Impact of Water on Crop Yield
Crop yield and water are inextricably linked. Water impacts crop yield to a very large extent and is considered to be the most critical agricultural input in India. Excess water and water scarcity, both highly impacts the quantity and quality of yield.
India has experienced 26 large scale droughts and 19 floods during the period of 1871-2009. The frequency and magnitude of both droughts and floods are constantly increasing. The drought of Maharashtra in 2013 is one of the worst of its kind to have hit the state in the last 40 years. The primary reason was low rainfall during June to September of the previous year. Changes in water resource are posing a great threat to crop yield and food security in India.
Recently in June 2018, there was a major setback in sowing of major crops due to a 15-day hiatus in the progress of the southwest monsoon over central and north India. The sowing of crops stood at 16.5 million hectares at the end of June which is 15% less than the average of the last 7 years as per data from the department of agriculture (Central Ministry of Agriculture). Likewise, there have been two such instances in the last decade when sowing in June was better with lesser rainfall.
Moreover, India is known to be one of the world’s largest food producers and hence the sustainability of its agricultural system is of global significance. Indian farmers are predominantly dependent on groundwater for irrigation. Groundwater, being the backbone of India’s agriculture, is at present producing enough crops to feed only 170 million people. But the over exploitation of this resource has brought about drastic declines in groundwater levels and forcing millions of small-scale farmers to get out of reach of this vital resource. This in turn has led to decreased agricultural production and increased poverty.
Why is water important for proper growth of crops?
Water is the most important factor for proper and healthy production of crops. Plants require huge quantities of water continuously during their life. It deeply impacts photosynthesis, respiration, absorption, translocation and utilization of mineral nutrients, cell division and many other vital processes. It also affects evapotranspiration which is a joint process of evaporation of water from the earth surface and plant surfaces and transpiration of water through the plant stems and tissues.
If the agricultural field has too much water, the roots can rot, and the crops won’t get enough oxygen from the soil. If there is scarcity of water, the vital nutrients it needs cannot travel through the plant. Hence the scarcity and surplus of water on fields can equally affect the overall growth and development of crops directly and, as a result, also its yield and quality.
Solutions we offer
India has a notoriously unpredictable rainfall, cycle which causes floods and droughts alternately. Hence, in order to raise the crops successfully it becomes imperative to inculcate the practice of supplying artificial water supply through irrigation on occasions of drought, and removal of excess water through drainage on occasions of extreme flood. Water management in India, hence, is a situation-oriented entity, depending significantly on environmental conditions, such as, soil, crops and climate etc.
It is quite understandable why water is a costly input when canals supply it. The construction of dams and reservoirs, the transmission of water from storage points to the fields, the functioning and maintaining of canal systems, all require a huge expense and manpower. Even after supplying water to the fields its misuse can lead to water logging, salt imbalance, etc., thus making the agricultural lands infertile and unproductive. Hence there is an urgent need of hour to try to appreciate the relationship between the quantity of water required in the agricultural land and the amount of water available in the natural resource and also to understand the economic utilization of water resources for maximum crop production.
Croplytics, our cutting-edge technology solution, which will provide smart irrigation solution in agriculture using remote Internet-of-Things (IoT) Sensors. This will enable the crops to receive an optimum quantity of water automatically with the help of smart irrigation and thereby eliminating any chances of crop loss due to excess or scarcity of water in the fields.