Zero-tillage Technology and Farm Profits: A Case Study of Wheat Growers in the Rice Zone of Punjab
The rice-wheat cropping zone of Punjab is the main producer of high-valued and fine quality basmati rice in Pakistan. The rice produced in this area is famous for its grain length and aromatic characteristics. Being an important export item, rice contributes significantly to the national foreign exchange earnings. Wheat is the other major crop of the rice-wheat system and being the staple food is central to national agricultural policies. Rice is grown on a vast area in this zone during Kharif mostly followed by wheat in the Rabi season. Studies have shown that a large gap exists between the potential and yields actually realised by the wheat growers of the area [Byerlee, et al. (1984); Hobbs (1985) and Sheikh, et al. (2000)]. Farmers’ practices regarding land preparation for paddy, wheat planting time, and other conflicts endogenous to the rice-wheat based cropping system were identified as the major factors limiting wheat yield in the area. The flooded and puddled soils that are well suited for paddy production as compared to well-drained conditions required for wheat is such an example of the system conflicts. The farmers in the rice-wheat zone of the Punjab predominantly grow basmati varieties, which are late maturing as compared to coarse varieties of rice. Therefore, paddy harvest is generally delayed at most of the farms in this zone. The late paddy harvest coupled with poor soil structure and loose plant residues create problems for preparation of a good seedbed and planting of wheat often gets late [Byerlee, et al. (1984)]. The farmers also had to resort to the broadcast method for wheat sowing which results in poor and patchy plant stands.
Volume (Year): 41 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
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