Balanced nutrition increases yield of pearl millet under drought

Uppal, R K and Wani, S P and Garg, K K and Alagarswamy, G (2015) Balanced nutrition increases yield of pearl millet under drought. Field Crops Research, 177. pp. 86-97. ISSN 0378-4290

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Improving the climate resilience of crops is particularly important in the semi-arid tropics (SAT) where variability and uncertainty of precipitation is expected to increase under climate change with detrimental impacts on the vulnerability of livelihoods of small farm holders. This study analyses a long-term strategic experiment datasets from fifteen experiments (1981–1995) managed under different fertility level sat International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru and on-farm balanced nutrition management trials (2010–2012) in Karnataka, India to evaluate the pearl millet performance in contrasting seasons with improved agronomic management. Long-term climate variability and yield trends were analyzed using ICRISAT’s weather datasets. On-farm data analysis revealed that majority of farmers’ field soils were deficient in organic carbon, available phosphorous, sulphur, zinc and boron at all the locations studied. Pearl millet grain yield and above ground dry matter was improved significantly with balanced nutrient application (NPK + S + Zn + B) in farmers’ field which were critically deficient in the soil nutrients. Even in comparatively drier years, application of balanced nutrient significantly increased grain yield and aboveground dry matter which provides resilience against drought through enhanced water productivity. Long-term experiments conducted in ICRISAT showed that nitro-gen application increased grain yield and above ground dry matter in pearl millet however seasonal variability had a greater effect on yield than cultivars and applied N. Pearl millet yield was positively associated with August maximum temperature and negatively with seasonal precipitation. September precipitation >125 mm which coincided with grain filling stage reduced grain yield. Benefit: cost analysis showed that balanced nutrient application of pearl millet is an economically sustainable option across the seasons. Pearl millet can be an important component of climate resilient agriculture in low production environments when managed with improved agronomic practices.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: RP-Resilient Dryland Systems
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems
Uncontrolled Keywords: Climate change, Nitrogen use efficiency, Resilience, Rainfed agriculture, Fertilizer
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets
Others > Plant Pathology
Depositing User: Mr B K Murthy
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2015 07:57
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2017 03:31
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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