Zero Tillage Cultivation of Rapeseed-mustard raises yield in Imphal

Zero tillage cultivation of rapeseed, M-27  Directorate of Extension Education, Central Agricultural University (CAU), Imphal implemented an extension project on “Augmenting Rapeseed-Mustard Production of Tribal Farmers of North Eastern States for sustainable livelihood security” in collaboration with Directorate of Rapeseed-Mustard Research (DRMR), Bharatpur under Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) in Imphal East District, Manipur during rabi, 2011. Due to lack of irrigation facilities and uncertainty of rain during rabi season, farmers in Manipur are reluctant to grow rabi crops and vast area in the state remains fallow after rice from November to June. Taking into consideration the above facts, yield performance of rapeseed varieties, M-27, TS-36 and Ragini and mustard varieties, Pusa Agrani, Pusa Mahak, NRCHB-101 and NPJ-112 were evaluated in 55 ha under zero tillage cultivation and compared with crops grown in 40 ha under conventional tillage.

Use of Bee colonies for pollinationSince there was no rain throughout the crop period, the growth and yield parameters in all the rapeseed-mustard varieties were better in zero tillage practice than conventional tillage due to residual soil moisture after rice harvest. Under participatory varietal selection trials, yellow sarson, Ragini among rapeseed varieties gave maximum yield of 8.0 to 14.0 q/ha with average yield of 10.0 q/ha, whereas, NRCHB-101 among mustard varieties gave maximum yield of 8.0 to 11.0 q/ha with average yield of 10.2 q/ha both in zero tillage cultivation. Under on-farm demonstrations, not only no tillage (zero tillage) practice use of 4 (four) bee colonies/ha during crop bloom of rapeseed for pollination and spray of botanical pesticides without affecting pollinators population and to harvest organic honey were demonstrated.

One hundred seventy two farmers across nine villages of Imphal East District who were involved in the project improved their income by getting average net profit of Rs. 27,000/ha including cost of honey within three and half month with a low investment of Rs. 7,800/ha. All the farmers attended eight on-farm and two on-campus training programmes and 60 farmers from the project site visited DRMR, Bharatpur on exposure trip and sensitized.

Construction of Water Harvesting Structure at Farmers' Field

In order to popularize high yielding mustard varieties like NRCHB-101, Pusa Agrani etc. under scientific cultivation, the CAU has constructed three water harvesting structures in three villages of project site with micro-irrigation facilities covering a total area of 2.5 ha with 64,063 cu. M. of harvested water and irrigable command area of 44 ha. The innovative message of zero tillage cultivation of rapeseed-mustard has spread in neighbouring districts and around 1000 ha in three valley districts of Manipur are being covered during current rabi, 2012 in Manipur.

(Source: CAU, Imphal and DRMR, Bharatpur)