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‘Conservation agriculture has assumed significance’

Dr Kenneth D. Sayre, Regional Agronomist for Asia of International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), visited Punjab Agricultural University on Friday.

Written by Expressnewsservice | Ludhiana |
November 1, 2008 4:01:10 am

Dr Kenneth D. Sayre, Regional Agronomist for Asia of International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), visited Punjab Agricultural University on Friday.

During discussions with the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Dr Sayre said that conservation agriculture had gained significance in view of adverse affects of intensive agriculture on natural resource base, including soil and water.

Dr Sayre elaborated on the benefits of machinery like Happy Seeder that facilitated crop residue management and planting of wheat in combine harvested rice. He said that the tractor mounted machine was capable of managing the rice straw residue in strips. Happy Seeder cuts and spreads the stubble and loose straw and sows wheat while retaining the rice residue as surface mulch.

It drills the wheat seed without land preparation in rice standing stubbles just after rice harvesting. The cost of the machine is an important criterion, said Dr Sayre, adding that costly machinery should be made available on hire basis by constituting cooperative societies. He highlighted that studies on economics of technologies were pertinent in conservation agriculture. He also discussed the programmes of rice-wheat consortium in Asia.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kang said re-organisation of research priority was a must to address the changing needs. He mentioned that Happy Seeder was sustainable solution as part of conservation agriculture. He said that PAU had a strong linkage with CIMMYT in wheat improvement and protection programmes. Dr Kang presented Dr Sayre with information brochures about the university on the occasion. Presenting a synoptic view of the research programmes on cereals, Dr P.S. Minhas, Director of Research, said that technologies aimed at resource conservation were receiving a focus at PAU.

Dr Sayre visited the Department of Farm Power and Machinery and interacted with the scientists there about farm machinery in general and Happy Seeder in particular. Dr I.S.Dhaliwal, Head of the Department, said that Happy Seeder had given encouraging results and that 35 HP tractor for operating it was being used besides bringing in further fine tuning of the machine.

Dr H.S. Sidhu said that sowing wheat with Happy Seeder in residual moisture resulted in saving irrigation water, ensured timely plantaton of crop, reduced weed infestation, enhanced soil fertility, reduced pollution, increased soil microbial activity and yield. Chopped residue as mulch helped in moisture and temperature conservation, he added.

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