INFLUENCE OF RADISH AS COVER CROP AND VEGETABLE CROPPING SYSTEM ON CROP PRODUCTIVITY AND SOIL HEALTH OF SANDY SOIL OF GOSSAIGAON, ASSAM

Abstract
The present investigation entitled “Influence of radish as cover crop and vegetable cropping system on crop productivity and soil health of sandy soil of Gossaigaon, Assam” was carried out during Rabi season of 2017-18 and 2018-19 and Summer season of 2017-18 and 2018-19 at KrishiVigyan Kendra (KVK) farm of Kokrajhar district under Lower Brahmaputra Valley Zone (LBVZ) of Assam State. The soil of experimental site was sandy loam in texture with strongly acidic soil reaction, with low EC, CEC, high bulk density, particle density, low in organic carbon, low in available nitrogen medium in phosphorus and low in potassium. The treatment details were: cover crop (CC) ,followed by CS-I (okra followed by bitter gourd), CS-II (chilli followed by dolichos bean) and cropping system-III (cowpea followed by amaranthus). The experiment was laid out in randomized block design (RBD). Forage radish CC was sown during 10th October, 2017-18 and 15th October, 2018-19 with seven replications, 100 % CC (30cm x 30cm), 75% CC (45cm x 30cm) and 50 % CC at 60cm x 30cm, respectively. At young, decomposable harvesting maturity (60DAS), the CC was incorporated in the soil manually in all the plots. After one month of CC incorporation vegetable crops viz., Orka, chilli and cowpea were sown/transplanted during January, 2018 & 2019 with five replications. Vegetable crop biomasses were also incorporated in soil after harvest and followed by the second vegetable crops viz., bitter gourd, dolichos bean and amaranthus, respectively in respective vegetable sequence(s). The influence of cover crop and crop biomasses on soil chemical and physical parameters were studied at different sampling depths for both years. Soil chemical and physical parameters after incorporation of forage radish cover crop recorded significant improvements over control. Most of the growth parameters, yield attributes and yield of vegetable crops, soil chemical parameters (EC, CEC, available NPK, organic carbon, organic matter and C/N ratio), soil physical attributes viz., WHC, total porosity and reduction in bulk density, particle density of soil after harvest and incorporation of crop biomasses were maximum under cent per cent surface cover (T1) during both the year of experimentation. Significantly, the highest okra yield (17.11 and 18.86 q/ha), chilli yield (31.32 and 32.19 t/ha), cowpea yield (27.59 and 28.92t/ha), bitter gourd yield (18.31 and 19.00 t/ha), dolichos bean yield (18.64 and 19.00 t/ha) and amaranthus yield (25.21 and 26.23t/ha ) were obtained with the application of 100 % cover crop (T1) followed by 75 % per cent cover crop (T2) over the control(T0) without surface cover.Among the different levels of cover crop, cent per cent cover crop (T1) resulted in significant EC, CEC, organic carbon (%), organic matter (%), soil available NPK, C/N ratio after crop harvest. Similarly the soil physical parameters also showed improvements in cent per cent cover crop treatment which recorded the highest WHC (%), total porosity (%) lowest bulk density (gmcm-3) and particle density (gmcm-3) over other cover crop treatment as well as control after crop harvest in all the vegetable cropping system. Among the vegetable cropping system, the highest net return (Rs. 7,56,195/ha) with benefit : cost ratio (6.39) were recorded by CS-II (chilli followed by dolichos bean) under 100 % cover crop (T1) followed by the same cropping system under 75 % surface cover (T2) with net returns (Rs. 6,14,595/ha) with B:C ratio (5.38). On the basis of experimental results, it can be concluded that for getting higher returns and improvement of soil health, vegetable crops viz., chilli (spring-summer) followed by dolichos bean (summer) can be grown after cent per cent surface cover with radish cover crop in sequence for sustainable vegetable production in sandy soil of Gossaigaon, under Lower Brahmaputtra Valley Zone of Assam.
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