Flagship 3 aims at integrating sustainable crop, pest and disease management options, and enhancing crop-livestock integration, to capture genetic gains from improved varieties and hybrids to capture and deliver genetic gains in farmers’ fields.
Flagship 3 will plan joint research with Flagship 2 to ensure that varieties and hybrids integrate with the newly proposed management practices.
Lack of good soil-management practices or mismanagement threatens soil health and environmental sustainability, as evidenced by declining soil-carbon reserves and multi-nutrient deficiencies in dryland regions. Therefore, building the resilience of dryland-cereals production systems depends largely on soil health and water management practices. This flagship focuses on interventions of crop–soil–water management at the watershed–catchment level to enhance the productivity and adaptability to environmental variability of dryland cereals.
Extensive soil mapping and balanced fertilizer recommendations through micro-dosing will be important focus areas for soil management, along with waste recycling and biomass generation, where possible, for the reduced use of chemical fertilizers and the development of sustainable systems. On the water management front, the production of dryland cereals will be linked with in situ and ex situ water management options including micro irrigation through synergistic efforts with Dryland Systems.
The success of the Bhoochetana initiative for improving crop productivity and livelihoods in Karnataka, India, provides a model that can potentially be tailored and out-scaled to other parts of Asia and Africa for enhanced productivity and environmental sustainability. Crop management practices including seed treatment, integrated insect and disease management and other required agronomic practices will be promoted for higher productivity of dryland cereals.
Mechanization of farm operations for reduced production costs and enhanced efficiency will be addressed for sustainable intensification of dryland cereals production. Finally, climate information services will be utilized to enable farmers to take ameliorative measures against climate aberrations to minimize production losses and optimize resource utilization.