Reliable climate predictions may not be available immediately and it might take some more time and until then, the necessity arises to identify some of the global parameters like El Niño, which can be used as a signal to climate variability at least during some of the years, even if not for all the years. By knowing that either the southwest monsoon rainfall or annual rainfall is likely to decrease and with a possibility of increased northeast monsoon rainfall in some of the districts the following strategies may be useful for improving agricultural production of the state during the years with El Niño. These districts cover Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar in Telangana and entire coastal Andhra Pradesh excluding Vizianagaram.
- As southwest monsoon rainfall has a tendency to decrease and northeast monsoon rainfall has a tendency to increase in these districts it is important to advocate intercropping systems with long duration base crop and medium to short duration companion crop in mono cropped areas.
- In double cropping areas under rainfed conditions, better yields can be expected during rabi season by adopting in situ moisture conservation practices and judicious use of fertilizers with regard to timing and quantum.
- In those districts wherever the rice yields are likely to decline, rice may be cultivated under system of rice intensification (SRI) method during Kharif season.
- Due to increased rainfall during rabi season in some of the districts pests and diseases may be of threat during early stages of the crop. Agromet advisory services have to be fine-tuned through reliable pest and disease warning and control mechanisms.
- Plantation crops like mango, cashew, coconut etc., are likely to yield less during El Niño years wherever the pre-monsoon rainfall has a tendency to decrease and appropriate moisture conservation practices have to be followed.
- m Vegetable production during the summer season is likely to get affected and production can be sustained by promoting peri-urban olericulture and use of shade nets. Sprinkler irrigation needs to be advocated to improve water use efficiency.
As the data considered up till now indicates greater vulnerability of crop production during years with strong and moderate El Niño events, farmers have to be cautioned about the judicious use of irrigation water so that the available water can be spared for use in larger areas.
- Central Institute of Dryland Agriculture