ICAR research outlines strategies to prevent heat waves and protect crops

The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has indicated that mulching straw in orchards can help save fruit crops,

Varietal selection according to sowing date is an important element of crop protection in the event of abnormal temperature increases, such as the recent heat events in March and April.

According to a report prepared by scientists from the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), mulching straw in orchards can help save fruit crops, and bathing cows and buffaloes is one of the simple practices that farmers can adopt to combat the adverse effects of the climate. change.

ICAR has identified 151 at-risk clusters in 25 districts of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and Punjab under the National Climate Resilience Program for Agricultural Innovation ( NICRA).

Exposure to heat wave

The heat wave coincided with grain fill and developmental stage of wheat, causing yellowing, shrinkage and forced ripening – with an average yield loss of 15-25%.

High temperatures have also caused water stress, sunburn, flower drop and reduced fruit set in vegetable crops such as horsetail, pomegranate, mango and lemon. Tomatoes, cabbage and cucumbers all showed significant effects.

Ways to solve the problem

According to a report titled “Heat Wave 2022: Causes, Consequences, and Ways for Further Development Agriculture of India” by Santana Kumar Bala, JVNS Prasad and Vinod Kumar Singh of the Central Research Institute of Arid Land Agriculture, loss of Appetite and fever in dairy animals led to a 15% reduction in milk production, as well as a drop in egg production and an increase in broiler mortality.

According to the report, technologies such as cane mulching, ridges and furrows retained soil moisture and reduced stress.

Heat resistant wheat varieties DBW173, Raj4120 and Raj4079 reduced crop losses by 5-6% in Bagpat, Jhansi, Hamirpur, Chitrakut, Protapgarh, Kaushambi, Bahraich, Gonda, Maharajgarj, March 20 and Urdakh clusters . The maximum temperature was 3 to 4 degrees above normal.

Calendar and sowing

“If the monsoon is delayed, farmers should plant rice in the short term to ensure wheat is sown on time.” Otherwise, they should choose late wheat varieties if the late rice harvest causes a delay in sowing the wheat. Even the crop should be chosen according to the time of sowing, there is no need to stick to a specific crop even if the usual sowing window for it has passed,” said Singh, one of the authors of the report.

He pointed out that sowing zero-income wheat ensures rapid sowing – immediately after Kharif rice – in the flooded areas of Gonda and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, thereby reducing crop losses.

According to the report, heat-tolerant, late-sown chickpea cultivar RVG202, along with timely sowing of mustard cultivar Pusa Bold, avoided heat stress during ripening in some clusters in Madhya Pradesh.

Other methods used

In March-April the temperature in Jalna, Maharashtra was 39.6-42.8 degrees, and in Nandurbar it was 41.5-43.0 degrees, both being 4 degrees warmer than the last year. The sudden increase in temperature has had an impact on vegetable crops.

Elastic technologies, such as straw mulching in the gardens, have significantly reduced the effects of heat stress while reducing water consumption in the clusters where the NICRA project is implemented. Plastic mulching combined with frequent drip irrigation helped reduce thermal damage to fruits and vegetables.

There was no crop damage. Scientists also recommended that farmers cover fruit trees with shade nets and cotton cloth to reduce sunburn and sunburn of leaves and stems. It also helped protect the fruit from sunburn.

Providing shade, bathing animals and feeding 50-70 grams of green forage, concentrates and mineral mix per day helped to reduce the impact of heat stress on cows and buffaloes and minimize losses of milk yield in the selected bunches. In villages where electricity was not an issue, farmers used foggers, fans, and coolers, as this helped maintain proper ventilation and air circulation in the barns.

More heat waves are predicted

Unlike previous heat waves, the extreme heat of 2022 was widespread and covered much of the country. Extreme weather events like this are expected to become more frequent and severe in the coming years due to climate change.

First published: June 27, 2022, 02:42 IST

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