Water Absorbing Polymer to combat above-normal summers and below-normal monsoon

With IMD forecasting above-normal heat wave conditions from March to May and ABM declaring a possible below-normal monsoon, Potassium Polyacrylate based water gel may be the key to unhindered Kharif crop in India in 2017.

AS per the latest weather forecast by Indian Meteorological Department, the country is expected to experience an above-normal summer in 2017 with mean temperature to rise up by 1.0°C. The heat wave may last throughout the summer planting season that can greatly hamper seedling natality and Kharif harvest. To make matters worse, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecasted a 75% likelihood of an El Nino on the Pacific that can directly reduce the monsoon intensity on the Indian Subcontinent.

Since Kharif is the major crop season and monsoon is vital for the farming sector which is greatly dependent on rain-fed agriculture, predicted anomalies in weather can significantly delay summer planting of crops like paddy, cotton, pulses, soyabean and groundnuts. In this regard, the Agricultural Meteorology Division of IMD has been consistently trying to implement weather forecasts and advisories through the Ministry of Agriculture; Department of Agriculture & Cooperation on various moisture saving methods during water scarce conditions.

One such method proposed is the use of water absorbing material to retain soil moisture along plant root zone for prolonged periods to combat drought stress and reduce irrigation frequency without compromising plant growth. Such materials are called Super Absorbent polymers (SAPs) and have been known to absorb and hold water several times their weight along with dissolved nutrients in soil. SAP for agriculture can greatly reduce costs in terms of irrigation expenses as well as reduce crop mortality and need for pesticides and fertilizers. SAPs are also called hydrogel due to their superior high moisture retention and release capability.

Alsta Hydrogel for plants is a water absorber with a potential to absorb water 400 times its own weight. It is a Potassium Polyacrylate based granular non-toxic polymer and soil conditioner that can be used easily in all types of soils and with all types of crops to greatly reduce irrigation frequency and loss of soil moisture by leaching and evaporation. Alsta hydrogel also reduces quantity of fertilizers and pesticides that are applied on a day to day basis.