EFFECT OF IRRIGATION SYSTEM ON WATER USE EFFICIENCY AND USEFULNESS OF FODDER CROP PRODUCTION IN NEPAL
Improved irrigation efficiency is a key tool for intensifying and diversifying agriculture in Nepal, resulting in higher economic yields from irrigated fields with a lower water input. In different elevation zones of central Nepal, research was done to evaluate the influence of irrigation method (furrow vs. drip) on the productivity of nutritious fodder species during off-monsoon dry seasons. The factorial design employed was a split-block factorial design. Treatment location, fodder crop, and irrigation method were all taken into account. In all respects, common local agronomical techniques were followed, with the exception of the irrigation method. The location effect was substantial (p < 0.01), with the middle elevation site, Syangja, having the maximum fodder output. There were also significant species impacts, with teosinte (Euchlaena mexicana) yielding more than cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). Green biomass yield was affected by irrigation mode (furrow irrigation yielded more), however both approaches produced equivalent dry biomass, with drip irrigation using 71% less water. Our findings showed that drip irrigation, with its regulated application of water, can provide acceptable yields of nutritionally dense fodder species during dry seasons, resulting in more efficient use and conservation of available land, fertilizer, and water.