Contingency plan for combating drought stress in Punjab

Author(s): 

Ludhiana, July 31: It is fact that the entire state of Punjab is under  deficit in rainfall (1.6.2012 to 25.7.2012) which varied from 22 to 93 per cent in different districts. The corresponding value of rainfall deficit in districts  Ferozepur and Moga (93%), Fatehgarh Sahib (90%), Mansa (87%), Sangrur (76%), Amritsar (74%), Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (72%), Sri Mukatsar Sahib , Faridkot, Ludhiana and Jalandhar (68%), Bathinda (65%), Hoshiarpur (60%), Gurdaspur and Kapurthala (46%), Patiala (35%) and Ropar (22%).

The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) carried out state level review workshop Ludhiana   on July 28, in which scientists from all Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and from PAU Ludhiana participated, he said. A contingency plan to counteract the  prevailing drought conditions was discussed and formulated.

It was also decided that the university will install piezometer at each KVK to better monitor the time-trend  of water table.

Following strategies were identified for implementation.

  • Do not keep continuous ponding of water in rice and apply irrigation two days after the applied water has infiltrated in the soil.
  • Apply irrigation to cotton in alternate furrows.
  • Apply mulch @ 20-25 q/acre in wide row crops ( Maize, Cotton, Sugarcane, Vegetables etc.)
  • Apply conjuctive use of irrigation water to cotton in the ratio of  60% tubewell : 40 %canal water.
  • Use tensiometer for applying irrigation to rice.
  • The nitrogen fertilizer to rice and maize should be applied based  on leaf colour chart.
  • Under drought conditions, spray of potassium nitrate  (13:0:45) on cotton is helpful. Apply four sprays starting from flower initiation at weekly intervals.
  • Pest incidence - Drought encourage the incidence of maize borer, thrips, mite and white fly. Do follow the control measures as per PAU Package of Practices.
  • Now when there is rainfall or irrigation is applied, the para-wilt (plant starts wilting) may appear and harm the cotton. Spray cobalt chloride solution of 0.5 g in 50 litres water and spray  on the affected plants only.
  • In potato growing areas, green manuring can be carried out in fallow fields, i.e. which could not be sown due to paucity of irrigation. However, green manure crop must be incorporated in the soil at least 10 days before the sowing of potato.
  • If the rainfall occurs in mid August or early September, the farmers should sow maize in the second fortnight of August , toria  in the first fortnight  of September and toria+ gobhi sarson  in mid September.
  • Fodder fortification – There is going to be severe shortage of fodder in the adjoining states. If rainfall continues to be scanty, the fallow fields can be used to grow bajra as green or dry fodder. Further, Punjab produces about 14 m tonnes of rice straw which will be in great demand as dry fodder. However, to use rice straw balers would be needed.