Paddy and Water Environment

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 477–492 | Cite as

Crop establishment with conservation tillage and crop residue retention in rice-based cropping systems of Eastern India: yield advantage and economic benefit

  • Rajiv Nandan
  • S. S. Singh
  • V. Kumar
  • V. Singh
  • K. K. HazraEmail author
  • C. P. Nath
  • R. K. Malik
  • S. P. Poonia
  • Ch. Hemant Solanki


Continuous practice of tillage intensive puddled rice-based systems in South Asia has developed serious issues related to soil health and production sustainability. This has exaggerated the need for sustainable alternatives. Here, the impact of four tillage cum crop establishment practices [conventional puddled transplanted rice followed by conventional till maize/wheat (CTTPR-CT), non-puddled transplanted rice followed by zero-till maize/wheat (NPTPR-ZT), zero-till transplanted rice followed by zero-till maize/wheat (ZTTPR-ZT), zero-till direct seeded rice followed by zero-till maize/wheat (ZTDSR-ZT)], two residue management [residue removal, residue retention (~ 33.0%)] and two rice-based rotations (rice–wheat, rice–maize) on crop performance, system productivity, and production economics were evaluated. At 4th and 5th year of rotation, complete zero-tillage-based crop establishment (ZTDSR-ZT, ZTTPR-ZT) enhanced the grain yield of rice (9.3–20.6%), wheat (18.4–22.6%), and maize (10.8–11.8%) over CTTPR-CT, whereas yield advantage in NPTPR-ZT was marginal for all the crops. The higher grain yield of rice and wheat in ZTDSR-ZT and ZTTPR-ZT treatments was mainly attributed to higher tiller production (rice 11.5–23.2%; wheat 29.5–34.9%). Likewise, the higher aboveground biomass, cob length, cob weight, and grains weight cob−1 led to higher maize yield in conservation tillage treatments (NPTPR-ZT, ZTDSR-ZT, and ZTTPR-ZT). Retention of crop residue improved (p < 0.05) the yield of all crops being higher in maize (6.9–10.3%) followed by wheat (5.3–10.5%). The reduced cost of cultivation and higher return from produce in ZTDSR-ZT, ZTTPR-ZT, and NPTPR-ZT enhanced the net income by INR 48164, 35800, 25632, respectively, over CTTPR-CT. Thus, zero-tillage-based crop establishments with crop residue retention were found as potential alternative for improving crop productivity, profitability and sustainability of rice-based production systems.


Non-puddled transplanting System productivity Soil organic carbon Rice–wheat Zero-till direct seeded rice 



This study was funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through a project entitled “Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA).” Authors are also thankful to ICAR-RCER for providing experimental fields and other technical and administrative support in conducting this study. Also thankful to Arun Kumar for technical support in data collection and crop management.


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Copyright information

© The International Society of Paddy and Water Environment Engineering and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture Technology and Sciences (SHUATS)AllahabadIndia
  2. 2.Crop Production DivisionICAR–Indian Institute of Pulses Research (ICAR–IIPR)KanpurIndia
  3. 3.International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)Los BañosPhilippines
  4. 4.Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia, Research Platform, ICAR-Research Complex for Eastern RegionPatnaIndia

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