EFFECT OF ORGANIC MULCHING ON SOIL MOISTURE CONSERVATION AND YIELD OF WHEAT (TRITICUM AESTIVUM L.)
A field study was conducted at Nuclear Institute of Agriculture Experimental Farm, Tandojam, to evaluate the effect of different mulches on soil moisture and yield of wheat. Five types of organic materials such as wheat straw; mungbean straw, rice husk, farm yard manure and poultry litter were used for mulching. Different mulches were applied at 10 tons ha-1 on 3rd day after 1st irrigation. A control without any mulch material was kept for comparison. The experiment was performed according to the split plot design keeping irrigation treatment in the main plots and mulching in subplots. Three main plots were comprised of three irrigation regimes such as four irrigations with mulches, three irrigations with mulches and two irrigations with mulches. Different mulches conserved the soil moisture content to 16-27% over control. Wheat straw retained maximum soil moisture of 27%, followed by the farm yard manure (24.0%), rice husk (20.0%), mungbean straw (19%) and poultry litter (16.0%), respectively. A non-significant relationship was observed between grain yield and irrigation regimes, but application of different mulches had significant effect on the grain yield. The highest wheat grain yield of 4.22 tons ha-1 was observed in case of mulch with wheat straw, followed by poultry litter (3.92 tons ha-1), farm yard manure (3.75 tons ha-1), rice husk (3.61 tons ha-1) and mungbean straw (3.38 tons ha-1). These findings suggest that wheat straw could be used effectively for mulching to conserve soil moisture and increase crop productivity.