Adoption and Impacts of Zero-Tillage in the Rice-Wheat Zone of Irrigated Haryana, India
This study documents the adoption and impacts of zero-tillage (ZT) wheat in the rice-wheat systems of India’s Haryana State primarily drawing on a detailed empirical survey of 400 rice-wheat farmers. Our random stratified sample revealed 34.5% to be ZT wheat adopters and a quarter of the wheat area in the surveyed communities to be under ZT. The study suggests the potential for further diffusion but also flags the issue of disadoption (10%). ZT adopters, non-adopters, and disadopters differ significantly in terms of their resource bases, with adopters typically showing the most favorable values. ZT drastically reduces tractor operations in farmers’ ZT wheat fields from an average of 8 passes to a single pass, implying a saving of 6 tractor hours and 36 liters of diesel per hectare. At 4.4 tons per hectare, ZT achieved the highest wheat yields in the survey year, a significant 4.0% yield increase over conventional tillage. The higher yield and lower water use resulted in significantly higher water productivity indicators for ZT wheat. ZT did not have any significant spillover effect on the subsequent rice crop. The combination of a significant “yield effect” and “cost-saving effect” makes ZT adoption worthwhile and is the driving force behind its rapid spread and widespread acceptance, providing a much needed boost to economic returns to wheat cultivation. Based on these findings, the study provides a number of recommendations for research and development in Haryana’s rice-wheat systems.
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