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Agriculture in central Tibet: an assessment of climate, farming systems, and strategies to boost production

Paltridge, Nicholas, Tao, Jin, Unkovich, Murray, Bonamano, Alessandra, Gason, Alexandra, Grover, Samantha P., Wilkins, John, Tashi, Nyima and Coventry, David (2009). Agriculture in central Tibet: an assessment of climate, farming systems, and strategies to boost production. Crop and Pasture Science,60(7):627-639.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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Title Agriculture in central Tibet: an assessment of climate, farming systems, and strategies to boost production
Author Paltridge, Nicholas
Tao, Jin
Unkovich, Murray
Bonamano, Alessandra
Gason, Alexandra
Grover, Samantha P.
Wilkins, John
Tashi, Nyima
Coventry, David
Journal Name Crop and Pasture Science
Publication Date 2009
Volume Number 60
Issue Number 7
ISSN 1836-0947   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-68349154789
Start Page 627
End Page 639
Total Pages 13
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
Field of Research 1102 - Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology
1110 - Nursing
Abstract In the south of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China there is a network of valleys where intensive agriculture is practiced. Although considered highly productive by Tibetans, farm incomes in the region are low, leading to a range of government initiatives to boost grain and fodder production. However, there is limited information available on current farming practices, yields, and likely yield constraints. The present paper uses available data and farmer interviews to describe the agro-climate and current systems of crop and livestock production, and considers possible strategies to boost production. Although winters in Tibet are cold and dry, summer and autumn provide ideal conditions for crop growth. Cropping systems are characterised by heavy tillage, frequent irrigation, high seeding rates and fertiliser applications, some use of herbicides, and little stubble retention or mechanisation. Spring barley and winter wheat are the predominant crops, followed by rapeseed, winter barley, and minor fodder and vegetable crops. Average yields for the main grain crops are around 4.0t/ha for spring barley and 4.5t/ha for winter wheat, significantly lower than should be possible in the environment. Farmers typically keep five or six cattle tethered near the household. Cattle are fed diets based on crop residues but are generally malnourished and rarely produce beyond the needs of the family. It is suggested that research and extension in the areas of crop nutrition, weed control, irrigation, seeding technology, and crop varieties should enable significant increases in grain yield. Increases in cattle production will require increases in the supply of good quality fodder. Cereal/fodder intercrops or double crops sown using no-till seed drills might enable the production of useful amounts of fodder in many areas without jeopardising food grain supply, and allow more crop residues to be retained in fields for improved soil health.
Keywords Poverty
Socio-economic constraint
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Created: Fri, 29 Aug 2014, 17:48:59 CST by Anthony Hornby