Characterizing Climate for Agricultural Production and Best Sowing Dates to Minimize Crop Failure: The Case of Kelte-Awelalo Woreda, Tigray, Northern EthiopiaDownload PDF
The rainfall of the study area is bimodal and had a total of 565 mm/year. However, there had been large rainfall variability between the seasons from year to year. In “Bega” (October-January) coefficient of variation (CV) ranged from 191%-249%, “Belge” (February-May) 85%-185%, followed with “Kiremt” (June-September) 50%-108%. Though, the rainfall season had less CV in compare with other seasons, it creates variability & reduction in agricultural yield. In addition, there had been also a large probability of dry spell occurrences during July (75%) & August (95%) of the main rainfall season. The average onset of rainfall was May 19 followed by an average Cessation August 28 with an average length of growing period 100 rainfall days. The long-term average maximum and minimum temperature was 280C and 110C with a cumulative growth degree days of 623Oc during grain-filling stage. This leads the crop species to had daily temperature extremes and apparent heat stress. The elevated temperature has also results in high evapotranspiration loss of 123-170 mm/month. Therefore, the optimal planting date for finger millet would be as of mid-May but for wheat, barley and “Hanfets” (mixture of wheat and barley) may be on mid-June to the first week of July.
Keywords: Evapotranspiration, Length of growing period, Rainfall onset &cessation, Temperature