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Nutrient and Water Management Practices for Increasing Crop Production in Rainfed Arid/Semi-Arid Areas

Proceedings of a Coordinated Research Project

English IAEA-TECDOC-CD-1468 92-0-113505-X
15.00 2005

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The efficient use of scarce water resources is vital for ensuring adequate and stable agricultural production in many developing countries located in arid and semi-arid regions. The results from ten Member States have shown that crop yields can increase and yield variation be reduced in rainfed agriculture with proper management of cropping systems, stored rainfall water and judicious use of inputs such as supplemental water use, chemical fertilizers and organic residues. This publication shows how improved fertilizer management practices, when suited to local conditions, can reduce by up to 50% the current recommended fertilizer nitrogen rates without significant loss of crop yields. The amount and distribution of rainfall during the growing season had a strong impact on crop yields and the utilization of applied nitrogen, while the application of nitrogen fertilizer enhanced water use efficiency of crops through improved ground cover and reduced evapo-transpiration. The inclusion of grain legumes as intercrops or rotation crops in millet based cropping systems also helped to significantly increase the efficiency of nitrogen use by millet.

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