Application of weather forecasts for successful agriculture

By Punjab Agricultural University on 27 Sep 2018 | read

Navneet Kaur and Manmohanjit Singh

1 Scientist, Agricultural Meteorology, RRS, Ballowal Saunkhri

1 Director and Chief Scientist, RRS, Ballowal Saunkhri

Climate change is becoming the biggest challenge of 21st century. Climate change means long term change in weather conditions of a region such as increase / decrease in temperature, early /late onset of monsoon, changes in intensity of rainfall or wind direction etc.

Effect of climate variability on crops:

Agricultural production and quality is highly influenced by climate variability. In Punjab, extraction of ground water for irrigation has been increased for some years due to increased temperature and reduced rainfall which leads to receding water table. Due to high rainfall intensity and reduced number of rainy days, water doesn’t infiltrate and is wasted as runoff. Organic carbon in soil is also affected due to high temperature. The fluctuations in temperature and humidity cause high incidence of fungal disease in plants. On an average, these diseases cause 9-16 percent damage in Paddy, Wheat, Barley, Potato, Soya-bean and Cotton in world.  The lower temperature cause yellow and white rust while higher temperature increase the incidence of blights diseases.

What are the advantages of awareness about forthcoming weather?

The prior information about forthcoming weather is helpful in weather based disease forecasting using various models which is very useful for controlling crop diseases. The calculation of period of dry and wet spells during monsoon can be helpful in assessing drought prone area and selection of suitable crops to be grown in these areas for higher production.

The prior information about weather events help in judicious use of irrigation water, pesticide and herbicides. Prior dust storm warning may be helped in escaping crop damage. Light irrigation could be applied in case of frost / low temperature prediction. We can delay irrigation / spray of chemicals on crops etc, if we have prior information about rainfall or dust storm which result in saving of cost of irrigation water, electricity and labour could be saved. This information is also useful in adjusting sowing / harvesting operations of various crops.

Services provided under Gramin Krishi Mausam Sewa Scheme:

Agromet Advisory services for farmers help in increasing agricultural productivity by reducing the effects of bad weather conditions. The aim of Gramin Krishi Mausam Sewa Scheme of India Meteorological Department (IMD) is to reduce crop damage and economic loss by making the farmers aware about weather changes so that they may adjust their crop operations accordingly. This scheme is in operation at the agricultural universities and their research stations in different states.

Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has been issuing district wise 5 days weather forecast every Tuesday and Friday which include seven weather parameter such as Maximum temperature, Minimum temperature, Rainfall, Relative Humidity, Wind Speed and direction and Cloud cover. IMD sends this information to the Meteorological centers of different states which after further refinement sent these to the Agro Met Field Unit (AMFU) (Research Station of Agricultural Universities) in different zones of states.

Each AMFU under the Gramin Krishi Mausam Sewa project prepares agromet advisory bulletin with the cooperation of scientist from different agricultural fields. the bulletin include past weather for 2-3 days, weather forecast for next five days and weather bassed agro advisory (such as sowing and harvesting of crops, irrigation, fertilizer, spray, disease and insect pest damage and its control etc.). The bulletins are sent to the IMD which prepares nation level agroadvisory bulletins. The bulletins are also sent by AMFU to the Krishi Vigyan Kendras of each district, Agricultural development officers, and Chief Agricultural officers etc who help in further dissemination of this information.

Brief agro advisory is also sent through free SMS to large number of farmers. Farmers are encouraged to register their mobile numbers for receiving this information. Farmers may get their mobile numbers registered at State Agricultural Universities and their Research Stations/Krishi Vigyan Kendras or themselves at website of Indian Meteorological Department and can avail benefits from information about weather forecast and agriculture.