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With recent advancements in technologies, the agricultural sector too needs a major shift in the way agricultural resources are managed. Isotopic techniques can act as smart agricultural practices. Using these techniques we can easily track and quantify carbon, water, and nutrient movements under diverse agro ecosystems.

Climate Smart Agricultural practices in the longer run can help the farmers to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change, reduce the emission of green gases from the livestock, increase the food production and nutrient availability for the crops. Better quality feed will not only reduce greenhouse emissions but will also increase the productivity.

These smart agricultural practices aim for dual purpose farming by the farmers, using livestock that can yield both meat and milk. Using this technique the emissions will be reduced by almost half. Instead of using different livestock for the meat and milk we will be using the same livestock for both purposes.

There are organizations such as the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) which along with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) are working to strengthen the capacities of the Member States in using the nuclear and isotopic techniques for climate-smart agricultural practices.

Contribution of Nuclear and Isotopic techniques

In this techniques, Nitrogen-15 and Carbon-13 are used for the movement of the carbon, water, and nutrients in ecosystems to determine the fate of them in crop residues. These techniques also assess the effects of measures taken for agriculture conservation, their stabilization, and their effects on the organic matter of the soil.

These techniques are also used to study the degradation of the land and soil erosion. This is done to effectively target the soil and water management practices.

In these techniques nitrogen-14, phosphorous-32, and sulphur-35 are incorporated in the rumen, the first division of the stomach in ruminants. This is done to track the uptake and utilization of the microbial proteins present in the crops. Using this technique identification of the best fodder crops for ruminants is achieved. The main aim behind this strategy is to improve the energy utilization rate and hence reducing greenhouse gases emission.

Besides these radioisotopes such as Iodine -125 are also used to label the hormones such as progesterone. This is done for the identification of pregnant livestock using radioimmunoassay, hence optimizing the animal breeding programs.

Cobalt-60 isotopes are used in radiation hybrid mapping techniques to characterize the genome of livestock. This helps in identifying the advantageous gene traits responsible for disease resistance.

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