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Energy use and productivity in conservation agriculture

Muhammad Ashik-E-Rabbani, Md. Samiul Basir, Sazzad Mahmud Rifat, A. K. M. Sadiqul Alam, Abu Kawsar Ahmed, Md. Kawser Habib Mondal.


Sustainable agriculture is a viable solution to satisfy the world's increasing demand for food and conservation agriculture (CA) plays a crucial role in achieving this objective. The energy input and output in CA practice is the parameter that indicates the effectiveness of CA for a particular crop. An assessment of the energy requirements of the rice-wheat-mungbean cropping pattern was carried out at the research field of Bangladesh Agricultural University for conventional tillage (CT) and strip tillage (ST) practices. This study focused on assessing energy use and crop production efficiency under different tillage practices in CA. The total input energy in CT was the highest in rice (21003 MJ/ha) followed by wheat (20985 MJ/ha) and mungbean (12376 MJ/ha), while in ST, it was 17174 MJ/ha, 16496 MJ/ha, and 8067 MJ/ha for rice, wheat, and mungbean, respectively. Results show that energy inputs were less for all the three crops in ST compared to CT due to less energy consumption in land preparation. The maximum energy was consumed in terms of chemical fertilizers followed by irrigation, machinery (diesel), plant protection, human labor, and seed for this cropping system. Energy outputs were 154717.5 MJ/ha, 86660 MJ/ha, and 23178 MJ/ha for rice, wheat, and mungbean, respectively in CT and 162085 MJ/ha, 95945 MJ/ha, and 29848 MJ/ha for rice, wheat, and mungbean, respectively in ST. Energy productivities were 0.249 kg/MJ and 0.320 kg/MJ for rice, 0.133 kg/MJ and 0.188 kg/MJ for wheat, and 0.035 kg/MJ and 0.098 kg/MJ for mungbean in CT and ST, respectively. Energy productivity in ST was 22.1%, 29.2%, and 48.6% higher for rice, wheat, and mungbean, respectively, compared to CT due to increased yield in ST. The energy output-input ratio was higher in ST than in CT; 7.3 and 9.4 for rice, 4.12 and 5.81 for wheat, and 1.9 and 3.7 for mungbean in CT and ST, respectively. So, ST is a better option among the two cultivation processes in energy-saving depending on the resource’s availability.

Key words: Sustainable farming, energy ratio, strip tillage, energy productivity, conservation agriculture

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