In the 1990's, the Rice-Wheat Consortium was launched to address a plateau in crop productivity, loss of soil organic matter and receding groundwater tables. Rice-wheat farming systems were developed, planting wheat after rice using a tractor-drawn seed drill to seed directly into unploughed fields with a single pass.
Zero tillage wheat permits earlier planting, helps to control weeds and helps to conserve resources such as irrigated water and energy.
Cost savings are estimated at $52 USD/ HA, because of a reduction in tractor time and fuel. The system has been adopted by ~620,000 farmers across 1.8million ha in the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Average income gains are between $180-$240 per household.