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An Approach to Improved Productivity on Deep Vertisols

RA 00060.pdf1.37 MB
Kampen, J.
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International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics ; Patancheru 502324, Andhra Pradesh, India
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An approach to improved productivity on deep vertisols / J. Kampen
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Large a r e a s of deep Ver t i sol s in India ( e . g . , Madhya Pr ade sh, Maharasht ra, and Andhra Pradesh) a r e fallowed during the rainy season and sown to crops dur ing the post rainy dry season to grow on residual moi s ture. Many of those who become awar e of this landscape and tradi t ion have asked why these soi l s a r e not cropped dur -  ing the rainy season itself. Thi s quest ion is par t icular l y appropr iat e in those a r e a s where ear l y rains ar e reasonably dependable and the monsoon rainfal l s e ems sufficient to grow one or somet imes two c rops . Although annual potent ial yields on the bas i s of water availability may be es t imated at 3-5 tonnes /ha, actual product ion in most of these regions is only 500-1000 kg/ha. The reasons for the t radi t ional pr a c t i c e of leaving mi l l ions of hectares of land fallow can be at t r ibuted to the set t lement history and the special  cha r a c t e r i s t i c s of these regions. Ea r l i e r , when the population densi t ies wer e low, sys tems of shifting agr icul tur e wer e introduced; only pa r t of the total cul t ivable land was used for growing food c rops , and after 2 or 3 ye a r s of cul t ivat ion these a r e a s wer e left to retur n to a bush fallow. Most of the t ime the natural canopy provided effective protect ion to the soi l against erosion due to highintensity r a ins . When population and land p r e s - sur e increased, shifting cultivation was replaced by permanent , set t led agr icul ture.
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