Facility to gauge climate CHANGE influence on crops 

Facility to gauge climate CHANGE influence on crops 
Highlights

With global warming and resultant climatic vagaries impacting the environment, one of the major areas of concern is about the performance of the crops under such adverse conditions.

With global warming and resultant climatic vagaries impacting the environment, one of the major areas of concern is about the performance of the crops under such adverse conditions. Scientists at the Hyderabad-based Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) are focusing on whether crops are able to get acclimatised to the elevated carbon dioxide and temperature levels.

CRIDA is equipped with a unique facility that can gauge the crop performance variables. Explaining the process to The Hans India, Dr.Ch.Srinivasa Rao, Director, CRIDA said that earlier and the changing parameters in carbon dioxide and temperatures are taken to study the differentials under the variable conditions.

“For instance, earlier the carbon dioxide level was 320 parts per million (PPM) which has now escalated to 400ppm. Likewise there is also an increase in temperatures. By comparing the difference we can arrive at how the crops are responding to these variables,” he said and added that initially such tests were carried only on the influence of carbon dioxide.

“Now we have integrated temperature studies along with carbon dioxide to understand the response of the crops to climate change. Elevated carbon dioxide levels do not always have a negative impact since it is also beneficial to the crops, but the same cannot be said about temperature increase.

“Some germplasms performed better under elevated carbon dioxide and some proved to be better under increased temperature. There were some that showed positive indications under a combination of both conditions,” he pointed and informed that the CRIDA identifies genotype, screens them and shares them with other crop based institutions.

In addition to this technology to study the impact of climate change, CRIDA has also been instrumental in creating innovative models for rainwater harvesting and soil water content retention in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, apart from other states in the country. Stating that the understanding nature of the soil is very important in designing water harvesting structures or farm ponds, Dr.Srinivasa Rao said that water retention capacity is more in black soil than in red soil.

Some parts of Telangana like Nalgonda, Karimnagar, Nalgonda and Warangal have red soil while some other locations have black soil. “The water holding capacity is more in Black soils while it is less in red soils. In red soil regions you need to create ponds that can retain 100mm water while 50mm is sufficient for black soil. These farm ponds have proved to be very useful in storing offseason and midseason and excessive rains regions.
In another significant initiative covering all agriculture systems, CRIDA has created a database of agriculture contingency plans for 619 districts in the country. “This data which is developed in association with all agriculture universities in the country and Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) is updated regularly and enable the agriculture sector to be in a state of preparedness during contingencies.

By Satyapal Menon​

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