Measures for Drought Mitigation

Various biological, agrotechnical, and agrometeorological methods are used to mitigate the adverse impact of arid conditions (Gringof, 2000). These include (1) selecting drought-resistant crop varieties; (2) following complex water-saving practices (crop rotation, leaving fallows, snow retention, establishing field windbreaks, fertilizing, weed control, and effective irrigation including drip irrigation); (3) shifting the sowing dates; (4) optimizing the winter and spring crop ratio; (5) presowing drying of germinated seeds (i.e., inducing artificial drought before sowing that provokes the deep physiological-biochemical plant reconstruction resulting in increased drought resistance); (6) salt hardening, which increases chloride, sulfate, and carbonate resistance of plants (presowing seed treatment with sodium chloride, magnesium sulfate, and sodium carbonate solutions decreases cytoplasm membrane permeability and increases the toxic salt effect threshold); (7) presowing heating (up to 35-38°C) of potato bulbs; and (8) presowing hardening of fodder grass seeds.

Some of the above measures, however, are very expensive and cannot be adopted in the whole territory affected by droughts. In addition, because of the long-term impacts of irrigation and fertilizers, there is soil degradation, salting, environmental pollution, and so on. In this case, farming adaptations to the specific arid conditions seems to be most effective. Therefore, it is necessary to determine where, when, in what form, with what intensity, and with what probability the arid conditions exist, and to determine their durations and geographical distributions. By knowing these characteristics, it is possible to develop a specific farming type that allows the adverse drought effects under these specific conditions to be mitigated.

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