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Energy savings through reduced tillage and trash mulching in Sugarcane Production

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  028051,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.10841) @2002
Authors:   A.C. Srivastava

Zero tillage with trash mulch offers economical and sustainable agriculture to sugarcane (Sacharum species hybrid) growers in India. An on-farm research programme was initiated in 1992 to investigate the effect of level of tillage and trash mulch on energy use and savings, crop yield, bulk density of soil, microbial activities and irrigation water use efficiency. Sugarcane was grown in fine loamy non-calcareous soil in sub-tropical zone of India with pulse (Vigna radiate) mustard (Brassica campestris L.) as preceding crops. Planting was done using sugarcane cutter planter with disc type furrow openers. Results from experiments during 1992-96 showed that tillage before planting which required about one third (6700 MJ/ha) of total operational energy (16800 MJ/ha) could be saved without adversely affecting yield (48.5 t ha-1 compared to 49.4 t ha-1 for zero and conventional tillage treatments respectively). The level of tillage did not have any significant effect on soil, irrigation and crop parameters. However, treatments with trash mulch improved crop yield (from 49.4 t ha-1with no trash to 73.0 t ha-1 with trash), energy productivity (1.506 to 2.577 Kg MJ-1) and irrigation water use efficiency (0.032 to 0.039 t (ha-m)-1). Soil microbial activity was greater with trash mulch. *Head, Division of Agriculural Engineering, Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow 226 002, (INDIA).

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