Research and Demonstration Farms
PCRWR has established Research and Demonstration Farms in different agro-climatic zones of the country: Mera Kachori, Peshawar (12 acres); Dingarh (500 acres), Toba Allahyar (100 acres), Hyderwali (200 acres), Naraywala (200 acres), Cholistan; Sariab Road, Quetta (8 acres); Nushki, Balochistan (500 acres); Mithi, Tharparkar (200 acres); Tandojam, Hyderabad (40 acres); Sial Mor, Sargodha (21 acres); and Chak Beli, Gujar Khan (22 acres).
These R&D farms are equipped with farm machineries, meteorological observatories, lysimeter stations etc. The experiments on different irrigation techniques; soil-water plant relationship, soil and water conservation, rangeland/grassland development, watershed management, rainwater harvesting etc. are under implementation in the irrigated, arid and mountainous areas of the country.
PCRWR Research and Demonstration Farm for Rainfed Areas is located at Darkali Kalan, district Rawalpindi at 73.03O E and 33.30O N, 60 km away from Islamabad. It encompasses an area of 175 kanals typically representing the Potohar topography and livelihood. Here, integrated water management research is conducted to improve farm productivity under rainfed conditions. The R&D works trialed there are based upon the philosophy, “keep it simple and stupid”. The interventions carried out at the farm are therefore simple and socially-acceptable and are yielding substantial economic returns. Salient management practices at the farm are: micro-catchments for orchard plants, solar-powered drip system for supplemental irrigation of orchards, solar-powered farmhouse electrification system, rooftop rainwater harvesting and drip bucket irrigation systems for kitchen gardening, slope transverse ploughings for erosion control and runoff entrapments, rainwater harvesting ponds etc.
Micro-catchment is a specially designed area with slope and dikes to increase runoff and concentrate it in planting basins. Maximum amount of runoff gathers near the root zone, infiltrate and stored in soil profile. Micro-catchments may enhance the water availability to the plant 3-4 times of the amount of annual rainfall. A number of fruit trees can be exclusively grown on rainfall, or it significantly reduces the supplemental irrigation requirement. Micro-catchments were developed around citrus, grapes, cactus, plum and other fruit trees at the farm to cut their irrigation requirements.
Solar-powered trickle system for supplemental irrigation
Trickle irrigation is a viable technology for the region, if designed and installed properly. Nevertheless, availability of power source in remote areas is a major hindrance for adoption of trickle system. Small solar-powered pumping unit can solve this problem. A 260 watt solar panel was connected to a 0.33HP submersible pump (DC, 5 GPM) at the farm. The pump was lowered in 40ft deep dugwell to pump water to 150 ft height. For this purpose, three overhead tanks (500 gallons each) have been placed at three different high locations. The system daily operates for 6 hours and is sufficient to fill 2 of the tanks, if required. These tanks are irrigating over 4 acres orchard through low pressure tickle system.
Rooftop rainwater harvesting
A technique in which rainwater is captured from the roof surface and stored in tanks for subsequent uses. Rainwater from the roofs is collected by connecting it’s outlet to storage tanks (300-500 gallons) through pipe. A screen is attached to the outlet to prevent leaves and mud entry. The amount of harnessable water depends upon roof size, rainfall and the uses. The stored water can be used for domestic purposes and small scale gardening. The water harvested from office building is being used for the nursery. Besides, a number of plants are being irrigated from it.
Slope Transverse Ploughing
Pothwar’s uneven topography leads to rapid drainage of water to the low-lying areas resulting in loss of water, soil and nutrients. Cultivation of crops with drill develops little furrows. Their orientation is kept transverse to natural flow direction. It reduces flow velocity, maximizes rainfall retention and thus reduced soil and nutrient losses. Yield of wheat and mung cultivated in this way was double than the neighboring farmers.
Plantation on Slopes
Soil erosion primarily originates from nude slopes. The slopes can be stabilized by plantation as roots act as binding agents for soil particles. Species having strong and intruding roots may be preferred for this. Cactus, beri (zizphus jujube), phalsa (Grewia asiatica), plum (Prunus salicina), etc. were planted on fragile slopes. It helped mitigate the primary soil erosion.
Storm water management and harvesting
The waterways draining water collected from rills and gullies are the next category erosion source. Such waters may be katcha channelized and diverted to the adjacent depressions at regular intervals. This reduces erosion and the harvested pond water help recharge groundwater. The natural waterways of the entire farm were marked. Selected numbers of erosion-prone waterways were channelized. The intercepted water was diverted to the adjacent low-lying ponds, dug for storage. This helped in raising water table in the adjacent dugwell.
