Influence of maize-based conservation agricultural practices (CAPs) on productivity, profitability and soil fertility in rain-fed uplands of Odisha
Roul, Pravat K.
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A field experiment on “Influence of Maize-based conservation agricultural practices (CAPs) on productivity, profitability and soil fertility” conducted during the rainy and post rainy season of 2011-12 in rainfed uplands of Odisha, India revealed that growing Maize with cowpea under minimum tillage could produce 50.1 qha-1 of grain yield being comparable to sole maize under conventional tillage (52.1qha-1). But the yield of green pods from cowpea grown in association with maize under conventional tillage invariably remained superior to its yield under minimum tillage producing 32.3% higher yield than minimum tillage (12.4 q ha-1). The system productivity expressed as maize equivalent yield (MEY) revealed that growing maize+cowpea under minimum tillage followed by toria as cover crop (99.08 qha-1 MEY) was similar to maize+cowpea under conventional tillage followed by toria (101.33 qha-1 MEY). Minimum tillage-Maize+cowpea followed by horse gram (83.04 qha-1 MEY) and Conventional tillage-Maize+cowpea followed by horse gram (83.80 qha-1 MEY), though had productivity next to the former two treatments, were also similar. But all these treatments were significantly superior to growing sole maize under conventional tillage without any cover crop (52.10 q ha-1 MEY). The gross return, net return and return per rupee invested from maize+cowpea intercropping either under conventional tillage or under minimum tillage were similar but superior to growing sole maize under these two contrasting tillage situations. Moreover, toria as a cover crop in post rainy season was adjudged as the best in comparison to horse gram and no cover crop for all these economic parameters. The soil fertility parameters viz. pH, BD and Organic Carbon revealed that the practice of Minimum tillage reduced the BD to the tune of 1.4% over the initial status (1.22 Mgm-3) and increased the Organic Carbon by 4.9% (initial contents: 6.9 g kg-1). Thus growing maize+cowpea under minimum tillage followed by toria is superior in terms of productivity, profitability and soil fertility.