Essay on Weather Risk and Agriculture

2021-06-02 07:54:17
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University of Richmond
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Weather refers to the changes in the atmospheric conditions that are short term in nature. The changes that are in terms of temperature, wind, precipitation and sunshine hours affect agriculture in terms of quality and quantity of the produce. In the world out of the total loses of crops and livestock , most of it is caused by the effects of climate and weather such as untimely rains, frost, storms, hail , flash floods and drought. The weather and climatic conditions affect many aspects in the livestock and crop production as well as natural resource that or the base of agriculture. They have a direct bearing on the pollution of water and air, the erosion of soil caused by wind and water, the occurrence and severe effects that come with drought. How crops grow, the production of animals, the presence and extent of some pests and diseases , how often frost occurs and its severity, the dangers as a result of forest or bush fires and the losses that can occur during the storage and the transportation are dependent on these atmospheric factors.

These losses in agriculture can be minimized if information on the happenings in the weather and climatic patterns focuses on the user. Availability of such insight can lead to improvement of the quality and the amount of the agricultural yield (Shannon and Motha, 2015). There should a be focus on the on being prepared and making timely interventions as well as building the capacity for quick recovery and minimization of the residual damages as a result of the unfavorable conditions and events in the atmosphere. The advancements in the forecasting of weather both in the short run and seasonally bring significant improvement in the ability for farmers to get warnings early in addition to addition to advisories thus enabling long-term planning. Emphasis should be on having a proactive management of the consequences of the adverse conditions rather than a reactive one.

The planning for agriculture either strategic or tactical needs to put emphasize on the risks that relate to climate among others to be able to attain the goals of the producer. The managers in the farms need to have the information on the weather changes to make plans. For example, a survey of the agricultural planners in Australia found out that key decisions in the planning process are influenced by the variability of the conditions of nature at different stages (Philander, 2012). Deciding on the actions to take to deal with these is vital throughout the value chain of production in farming. For instance in the sugar industry there planning systems that determine decisions that are made at the farm that include application of fertilizers, irrigation, whether to fallow or not, how to manage pests, the preparation of land, planting and at the time of transportation and milling. The weather patterns are central in the catchment issues, that is, when managing land, water and the environmental resources. They are also considered when planning for the marketing activities such as forecasting of the crop size, the timing of when to make the supply available in the market to get best prices and shipping management.

The variability of the weather and climate is because of the interactions that occur between components in the system such as the atmosphere, the land surface, the oceans, the ice layers, the biosphere and the action of the anthrop (Leal Filho, 2013). The availability of climate data is essential to the planning and reduction of the risks that come about because of the anomalies. If it is possible to assess and forecast the impact of the changes and the danger, they pause then we can ease the effects of the variability and enable the scheduling of the activities in agriculture.

The natural changes in the atmosphere have both positive and negative impacts on the earth surface though mostly people focus on the harmful ones. Some of the constructive results are the increase in rainfall to the areas that are inland due to the tropical cyclones that occur along the coast, the fixation of nitrogen from the atmosphere by thunderstorms, the maintenance of the soil fertility at the flood plains because of floods and the germination of new native species of plants due to bushfires. The negative effects of these variations are however dominant especially when they occur to the extreme.

The regional anomalies that occur such as mesoscale and local storms that could be in form of hail cause dames to crops and even property that runs into millions in dollars annually. Tornadoes have the same devastating effect and these severe events are complex to detect as they are relatively rare in occurrence and they are hugely spatially variable. Drought is another occurrence that is the scarcity of water for the fundamental needs such as the growth of crops and rearing of livestock. It is different from desertification, which is as result of human activities such as overstocking beyond the lands capacity to support or excessive tilling. It is imperative to consider drought as a part of the natural cycle of climate and not a disaster that has no anticipation. This is because most of the impacts of this phenomenon could be mitigated if planning is done carefully and the risk managed. How the dearth is severe in agriculture depends on the level of deficiency of the rain and the moisture in the soil that has a direct consequence on the crops grow and the health of animals and people ultimately.

Floods are also another example of the extreme weather events that could be caused by changing levels of heat and precipitation. This disaster has intensified over time due to the urbanization, degradation of the environment, the continued industrialization, deforestation and overall developments of the economy (Backlund, Janetos and Schimel, 2009). The tropical cyclones such as El Nino cause agricultural losses by; directly destroying the crops, other vegetation, orchards and killing livestock, damaging of infrastructure in farms such as wells, canals and tanks and causing loss of soil fertility in the long run due to saline deposition on land.