PCRWR established a Research & Demonstration (R&D) Centre in 2005 comprising land of 21 acres to research trials on water conservation strategies for Irrigated Agriculture. The Center is located about 4 km away from Sial interchange on M2 motorway in District Sargodha. Research activities at the Center are focused to enhance water use efficiency (WUE) by introducing adaptable water conservation techniques. Though, drip and sprinkler irrigation system have proved best WUE and saving of water 50-70 percent but its capital and operation cost is challenge of the farmer. PCRWR focuses on adaptable and economical viable techniques like bed and furrow irrigation, zero tillage (sowing of wheat followed by rice) and LASER land leveling by which 20-40 percent of water is saved in wheat and rice crop without compromising the yield. The Centre not only maintained its research impact on the farming community but also expanded its research findings to Punjab Agriculture department. Successful trials have been conducted to test water management technologies especially rice and wheat plantation on beds/ridges, Direct Seeded Rice (DSR) on beds and flat fields.
Lysimeter name derived from a Greek word ‘Lysi’ meaning ‘Water’. Lysimeter is an experimental set-up comprising of soil-filled tank in which research can be conducted very precisely under well controlled conditions on almost all aspects of optimal utilization of surface and ground water resources. It is a basic tool to determine crop water requirement, crop coefficient, groundwater contribution, deep percolation, evapo-transpiration, solute transport and other related aspects of water management and sustainability of agricultural lands. Its use has been extended to other scientific fields, like quantitative and qualitative studies of the leaching from waste products or contaminated soils in order to evaluate the environmental impact of these materials. PCRWR has constructed eighteen drainage type Lysimeters (3m x 3m x 6m) at Directorate of Land Reclamation (DLR), Canal Bank Road Mugalpura Lahore in 1974, filled with four representative soils in the Punjab with close collaboration of Punjab Irrigation Department. This was the first lysimeters facility ever established in Pakistan. Regional Office, PCRWR, Lahore has conducted a series of studies to determine the actual water requirement for major crops under various water-table levels.
The function of “Lysimeter Studies on Soil Water Control” was to activate scientific research on various problems related with optimal depth of water table for different crops, irrigation scheduling, attainment of maximum crop yields with optimum use of water and other similar problems connected with land and water use.
At present, a research study is ongoing to determine crop water requirement of rice, maize and wheat crops. This study will help to optimize the irrigation events and formulate irrigation schedule for rice, maize and wheat crops in rice-wheat and maize-wheat cropping systems. Rice, maize and wheat are being used extensively in human and animal food.
C. FUEL PLANTS
i. DESI KIKAR (Accacianilotica):- This is a medium sized, thorny, nearly ever green tree that can reach a height of 20 – 25 meters. Desi kikar is popular as agroforestry tree. This is a multi purpose tree, widely used as timber, source of fodder for camels, goats and sheep, as a fence, shed and fuel tree. At Field Research Station Dingarh, 200 Nos desi kikar were transplanted. Conjunctive use of irrigation water (rainwater collected in pond and ground saline water) is being used for irrigation
ii. PARKINSONIA (Parkinsonia aculeata):- Parkinsoia is a small evergreen spiny tree and can grow in any soil. It is used for fire wood, leaves and pods used as fodder for goats and sheeps, it is a source of shed in desert environment. It is useful in soil stabilization as a wind break and erosion control and reforestation in sandy areas. 200 No. nursery plants of parkinsonia transplanted in the experimental area.
Cactus is becoming a profitable agriculture enterprise in the field of agriculture sector. It is xerophytic plant that has the ability to survive in water scarcity conditions. It acts as a good source of food for humans, edible part of both fruit and modified stem. Keeping in view the importance, about one thousand pads have been planted on one acre dry barren land at Field Research Station Din Garh to test the growth in harsh climatic conditions of Cholistan Desert.
Nursery of various plant species is being developed at Field Research Station Dingarh for further propagation in field area. In this context seeds of Moringa oliefera 200 Nos. desi beri (Zizyphusjujuba) 300 Nos., desi kikar (Acacia nilotica) 400 Nos., Jand (Prosopis specigena) 200 Nos., karir (Capparis decidas) 100 Nos., atriplex (salt bush) 250 Nos., Neem (Azadirachtaindica) 300 Nos. sown in polyethylene bags, while cuttings of phog(Calligonumpolygonoides) 200 Nos. and frash (tamarix) 200 Nos. also planted in polyethylene bags for the development of nursery of these plants.
