-Bed Farming

Improved Soil Physical Properties, Yield and Water Productivity under Controlled Traffic, Raised-Bed Farming

Ghani Akbar, Muhammad Munir Ahmad, Muhammad Asif, Iqbal Hassan, Qurban Hussain3 and Greg Hamilton

Climate Change, Alternate Energy and Water Resources Institute (CAEWRI), National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), Park Road, Chak Shahzad, Islamabad; 2Professional Agricultural Engineer, former Senior Scientist of CAEWRI-NARC;
3Natural Resources Division, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Islamabad; 4Maximum Soil and Water Productivity Pty Ltd. Perth WA, Australia.

ghani_akbar@hotmail.com

ABSTRACT

Excessive irrigation application and intensive tillage is the norm on Pakistani farms, which exacerbate water logging and salinity and reduce the water productivity of major crops. Addressing these issues, a long term experiment (2000 to 2009) under wheat-maize (9 seasons each) cropping pattern was conducted on raised beds (with furrow spacing of 65 cm (Narrow Bed-NB), 130 cm (Medium Bed- MB) and 180 cm (Wide Bed-WB)), with controlled traffic regime emplaced, in comparison with traditional intensive cultivated flat basin (FB) for evaluating impacts on soil, crop and water productivity. The results showed reduced bulk density by 7%, 6% and 5% and increased hydraulic conductivity by 90%, 106% and 72% for WB, MB and NB respectively, when compared with FB. The irrigation water saving was 36%, 40% on WB, 34%, 31% on MB and 7%, 8% on NB, for wheat and maize crops respectively, when compared with FB. The crop yields were higher by 14%, 25% on WB, 12%, 10% on MB and 3%, 13% on NB, respectively, compared with FB. Consequently, the water productivity was also increased by 43%, 71% on WB, 30%, 30% on MB and 4%, 18% on NB for wheat and maize crops respectively. This study have shown the prospects of improved soil physical properties and water productivity by adopting controlled traffic raised bed farming (CTRBF) system, which may be helpful for agriculture sustainability and food security.

 

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Sarhad Journal of Agriculture

September

Vol. 35, Iss. 3, Pages 663-1019

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