International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security

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Integrated Crop Production Technologies for Dryland Agriculture

R. Raman

Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, India


Dryland Agriculture is practiced in most of the arid and semiarid areas. It is the main stay of over 80 crore inhabitants of the semi Arid Tropics. These inhabitants rely on traditionally organized and fragile agricultural system for livelihood. World wide 615 crore hectares of land are under rainfed agriculture. Dryland agriculture is always a challengeable one, since crop management depends on monsoon rains in this land. The main problem of these regions is low rainfall and meager availability of irrigation water. A major portion of rainfall is lost in unproductive losses like evaporation, deep drainage and seepage, there by leaving a very small amount of water for crop use.

Most of the drylands are typified by highly fragile natural resource base, the rainfall is low, soils are often coarse textured sandy and inherently low in fertility, organic matter, water holding capacity and are easily susceptible to wind and water erosion.

Selection of suitable agro-technologies, cropping system is of immense value in drylands. We must continue to have access to new and evolving field crop production strategies that reduce input costs and increase both crop yield and crop quality. This requires the continuing development and refinement of field crop production systems that are optimized for particular agricultural ecozones, and which account for all of the major aspects of field crop production. This involves the development of integrated crop production technologies systems that consider the combined impacts of soil type, local climate, tillage practice, crop rotation, soil management, choice of crops, IFS, fertilization, cover and catch crops and strategies for managing water, crop residues and weeds.

Uncertainties in dryland agro ecosystem could be balanced by integrating agricultural enterprises and animal components suited to the socio-economic status of farmers there by transforming subsistence dryland farming into sustainable farming. Advances in agronomic conservation technologies continue to provide the greatest opportunities to achieve sustainability and profitability in dryland agriculture.