Case Studies

Farmer multiplies incomes by salt-tolerant wheat cultivation

Other than routine sell on Minimum Support Price (MSP), Surjeet Singh has been selling KRL-210 as seed on an average 70-90 quintals every year with at Rs. 3,000 per quintal

Farmer multiplies incomes by salt-tolerant wheat cultivation

Surjeet Singh, a farmer from Baras village in Karnal, Haryana, known for his grassroot innovations and quality seeds production, came into contact with ICAR-Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), Karnal during 2013 to get advisory on soil sodicity. He produces quality seeds of KRL-210 in farmers’ participatory mode by developing his own seed network, farmer-to-farmer market.

He has been sowing the CSSRI bred salt tolerant wheat variety KRL-210 since 2013 with remarkable yield — 64.55 to 70.75 quintal per hectare — on soils characterised as slightly alkali — pH range of 8.45±0.15. He use to sow the seed of KRL-210 in salt affected soils between first to second week of November with zero or reduced tillage using seed-cum-fertiliser drill. In order to harvest bold grains of KRL-210 — for seed purpose — with enhanced number of tillers, he calibrated his seed-drill to sow KRL-210 variety with lower seed rate of 55 kg percent hectare at 18 cm row spacing as against the recommended seed rate of 100 kg per hectare with 22 cm row spacing, a CSSRI press said.

The progressive farmer reduced the application of nitrogen fertiliser by 10 percent — 135-140 kg per hectare — but maintained 15 percent higher phosphate — 58-60 kg P2O5/ha — application. Although he has been applying 1-2 irrigation normally since past 15 years in any of the wheat variety. For example, during 2016-17, he irrigated KRL-210 only once after 30 days of seed sowing after experiencing weather pattern. No subsequent irrigations were applied as moisture requirement was fulfilled with intermittent rainfall received with 6 rainy days with total 96.3 mm rainfall during January to March 2017. As a result, optimum moisture remained in the field till harvest of the crop, the press note claims.

The crop was harvested on 4 April, 2017 and yield data was recorded. With variability of 3.63 percent, the average yield of KRL-210, in past five years  — 2013-2017 — was observed to be 67.47 quintal per hectare and maximum yield was 70.75 quintal hectare in 2016-17. This could be possible owing to creative farmer’s management practices, relatively more number of effective tillers in KRL-210 — 452-476/ per square metre — and higher grain weight — 46.2-48.1 gm per 1,000-grains — during 2016-17.

The performance of Surjit Singh’s adaptations with KRL-210 resulted in almost 25-30 percent saving of resources with better monitory returns as well as conserving natural resources and enhancing environmental sustainability. Other than routine sell on Minimum Support Price (MSP), he has been selling KRL-210 as seed on an average 70-90 quintals every year with at Rs. 3,000 per quintal and could earn Rs 195,000 per hectare from KRL-210 seed through farmers’ network.

Comparative analysis of practices adapted by Surjit Singh and other farmers

Adaptation components

Surjit Singh’s practice

Practices followed by other farmers

Variety

KRL-210

HD-2967

Seed rate (kg/ha)

55

100

Method of sowing

Zero till

Rotavator/ Zero till

Spacing (cm)

18

20-22

Fertiliser application

 

 

Nitrogen (kg N/ha)

135-140

165-195

Phosphorus (kg P2O5/ha)

58-60 kg

50

Irrigation (No.)

1-2

3-4

Yield (q/ha)

70.75

60

Cost of cultivation (Rs/ha)*

12,986

18,855-19,238

Gross returns @ Rs 1625/q1

114,970

97,500

Benefit : Cost ratio1

8.85

5.07-5.46

*Other input costs being considered common while calculating cost of cultivation under both the practices.
1 This exclude the income generated from KRL-210 as seed sell for which this variety was adopted by Surjit Singh

It is to highlight that other than using KRL-210 since 2013, Surjit Singh has been continuing his informal agronomic experimentations with less seed and water since last about one and half decades to cope-up with climate variability. Such informal agronomic experimentation led by him in association (2013-2017) with CSSRI for assessing sodicity, providing salt tolerant wheat KRL-210, and farmer networking support, provide an example of co-production of adaptive knowledge for adapting abiotic stresses and enhancing livelihood resilience.

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