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Notes on Dryland Agronomy

Notes on Dryland Agronomy:

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Dryland Agronomy: The branch of agronomy that deals with the cultivation of crops in regions with low or erratic rainfall, where irrigation is not feasible or economical.

Dryland Agriculture: The cultivation of crops in regions with annual rainfall of less than 750 mm, where crop failure is more common and growing season is less than 75 days.

Dryland Farming: The cultivation of drought resistant, short duration and high yielding varieties of crops in regions with annual rainfall of less than 800 mm, where soil and water conservation measures are adopted to enhance crop productivity and sustainability.

Rainfed Farming: The cultivation of field crops entirely with rain water received during the crop season (rainfall usually more than 750 mm) under humid or sub humid climate, where the crop may face little or no moisture stress during their life cycle.

Drought: A condition of moisture deficit sufficient to have an adverse effect on vegetation, animals and human beings. It can be classified into four types: meteorological, hydrological, agricultural and socio-economic.

Drought Resistance: The ability of a plant to withstand drought conditions and maintain normal growth and development.

Drought Tolerance: The ability of a plant to survive drought conditions and resume growth when moisture becomes available.

Drought Escape: The ability of a plant to complete its life cycle before the onset of drought or during a favourable period of moisture availability.

Drought Avoidance: The ability of a plant to reduce transpiration and conserve soil moisture by various morphological, physiological and biochemical adaptations.

Antitranspirants: Chemicals or materials that reduce transpiration loss from plants by affecting the stomatal opening, leaf reflectance, leaf temperature or vapour diffusion.

Soil Erosion: The detachment and transportation of soil particles by the action of water, wind or gravity.

Soil Conservation: The prevention or reduction of soil erosion and maintenance or enhancement of soil fertility by various mechanical, biological or agronomical measures.

Water Harvesting: The collection and storage of runoff water from a catchment area for beneficial use.

Watershed: A drainage area or basin from which runoff from precipitation flows to a common point along a stream or river.

Watershed Management: The planning and implementation of land use and water management practices to optimize the production potential and environmental quality of a watershed.

Contour Farming: The method of cultivation in which operations including sowing are carried out along the contour lines to reduce runoff, conserve soil moisture and increase crop yield.

Contour Bunding: The construction of earthen embankments or ridges across the slope along the contour lines to check the velocity and flow of runoff water and prevent soil erosion.

Graded Bunding: The construction of earthen embankments or ridges across the slope with a gentle gradient to facilitate the safe disposal of excess runoff water without causing erosion.

Broad Bed and Furrow: A system of land shaping in which the field is divided into alternate raised beds and sunken furrows to provide better drainage and aeration in heavy soils and conserve moisture in light soils.

Strip Cropping: The cultivation of erosion resistant and erosion permitting crops on alternate strips of suitable width along the contour and across the slope to reduce soil loss and runoff.

Alley Cropping: The cultivation of annual crops between rows of perennial trees or shrubs, which provide shade, mulch, organic matter and nutrients to the crops and also act as windbreaks or shelterbelts.

Agroforestry: The integration of trees, crops and livestock on the same land unit to diversify and sustain production and conserve natural resources.

Mixed Farming: The combination of crop and animal production on the same farm to increase income, reduce risk and improve resource use efficiency.

Integrated Farming System: The holistic approach of farming that optimizes the use of available resources and maximizes the output of various farm enterprises in a sustainable manner.

Crop Rotation: The practice of growing different crops in succession on the same piece of land to maintain or improve soil fertility, control pests and diseases, and increase crop yield and quality.

Inter Cropping: The practice of growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land in a definite row proportion or arrangement.

Relay Cropping: The practice of growing two or more crops sequentially on the same piece of land, where the second crop is sown before the harvest of the first crop.

Multiple Cropping: The practice of growing two or more crops consecutively on the same piece of land in the same year8.

Mixed Cropping: The practice of growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land without any definite row arrangement or proportion.

Crop Diversification: The practice of growing a variety of crops to reduce dependence on a single crop, spread risk, increase income and ensure food security.

Contingency Cropping: The practice of growing alternative crops or varieties in place of normal crops under aberrant weather conditions such as delayed or early onset of monsoon, drought or excess rainfall.

Crop Model: A mathematical representation of a crop system that simulates the crop growth and development in response to weather, soil and management factors.


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