Crop production field experiments at IIT Kharagpur

Crop production field experiments under HighNoon at IIT Kharagpur to understand the climate change effect on crop yield and optimal adaptation management

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur has designed crop production field experiments to understand the effects of climate change on food grain production of rice and wheat crops using modeling analysis. Rice and wheat are the most important crops of Ganga Basin and in recent years these crops showed stagnating yield even under better management conditions. Scientific community has pointed out to changing climate as an important aspect behind apparent changes.

The stakeholders’ views, collected under HighNoon meetings in the region, have also raised the issues of changing climate conditions. These have caused to level off the production of these important crops in the region and there is a need for appropriate adaptation options to sustain the production.

Climate change has been analyzed by HighNoon researchers and also experienced by stakeholders of the region, especially for water resources and agriculture.  Issues of delayed arrival and early recession of monsoon, uneven distribution of rainfall leading to stress to crop production even during the monsoon season have been identified Along with these, preference for rain dependent production management rather than based on experience, frequent irrigation requirement, frequent flooding and drought in the area necessitates the identification of suitable management strategies for climate change adaptation in order to sustain crop production.

IIT Kharagpur has developed field experiments to study the effects of rainfall (rainfed and irrigated crops), fertilizer-N inputs (from zero to commercial level of nitrogen application) and varieties (short, medium and high duration) of rice and wheat to understand and model the effects of climate change on the yield of these crops. The field observations will be used in the modeling study of these aspects, which will lead to identify adaptation options for sustainable crop production, will benefit the farming community. The experiments and analysis will provide information on some aspects of climate change adaptation strategy(ies) to improve/sustain crop production as well.

The photographs show the experimental field (plots) under rice crop at IIT Kharagpur during the visit of Dr. Eddy Moors (17-18 October 2011). Plots have three varieties of rice (short, medium and long duration) under eight levels of fertilizer-N applications (from 0 to 300 kg/ha) and under irrigated and rainfed conditions. Short and medium varieties are near to ripening stage and late variety is at flowering stage as is visible in the photographs.