Planting geometry and nutrient requirement of pigeonpea under zai method of cultivation in dryland situation

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The field experiment was conducted at college of Agriculture farm, Bijapur during kharif season 2013-14 to study the performance of pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.] under different plant population and nutrient levels in Zai method of cultivation under dry land situation. Twelve treatments under Zai method of cultivation with four levels of plant population (22, 18, 14 and 10 seeds per Zai pit) and three levels of fertilizer application (25: 50 : 0, 31.5: 62.5 :0 and 37.5 : 75 : 0 kg N : P2O5 : K2O ha -1 respectively) were compared with recommended practice. Thirteen treatments were tested in randomized complete block design with three replications. The treatment 22 seeds per Zai+125% RDF with plant population 91674 plants ha-1 produced significantly higher seed yield (2188 kg ha -1) and net returns (Rs 63427 ha-1) compared to recommended practice. However, significantly higher pods per plant, pod weight per plant and seed yield per plant was recorded in the treatment receiving 10 seeds per zai + 125% RDF compared with other treatments. Significantly higher soil moisture at 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 DAS in one metre depth of soil profile was recorded in Zai method of cultivation (T1 to T12) as compared to recommended practice. The data from nutrient, energy and water balance sheets also showed superiority of Zai method of cultivation as compared to recommended practice. The study indicated that Zai method of cultivation may be advocated to the small and marginal farmers of Northern dry zone of Karnataka for sustained soil fertility, productivity, effective soil moisture conservation and improvement of nutritional status of the farming community.