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Title of best practice:
Raised-bed seeding using the raised-bed planter (Dashmesh®)
Clarify if the technology described in the template, or a part of it, is covered by property rights:
Prevailing land use in the specified location
Contribution to Desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) measures
Contribution to the strategic objectives
- To improve the living conditions of affected populations
- To improve the conditions of affected ecosystems
Linkages with the other best practice themes
- Capacity-building and awareness-raising
- DLDD and SLM monitoring and assessment/research
- Participation, collaboration and networking
Section 1. Context of the best practice: frame conditions (natural and human environment)
Short description of the best practice
The advantage of the raised-bed seeder is the simultaneous application of seeds and fertilizer with minimum soil disturbance into stubbles on directly shaped beds
Kazakhstan (near Kyzlorda city), Kyrgyzstan (near Bishkek), Turkmenistan (near Dashoguz city) and Republic of Uzbekistan (Jizzak and Syrdarya region)|
If the location has well defined boundaries, specify its extension in hectares:
10 ha (research area)
Estimated population living in the location:
Brief description of the natural environment within the specified location.
The region has a continental climate with long hot summers and cold dry winters. Winter temperatures range between -3 °C and 20 °C, and summer temperatures range from 20 to 40 °C. Precipitation is received mainly during the winter season. Irrigated agriculture in the four countries is generally practiced in areas with an annual precipitation of less than 250 mm.|
Kazakhstan: marsh and meadow-marsh soils with various salt levels
Kyrgyzstan: meadow grey desert, heavy loamy, repeatedly saline
Turkmenistan: irrigated meadow soil with various salt levels
Uzbekistan: prolluvial-alluvial zones of the Hungry steppe
The topography of the irrigated areas of the project sites are characterized by flat slopes with slight inclination.
Prevailing socio-economic conditions of those living in the location and/or nearby
Kazakhstan site: ca. 3000 USD/year
Kyrgyzstan site: ca. 600 USD/year
Uzbekistan sites: ca. 600 USD/year
Turkmenistan site: ca. 2000 USD/year
(all based on official statistics of GDP)
Irrigated crop production (cotton, wheat, rice, others), livestock, remittances|
Irrigated crop production; leased land (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) and private ownership (Kyrgyzstan)|
On the basis of which criteria and/or indicator(s) (not related to The Strategy) the proposed practice and corresponding technology has been considered as 'best'?
The use of the raised-bed seeding unit immediately reduces the need for mechanized activities in the field, seeding rates and thus production expenses. Furthermore, it is an excellent platform for diversification of the common cotton-wheat systems through intercropping, relay-cropping, and mixed farming aimed at integrating crop-livestock systems. Combined with laser-assisted land leveling, the raised-bed planting system can improve the productivity of high-value crops and reduces leaching and irrigation water equipments. Distributed to the participating countries, the raised-bed planters were used for several research activities including seed management, crop diversification and zero-tillage (conservation agriculture), a sustainable agricultural practice with potential to reduce soil erosion and salinization, and increase soil fertility. |
Section 2. Problems addressed (direct and indirect causes) and objectives of the best practice
Main problems addressed by the best practice
1. yield stabilized| crop productivity increased
2. production cost and risk reduced
3. food security by diversification option
Outline specific land degradation problems addressed by the best practice
- water productivity can be increased
- soil fertility can be improved due to option of intercropping with legumes
- possibility of planting into residues can potentially decrease risk of erosion and salinization
Specify the objectives of the best practice
1. increase crop productivity and farm income
2. reduce water use
3. move from mono-cropping to cropping system diversification
4. possibility for conservation agriculture (sustainable agricultural practices)
Section 3. Activities
Brief description of main activities, by objective
1. intercropping of cotton with legumes tested
2. intercropping of maize with legumes tested
3. possibility of seeding barley| wheat and other crops tested
1. homogeneous furrow shaping improves uniform water distribution
2. improved crop growth and water application improves water productivity
1. seeding rate reduced| germination rate improved| homogeneous stand| increased yield
2. reduced mechanized field activities reducing fuel and labor costs
1. planting into standing stubble or left plant residues
Short description and technical specifications of the technology
The raised-bed seeding units imported from India (Dashmesh®) in the frame of the SLMR project have the advantage that they can simultaneously seed, fertilize and shape the furrows for irrigation. The direct seeding unit allows for seeding different crops alongside, i.e. intercropping.|
The raised-bed seeding units imported from India (Dashmesh®)
Section 4. Institutions/actors involved (collaboration, participation, role of stakeholders)
Name and address of the institution developing the technology
In the framework of the Sustainable Land Management Research Project, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) conducted research using this equipment developed by Dashmesh|ICARDA Regional office in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Was the technology developed in partnership?
