IMD creates first countrywide soil moisture map

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Deficit soil moisture conditions are likely during the winter sowing season in Gujarat, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh, says a countrywide forecast prepared by IIT Gandhinagar and the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The forecast, for the first time, has prepared a country-wide soil moisture forecast. It predicts that in western Uttar Pradesh, Bundelkhand, and Chhattisgarh soil moisture is likely to be normal or surplus in the rabi season.

Advanced knowledge about soil moisture is crucial for farmers to plan their crops and the required irrigation in the field.

The forecasts made by Vimal Mishra, associate professor at IIT Gandhinagar takes into consideration soil, vegetation, land use and land cover among other parameters.

During the Rabi season, an area of 25 lakh hectares is sown in which wheat takes up 300 lakh hectares.

“Crucial information needed for agriculture is not revealed only through rainfall data. Even if you have a normal rainfall, if the temperature is abnormally high, it can rapidly deplete the soil moisture. So essentially soil moisture gives us more information on what is needed for crop growth in different parts of the country,” Mishra told Indian Express.

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