Impact of climate change in agriculture and its management strategies

Lakshmi Dhar Hatai
Contd from previous issue
·Climate change can shorten rabi season and decrease yield
· Vulnerability to disease and pest attack increases
· High temperature affects the quality of produce
· Increases in temperature can reduce 1000 grain weight and amylase content and affect grain elongation and aroma in basmati
· Increase in temperature causes distress to dairy animals affecting milk production
· The studies indicated that India would lose about 1.8 million tons of milk production due to climate change by 2020. Similarly, the wheat production will also reduce by 11.7 million tons by 2050 and 23.5 million tons by 2080
Emphasis should be given on environmentally curative and preservation practices in order to mitigate the climate change in agriculture. A wide variety of adaptive action and measures may be taken at farm level adjustment and economic adjustment, to lessen or overcome adverse effect of climate change in agriculture.
At the farm level adjustments are:
· Introduction of later maturity crop varieties
· Switching cropping sequences
· Sowing earlier
· Adjusting timing of field operation
· Conserving soil moisture through appropriate tillage methods
· Improving irrigation efficiency
The economic adjustment includes the shifts in regional production center and adjustment of capital, labour and land allocation. Breeding of heat and drought resistant crop varieties by utilizing genetic resources that may be better adapted to new climatic condition. Genetic manipulation also helps to exploit the beneficial effect of CO2  enhancement on crop growth and water use. Crop varieties with a higher harvest index also mitigate the climate change (Thomas, 2011). The other measures are:
·To develop transgenic crops which is tolerant to changes in temperature, carbon dioxide and heat.
·Planting cycle, spacing and the input management have to keep pace with the rapid change in climatic parameters
·Conservative irrigation using drip irrigation system need to be introduced in various agro climatic regions.
·Rational use and conservation of forest and land resources, prevention of desertification etc. would reduce the impact of climate change.
Management Strategies to Overcome Climate Change Impact:
1. Climate Forecasting: Farmers typically follow a specified calendar and very limited use is made of climate forecast to adapt crops to emerging climate condition. There is need to develop an integrated regional weather-climate forecast system covering precipitation, temperature and humidity.
(To be contd)