Improved irrigation use efficiency is an important tool for intensifying and diversifying agriculture in Nepal, resulting in higher economic yield from irrigated farmlands with a minimum input of water. Research was conducted to evaluate the effect of irrigation method (furrow vs. drip) on the productivity of nutritious fodder species during off-monsoon dry periods in different elevation zones of central Nepal. A split-block factorial design was used. The factors considered were treatment location, fodder crop, and irrigation method. Commonly used local agronomical practices were followed in all respects except irrigation method. Results revealed that location effect was significant (p < 0.01) with highest fodder productivity seen for the middle elevation site, Syangja. Species effects were also significant, with teosinte (Euchlaena mexicana) having higher yield than cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). Irrigation method impacted green biomass yield (higher with furrow irrigation) but both methods yielded similar dry biomass, while water use was 73% less under drip irrigation. Our findings indicated that the controlled application of water through drip irrigation is able to produce acceptable yields of nutritionally dense fodder species during dry seasons, leading to more effective utilization and resource conservation of available land, fertilizer and water. Higher productivity of these nutritional fodders resulted in higher milk productivity for livestock smallholders. The ability to grow fodder crops year-round in lowland and hill regions of Nepal with limited water storages using low-cost, water-efficient drip irrigation may greatly increase livestock productivity and, hence, the economic security of smallholder farmers.
Jha, Ajay K.; Malla, Razan; Sharma, Mohan; Panthi, Jeeban; Lakhankar, Tarendra; Krakauer, Nir Y.; Pradhanang, Soni M.; Dahal, Piyush; and Shrestha, Madan Lall, "Impact of Irrigation Method on Water Use Efficiency and Productivity of Fodder Crops in Nepal" (2016). CUNY Academic Works.