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Sustainable yield trends of irrigated maize and wheat in a long-term experiment on a loamy sand in semi-arid India

Sustainable yield trends of irrigated maize and wheat in a long-term experiment on a loamy sand in semi-arid India

Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 46(3): 225-234, 1996-

Long-term field experiments play an important role in understanding the complex interactions of plants, soils, climate and management and their effects on sustainable crop production. A long-term fertilizer experiment with maize-wheat-cowpea (fodder) is in progress since 1971 at Punjab Agricultural University farm Ludhiana, India. The experimental result for the first 21 years showed that application of N alone or in combination with P did not produce as much maize and wheat grains as the application of N, P and K together. Eight years after the start of the experiment, the optimal levels of N, P and K application (100% NPK) were unable to sustain the similar (maize) yield level as before because of Zn deficiency. Whereas in FYM amended plots the Zn deficiency did not appear and the higher crop yields could be sustained. The chemical control of weeds could not sustain the maize productivity at the same level as the manual removal of weeds. It was concluded that the high level of crop production can be sustained with the application of N, P and K under intensive cropping system provided deficiency of any of the micronutrient does not crop up. The deficiency of Zn is most likely to occur in semi-arid light textured alluvial soils under intensive cropping without the addition of farm yard manure/organic manures. In maize based cropping systems, manual control of weeds may be preferred to the chemical one. Addition of FYM in conjunction with 100% NPK is most beneficial both from biophysical and economic point of view.

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