The extreme changes in the temperature such as frost and heat waves pose a risk to agriculture. Frost occurs when the air temperature falls below zero degrees centigrade at a height that is 1.25m to 2.0m over the ground. Most of the frost appears during the nights that are calm and clear after warm, sunny days. The frostiness is a result of reduced long wave radiation that is downward from the atmosphere due to low or no cloud cover and the stratification of all the air that is near the land surface that develops when the winds are weak. The icy air flows down the slope like water making the floors of the valleys and the lower parts of the slopes cooler. The other form of rime comes from advection of icy air into an area, it appears with windward clouds, and it mostly experienced on the higher portions of slopes. The amount of destruction that frost causes to the agricultural crops and forests leads to immense losses worldwide. It is a major cause of significant reduction in the yield of vegetables, pasture, crops planted in rows and field ones, fruit trees, vines and berries and forage and silage plants.

Dust and sand storms that occur in parts of Africa, United States and other parts of the world are ensembles lifted to high heights by turbulent winds are a threat to life and health. They also impair the visibility during transportation. Precipitation that comes in the form of hailstones causes massive agricultural losses worldwide and sometimes even death. Some conditions in weather and ecology favor the breeding of desert locusts in Africa and the Middle East. These insects put the livelihood of farmers and herders in danger due to the massive destruction they cause when they swarm into a farm.

Information on the climate can benefit producers in making the forecasts for the season and improvement of their management of the changes in the climate. The data from the past patterns is crucial when planning for the production year (Ivana, Kristina and Tomislav, 2016). It enables making of long-term strategies on the crops to grow and the time to sow them to harvest them a particular period of the year. The tactical decisions that include how to plant, when and amount of irrigation carry out, how to control and how to protect the crops are made with the climatic and market forecasts in mind. For the rural producers to be self-reliant, they need skills to manage their plants and animal enterprises that have the exposure to the changing climate and minimize the losses due to drought. They need to manage the risks that are environmental, financial and market. The ways in which they can offset the risks relating to the variability of the natural conditions require a systematic approach. The climatic data has always been invaluable when making decisions on the management of the farm even in areas that the seasonal forecasts have been unreliable. The records from the past on rainfall, speed of wind or temperature have been used in determination of the optimal times to sow and harvest crops, the planning of lambing or calving for herders and irrigation periods. Supplementary information such as rainfall to date, the weight of livestock, the crop development and supplements can help the farmer to assess the season they are in and decide on the tactics to employ. There are a number of result support systems that can help to determine the probabilities of rainfall or frost and when the growing seasons should start and end. Complex systems and models can simulate the changes that occur in the soil moisture, growth of crops, requirements of supplementary feed and live weight change. For example, the Whopper Cropper method for cropping plays an important role in heartening farmers to make tactful decisions such as considering to plant crops when there is sufficient moisture in the soil and take a strategic position like designing plans for a flexible crop rotation.

The use of data from a long series of time as helps in the determination of probabilities and the risks related to frost. The United Nations through the Food and Agriculture Organization released computer programs that can tabulate the possibility of the minimum temperature that is lower than a given value in a certain time. It can also calculate the probabilities and the danger of frost damage on a particular crop, how long the growth season will last and the dates for the first frost in autumn. Biophysical models about systems in agriculture can give useful and often required information to compliment the experiments done in the field and surveys because if the validation is done well, they make it possible for the response of the system to be accessible from many places and in different seasons.

It is possible to have better preparedness for drought through an early warning system. Even though it sometimes fails to be reliable, the value it brings to both national and regional levels in monitoring and preventing the effects of drought is incomparable. In the areas that are arid, semi-arid, or marginal, the possibility of experiencing drought looms at least once in every ten years. In such areas, those who plan on the land use activities like agricultural programmers need to seek climatologic advice from the experts on the rainfall to expect. Since the dry spells, are mostly because of the combination when humans activities on the use of land and the rainfall seasons. When coming up with the plans and practices I in agriculture, it is important to consider the general water needs of each agro climatic zone separately. The crops that mature within a short period and have relativel...

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