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Effect of Crop Management Practices on Crop Growth, Productivity and Profitability of Rice–Wheat System in Western Indo-Gangetic Plains


An experiment was conducted with three managements varied in tillage, crop establishments, residue, fertilizer, water to evaluate crop behaviour, irrigation water use, crop productivity and profitability of crops in an individual and in system mode. Three management systems were conventional system [TPR (transplanted rice)–CTW (conventional-till wheat)], partial CA [TPR–ZTW (zero–till wheat)] and full CA [ZTDSR (ZT direct seeded rice)–ZTW]. Rice plant growth (shoot and root) behaves similarly in CT and ZT based systems up to 40 days after sowing and after that TPR–ZTW recorded higher growth followed by TPR–CTW and lowest with ZTDSR. However, reverse trend in growth was observed with wheat in order of ZTDSR–ZTW > TPR–ZTW > TPR–CTW. Lower NDVI values were observed with ZTDSR and higher values with TPR throughout the crop season. Full CA based wheat recorded higher NDVI values than other management systems during the crop growth period. Higher wheat yield attributing character was recorded with ZTDSR–ZTW and lowest with farmer’s practices (TPR–CTW). On 2-years mean basis, ZTDSR–ZTW system produced similar crop yields to TPR–ZTW and TPR–CTW with 28% less irrigation water and 29% higher returns compared to TPR–CTW. However, TPR–ZTW improved system productivity and net returns by 8 and 37% respectively, compared to TPR–CTW while saving of 14% irrigation water. ZTDSR recorded a yield loss of 10%; while wheat registered a yield gain of 21% with ZTDSR–ZTW. CA based management practices slowed down the DSR crop growth and yield but increased same for wheat crop which is ultimately helpful in sustaining productivity and profitability of rice–wheat system (RWS) in North West India.

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This research was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) through Cereal System Initiatives for South Asia (CSISA) project, CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre). The support from research platform team member of ICAR-Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), Karnal and CIMMYT is duly acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Ashim Datta.

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Significance Statement

The authors studied effect of management practices on crop growth, productivity and profitability of rice-wheat system. There are many studies on CA effects on soil health, yield and income. The authors studied crop growth rate under DSR. Also increase in yield about 21% with full CA under subsequent wheat crop was observed.

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Sharma, P.C., Datta, A., Yadav, A.K. et al. Effect of Crop Management Practices on Crop Growth, Productivity and Profitability of Rice–Wheat System in Western Indo-Gangetic Plains. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., India, Sect. B Biol. Sci. 89, 715–727 (2019).

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  • Rice–wheat system
  • Conservation agriculture
  • Plant growth (root and shoot)
  • Normalized difference vegetation index
  • Irrigation water use
  • Yield attributes and yield
  • Net returns