Maximizing Agricultural Sustainability: Experts Advocate for Multiple Cropping Systems

by Dr. Jasneet Bedi

As the Kharif season unfolds, farmers across Punjab are gearing up for a transformative approach to farming, one that promises not just increased income but also the preservation of precious natural resources. The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has recently advocated for the adoption of multiple cropping systems, particularly emphasizing the integration of pulses, in order to boost agricultural and economic sustainability.

According to Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal, the esteemed Vice Chancellor of PAU, the key lies in embracing cropping systems that combine staples like potato and wheat with short-duration pulses like moong and mash. These systems, which include combinations such as rice-wheat-summer moong and rice-potato-summer moong, have shown immense potential in enhancing profitability, nurturing soil health, and reducing the nitrogen requirement for subsequent rice crops.

“The cropping systems such as rice-wheat-summer moong, rice-potato-summer moong, DSR-wheat-summer moong, rice-gobhi-sarson-summer moong hold good promise to maximise profitability, improve the soil health along with lowering of nitrogen requirement of following rice crop,” remarked Dr. Gosal.

One of the striking recommendations put forth by PAU experts is the incorporation of summer moong or mash into fields after harvesting. This practice not only enriches the soil but also allows for a significant reduction in urea application for rice crops, thus promoting environmental sustainability.

Dr. GS Mangat, Additional Director Research (Crop Improvement) at PAU, highlighted the superiority of recommended moong varieties such as SML 1827, which boasts resistance to diseases and an impressive yield of 5.0 quintals per acre. Similarly, summer mash variety Mash 1137, with its 4.5 quintals per acre yield, presents another lucrative option for farmers looking to diversify their crops.

Following the harvest of moong or mash, farmers are encouraged to cultivate short-duration varieties of paddy or basmati, further optimizing land usage and resource allocation. Dr. Buta Singh Dhillon, an Agronomist specializing in rice, underscored the importance of high-yielding rice varieties like PR 126, Pusa Basmati 1509, and Pusa Basmati 1847, which not only require less water but also facilitate the adoption of multiple cropping systems.

“PR 126, PB 1509, and PB 1847 are exemplary in their yield potential and resilience to common diseases, offering farmers the opportunity to maximize their productivity within a shorter timeframe,” Dr. Dhillon emphasized.

As Punjab’s agricultural landscape evolves, guided by the expertise of institutions like PAU, the shift towards diversified cropping systems represents a paradigmatic advancement towards sustainable agriculture. By harnessing the power of pulses and optimizing crop combinations, farmers stand poised to not only enhance their livelihoods but also contribute to the long-term health and resilience of the region’s agricultural ecosystem.

Dr. Jasneet Bedi

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