The world is becoming hotter and hotter day by day this is due to the climate change that is threatening the world. Several factors are influencing the changes in the way we live those factors are groundwater scarcity, prolonged droughts, species extinction, this makes agriculture difficult such as difficult conditions for food production and increase in the population, etc. Freshwater is scarce for agriculture and due to this; there is a shortage of food production. As agriculture is the hardest hit due to climatic changes the dryland agriculture techniques have come to our rescue. In this article, we will discuss dryland agriculture and its salient features.

What is Dryland agriculture?

Dryland farming is one of the agriculture techniques for the farming in non-irrigated cultivation of crops in the low rainfall areas.

This is the agricultural practice that is done in drought areas or scarce water areas or fewer rainfall areas. This is used by farmers to continually adapt in the areas where there is less moisture content and rainfall is normally present but scanty.

There are 3 types of dryland farming those are

Dry Farming

This is a type of crop cultivation where the crops are grown in areas where there is less than 750mm of rainfall per year.

Dryland farming

This is the type of farming where cultivation of crops happens in areas where there is higher than 750 mm per year and less than 1150 mm per year

Rain-fed farming

This is the area where the farming is done with the cultivation of crops in the areas where there is higher than 1150 mm per year rainfall.

There are 4 dryland farming techniques used that reduce evaporation,


More than 75% of the rainfall is lost through evaporation. To reduce the evaporation Mulches are used. Mulching refers to the technique by using various materials that are applied to the soil surface to prevent evaporation of the water.

Mulching conserves the soil, reduces evaporation, moderate the temperature, controls weeds, and reduce the salinity in the soil.

The plant remnants such as cotton stems can be used as stubble mulch. Straw can be used as mulches. This has a disadvantage that the pathogens from the plants can spoil the crop. So we can use plastic materials such as polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride can be used for mulching vegetables and bush crops. This comes in 3 basic types such as black, white on black, and clear. The plastic mulch reduces weeds and great for water holding capacity.


These materials are used to prevent and control crop transpiration. There are 4 types in this.


Fungicides like phenyl mercuric acetate (PMA) can be used in less quantity on the plants for stomatal closing, however, this method decreases the photosynthesis in plants

Wax-like materials

These are thin films on the surface of the leaf that prevents the escape of water by forming a physical barrier. The materials used are silicone, mobileaf, and hexadecanol. This can be applied to a limited extent as it reduces photosynthesis.


Certain chemicals such as 5% kaolin spray can be used this antitransiparant reduce leaf temperature and reduce transpiration.

Growth retardants

Here chemicals such as cycocel are used to reduce shoot growth and support root growth, this is helpful in scanty rainfall areas.

Shelterbelts and Wind Breaks

Shelter breaks are a row of trees planted to protect plants from the wind. Windbreaks are the structures or buildings that obstruct the flow of wind. These methods reduce water loss due to wind in the plant and also prevent soil erosion due to wind.

Weed Control

Weeds control prevents competition of water to the crops for limited moisture and these enhance water content in the crops. This must be done periodically. After the rain, the crops are provided the nutritive solution spray that is urea or DAP 2% solution for faster regeneration of crops after rain.

Types of Crops grown by dryland farming

Crops grown by dryland farming techniques are Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, and Cotton. The other crops such as pigeon pea, lentil, and gram are cultivated. Even a certain quantity of rice and wheat are also produced by dryland farming.

What are the major constraints faced in dryland agriculture?

Constraints and challenges in dryland farming are as follows,

  • Due to uneven and scanty rainfall, the crop production is highly uneven and results are not predictable
  • Due to monsoon setting in late and sowing of crops is delayed resulting in poor yields. Also, rains may stop every early in the season, and crops are subjected to a drought-like situation resulting in reduced crop yields.
  • Soil contents in the dryland areas also lack nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Thus crops do not get proper food along with the water.
  • Temperatures in the dryland vary very rapidly with the hot temperature resulting in forced maturity very quickly. Also, the chilling or frost injury deteriorates the grain quality.
  • In the dryland area, there is a high amount of soil erosion
  • Uneven lands with the farmer, lack of market facilities, frequent crop failure, and poor economic conditions of the farmers with a socio-economic problem related to drylands.
  • Lack of infrastructures in dryland farming results in less production of the crops.


We have discussed what dryland farming types, crops are grown is, and constraints in dryland farming. This helps not only countries like India but around the world where there is a shortage of rainfall for food production. Less availability of water and climatic changes are boosting dryland farming in many areas of the world.