Main reasons for low yield of wheat include its delayed planting due to late maturing of long-grain ‘Basmati’ variety of preceding rice crop sown in the region besides high cost of land preparations and other inputs. After rice harvest, sufficient residual moisture is generally available to establish new crop. Conventional tillage accelerates soil moisture evaporation and requires extra irrigation water for “Rauni” (pre-planting land soaking). This causes major delays in wheat sowing, which ultimately affects final crop yields. Decrease in wheat yield, at a rate of one percent every day after mid November is well documented due to delay in sowing.
Minimum/Zero Tillage is an innovation that not only offers conservation of water and energy resources but also results in better crop yield and income. This technology was being practiced since long in many parts of the world and it was introduced in Pakistan during 1980’s.
Zero Tillage technology, first introduced amongst the farmers during 1996-97. The technology was rapidly accepted by the farmers due to its contribution in reducing cost of production, conservation of resources, and improving yields. Wheat was grown with this technique on an area of about one million acres in Pakistan during 2003-04 and, presently, there are more than 5,000 Zero Tillage drills owned by farmers. SACAN is promoting the technology for its large scale adoption in rice-wheat systems of Pakistan by providing precision drills manufactured locally as well as imported from other countries.