Enhancing Small Millet Farming Resilience through Conservation Agriculture in Rainfed Regions

K. Sathiya *

Centre of Excellence in Millets, Athiyandal, Thiruvannamalai, India.

A. Nirmalakumari

Centre of Excellence in Millets, Athiyandal, Thiruvannamalai, India.

T. S. Sukanya

UAS, Bangalore, India.

C. Vanitha

Centre of Excellence in Millets, Athiyandal, Thiruvannamalai, India.

R. Karthikeyan

Department of Agronomy, TNAU Coimbatore, India.

P. Ayyadurai

Agricultural College and Research Insititute, Vazhavachanur, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

The Centre of Excellence in Millets, located in Athiyandal, Tamil Nadu, conducted an extensive study from kharif 2020 to 2022, focusing on the impact of conservation agriculture practices on small millet crops in rainfed areas. The experiment, designed in a split-plot layout, included three main plot treatments: No tillage, Minimal tillage, and Mulching, with six sub-plot treatments comprising various millet varieties. Results indicated that a single ploughing significantly reduced weed populations, while mulching played a crucial role in curbing weed growth and conserving water. This led to substantial increases in grain yield and straw yield, ranging from 24.3% to 36.1% over the control, alongside an improvement in relative water use efficiency (RWUE) from 5.16 to 7.03 kg/ha/mm. Among the various millets cultivated with the mulching treatment (S3) emerged as the most favorable option in terms of grain yield. Finger millet, Kodomillet, and Foxtail millet exhibited the highest yields under this treatment, with 3010 kg/ha, 2234 kg/ha, and 2003 kg/ha, respectively. Additionally, Little millet, Barnyard millet, and Proso millet also demonstrated improved yields under Mulching, recording 1015 kg/ha, 1004 kg/ha, and 910 kg/ha, respectively. These results conclude that small millet cultivation in rainfed areas with mulching practices effectively enhances grain production, reduces weed growth, and ensures optimal water conservation, thereby providing sustainable alternatives to herbicide usage.

Keywords: Zero tillage, mulching, rainwater use efficiency


How to Cite

Sathiya, K., Nirmalakumari, A., Sukanya, T. S., Vanitha, C., Karthikeyan, R., & Ayyadurai, P. (2024). Enhancing Small Millet Farming Resilience through Conservation Agriculture in Rainfed Regions. Journal of Experimental Agriculture International, 46(5), 68–75. https://doi.org/10.9734/jeai/2024/v46i52357

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