Importance of Weather Forecasting in Modern Agriculture and Farming

Agriculture and farming are mainly dependent on seasons and weather. The temperature matters a lot in that case when it comes to the farming of different kinds of fruits, vegetables, and pulses. Previously we did not have a better understanding of weather forecasting and farmers were still doing their job based on predictions. Though sometimes they occur loss due to false predictions of weather. Now that the technology is developed and special weather forecasting mechanisms are available, the farmers can get all the updates are on a smartphone. Education towards that is, of course, an important thing but most of the farmer population at this stage knows the basics which make it easy for them to use the features. 

Occurrences of erratic weather are beyond human control. It is possible, however, to adapt to or mitigate the effects of adverse weather if a forecast of the expected weather can be obtained in time. Forecasts should ideally be used for small areas. Some aspects of weather forecasts for agriculture are quite distinct from synoptic weather forecasts. While clear weather is required for sowing operations, it must be preceded by seed zone soil moisture storage. Crop weather factors mean that crops and cropping practices vary across areas within the same season. In the case of well-organized weather systems, the desired areal delineation of forecasts can be realized. The area to which the weather forecasts will be applied must be unambiguously stated. 

Weather forecasting is a prediction on conditions of atmosphere depending on location and time. Every area will have their different predictions related to the condition of weather which makes pretty easy for the farmers to know how and what to do when. The relationship between weather and agriculture has, therefore, necessitated the need for accurate prediction of the weather; to enable farmers to make an informed decision that will not bring losses to them. Temperature, sunlight, and rainfall have major effects on the crops. For livestock, temperatures and adequate water and food are essential.

The forecast of the weather event helps for suitable planning of farming operations. It helps to decide whether to undertake or withhold the sowing operation. To irrigate the crop or not, when to apply fertilizer and whether to start complete harvesting or to withhold it are the major components for which forecasting is a must. 

Irrigation is an artificial application of water to land for agricultural production and farming. The requirements for irrigation and crop growth are affected by weather variability. The amount of timing and evapotranspiration are two main weather-related requirements. Climate variability is something that all farmers need to react upon. Extended periods of dry conditions, commonly known as drought is one of the major impacts in the irrigation system. So if their proper forecast is done chances of losses are way lower than expected. Drought can increase daily crop water use due to lower humidity and accompanied by higher temperatures. Managing under the extreme conditions, irrigators need to understand daily and seasonal crop water use patterns, as well as adopt practices and technology which result in good production of crops. 

Timing of fertilizer has a significant effect on crop yields. Proper timing of the fertilizer application increases yields, reduces nutrient losses and prevents damage to the environment. Wrong timing and not predicting the weather may result to waste of fertilizer and even damage the crop. Knowledge of how the application of the fertilizer is done is required. Weather forecast can help the farmers to decide the timing on when to apply them and in which condition. Both the resources and money could be wasted if the application of fertilizer is done wrong and hence a proper knowledge and prediction is a must. According to research, fertilizing plants in winter is not good as the crops do not actively grow. Actual temperatures may shift above and below averages from year to year. 

The consequences of unseasonal changes in temperature and their potential negative effects on host plants and pests are very well known. Unseasonably high temperatures may lead to lower plant productivity and more pests on the farm. Applying pest and disease control is important to protect the farm and crops from the insects. Weather forecast helps the farmers to know when to apply the pests and chemicals to avoid the crop wastage.  By some estimates, up to 40 percent of the world’s food supply is already lost due to pests. Reduction in pests and applied chemicals is important to ensure global food security; reduced application of inputs and decreased greenhouse emissions. Climate-smart pest management is a cross-sectoral approach that aims to highly reduce pest induced crop losses. And the method along with the forecast should be applied everywhere to ignore the wastage. 

The method of getting experts to do tailor-made weather forecast is a little bit expensive compared with the use of the cheap weather forecast information available in the media but it is beneficial to the farmers in the long run. In the future, therefore, farmers will come to rely on the satellite forecasting due to numerous advantages.


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Khumansang D Chavda

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