An agro-climatic study was carried out in eastern Indian state of Bihar (middle Indo-Gangetic Plains) to identify optimum planting schedules and water availability of rainfed crops based on moisture availability index (MAI), i.e., the ratio of weekly assured rainfall and potential evapotranspiration (PET) for delineating safe growing period and crop production potential at micro-level in order to develop climate smart agricultural production system. For this purpose, historical weekly rainfall data for a period ranging from 30 to 55 years of 110 rain-gauge stations and normal weekly PET were employed. The assured weekly rainfall at different probability levels, viz. 25, 50, and 75%, was computed employing incomplete gamma distribution technique. The study revealed that at 50% probability (i.e., 50 out of 100 years), the sowing window of rainfed crops with MAI ≥ 0.33 ranged from 19 to 24 SMW (standard meteorological week) over different districts in Zone I (North west alluvial plains), 18 to 23 SMW in Zone II (North east alluvial plains), 23–24 SMW in Zone IIIA (Part of South Bihar alluvial plains), and 24–25 SMW in Zone IIIB (Part of South Bihar alluvial plains). The districts under Zone II recorded the earliest sowing week for starting sowing of rainfed crops, and the most delayed start of sowing was recorded in the districts under Zone IIIB at all probability levels. Kishanganj District recorded the highest duration of water availability followed by West Chamaparan District at all MAI and probability levels. In terms of longer length of water availability and higher values of MAI, Zone II appeared to be the most potential agroclimatic zone followed by Zone I and Zone IIIA. The Zone IIIB was adjudged as the least potential Zone in terms of shorter water availability period for rainfed crop production.
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Sattar, A., Khan, S.A., Banerjee, S. et al. Assessing sowing window and water availability of rainfed crops in eastern Indian state of Bihar for climate smart agricultural production. Theor Appl Climatol 137, 2321–2334 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-018-2741-9