Reduced-tillage and Crop Productivity in Indian Arid Zone

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  • Saritha Mohanram
  • Praveen Kumar
  • Nav Raten Panwar
  • Uday Burman


Aridity, Cropping system, No-till, Reduced-tillage, Residue


The increasing costs of energy, equipment, labor and the growing concern
over soil loss have paved the way to development of reduced-tillage systems in place
of conventional tillage. These residue-retaining reduced-tillage systems are especially
effective in controlling soil erosion and substantially enhancing soil water storage. This
modification of the soil microclimate by reduced-tillage exerts beneficial effects on the
soil microbial communities which plays a great role in nutrient transformations. While
minimum tillage allows for minimal soil disturbance during field operations, no-tillage
refers to the complete absence of tillage. In practice, if one desires to reap equal or
higher yields and better environmental performance with minimum tillage than with
conventional tillage systems, several components need to be applied to a conservation
agriculture system. This can lead to variable yield responses with the minimum-/
no-till management system, especially in a rainfed agro-ecology. Here we review the
suitability of reduced-tillage in arid regions, especially with reference to India where
experiments on minimum tillage started in the early eighties. The results show limited
success with this concept in Indian arid region, where climate and residue availability
are a matter of concern. So, successful implementation of reduced-tillage systems as a
potential solution to sustainable agricultural intensification needs 1) better understanding
of crop and environmental variables and 2) appropriate adoption measures with ample
institutional and technology support, over a long term.


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How to Cite

Reduced-tillage and Crop Productivity in Indian Arid Zone. (2022). Annals of Arid Zone, 60(1 & 2), 1-11.