Effect of Rice Residue Retention and Foliar Application of K on Water Productivity and Profitability of Wheat in North West India
The rice–wheat cropping system being the backbone of food security in South-Asia has resulted in soil health deterioration, declining water table, and air pollution affecting livability index of the region. The effect of rice residue retention (RRR), irrigation levels and foliar application of K on wheat grain yield (GY), water use efficiency (WUE) and profitability was tested over three years. RRR increased wheat GY (5224 kg ha−1), above-ground biomass (AGBM = 11.9 t ha−1), tillers per square
... tillers per square meter (TPM = 469) and grains per meter square (GrPMS = 13,917) significantly. Relative water content (RWC = 93.8) and WUE (2.45 k gm−3) were also increased significantly by RRR. Consequently, profitability (Net return = 624.4 $ and Benefit to cost (B:C) ratio) was enhanced. Foliar application of K enhanced GY (5151 kg ha−1), AGBM (12 t ha−1), RWC (94.1), SPAD (52.2), WUE (2.40 kg m−3), net returns (625.2 $) and BC ratio (1.62) significantly. RRR increased GY (15.66%) and WUE (17.39%) with additional revenue of 151 $ with only one irrigation at the CRI stage (ICS). RRR adopted over 10% of the area can earn 187 million-US$ annually. RRR if adopted over existing practice on a large area would reduce environmental degradation with an enhanced income to small and marginal farmers.