Dryland agriculture is a farming practice in which farmers opt for the arid and semi-arid regions and cultivate a variety of crops which are drought resistant. It is a farming practice which is dependent upon the rainfall, and hence, sometimes it is interchangeably referred to as rainfed farming. In both these types, irrigation is excluded. However, you should not construe both as one and the same. They both are vastly different. Let us understand what exactly dryland agriculture is, including its techniques, and major dry farming crops in India.
Dryland farming is a major type of agriculture practiced in India. In simple words, dryland farming means the practice of growing crops in arid and semi-arid areas or in areas with deficient rainfall. And in its broadest terms, it means the use of land in all its phases under semi-arid conditions. Sometimes, it is interchangeably referred to as rainfed irrigation as dryland agriculture depends upon vagaries of rainfall. Also, it excludes irrigation.
Now, you might have a question in your mind, what is dry farming? How dry farming and dryland farming are different? To answer your question both types of farming practices are done in semiarid regions of India, but they differ in accordance with the rainfall received in semi-arid areas. See below:
Dry Farming: It is the practise of growing crops in areas where rainfall received is less than 750 mm per annum.
Dryland Farming: This is practised in areas receiving more than 750 mm of rainfall in a year.
Rainfed Farming: It is practised in areas receiving more than 1150 mm of rainfall per annum.
Dryland farming is an age-old practice in India, dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization, where farmers used to grow crops on terraced fields that were carefully designed to catch and conserve rainfall.
In modern times, dryland farming techniques have evolved to maximize the use of available water resources, and farmers have come up with innovative ways to grow crops and raise livestock in arid and semi-arid regions.
Dryland farming is a major agricultural practice in India, where it is used to produce a variety of crops, including cereals, pulses, oilseeds, and vegetables.
In India, dryland farming accounts for a significant portion of the country's agricultural output, particularly in the dry regions of the Deccan Plateau, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and parts of Madhya Pradesh.
In India, almost 128 districts are identified as dry farming regions. Among these, around 91 districts are situated in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Chhattisgarh.
The remaining 37 districts are situated in Central Rajasthan, the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, and the rain shadow region of Western Ghats.
There are several techniques that are used in dryland farming. These techniques are designed to conserve water and improve crop yields. Some of the most common techniques include conservation tillage, mulching, water harvesting, and drip irrigation, among others.
Conservation tillage is a type of tillage that minimizes soil disturbance. It helps to conserve water and prevent soil erosion.
Mulching is the technique of protecting the soil with a layer of organic matter, such as straw or leaves. It helps to conserve water, suppress weeds, and improve soil fertility.
Water harvesting is the practice of collecting and storing rainwater. The conserved water can then be used to irrigate crops during dry periods. However, the rainfall in the dryland area must be around 250 mm (10 inches) per year.
It is a type of irrigation system that supplies water directly to the roots of plants. This method of irrigation is very efficient, and it can help to conserve water.
It involves planting crops across the slope of the land to reduce soil erosion and increase water retention.
There are several crops that are well-suited for dryland farming. These crops are able to tolerate drought conditions and produce high yields with limited water. Some of the most common dryland farming crops include:
Cereals, such as wheat, maize, and rice, are major crops in dryland farming. These crops are able to tolerate drought conditions and produce high yields with limited water.
These are small-seeded grasses that are highly tolerant to drought and are a staple food in many parts of India. Some of the common millets grown in dryland areas include sorghum, pearl millet, and finger millet.
Pulses, such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans, are another major crop in dryland farming. These crops are a good source of protein and can help to improve soil fertility.
Oilseeds, such as mustard, rapeseed, and sunflower, are valuable crops in dryland farming. These crops can be used to produce oil, which is a valuable commodity.
Vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions, and potatoes, can also be grown in dryland areas. These crops are a good source of vitamins and minerals and can help to improve the diet of people in dryland areas.
Dryland farming is a challenging agriculture practice. Farmers in dryland areas face a number of challenges, including:
Drought is the most serious challenge facing dryland farmers. Drought can cause crop failures and economic hardship.
Dryland soils are often low in fertility. It can limit crop yields and make it difficult to grow crops.
Erosion is a major problem in dryland areas. Wind and water can erode soil, which can reduce crop yields and make it difficult to grow crops.
Pests and diseases can be the primary issue in dryland areas. These pests and diseases can damage crops and reduce yields.
The Indian government provides several programs and services to support dryland farming. These programs and services include:
The government provides extension services to farmers in dryland areas. These extension services provide farmers with information on improved farming practices, such as conservation tillage and water harvesting.
The government provides credit to farmers in dryland areas. This credit can be used to purchase inputs, such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides.
The government provides insurance to farmers in dryland areas. This insurance can help to protect farmers from financial losses caused by drought and other natural disasters.
Dryland farming is a major agricultural practice in India. It is a challenging farming practice, but the government provides several programs and services to support dryland farmers. With the right support, dryland farmers can produce high yields and improve the livelihoods of people in dryland areas.
We hope this blog is helpful enough to learn what dryland farming is and its meaning. To learn more about agricultural practices in India, stay tuned for the Tractorkarvan blogs.
Call Us At+91-9650-9338-99