Tracking Wheat Yield Sensitivity To Weather Variability Across Indian Transect for Climate Smart Farming
Sendhil R, Ankita Jha, Anuj Kumar and Satyavir Singh (2017). Tracking wheat yield sensitivity to weather variability across Indian transect for climate smart farming. Extramural Project Report, ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, Karnal. pp 1-40. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.13272.11522
49 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2021
Date Written: April 30, 2017
Climate change is a serious concern affecting the wheat production prospects. In the recent past, yield sensitivity to climatic variables has been noticed and it has to be addressed in the perspective of climate smart farming. The present study has tracked the perception of farmers on climate change and sensitivity to crop yield. Perception of the sample respondents on climatic variables over the past 30 years indicated that frequency of drought has increased as perceived by 78.4 per cent of the wheat growers, 76.4 per cent felt no change in the frequency of flood, 79.2 per cent perceived late onset of monsoon, 51.6 per cent felt the frequency of rain has decreased, and 57.2 per cent thought the erratic rainfall pattern has increased. A significant number of respondents perceived that the quantity of rainfall, windstorm and relative humidity have decreased; and sunshine hours, day and night temperature have increased in the study region. Impact of climate change on wheat production has been analyzed taking into stock of different parameters for suggesting a policies. A considerable number of respondents have reported that area under wheat has remained the same but the yield levels have increased over a period of 30 years. However, there is no change in the straw yield, wheat quality, straw quality, crop failure and food shortage. A significant amount of respondents have felt that there has been an increase in the level of weeds, insects and diseases. With climate change at its momentum and decreasing groundwater level, the frequency of irrigation has witnessed a major change. Trend in wheat yield levels in the selected districts have been estimated to understand the sensitivity and it was regressed (step wise approach) with agro-meteorological variables to track the sensitive weeks affecting yield. A perception analysis was also carried out to know the farmers understanding on sensitive stages and the results indicated that minimum temperature and relative humidity plays a major role during the initial crop growth stage whereas, maximum temperature relatively influenced grain yield at the maturity stage with different level of responses at each stage of the crop growth which requires targeted adaptation strategies. The effect of climate change had a serious impact on farm household as well. Around 88 per cent of the farmers had left all land fallow at least in a year in the past 30 years which is a serious concern. More than 85 per cent of the famers have opted for leaving a part of land fallow and sold a part of their holding or livestock as well. A significant number of respondents reported that they liquidate their savings, applied bank loan and even migrated to other regions for managing the cash crunch against climate change.
The following research outcomes has been suggested viz., policies to addresses yield sensitivity in the long-run, climate smart farming practices and region-specific strategic adaptation to weather anomalies. Increase in temperature during the crop growth stage indicates a need to breed wheat genotypes resilient to climate change without compromising yield. Temperature increase during initial stages of the crop particularly in December and January may not have much impact on crop yield if the grain filling days were relatively cooler. Relative temperature increase during the grain filling stage in comparison to vegetative stage will affect the crop yield significantly. Similarly, increased temperature also increases the number of sunshine hours per day during vegetative growth, which will have positive effect on photosynthesis in comparison to foggy days. The light intensity required for optimum photosynthesis is 100Wat/m2 and a crop season which encounters drastic deviation will impact the yield to a larger extent.
Climate change has affected the crop phenology to a larger extent and hence crop advisories need to be released at each sensitive stage that affects the productivity. Use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be an effective tool in disseminating the advisories well in time to adopt at farmers field. Increase in maximum temperature during crown root initiation requires irrigation to cool-off the micro environment. Zero tillage, a conservation agriculture technology, has to be adopted in a larger scale where micro-environment temperature shoots-up consistently. Temperature or sunshine hours increase during the crop growth stage can be countered by application of farmyard manure and following mulching practice. In the case of temperature increase after milking stage till ripening stage, apart from the above suggested practices, two sprays of KCl @ 0.5% will help to maintain expected yield level. Further, adjusting sowing dates based on the seasonal anomalies will counter the sensitivity at initial crop growth stage. Line sowing should be done to avoid the negative impact of wind speed. Plant growth regulators (PGRs) shall be used as an adaptation strategy post late joining stage to ripening stage. Salicylic acid (1mM) spray shall be done as an external application in the field at any growth stage which will maintain high relative water content in the cells under stress and helps in mitigating high temperature effect. On the policy front, research prioritization should be made for identifying sensitive stages for all wheat growing districts and climate smart technologies have to be developed which needs high investment on R&D. Clearly, climate smart farming practices and adaptation strategies assume significance in a large scale to manage the yield sensitivity in wheat for ensuring sustainable production in the long-run.
Keywords: Climate Change, Yield Sensitivity, Zero Tillage, Conservation Agriculture, Perception, Climate Impact
JEL Classification: O13,P28,P32,Q1,Q5, B23
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