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Development of productive package of cultivation practices
Aside developing packages of practices appropriate to high yielding varieties released for different rice ecologies, crop production group comprising agronomists, soil scientists and microbiologists has been engaged in various production optimization related research. It included broadly study of use efficiency of water, fertilizer etc., soil fertility management, management of saline, alkaline acid sulphate and other problem soils, development of sustainable rice based cropping/farming systems for different rice ecologies and farm holdings, conservation farming in intensive cropping systems etc. Among several findings of value, (a) proving Khaira disease as due to zine deficiency and subsequent establishment that increased and indiscriminate use of macro nutrients impoverished rice soils of many more micronutrients (b) development of zero tillage in rice-wheat system as an energy and cost saving strategy (c) development of water saving practices like alternate wetting and drying, except ensuring saturation at critical crop growth phases (d) management of major nutrients with emphasis on use efficiency of N fertilizer by adoption of strategies like deep placement, slow release of N by use of coated and modified urea (e) study of N transformation and balance in flooded soils revealing that rice crop derives 69% of its total N need from soil and the rest from applied fertilizer/manure and 40-60% of applied N is lost by ammonia volatilization (25%), denitrification (15%) and leaching (2%), (f) study and modification of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method of rice cultivation suiting seasons and ecologies as an adoptable strategy for narrowing yield gap, (g) development and popularization of soil test based application of P and K and crop need based application of N visa vis yield targets and (h) study and use of biofertilizers as relevant to different rice ecologies.