Salt-affected Vertisols (Black cotton soils) cover an area of approximately 0.80 million hectares in the country, of which 0.12 million hectares are estimated to occur in Gujarat. Due to high clay content and other physic-chemical properties, soils are adversely affected even at low salt concentration and exchangeable sodium contents. Restoring the productivity of these lands, once they become salinized will be much more difficult as compared to alluvial sandy loam soils of Indo-Gangetic Plains. Farmers of the Bara tract in Amod, Vagra and Jambusar talukas and other parts of the state, who take cotton as rainfed mono-crop, do face crop losses due to salinity development at later stages of crop growth. Under such situations, intercropping with pulses provides some remuneration to farmer in the event of failure of cotton. The system would fetch about 16000/- per hectare from cotton and further the pulses due to their nitrogen fixing ability enrich the soils with nitrogen. Cotton as well as pulses can be taken as rain fed crops, providing saline water irrigation, if available further boosts the crop yields. Use of saline water in cotton has been proved beneficial on saline black soils. Because of pulse crop, application of soil nitrogen can be minimized and thus reduce the input costs. The farmers in the Bara tract area particularly in Vagra and Amod talukas have been adopting the cotton intercropped with pulse technology for maximizing the production. This technology while enhancing on farm income and helps in enrichment of soil nitrogen because of pulse crop introduction.
Acharya Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology 1