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Zero-tillage Technology and Farm Profits: A Case Study of Wheat Growers in the Rice Zone of Punjab

Iqbal, Muhammad and Khan, M. Azeem and Anwar, M. Zubair (2002): Zero-tillage Technology and Farm Profits: A Case Study of Wheat Growers in the Rice Zone of Punjab. Published in: The Pakistan Development Review , Vol. 4, No. 41 (2002): pp. 665-682.

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This study presents the results from a field survey of the wheat growers in the rice-wheat zone of Punjab. The late maturing basmati rice varieties and the post paddy-harvest conventional tillage practices to prepare seedbed for wheat sowing often result in delayed planting of the crop. The late sowing is a major factor responsible for low wheat yields obtained by the farmers of the area. Introduction of the new zero-tillage seed drill in the area during early 1980s made it possible to sow wheat in freshly harvested untilled paddy fields utilizing residual moister. Presently, more than eighty thousand hectares of wheat are sown with zero-tillage drill technology. The partial budget analysis showed that zero-tillage is more profitable than conventional wheat sowing methods of ‘wadwatter’ or ‘rauni’. The new technology saves tillage and irrigation costs, results in yield gains through a possible improvement in sowing time and enhanced fertilizer and water use efficiencies. The results showed that the zero-tillage adopters earn an extra income of 253 and 2278 rupees per acre of wheat over that earned from wheat sown with rauni and wadwattar methods respectively. The results of multiple regression analysis confirmed that the zero-tillage technology enhances water and fertilizer use efficiency. However, sufficient evidence was not present to prove any positive or adverse affect of the technology on the incidence of weeds in wheat crop. It is suggested that this aspect of zero-tillage technology be focused more in future research.

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