Application Of Models In Agricultural Meteorology Precautions

Hunger demands food. Food grains come from agriculture, but it is risk-prone. So research efforts are necessary. Unfortunately, funding for research worldwide is declining at an alarming rate. The agricultural scientists and planners are facing formidable challenges to ensure continued increases in agricultural productivity to meet the food grain requirements of burgeoning population across the globe. Nowadays, the traditional field experimentation is becoming very expensive. So, the works on development and use of crop growth models to answer strategic and tactical questions concerning agricultural planning as well as on-farm soil and crop management are essential.

Although these models are useful in more than one way as detailed earlier in this lecture, much of the modeling uses and applications to date have been mainly in the area of research. The products of research need to be disseminated to the farmers. Otherwise the present works on crop modeling cannot sustain in the long run. So far, much of crop modeling applications in the literature are based on sole cropping and only in the recent past this work has been extended to intercrops, crop rotations, crop sequences, etc. The works on crop rotations shall be taken up on priority. If one considers the attention given to individual crops so far maize and cotton rank more than 50% of the work but there are many other crops that meet food requirements of the population in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. So, it is essential to understand fully the physical and physiological processes of these crops that govern their growth and yield under valuable soil and climatic conditions through crop models.

The development of agrometerological and agroclimatological models include climate crop and soil. The availability of water (which is an observed parameter through rainfall) and water requirement (expressed by PET which is an estimated parameter) are basic inputs in majority of these studies. The suitability of individual models for the estimation of PET depends not only on accurate predictive ability of the model but also on the availability of necessary input data. In addition, the following points shall be taken into considerations in model development and their application as precautions in agricultural meteorological studies.

1. Adequate human resource capacity has to be improved to develop and validate simulation models across the globe.

2. Multi-disciplinary research activities are essential for qualitative works in crop growth modeling.

3. Linkages shall be made and strengthened among research - education -extension to quickly disseminate the outcomes of models to farmers.

4. Majority of models use rainfall data at monthly interval, which is too long a period when compared to short duration of dry land crops (Sorghum, pearlmillet mature in 100 days). So, there is an urgent need to correct this anomaly by selecting proper methodologies.

5. It is important to differentiate between models of interest for research and for practical application. So, models useful to farmers with minimum input parameters shall find right place in the society.

6. It is always preferable to use one or more methods / models in conjunction to get more realistic conclusions useful to the farmers, who are the ultimate beneficiary alongwith industries.

7. The requirements in terms of details for local agricultural planning and operations are quite different from regional agricultural planning. Therefore, while selecting / using any model, it must be kept in mind the clear objective of study on one hand and verifying with ground truth (irrespective of the claims of the modal author) on the other hand.

8. The results / output of the models must be interpreted in an appropriate way by integrating soil, weather and crop. This interpretation is the key for success of agrometerological models. So, application of crop growth models shall form a part of studies of agrometeorologists on a regular and more continuous basis.

9. One should trust contemporary models particularly those concerned with yields. Wide variations may be found in the yield predicted by different models for specific crop in a defined environment. There is a need to develop test and improve the models with similar basis till they achieve comparable success for use by farmers, extension workers industry, etc. The reason is that the farmer needs them for decision-making, because It was found that the model can be used to identity new sites suitable for development of crop which finally results in generation of income to them.

10. It will be important to link the crop simulation models to local short and long-term weather forecasts. This will improve the yield predictions and provide policy makers with advanced yield information to help manage expected famines and other associated problems.

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