Farmers can greatly benefit through restoration and retention of land fertility if crop residues and stubble are used in the field, said scientists at a workshop organised by International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) at Dinajpur yesterday.
Huge crop residues that are wasted every year can also be used as fodder, said the scientists at the workshop held at the auditorium of Dinajpur Wheat Research Institute (WRC).
Dr Jalal Uddin, director of WRC, was present as chief guest while Md Abdul Mannaf, chief scientific officer of WRC, and Dr Rezaur Rahman Sarker, district livestock officer of Dinajpur, were present as special guests.
Dr Beth Cullen and Dr Braja Bandhu Swain of ILRI and Dr Elahi Baksh of WRC made presentations on their research on use of crop residues.
Leaving crop residues and stubble in the field has numerous benefits including minimising water and soil erosion, and returning valuable nutrients like carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, calcium and magnesium to the soil, said Dr Abdul Mannaf.
ILRI and International Wheat and Maize Improvement Centre have been working as part of the System-wide Livestock Programme on crop-livestock interaction in Dinajpur since May 2010.
The study aims at better understanding tradeoffs in crop residue use in cereal based systems in four regions: millet, sorghum, maize based systems in West Africa; maize based systems in Eastern and Southern Africa; and wheat/rice based systems in South Asia.
Dinajpur is one of the South Asian study sites selected for the project.
The major tradeoffs in most systems are the short term benefits of using crop residues to feed livestock versus leaving crop residues in the field to improve soil productivity that comprises nutrient balance, erosion control, and soil health.
The study focuses on capturing the diversity of crop residue use at various scales as well as decision making processes at farm level. The aim is to identify technical, institutional and policy options to improve livelihoods without compromising long term system sustainability.
Agricultural economists from WRC in Dinajpur are involved in the project works including data collection and validation of survey results.