Enhancing Soil Health Through Microbial Inoculation and Changing Cultivation Methods in Rice-Wheat Cropping System


Amit Anil Shahane¹* and Yashbir Singh Shivay²

College of Agriculture (CAU, Imphal), Kyrdemkulai, Ri-Bhoi District, Meghalaya, India

Division of Agronomy, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India

*Corresponding author Email: amitiari89@gmail.com

Volume 15(2), 2022   ;  https://doi.org/10.58297/GISL2194   Click here for Pdf

Received: 12th September 2022; Accepted: 20th October 2022



India’s rice-wheat cropping system (RWCS) is going through a paradigm shift to address resource degradation and sustainability issues. The increasing level of soil degradation has made soil biological health an important aspect of managing the problems of RWCS through understanding the role of microbes in enhancing soil health and by increasing the adoption of conservation agriculture-based practices. Our two-year study revealed that soil biological health, as measured by soil acetylene reductase activity (ARA), soil chlorophyll, microbial biomass carbon (MBC), soil dehydrogenase enzyme activity, and soil alkaline phosphatase activity (APA), was significantly impacted by the rice and wheat cultivation methods. The system of rice intensification (SRI) and zero tillage wheat (ZTW) system had significantly higher values for all the studied microbial parameters. The application of Anabaena-Pseudomonas biofilm formulation along with 75% recommended dose of nutrients (RDN) (90 kg N/ha and 19.35 kg phosphorus (P/ha) significantly improved all studied microbial parameters in both rice and wheat. The microbial properties such as dehydrogenase enzyme activity, alkaline phosphatase activity and microbial biomass carbon (MBC) had significantly higher values in treatment with RDN over 75% RDN indicating the role of optimal fertilization in soil biological health maintenance. A significant improvement in ARA and soil chlorophyll in inoculated treatment showed superior performance of inoculated microbes over inherent soil microbes in nitrogen fixation. The study of a combination of different rice and wheat cultivation methods and their influence in the long run on soil biological health in RWCS emphasizes the need for soil biological health maintenance considering its significant role in the system’s sustainability.