Crop residue management and tillage methods for conserving soil and water in semi arid regions

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Date
1991
Authors
Unger P.W
Stewart B.A
Parr J.F
Singh R.P
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Abstract
Soil degradation reduces soil productivity and is a serious problem on much of the land in semiarid regions. To avert continued degradation, the soil productivity balance must be shifted from degrading processes to conservation practices. Crop residue management and conservation tillage are on the positive side of the balance. When adequate residues are available and conservation tillage is used, soil erosion is greatly reduced and water conservation is enhanced. Water conservation is important for improving crop yields in semi-arid regions, especially where irrigation is not used. A major constraint to residue management in many countries is low production and widespread use for other purposes. In such cases, clean tillage and appropriate support practices such as contouring, furrow diking, strip cropping and terracing may provide adequate soil and water conservation benefits. Where these are not adequate, alternative management practices should be implemented to ease the demand for residues, thus permitting more of them to be retained on the land for soil and water conservation purposes. Some alternative practices include limited or selective residue removal, substituting high quality forages for residues as animal feed, alley cropping, using wasteland areas more effectively, improving the balance between feed supplies and animal populations, and using alternative fuel sources.
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Agricultural Research, 20, p. 219-240