Cyclones often cause major devastation of crops, and plantations that adversely affects life support strategy of the affected population. Farm losses can however be reduced by taking appropriate mitigation measures. It is therefore a must to be conversant with the impact of cyclone on agriculture, as also mitigation measures.
Impact of intense rainfall, and high winds
- Very intense rainfall, and floods can damage the different crops in the fields.
- Flooding can create anaerobic soil conditions that could have significant impact on vegetation.
- Chemical reactions in anaerobic soils also lead to a reduction in nitrate, and the formation of nitrogen gas. This de-nitrification could be a significant cause of loss of plant vigour, and growth following flooding.
- Heavy rainfall causes soil erosion, disruption to critical agricultural activities, water logging, increased moisture stress, and attack of pests, and diseases on the crops.
- High winds cause deformation, lodging, and uprooting of crops.
- High winds also cause shattering of grains from matured plants.
- Tall crops like sugarcane, banana, and others are susceptible major losses due to strong winds.
- These hinder agricultural operations like spraying, and application of fertilizers.
- These lead to moisture loss from the crop fields thereby increasing water needs of crops.
Actions before cyclone
- Early harvesting of crops, if 80% matured.
- Storing of harvested produce in safer place.
- Repairing of irrigation canals, and embankments of rivers in the risk zone to avoid breaching.
- Arrangement of extensive drainage facilities in the fall out areas.
- In case of horticulture crops provide mechanical support to plants to avoid lodging, and being uprooted.
- Adoption of crops like rice that can function effectively in saturated, and even submerged conditions for locations that are flooded regularly.
- Activating effective water storage systems (rivers, lakes, reservoirs and others) for reducing flood damage.
- Planting of vegetation that uses more water, and that can act as a barrier to moving water (horizontally, and vertically) can reduce flood severity, and impacts.
- Propping of sugarcane.
- Protection of animal shed to withstand the heavy wind.
- Keeping the animals in proper sheds.
- Keeping gunny bags all around poultry sheds.
Actions after cyclone
- After the event is over, drain out excess water from the standing crop fields.
- Carry out propping of sugarcane, and banana plants to keep them erect.
- Provide mechanical support to vegetables, and fruit plants to minimise damage.
- Top dressing with extra dosage of nitrogen fertilizer and foliar spray for faster recovery and to minimize the losses.
- Due to waterlogged conditions or continuous saturated condition of soils, crops tend to show micronutrient deficiencies. Hence, take up foliar spray of micronutrients immediately after cessation of cyclone.
- Harvest, and mechanically dry the produce, if attained physiological maturity.
- Don’t go for spraying of pesticides, and fertilizers.
- Don’t leave the harvested produce in open field.
- Don’t venture in the sea because of cyclonic storm, and tidal waves.
- Don’t allow the animals to graze outside.
- Don’t stay in the farm huts, and underneath of trees.