Crop Weather Calendar: A guide to the farming community
Authors: Ankita Jha1, Rajeev Ranjan2, Raj Pal Meena1, R. K. Sharma1 and R.S. Chhokar1
1Resource Management Division, ICAR-IIWBR, Karnal
2Department of Agrometeorology, GBPUA&T, Pantnagar
A comprehensive knowledge about various stages of crop is a prerequisite for preparing and issuing timely weather related warnings. It is also imperative for the farmers to utilize the information provided in the weather bulletins appropriately. Our responsibility is to train our farming folk in such a way that every single issue gets addressed appropriately in a time bound manner. India Meteorological Department (IMD) is doing commendable work in this direction. In order to address this situation, IMD gathers information from scientists of various agricultural departments and displays it in a pictorial form; often referred to as Crop Weather Calendar. Therefore, we can say that the pictorial representation of detailed information for a crop with respect to its sowing period and the duration of important phenological stages during its entire life cycle, the optimum climatic requirement during different stages of the crop and the actual and normal weather for that location/region is called the Crop Weather Calendar (Kaur et al., 2013).
The Crop Weather Calendar is mainly divided into three sections, viz. crop husbandry (sowing to harvest), climate requirements (rainfall, rainy days etc.) and weather warnings. At the bottom of the calendar is the typical life history of the crop, from the sowing window to the period of maturity, in the form of a diagram. The significant crop phases such as sowing, germination, emergence, transplanting (in the case of rice), tillering, elongation, flowering, milking, grain filling and harvest are indicated under crop husbandry against standard meteorological weeks in the lower part of the calendar (Prasad Rao, 2008). For ready reference, the months and standard weeks are marked at the bottom of the calendar. The information regarding normal monthly rainfall, total number of rainy days with weather requirements is displayed in the middle section of the calendar. The uppermost portion of the calendar indicates the weather conditions favorable for incidence of pests and diseases and the nature of the weather warnings that can be given (INSAM, 2004).
The crop weather calendars allow the weather forecaster to visualize the type of weather warnings that need to be issued to the farmers at a specified point of time/real time and for a given location/region. The information is for a particular phase of the crop in a given set of weather conditions. Most of the farmers are unable to utilize the weather information properly, hence the Agrometeorological Field Units (AMFUs) prepare Crop Weather Calendars for important crops and various varieties through research and development based process at village/panchayat level, which plays an important role in improving the quality of medium range weather forecast based agro advisory services.
Use of Crop Weather Calendar for Wheat
The crop weather calendar helps inform farmers about the effects of unfavorable weather (viz. occurrence of drought, unexpected rains, cold waves, terminal heat etc.,) on wheat crop. If the information pertaining to the possible condition of temperature, rainfall and humidity is transmitted well in advance among the farming folk, then measures can be adopted to minimize the crop losses. The temperature, amount of rainfall and humidity required by a crop is phase specific. The crop productivity may fall significantly if there is much variation in weather as compared to the standard values mentioned in the calendar. This is possible because, under these circumstances, the chances of major disease and pests in the crop are likely to become more and at the same time we need to adopt appropriate measures to reduce crop losses.
Commendable efforts have been made by the scientists and estimates of weather fluctuations are given one week in advance by the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), New Delhi on every Tuesday and Friday. The information regarding adverse weather is provided to the farmers in advance, so that appropriate measures can be adopted like use of insecticides, pesticides, herbicides and follow other practices in view of weather information. In this way, the crops can be saved as well as the cost/expenditure losses can also be minimized. It is extremely important for the farmers also, to have a look on such information regularly and always remain updated. Thus, a single sheet of paper (The crop weather calendar) which contains summarized information with respect to crop-weather, possibilities of appearance of pest/disease can be very useful for the farmers and its end users for taking appropriate measures.
INSAM (2004). The International Society for Agricultural Meteorology. Agrometeorology.org. http://www.agrometeorology.org/topics/accounts-of-operational-agrometeorology/crop-weather-calendars-in-india .
Kaur, P., Bala, A., Singh, H. And Sandhu, S.S.(2013). Guide Lines to Prepare Crop Weather Calendar, pp. 1-18.
Prasad Rao, G.S.L.H.V.(2008). Weather Forecasting. Agricultural Meteorology, pp. 262-288.
About Author/ Additional Info .
Dr. Ankita Jha- Scientist (Agri. Meteorology), ICAR-IIWBR, Karnal
Dr. Rajeev Ranjan: Asst. Prof (Agrometeorology) at GBPUA&T, Pantnagar
Dr. Raj Pal Meena- Senior Scientist (Agronomy), ICAR-IIWBR, Karnal
Dr. R.K. Sharma- Principal Scientist (Agronomy), ICAR-IIWBR, Karnal and
Dr. R.S. Chhokar- Principal Scientist (Agronomy), ICAR-IIWBR, Karnal
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