Agricultural Research

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 176–186 | Cite as

Enhancing Water and Phosphorus Use Efficiency Through Moisture Conservation Practices and Optimum Phosphorus Application in Rainfed Maize–Chickpea System in Vertisols of Central India

  • R. S. Chaudhary
  • J. Somasundaram
  • K. G. Mandal
  • K. M. Hati
Full-Length Research Article


Conserving soil moisture in the rainfed region is a challenging task as it plays a significant role in crop productivity and livelihood security of rainfed farmers. The soil moisture conservation practices (MCPs) coupled with the addition of root augmenting nutrition are crucial for sustaining crop yields and maintaining soil phosphorus (P) in a rainfed Vertisol of Central India. Thus, a study was conducted to evaluate the long-term effect of MCPs and P application in maize–chickpea in a Vertisol. A five-year study showed that the MCPs integrated with P nutrition significantly helped in growing chickpea (Cicer arietinum) without irrigation or with limited irrigation. Under the normal rainfall conditions such as normal onset time, distribution and cessation time during the experimentation, the MCPs proved useful in obtaining chickpea yields in the range of 776 to 933 kg ha−1. The best MCP was the practice of late intercultural operations + Gliricidia cover in the inter-row spaces of standing maize (@ 5 t ha−1 fresh weight basis) + maize stover application (after sowing up to germination), which recorded higher chickpea grain yield (932 kg ha−1) on account of higher moisture content in the soil and reduced stress in the plants. Another comparable treatment was Gliricidia cover + one pre-sowing irrigation of 6 cm for chickpea, which recorded 933 kg ha−1 of chickpea yield. Both the treatments recorded significantly higher yields than the under control (637 kg ha−1). We also found that the application of Gliricidia cover on the soil surface coupled with either pre-sowing irrigation and/or late intercultural operations had beneficial effect on soil physical conditions increasing soil moisture which in turn affected the crop growth. Under normal monsoon years, the best treatments (MCP4 and MCP5) recorded around 46% higher chickpea yield as compared to the control. It is concluded that these soil MCPs are very useful in rainfed areas for sustaining crop yield.


Soil management Moisture conservation practices Plant moisture stress Rainfed chickpea Gliricidia cover 


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Copyright information

© NAAS (National Academy of Agricultural Sciences) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil ScienceNabibagh, Berasia Road, BhopalIndia
  2. 2.ICAR-Indian Institute of Water ManagementChandrasekharpur, BhubaneswarIndia

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