List the partners:
1. Kazakhstan: Soil and Agrochemistry Science Research Institute after U.U. Uspanov| Almaty; Rice Research Institute| Kyzlorda
2. Kyrgyzstan: Agricultural Research Institute| Bishkek
3. Uzbekistan: SANIIRI| Cotton Research Institute
4. Turkmenistan: National Institute of Deserts| Flora and Fauna
Specify the framework within which the technology was promoted
- Programme/project-based initiative
- Other (please specify)
International initiative in collaboration with national research organizations and scientists
Was the participation of local stakeholders, including CSOs, fostered in the development of the technology?
List local stakeholders involved:
1. regional branches of the research institutes and their scientific staff
2. farmers collaborating with the research institutes
For the stakeholders listed above, specify their role in the design, introduction, use and maintenance of the technology, if any.
- the staff of the regional branches of the research institutes implemented the activities, supervised and advised the farmers, and organized field days and visits for showing the work and use of the seeder
- experiments were farmer-managed trials, where the respective farmer worked, managed, observed, assessed crop production using the raised-bed seeder; he gave the most objective opinion, as well as critically assessed the constraints of the seeder
Was the population living in the location and/or nearby involved in the development of the technology?
Section 5. Contribution to impact
Describe on-site impacts (the major two impacts by category)
1. possibility of using the seeder together with a laser leveler reduced water use by 25-30%
2. possibility of planting into standing stubble showed potential for conservation agriculture (sustainable agricultural practices)
Socio-economic level (including cultural level):
1. production costs were reduced due to reduced mechanized activities; more than 200% net benefit increase
2. intercropping with legumes increased net benefit by 200%
1. irrigation water use reduced by 10%
2. other nature protection impact (e.g., erosion, salinization) could not be measured due to short period of the project
1. enhanced germination up to 20%; reduced seed quantity by 40%; yield increased
2. possible diversification of current cropping system by intercropping using legumes thus improving soil fertility, and food and feed provision
Describe the major two off-site (i.e. not occurring in the location but in the surrounding areas) impacts
3. other impacts beyond the implementation area could not be measured due to short period of the project
1. raised interest by farmers in the proximity of the experiments
2. raised interest by researchers to continue working with the seeder
Impact on biodiversity and climate change
Explain the reasons:
- raised-bed seeder can be seen as water-wise technology that increases water productivity and has the potential to decrease soil salinity
- crop productivity and farm income increased (production costs decreased); and potential for diversification of the cropping system positively tested, all of which reduces vulnerability to climate change
- possibility of planting into standing stubble/left residues has potential for reducing water-related erosion, soil evaporation and thus salinization, and increases soil fertility, thus making the system more resilient
Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?
Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?
The most important benefit and most convincing for the national scientists and farmers was the cost reduction due to the reduction of mechanized activities from 11 to 5. Turkmenistan reported reduced production costs of winter wheat of nearly 23%, and Uzbekistan of around 12%. Consequently, the net profit could be doubled. Intercropping maize or cotton with legumes increased the net benefit by 200%.
The production of a seeder in Uzbekistan costs up to about 6.5 million UZS. Depending on the depreciation assumptions and the number of ha to be seeded it could take up to 2-4 years to cover the investments. This payback period would increase in case the entire equipment is imported since in addition to the purchase price also the relatively high transport costs would need to be recovered.
Section 6. Adoption and replicability
Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?
Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?
Implementation area: raised-bed seeder is still actively used by the research institutions and respective farmers for research on other fields
Can you identify the three main conditions that led to the success of the presented best practice/technology?
1. reduced costs and mechanized activities attracted farmers
2. possibility of using the planter for conservation agriculture, intercropping, etc. interested researchers and farmers|
In your opinion, the best practice/technology you have proposed can be replicated, although with some level of adaptation, elsewhere?
At which level?
Section 7. Lessons learned
Related to human resources
1. Support and development of extension-type structures for awareness-creation among producers and trainings
2. Encourage shift in research paradigms and agricultural thinking
3. Improve links between farmers| markets and service organizations
Related to financial aspects
1. Import and/or development of machinery suitable for raised-bed seeding and implementing conservation agriculture essential for further spreading this practice
2. micro-finance system needed for farmers to purchase new equipment
3. Investing in the raised-bed seeder could be a suitable strategy for farmers with larger farms. Smaller-scale farms could either hire the planter from neighbors or group together. Alternatively| the MTP| WUA or extension services could rent such equipment to farmers
Related to technical aspects
. Modifications needed as imported seeder is too heavy to use with local MTZ 80 tractors; and furrow openers are too weak for Central Asian soils