University of Sargodha, Pakistan
Rafi Qamar has completed his PhD at the age of 29 years from University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan. He has remained visiting scholar in The Ohio State University South Centers at Piketon, USA. During his stay, he has learned numerous techniques of soil biological, chemical, and physical properties related to tillage operations and fertilization management. He is Assistant Professor in University College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha, Punjab, Pakistan. His areas of interests are tillage system, soil properties, cropping system and mulch materials. He has published more than 08 papers in reputed journals and serving as an editorial board member of repute.
Zero tillage along with application of mulch is an important strategy for soil conservation to maintain sustainability of agricultural system, maximize crop yield and quality of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L. var. Seher 2006), and reduce production costs. A randomized complete block design in split plot arrangement was used with four tillage methods [conventional tillage (CT); deep tillage (DT); zero tillage with zone disk tiller (ZDT); and happy seeder (HS)] in main plots and five mulch materials [no mulch (M0); rice straw (MRice); wheat straw (MWheat); plastic sheet (MPlastic) @ 4 t ha-1, and natural mulch (MNatural)] in subplots during 2009-10 and 2010-11. Results showed that DT significantly decreased soil bulk density, penetration resistance, and volumetric moisture content when compared with CT, ZDT, and HS. However, wheat yield parameters such as germination count, fertile tillers, grain yield and water use efficiency were significantly higher in HS compared with other tillage treatments while root length and grain protein were higher in DT. Plant height remained non-significant during 2009-10, while in 2010-11 it differed significantly and was higher in HS than other tillage treatments. In both growing seasons, 1000-grain weight and biological yield were non-significant. Wheat yield parameters were significantly higher in MPlastic at 4 t ha-1 than other mulch materials. Germination count, plant height, 1000-grain weight, total and grain yield, water use efficiency and grain protein of tillage and mulch interaction remained non-significant while fertile tillers, root length and penetration resistance showed significant response during both the years of study.
Keywords: Bulk density, penetration resistance, grain yield and grain protein.