The Drainage and Reclamation Institute of Pakistan (DRIP) is located at Tando Qaiser Road Tando Jam about 18 kilometers in the east of Hyderabad. The research activities at R&D farm (22 acres) are focused on crop water requirement and water conservation techniques to enhance the water productivity. DRIP research farm has attractive orchards of Mango, Guava, Lemon, and Jujube. This office has conducted research on wheat, cotton, sugarcane and banana on raised beds, bed & furrow, ridges and disseminated to the farmers for broader adaptation.
The Lysimeter is an experimental setup in which soil water relationship are studied under controlled conditions. Lysimeter name derived from a Greek word ‘Lysi’ meaning ‘Water’. There are 12 conventional type lysimeters, each measuring 3m x 3m x 5m. The farmers are applying the water to the crops without knowing the actual crop water requirement. To overcome this problem, the water requirements of the major crops namely wheat, cotton, sugarcane, rice, rapeseed-mustard, chili, sesame and sunflower have been determined through Lysimeter. The results and findings have been published and disseminated to the end users/farmers through farmer’s days.
Agro Meteorological Station
An agro-meteorological station was established in March 1986 at DRIP. Meteorological parameters such as temperature, relative humidity, pan-evaporation, wind velocity, wind direction, sunshine hours, precipitation, wet and dry bulb temperatures etc. are recorded and compiled on regular basis. Potential or reference evapotranspiration (ETo) are calculated on daily and hourly basis using Modified Penman equation. The data is shared with different research organizations and university students in pursuing their research work for Master or PhD degrees.
Saryab Road Quetta
PCRWR established its Water Resources Research Centre in Quetta is in 1987, whereas its Agricultural Research Station is located at Sariab Road, Quetta. The Agricultural Research Station encompasses 8.34 acres of land. Water resources research is crucial for the Balochistan province as it is the largest province of Pakistan but the smallest in population. It represents the mountainous western fringe of the Indus Valley having arid climate. A few water resources are at the disposal of the area being outside the monsoon belt. The water crisis is becoming increasingly grave over time due to population pressure. The centuries old karezes are drying up due to groundwater mining. PCRWR is conducting research at the farm in terms of trickle irrigation, lysimeters and irrigation scheduling etc. The lysimeteric research station is located on 1 acre, whereas the 2.25 acres are under apple, apricot, pomegranate, almond and grape orchards. The lysimeteric research station comprises of 6 lysimeters. Presently, around 2 acres is under wheat experiments. A fruit nursery has also been established on 0.63 acres land. PCRWR has successfully grown olives at the farm (0.6 acre). Artiplex has been grown on the boundaries to serve as farm boundary. The farm house, road, green house etc. occupies 0.63 acre land.
PCRWR established a Research & Demonstration (R&D) Centre in 2008 under strengthening Project of WRRC Peshawar comprising land of 12.5 acres to research trials on soil water relationship study water balance and water conservation strategies for Irrigated Agriculture. The Center is located about 5 km away from Ring Road Jamil Chowk toward East North on Phandu Rd.and also about 5 km from tarnab farm Peshawar toward west south.
Lysimeter system description: The world Lysimeter is derived from “lysi” (means water) and meter means measurements. It is a laboratory for measurement of inflow and outflow from soil litho logy for accurate estimating crop evapotranspiration and consisting of soil column in a duly designed concrete chamber within the existing soil profile. Lysimeter is an experimental set-up comprising of soil-filled tank in which research can be conducted very precisely under well controlled conditions on almost all aspects of optimal utilization of surface and ground water resources. It is a basic tool to determine crop water requirement, crop coefficient, groundwater contribution, deep percolation, evapo-transpiration, solute transport and other related aspects of water management and sustainability of agricultural lands.The Lysimeter has two mode of use. In the first mode irrigation water is supplied to the soil surface and in the second mode water is supplied from the bottom part at the desirable depth. Mariette principle is being followed to maintain a constant supplied head at desirable depth. Lysimeter is simply a tank filled with soil in which crops are grown under natural condition to measure the amount of water lost by evaporation and transpiration, and monitoring the change in water storage in Lysimeter along with other components in water balance (e.g. Precipitation, irrigation and drainage).The actual evapotranspiration rate can be obtained over the measurement interval .Resultant measurement can provide daily evapotranspiration. Development of Lysimeter In Peshawar valley was not only the need of PCRWR for determination of crop water requirement ,leaching experiment, hydraulic movement of water in the soil and crop ,soil and water relationship development study. Beside this it will be also helpful for water management researcher, agriculture engineer, ground water researchers, hydrology and soil science students working in research were the demand of researchers .keeping in view the need and demand 12 Lysimeter of concrete each Lysimeter having size (10’x10’x10’) feet at Mera Kachuri research and demonstration site WRRC Peshawar representing Peshawar valley has been developed which is the pioneer work in KPK specifically at Mira Kachuri.