Conservation tillage for sustainable wheat intensification: the example of South Asia

V. Krishna, A. Keil, S. Aravindakshan, M. Meena

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


The wheat production sector of South Asia has registered only a sluggish productivity growth in the last two decades (FAOSTAT, 2015). The rate of growth, which is lower than the wheat yield growth realized in the rest of the world (Shiferaw et al., 2013), is inadequate to keep pace with the population expansion in the region. Along with a rapidly changing climate, degradation of the natural resource base as a result of intensive farming and inappropriate use of inputs is often cited as one of the root causes of the problem (Chauhan et al., 2012; Erenstein and Laxmi, 2008; Sekar and Pal, 2012). To achieve a sustainable yield growth rate in wheat, there has been an increased scientific interest in developing environmentally sustainable agronomic practices that are resource conserving, while ensuring financial benefit to farmers. This paradigm shift is closely associated with an increased awareness in the public policy arena towards the negative environmental externalities associated with the traditional farming practices. Most prominent among such resource-conserving technologies in the cereal systems of South Asia is conservation tillage (CT) in wheat (Derpsch et al., 2010), which is identified also as one of the key

agricultural practices that can enhance the adaptive capacity of farming communities and the potential of farming practices to mitigate the challenges of climate change in the tropics (Harvey et al., 2014; Sapkota et al., 2015). In this chapter, we examine the recently emerged evidence on the on-farm impacts of the ensemble of CT technologies in wheat production and the possible constraints hindering its widespread diffusion in the IndoGangetic Plains (IGP) of South Asia. We use the umbrella term ‘CT wheat’ to represent zero-tillage (ZT), reduced-tillage and ridge-tillage practices in wheat production.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAchieving Sustainable Cultivation of Wheat
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 2: Cultivation Techniques
EditorsP. Langridge
PublisherBurleigh Dodds Science Publishing Limited
ISBN (Electronic)9781786760227
ISBN (Print)9781786760203
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameBurleigh Dodds Series in Agricultural Science


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