China: No-till cropping
Last year, the Paraquat Information Center published the story of successful use of paraquat in no-till systems in Sichuan (read here). This article is now supported by Fang Shu-An’s own described below. No-Tillage Technique and Practice in Paddy Rice Wheat and Paddy Rice Oil Seed Rape Field in Leshan Area, Sichuan, China By Fang Shu-An - Agriculture Bureau, Dongpo District, Meishan City, Sichuan Province, 612160 China. Paddy rice, wheat and oil-seed rape are the most important crops in Leshan area, Sichuan Province, southwest of China, and paddy rice rotated with either wheat or oil-seed rape is the most common practice in this area. Study on the no-tillage technique under this cultivation mode was started in 1983. A set of practical no-tillage techniques for the Leshan area was discovered after plot tests and large field demonstrations had been carried out for many years. The total cumulated cultivated area using this practice reaches 335 thousand hectares and now this cultivation practice accounts for more than 85% in the area. The key technique of no-tillage cultivation is weed control, and Gramoxone‘s* features of fast action and rainfastness make it the most suitable herbicide both for successful weeding and timely sowing for earlier harvests. The best application time of Gramoxone was confirmed through studies on the crop’s growth cycle, which enabled the cultivation standards to be raised to a higher level. Promoting the no-tillage technique reduced the erosion of surface soil, improving the soil structure significantly. It allowed to have a higher yield and better quality of crops, the yield of oilseed rape was increased 3.8 - 7.1%, wheat 8%, the disease index of rice sheath blight (Rhizoctonia solani) was reduced about 51.2%, and the yield of rice was increased 4.1-4.5%. No-tillage allowed to save 20% of the water in the paddy field, about 1,500 m3 of water per ha. The no-tillage technique helped to reduce labour costs 1,500-2,250 RMB/ha (1 USD = 0.7 € = 7.5 RMB), which increased the income of 1 billion RMB. The no-tillage technique greatly contributes to economic, social and environmental benefits. The total area where this cultivation method is used, reaches 667 thousand ha in the whole Sichuan province in 2004. * Gramoxone, is the brandname of a paraquat-based product in China.