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Soil and Land Management

Increasing productivity of legume-based farming systems in the central dry zone of Myanmar

Project Code: SMCN/2011/047
Research Program Manager: Dr. Robert Edis
Project Leader: David Herridge - University of New England
DEC 2013
JAN 2019
Project Status: Concluded
Key partners
Department of Agricultural Research
Department of Agriculture
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics
Yezin Agricultural University


Major achievements/impacts of MyPulses were:

  • Release of 4 new legume varieties (2 chickpea, 2 groundnut) with another 4 scheduled for release in 2019 (3 pigeonpea, 1 groundnut).
  • Successful roll-out of the village seed bank (VSB) program involving almost 1,600 farmers directly and potentially 83,000 other farmers through farmer-to-farmer distribution of the improved VSB varieties.
  • Potential economic benefits of the VSB program estimated at A$33 million during 2015–18.
  • Improved understanding of climate, particularly rainfall, impacts on soil water and nutrient movement through soils affecting crop productivity in the CDZ.
  • Climate analysis and soil water modelling revealed a sharp decline in the number of rainy days in the growing season, with fewer but larger rainfall events resulting in increased drying of the soil surface in the absence of rain and deep drainage and leaching of nutrients during and after heavy rainfall.
  • Implementation of farmer participatory crop benchmarking (FPCB) as an effective research and extension methodology during 2016–18 in the southern CDZ. The program involved 94 farming households (men and women) in 4 villages near Magway Township. A total of 210 groundnut and 188 sesame fields were benchmarked during the two years. Multisite nutrient leaching experiments were conducted in the second year (12 sites) in concert with comprehensive soil sampling to define texture and nutrient movement.
  • Improved guidelines for rates and timing of inputs of farm-yard manure and mineral fertilisers for groundnut and sesame in the CDZ, including development of a decision support tool for nutrient management. The guidelines and DS tool were outcomes of the climate analysis/soil water modelling and the FPCB and aimed to counter the specific problems of nutrient isolation (immobile phosphorus) and leaching (nitrogen, sulfur, potassium) as well as the more general problems of under fertilisation.
  • Substantially improved capacity for soil and plant analysis to underpin cropping in the CDZ.

Notwithstanding the achievements of MyPulses, the yield gap between average crop yields and those of the best farmers remains large and could be further reduced. Broad adoption of conservation farming principles in the CDZ would not only help to reduce the yield gap but would also help to ensure the sustainability of the cropping.