TODAY -

Integrated crop management for sustainable crop production in Manipur

Dr Lydia Zimik, Dr Laishram Kanta Singh, K Lily Rangnamei, Dr Roma Devi *



Integrated Crop Management (ICM) is a system of crop production which conserves and enhances natural resources while producing food on an economically viable and sustainable foundation. It is based on a good understanding of the interactions between biology, environment and land management systems. It is a pragmatic approach to the crop production which include IPM, soil, social and environmental management.

Adoption of ICM requires certain adjustments to many farmers' or producers' current practises. However, it must guarantee both the producer's prolonged subsistence and the consumer's continued access to reasonably priced, high-quality produce. ICM combines the best aspects of contemporary technology with some fundamental tenets of proper framing technique. ICM is a long-term, comprehensive approach.

One season, one field, or one crop cannot be covered by it. OnIntegrated Farming Systems, although largely focused on crop production, live-stock management is equally crucial because livestock are crop consumers and sources of organic nutrients.

Natural resources can be utilised to their full potential and supplemented with inputs like fertilisers and crop protection products where necessary through thorough assessment, monitoring, and planning. Additionally crucial are the up-keep and improvement of wildlife habitats and landscape features.

Since ICM is site-specific and covers the entire farm, there are no strict guidelines on how to accomplish this. Each farm is unique due to its location, climate, soil type, and cropping schedule, to name a few. Despite this variation, there are some common principles that can assist all farmers and growers in making positive changes.

Why do we need ICM?

Indian agriculture has dramatically increased in productivity and efficiency over the past 50 years, producing an abundant supply of food without placing undue strain on unsuitable agricultural land. But to increase the productivity of the land, more inputs, including energy, must be used.

According to common belief, wildlife and the environment are being destroyed along with the unsustainable exploitation of limited resources. There is a chance that some fundamental principles and abilities, developed through many generations of farming history, will be disregarded in order to meet the immediate requirement for food production.

Meanwhile, the cropped area's biodiversity has decreased as a result of extensive fertiliser and pesticide use. These elements, combined with an assured and taken-for-granted food supply, have increased demands on farmers to be more considerate of wildlife and environmental concerns.

An agricultural method called ICM enables farming to be done in a way that protects the environment. At the same time, it acknowledges that the total economic situation depends on the quantity, quality, and cost of produce.

Principles of Integrated Crop Management

Increasing crop yield while keeping in mind sustainability from an ecological and financial standpoint utilizing resources locally while reducing inputs from outside sources the environment and human health as the primary concerns incorporating local and scientific knowledge along with aspects of agriculture, economics, and human resources highlighting the interdependence of numerous elements, such as management techniques in relation to crop circumstances requiring empowerment and group decision-making at the farmer level in relation to requirements assessment, implementation, and crop management.

o Growing productive and healthy crops.
o Regular field trips and observations.
o Cultivation of crops those are environmentally beneficial.
o To assist farmers in making a choice.

Components of Integrated Crop Management

o Crop rotation
o Soil and cultivation
o Crop nutrition
o Wildlife and Landscape
o Energy consumption
o Pollution and waste

Management of Integrated Crop Management

1. Quantify nutrient source: soil reserve, manure, crop residue.
2. Soil test: pH, lime requirement, phosphorous, potassium (calcium and magnesium optional).
3. Manure analysis: nitrogen (ammonium N, total N), phosphorus, potassium.
4. Calibration manure and fertilizer spreaders: kg per hectare.
5. Fertilization plan: Rate of manure application and additional fertiliser. Ilse extra manure on different crops. Avoid using a lot of manure on farms with high P soil test results. Avoid using too much manure or fertiliser nitrogen.

6. Soil fertility: evaluate the potential of crops to contribute to biological nitrogen fixation, which can increase the yields of subsequent cereal crops in rotation systems.
7. Planting plan:suitable crop calendar
8. Minimum tillage: to reduce nutrient loss through soil erosion.
9. Cropping systems: crop rotation and intercropping
10. Water management: water management practices, such as infield water harvesting techniques (tied ridges, furrows and drip irrigation) and conservation agriculture in conjunction with drought tolerant crop varieties to overcome effects of unpredictable rainfall patterns resulting from climate change.

11. Pest and disease management: many crops are susceptible to many different pests and diseases. They can strike both in the field and after harvest, having a major impact on crops, reducing yields, incomes and nutritional quality. The severity of pest and disease attack varies depending on many factors, such as agroecology, the susceptibility of the genotype, its growth stage, the season, the weather, storage conditions, and the strain or species of the pest/pathogen causing the infestation/ infection.

Conclusion

ICM is an agricultural system that allows farming to practice in a way that safeguards the environment. At the same time, it recognises that the quantity, quality and price of produce are all essential if the overall economic viability is to be preserved.

ICM is especially suitable for small farmers because it attempts to reduce reliance on purchased inputs and to utilise indigenous technical know-how and land use techniques to the best extent possible. A significant difficulty is ensuring that there is enough food for a growing population.


* Dr Lydia Zimik, Dr Laishram Kanta Singh, K Lily Rangnamei, Dr Roma Devi wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on August 10 2022 .



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