25 Feb 2023

Agriculture: How Record High Temperatures And Dry Weather In Feb Could Hit Crop Yield

New Delhi: Weather conditions remained quite cruel for most parts of North India during the winter months of January and February.  

Month of February, otherwise the rainiest winter month for the plains, did not witness any significant wet spells this season. Sub divisions of West & East Uttar Pradesh, East & West Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi witnessed rainfall deficiency of 95-100%. 

Detrimental for the health of crops

According to Skymet Weather, absence of weather systems and consequently the winter rains, has raised the heat stress across the region. Both, day and night temperatures have persistently remained well above the normal.  Increase in the irrigation cycles needed to compensate the depleted natural rains.  \

Any major rainfall deficiency becomes detrimental for the health of crops and artificial means of irrigation may not constitute a true substitute. 

Return of El Nino could lead to weak monsoon

Some weather forecasting agencies have predicted the return of El Nino in the Pacific Ocean region this year. The Union Finance Ministry in its monthly economic review report in January said that if these predictions related to the return of El Nino are correct, then it can predict a weak monsoon in India this year. Due to this, in the financial year 2024, there may be a decrease in production and an increase in prices.

Wheat growing states encounter double whammy

Vital wheat growing states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have encountered double whammy on account of weather conditions.  

Supposedly cool month of February has surpassed permissible limits of mercury variation, more so for the day temperatures across vast belt of North India. Monthly average temperatures, so far, are about  2.5 to 3 degree higher and are not expected to drop significantly in the remaining days of the month. 

Subdued rain and snow over the mountains and scanty winter showers over the plains has accumulated excess heat across north India. 

Heat stress has travelled to parts of Gujarat and Maharashtra as well. Month of February is also known for some hailstorm activity over North India, parts of Maharashtra and Odisha. 

Only solace drawn from dry weather spell is that the adverse and damaging  weather on account of hailstorm has been best avoided this season.

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