Scientific research

Direct seeding of alfalfa under rainfed and irrigated agriculture in southern Kazakhstan

Author: Knowledge Management in CACILM Phase II, ICARDA.

Definition of technology:

Direct seeding of alfalfa on rain-fed and irrigated lands of southern Kazakhstan using domestic and foreign seeders.

Brief summary of technology:

In the context of the southern Kazakhstan, alfalfa can be cultivated by a direct seeding with a traditional grain seeder SZ-3.6, without plowing, with the use of herbicides against weeds. Direct seeding of alfalfa in the South-Kazakhstan provinces is conducted not later than in the first half of March. The seeding depth is 1-1.5 cm with a rate of 12-13 kg/ha and a row spacing of 45 cm. Depending on the species composition of weeds, alfalfa must be treated with Pivot, 10% v.d.g. herbicide with a dose of 0.8 l/ha and water application at the rate of 300 l/ha:

- In the 1st year – during plant development of 1st mowing;

- In the 2nd and 3rd years – after the first mowing.

Under direct seeding, the number of mechanical soil tillage is reduced (plowing, planking, harrowing) and saving of fuel reaches 30%, energy consumption – up to 10%. It is possible to obtain higher yields of alfalfa hay till 5.4-6.1 t/ha in irrigated conditions and till 2-3 t/ha in the rainfed conditions already in the 1st year of cultivation.

Direct planting of alfalfa promotes preservation of soil structure and moisture within 1 m soil layer, which leads to reduction of the irrigation water till 590-650 m3/ha. After harvesting of directly sown crops, the indicators of bulk and specific density were the lowest and constituted 1,51-1,52 and 2,58-2,61 g/cm3 in the irrigated fields, and 1,39-1,40 and 2,37-2,46 g/cm3 in the rainfed fields.

Location: provinces of south and south-east Kazakhstan.

Area of technology application: 1000 ha.

Stage of intervention: alleviation/reduction of land degradation.

Main land use issues and the main causes of land degradation:

Reduced agricultural productivity, deterioration of water-physical properties and soil fertility (humus loss by 20-25%). The main reasons: water and wind erosion, a gross violation of agricultural technologies of cultivation of agricultural crops.

Main technical features of technology:

- accumulation of root residues and organic matter;

- increase of soil fertility, improve water and soilphysical soil properties;

- protection of soil from erosion, improving the ecology of the environment.

Type of land use Conservation measures

Irrigated и rainfed arable land.

Production of annual crops - Во(Ca):

Cultivation of perennial (non-forest) crops - Вм(Cp).

Agronomic measures:

A5: direct sowing of alfalfa, minimal soil tillage.


Habitat Anthropogenic environment

Average annual rainfall: rainfed with sufficient precipitation: >600 mm; semi-sufficient precipitation: 300-600 mm; insufficient: 200-300 mm.

Altitude (meter above sea level): rainfed located at sufficient height 600-1500 m; semi-sufficient 350-600 m; insufficient 200-300 m.

Landscape: piedmont, desert-steppe zone.

Slope (%): 2-5% (gentle slope); 5-8% (moderate).

Soil fertility: low.

Humus content in arable horizon: rainfed with sufficient humus 1.2-1.8%, semi-sufficient 1.0-1.2%; insufficient 0.8-1.0%.

Natural soil drainage/infiltration: average.

Size of land area (ha): 1,089 ha.

Landholder: farmer households and various forms of agricultural firms.

Land ownership: long private and state, lease.

Water use rights: payment for irrigation water.

Market orientation: agrarian sector of Kazakhstan’s economy is market-oriented.


Impact of technology

Main advantages:

- simple and accessible for any form of business entities;

- reduction of the direct costs by 17-23%;

- reduction of a need for fuel by 13-18%;

- reduction of production costs by 35-52%;

- increase profits till up to 50%;

- increase profitability of hay production by 40%;

- improvement of soil fertility.

Main disadvantages:

Acceptance/adoption of technology: in the current market conditions, farmers recognize the technology of direct seeding as important in order to save money when growing alfalfa.


1. Karabalaeva A.D., Sydyk D.A. Effect of alfalfa cultivation technology on the dynamics of moisture and water-physical properties of soil // Proceedings of the international conference, October 19-20, 2012, Kyzylorda. Publisher "Akmeshіt Baspa Uiy" ZHSHS, p.332-333.

2. Sydykov M.A., Sydyk D.A. Cost-effectiveness of alfalfa cultivation technology // Proceedings of the international conference, October 19-20, 2012, Kyzylorda. Ed .: "Akmeshіt Baspa Uiy" ZHSHS, p.360-362.

3. Sydyk D.A., Karabalaeva A.D., Sydykov M.A., G.R. Tastanbekova, Zhamalbekov M.N., Medeubaev R. Recommendation on the implementation and development of short crop rotations in a southern Kazakhstan, Ed. "Zhebe design", Shymkent, 2012, p.30.

4. Sydyk D.A., Karabalaeva A.D., Sydykov M.A., G.R. Tastanbekova, Zhamalbekov M.N. South Қazaқstanda kөktemgі gave zhұmystaryn zhүrgіzu. "Zhebe design" Baspasy, Shymkent, 2012. P. 30.

5. Sydyk D.A., M.A. Sydykov, Karabalaeva A.D., A.T. Kazybaeva. South Қazaқstanda zhoңyshқa daқylyn үnemdіagrotehnologiyalyқ zhүyemen өsіrudіңғylymi negіzі. "Zhebe design" Baspasy, Shymkent, 2013.

6. D.A. Sydyk., M.A. Sydykov., Jyman E.T., Kabulova G.M. South Kazakhstan suarmaly zherlerіnde topyraқty өңdemey zhoңyshқa daқylyn bүrkemelі arpamen tіkeley egіp өsіrudің zhүyesі (ұsynys). Shymkent, 2014, P.17.

7. Sydyk D.A., Sydykov M.A., Karabalaeva A.D., Kazybaev A.T. Water and soil physical properties, depending on the alfalfa cultivation technology in conditions of South Kazakhstan // International scientific-practical conference, 27-28 June 2014. pp.128-130.

8. Sydyk D.A., Sydykov M.A., A.T. Kazybaev. Cost-effectiveness of alfalfa depending on the technology of their cultivation // International scientific-practical conference, 27-28 June 2014. pp.472-474.

Name of person(s) collected this description: D.A. Sydyk, Head of department "Crop", Southwest Research Institute of livestock and crop production.

Address: 3, Al-Farabi avenue, Shymkent, South Kazakhstan province.

Tel.: +7 725 255 4013; +7019 121460.





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