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Effect of crop diversification of rice-wheat cropping system on productivity and profitability
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Rice-wheat cropping system, being considered back bone of food self-sufficiency in many Asian countries, is facing sustainability problem and a need of crop diversification of this system is felt in recent years. A field study conducted for two years (1995-96 and 1996-97) at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi on a sandy clay loam soil indicated that partial diversification by inclusion of mungbean during summer (May-June) in rice-wheat system resulted in an increase in productivity and profitability. However, highest productivity was achieved when wheat was replaced by potato (followed by mungbean in summer) and highest profitability was achieved when wheat was replaced by clover. Rice-potato-mungbean cropping system increased productivity over rice-wheat system by 5.1 t ha(-1) yr(-1) and profitability by US $429 ha(-1) yr(-1). Similarly, rice-clover-cropping system gave 3.3 t ha(-1) yr(-1) higher productivity and US $499 ha(-1) yr(-1) higher profit than rice-wheat cropping system. Rice-rapeseed-mungbean also increased productivity over rice-wheat system by 1.8 t ha(-1) yr(-1) and profitability by US$ 283 ha(-1) yr(-1). Rice-wheat-mungbean cropping system recorded the maximum harvest density index, multiple cropping index and simultaneous cropping index, indicating higher land use efficiency than other rice based cropping systems. In view of higher productivity and more profit obtained with rice-potato-mungbean, rice-clover, rice-rapeseed-mungbean and rice-wheat-mungbean cropping systems as compared to rice-wheat cropping system, diversification of rice-wheat cropping system is recommended for sustainable production.