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Drip irrigation and nitrogen management for improving crop yields, nitrogen use efficiency and water productivity of maize-wheat system on permanent beds in north-west India

Sandhu, O.S., Gupta, R.K., Thind, H.S., Jat, M.L., Sidhu, H.S., Yadvinder-Singh,
Agricultural water management 2019 v.219 pp. 19-26
corn, crop rotation, crops, fertigation, field experimentation, flood irrigation, furrow irrigation, grain yield, groundwater, irrigation requirement, irrigation water, microirrigation, mulching, nitrogen, nutrient use efficiency, straw mulches, wheat, India
The traditional flood irrigation system has led to overexploitation of ground water and low nitrogen (N) use efficiency. In north-western India, maize-based systems with lower irrigation requirement are being advocated as an alternate to rice-based systems to address the issues of declining water table. Bed planting of crops, straw mulching and drip irrigation are known to save precious irrigation water, and improve N use efficiency and grain yields. To this effect a two-year field experiment was conducted with annual wheat-maize rotation on permanent bed system to evaluate the effect of surface drip irrigation, residue management, and N application on crop and water productivity. Maize and wheat under drip irrigation with residue retention system showed significant grain yield increase of 13.7% and 23.1% compared to furrow irrigation with no residue, respectively. Surface drip irrigation with residue retention saved 88 mm and 168 mm of water and increased water productivity by 66% and 259% in wheat and maize on permanent beds compared to the conventional furrow irrigation system with residue removal, respectively. Similarly, fertigation at 10-day interval with five splits in wheat and seven splits in maize under drip irrigation system increased the mean N recovery efficiency by 16.5% and 29% compared to furrow irrigation in wheat and maize, respectively.