Effect of Climate Variability on Maize Yield and Evaluation of Coping Strategies Using the Crop Growth Model

By Rabindra Kumar Panda, Javed Alam and S. Nandgude.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Any variation in climate will have an impact on climate-sensitive systems such as agriculture, forestry, and other natural resources in hydrological settings such as river basins and watersheds. Changes in solar radiation, temperature, precipitation, and CO₂ levels will produce changes in crop yield and hence the economics of agriculture. A Crop Growth Simulation model is an effective tool to simulate the impact of climate change on crop production and to develop and evaluate the adaptation strategies for sustainability in food production. Maize, being the third-most important food crop in the world, requires special attention and immediate mitigation measures to achieve food security under varying climate scenarios. The CERES-Maize model of DSSAT v4.0 was used to simulate the maize yield of the region under climate variability scenarios using the historical weather data at Kharagpur (1977–2007), Dumdum (1974–2003), and Purulia (1986–2000) in eastern India. The model was calibrated using an irrigation treatment of 10% maximum allowable depletion (MAD) and was validated using the rest of the irrigation treatments (30%, 45%, 60%, and 75% MAD) of each experiment at Kharagpur from 1996–1998. The effect of variability of major weather parameters on maize crop growth and yield parameters was studied. It was observed that an increase in mean air temperature by 3°C above the present ambient conditions has considerable negative impact on maize yield; wheres an increase in CO₂ concentration up to 700 ppm has a positive effect on the maize yield. However, a simulation study on the combined effect revealed that the adverse effect of temperature rise dominates over the positive effect of CO₂ concentration significantly when it is 3°C above the current ambient temperature conditions. Adjustments were made in simple crop management strategies like date of sowing and plant density for adaptation under the climate variability scenarios. Potential yield could be obtained when the sowing date was preponed to the last week of January at Kharagpur and Dumdum, whereas at Purulia, sowing during the 1st week of February was found to be ideal for the crop. A plant density of 3 plants/m² was found to be most suitable for the maize crop at all three locations and is recommended for subtropical eastern India.

Keywords: Climate Change, CERES-Maize, DSSAT v4.0, Maximum Allowable Depletion, Crop Simulation, Yield

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.71-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.044MB).

Prof. Rabindra Kumar Panda

Professor, Agricultural and Food Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal, India

The major areas of interest of Prof. R. K. Panda are Water Resources, watershed management, non-point source pollution of water resources, rainwater harvesting, deficit irrigation management, and crop growth simulation modelling.

Javed Alam

M.Tech Student, Agricultural and Food Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal, India

Ex M.Tech. student, Indian Institute of Technology, India.

S. Nandgude

Ph.D student, Agril. and Food Engg. Department, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal, India

Ex Ph.D. student, Indian Institute of Technology, India.

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