Conservation agriculture-based wheat production better copes with extreme climate events than conventional tillage-based systems : a case of untimely excess rainfall in Haryana, India - Amsterdam (Netherlands) : Elsevier, 2016.
This study explores whether conservation agriculture-based wheat production system (CAW) can better cope with climatic extremes than the conventional tillage-based wheat production system (CTW). To assess this, we used data collected from 208 wheat farmers in Haryana, India in 2013-14 (a period with normal rainfall i.e., normal year) and 2014-15 (a period with untimely excess rainfall i.e., bad year) wheat seasons. Our analysis shows that whilst average wheat yield was greater under CAW than CTW during both bad and normal years, the difference was two-fold greater during the bad year (16% vs. 8%). This provides new evidence that CAW can cope better with the climatic extremes, in this case untimely excess rainfall, compared to CTW. Absolute yield of the CAW and CTW was 10% and 16% lower in the bad year compared to the normal year, respectively. Extreme climate events, such as excess rainfall during wheat season, can occur once in every four years in Haryana and result in a loss of income to both farmers, through a loss of yield, and the government, through compensatory payments to farmers. If, as targeted by the Haryana government in 2011, one million ha of wheat was brought under CAW, the state would have produced an additional 0.66 million Mg of wheat in 2014-15, equivalent to US$ 153 million. This is an important finding given the increased vulnerability of wheat production to climatic variability in this region.
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