The natural resources deterioration has been the major concern, especially after the green revolution, due to intensive tillage, particularly wet tillage for growing rice, coupled with indiscriminate use of fertilizer and underground water. For a long term conservation of natural resources to achieve greater productivity, profitability and sustainability of the wheat production, these practices needs to be perfected for different wheat-based cropping systems and agro-eco-regions.
Conservation agriculture for resilience in wheat productivity
Research efforts on optimization of tillage, residue management, intercropping and crop rotation, weed management and balanced use of fertilizers for reversing soil degradation and increasing resource use efficiency leading to enhancement in wheat productivity in different agro-climatic zones would be focused. System perspective research would be promoted to develop region specific technologies.
Water and nutrient management for enhancing crop productivity
Research efforts on water conservation and devising suitable irrigation methods as per soil and agro-climatic conditions of the area would be given priority. Balanced use of nutrients, site specific nutrient management for targeted yields, need based nitrogen application using handheld sensors for efficient N management and integrated nutrient management options for different cropping systems would be standardized and popularized.
Diversification and weed management
In order to improve system productivity and sustainability there is a need to fine tune the diversification/intensification options by replacing by or incorporating crops like maize, soybean, summer moong etc. Weed infestation is major biotic factor affecting wheat productivity and there is a need to focus on integrated weed management practices involving physical, cultural, chemical and biological weed control. To evolve efficient weed management strategies in wheat we have to evaluate the new alternative herbicides and herbicide combinations for broad spectrum weed control as well as delaying and managing herbicide resistance problem in weeds.
Enhancing productivity of rainfed areas
In rainfed/dryland areas water conservation practices and efficient utilization of residual soil moisture are important for increasing productivity. Revisiting the sowing time and manipulating seeding procedures to obtain good crop stand and cultivation of drought tolerant varieties would enhance production in different zones.