Crop Planning for Aberrant Weather Situation in Dryland

Crop Planning For Aberrant Weather Situation In Dryland

The following common weather aberrations are observed in Solapur region of dryfarming area in Maharashtra.

1) Delayed onset of monsoon.
2) Good start of monsoon followed by dry spells.
3) Good start of monsoon followed by dry spells.
3) Early withdrawal of monsoon.
4) Extended monsoon.
The following crop management practices can be followed under different aberrant weather situations.

Delayed onset of monsoon: Onset of delayed monsoon is a common feature of the dryland agriculture. If the Kharif soils (< 45 cms) are diverted for rabi sorghum under such delayed rains, it not only affect the production of Kharif crops especially pulses and oilseeds but also results in poor production of rabi sorghum. Hence such shallow soils must be put under Kharif crops. Substantial research efforts were made at dryland centre. Solapur in this regards and following cropping pattern has been suggested depending on the lateness of monsoon during Kharif season.

Rainfall situation

Suggested crops


1. Normal onset of
Monsoon. Rains during Ist fortnight of July

 All Kharif crops Bajra,
Setaria, sorghum, grunt, castor, Red gram, Horse gram, Black gram, sunflower 

 Adopt intercropping of
Bajra + red gram in 2 : 1 preparation

2. Late onset of
monsoon Rains during 2nd
fortnight of July (Rains delayed by 15 days_

Setaria, Sunflower, castor, Red gram, Horse gram (delate Bajra, sorghum, gr. nut, black gram)

Intercropping of Red gram + Setaria in 2 : 2

3. Very late onset of
monsoon Rains during Ist
fortnight of august (Rains
delayed b 7 y 30 days)

Sunflower, red gram,
castor, castor, horse gram
(delese Setaria from above set)

Intercropping sunflower +
Red gram in 2 : 1 proportion

4. Very very late onset of monsoon Rains during 2nd fortnight of august (Rain delayed by 45 days)

Castor, sunflower red gram
(Delete horse gram from above set.)


Red gram in 2:1

5. Extremely late onset
of monsoon Rains during
Ist week of September (Rains delayed by 50 days)

Rabi jawar for fodder


i) Controlling plant population for conserving and effective are of available moisture.
ii) Checking weed growth to reduce moisture loss.
iii) Increasing interculturing to prevent evaporation.
iv) Choice of crops like red gram and castor which can sustain longer breaks.

Early withdrawal of monsoon: This situation creates two problems in rabi.

a) Sowing of Rabi crops may be suspended.
b) When crop is sown, requires moisture conservation practices such as :
i) Reduced plant density: Rabi jawar sown at early September with 1 to 1.35 lakh / ha require 50% reduction. This plant population needs to be adjusted before plants go for their grand period of growth (30 – 35 DAS)
ii) Use of surface mulch: Moisture can be conserved by using organic surface mulches. For this purpose apply mulch @ 5 t/ha.
iii) Protective irrigation: If possible protective irrigation may be given. Usually, protective irrigation is given at 55 – 56 days growth. However, due to early withdrawal of monsoon, the same may be applied at 35 – 40 days growth.
iv)  Increase frequency of Intercultivation: Early stoppage of monsoon results in early cracking in soil. To prevent cracking and loss of moisture, frequency of Intercultivation may be increased. Untimely, 3 interculturing are recommended. Same can be increased to 5 or 6 which acts as a dust mulch.
v) Stripping of leaves: Upper 3 – 4 leaves are retained & lower leaves are removed to reduce transpiration.

Extended monsoon: Such situation is rarely experienced. Double cropping is possible in medium deep soils. Sowings of Rabi crops are extended. In certain areas sorghum may be replaced by gram and what as the sorghum may suffer due to cool speel.

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