Dry Land Agriculture

Dry Land Agriculture
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Dry Land Agriculture

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Publisher: Agrobios Publications
ISBN: 9788177542219
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PREFACE
The pressure of an ever increasing population and periodic famine due to unexpected flood and drought has forced and awakened the agricultural scientists of India to evolve new plant types and develop a suitable production technology for such high input responsive crop plants under dryland farming. From time immemorial, mankind has been struggling hard to get the maximum yield per unit area per unit time. In modern times, this struggle takes the form of multiple cropping, intensive cultivation of high yielding varieties, integrated farming and mixed cropping with a view to keeping land, labour, capital and other resources occupied for the maximum period during the year, maintaining their productive efficiency at the highest level and thereby, attaining the highest yields in terms of agricultural production as well as return on the resources employed. The semi-arid tracts are not only large but also agriculturally important. In India, such tracts cover 84 districts, spreading over 47 million hectares which is more than one-third of India s net sown area. They constitute 60 per cent of the total area under cotton, 83 under sorghum, 74 under groundnut, 73 under chickpea, and 81 under pearl millet, 66 under ragi Eleusine coracana , 40 under barley, 30 under wheat, 47 under pigeon pea and 36 under oil seeds. But their out turn constitutes about a fifth of the total food grain production in the country. The need for a scientific approach towards farming in rainfed dryland areas was felt with the increasing realization that the occurrence of drought is more or less inevitable. The only way to beat the drought is to join hands with it. Instead of waiting and hoping for adequate rain, the modern concept is to make the cropping strategy so flexible that it can be suitably changed even at short notice to suit the pattern of rainfall available. Short duration varieties, the concept of rationing, high yielding fodder crops and water harvesting techniques, all make this basic strategy feasible. New agronomic practices like balanced nutrient management, tillage and weeding are strongly recommended. In dry regions, crop production is not a simple question of introducing new varieties and supplying adequate fertilizers. In dryland agriculture each season is a particular season, and therefore, cropping practices must considerably be geared to the dictates of that particular season. The factors on which yield depends must be identified, often in the face of the differing interpretation of the data and no proper understanding of casual relationships. India contains about 47 m ha as drylands out of 108 m ha of total rainfed are which amounts nearly 43 per cent. Besides being water deficient, such areas are characterized by high
evaporation rates, exceptionally high day temperature during summer, low humidity, high run-off and soil erosion. The soil of such areas often turns to be saline and poor in fertility. As water is the most important single factor of crop production, inadequacy and uncertainty of rainfall often cause partial and complete failure of crops which leads to periodic scarcities and famines. Thus, the life of both human being and cattle in such areas becomes difficult and unsecured. Agro-forestry is an alternative land use system in drylands for stabilizing income of the farmer. Watershed management programme in drylands is aimed at optimizing the integrated use of land, water, vegetation in an area for providing an answer to alleviate drought, moderate floods, prevent soil erosion, improve water availability and increase food, fodder, fuel and fibre on sustained basis. In watershed management, more specifically, soil conservation is enmeshed with crop management and alternate land use system and allied agricultural activities such as animal husbandry, pisciculture, sericulture, etc. for increasing and stabilizing farm production and income. There is imbalance in the use of nutrients resulting in low use efficiency. Decline in quality and quantity of organic matter in most soils is adversely affecting soil biodiversity and biological regulation of soil process. There is growing interest in promoting sustainable agriculture which is also referred to by other names such as alternative farming, regenerative agriculture, natural or organic farming, ecofarming