State Agriculture Plan – Tamil Nadu 15 temperature ranges from 23° to 42°C and the minimum from 10° to 14°C and being an interior region, the diurnal range of temperature is large particularly in summer. 126.96.36.199. Western Zone The western zone comprises of Erode and Coimbatore districts, Thiruchengodu Taluk of Namakkal district, Karur Taluk of Karur district and northern part of Dindigul and Madurai districts. The zone is located in between 9°10’ and 12° North latitude and 70°30’ to 78° East longitude. The altitude of the zone ranges from 160 to 450 m above MSL. The zone has undulating topography sloping towards east. Western and northern parts of the zone are bound by the Western Ghats bordering Kerala and Karnataka states with peaks ranging from 1000 to 2750 m above MSL. On the east, the zone is bordered by Salem, Tiruchirapalli and Dindigul districts. The southern part of the zone lies in Madurai district having contours of varying altitudes. The climate in the zone ranges from semi-arid to sub-humid with frequent occurrence of drought. Four distinct seasons are south-west monsoon (June- September), north-east monsoon (October-December), winter (January-February) and summer (March-May). The cool months of the year are November to January and the hot months are March, April and May. The annual rainfall of the zone varies from 524 to 1428 mm with an average of 780 mm. Of the total rainfall, 48.4 per cent is received during north-east monsoon and 32.2, 18.6 and 2.8 per cent during south west, summer and winter seasons respectively. The maximum temperature of the zone ranges from 26.9 to 42.1°C and the minimum from 16.2 to 24.5°C. The maximum temperature is experienced during the months of March, April and May, gets reduced gradually and reaches the minimum during the months of December and January. Being an interior region, the diurnal variation in temperature is large particularly in the dry and hot seasons. 188.8.131.52. Cauvery Delta Zone Cauvery Delta Zone lies in the eastern part of Tamil Nadu between 10°00 and 11°30 North latitude and 78°15 and 79°45 East longitude. It is bound by the Bay of State Agriculture Plan – Tamil Nadu 16 Bengal on the east, the Palk Straight on the south, Tiruchirapalli and Perambalur districts on the west and north-west, Cuddalore district on the north and Pudukkottai district on the south-west. This zone comprises the entire revenue taluks of Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts, Musiri, Kulithalai, Lalgudi and Tiruchi taluk of Tiruchirapalli district, Chidambaram and Kattumannarkovil taluks of Cuddalore district and Aranthangi taluk of Pudukkottai district. It is a deltaic zone. Cauvery is the river traversing the delta. A fair width of sandy beach occurs including the sand bars on the sea surface of the river delta, stiff clay seashores and marshy tidal swamps with mangroves. The terrain is an open plain sloping gently towards east and devoid of any hills or hillocks. The altitude ranges from 6 to 250 m above MSL. The Cauvery delta zone has diverse climatic conditions as the zone includes coastal belt as well as inland area. Cyclonic storms and high humidity occur in coastal belts. The coastal belt is favoured by high rainfall and when it proceeds to the interior, the rainfall intensity decreases. The mean annual rainfall is 1,192 mm. North-east monsoon alone contributes about 52.5 per cent of the total followed by south-west monsoon with 30.5 percent. Hot weather season accounts for 11.4 per cent while, the winter season has only 5.6 per cent. The mean maximum temperature reaches 38.6°C in the month of May and the minimum of 21.0°C in December. April to August is the hot months and November to February is the cool months. 184.108.40.206. Southern Zone The southern zone is located between 8 and 10°.55’ North latitude and 79° 50 East longitudes. It is bound on the north by Tiruchirapalli and Thanjavur districts of Cauvery delta zone, on the south by Kanyakumari district of heavy rainfall zone and the Indian Ocean, on the east by Bay of Bengal and on the west by Kerala and part of Madurai district of the western zone. The southern zone consists of Tiruneveli, Tuticorin, Virudunagar, Ramanathpuram and Sivagangai districts, Thirumangalam, Madurai south, Madurai north and Melur taluks of Madurai district, Dindigul and northern taluks of Dindigul district and Pudukottai district (except Aranthangi taluk). State Agriculture Plan – Tamil Nadu 17 This zone comprises of flat plains and intermittent hills at varying altitudes ranging upto 700 m high. The topography is undulating with the gradient sloping towards the east. The major river systems are Vaigai, Manimuthar, Sarguni, Gundar and Arjuna nadhi. The climate of the southern zone is generally semi-arid and only a small portion comes under – sub-humid. Thus, frequent drought occurs. Summer is very hot. The zone comes under rain shadow area. The rainfall ranges from 700 to 1277 mm with a mean of 876.4 mm. North-east monsoon accounts for 54.9 per cent of total rainfall and forms the main cropping season. South-west monsoon accounts for 23.9 per cent of total rainfall of this zone. Winter rainfall is negligible and summer rainfall forms 13.0 per cent. The maximum temperature ranges between 30.0° and 37.5°C, while the minimum temperature is from 20.0° to 27.0°C. The temperature is more or less similar in most parts of this zone. However, along the Western Ghats, the minimum temperature tends to be low. 220.127.116.11. High Rainfall Zone The High rainfall zone of Tamil Nadu consists of Kanyakumari district, located between 77°50 and 77°36 East longitude and 8°03 and 8°35 North latitude. It is bordered by Tirunelveli district in north-east, the Kerala State in the North West and Arabian Sea in the west and Indian Ocean in the south. Kanyakumari district extends from the Arabian Sea to the Western Ghats upto an elevation of 600 m above MSL. Two distinct physiographyic regions viz., the hill and ‘else’ region and the plains are identifiable in this district. The climate is sub- humid influenced by both the south-west and north-east monsoons, because of the proximity of sea and the Western Ghats. There is not much variation in the mean monthly temperature, which varies from 23.9°C (minimum) to 36.7°C (maximum). 18.104.22.168. Hilly Zone This zone comprises the Nilgiris, the Shervarays, the Yelgiris, the Anamalais and the Palani hills. The rainfall varies from 1000 mm at the foot of the hills to 5000 mm at the peaks. The maximum temperature varies from 15°C to 24°C and that of State Agriculture Plan – Tamil Nadu 18 minimum ranges from 7° to 13°C. The soil is mainly lateritic. The major crops are vegetables, potato and tropical and temperate fruit crops. At the foot of the hills, hill tribes raise minor millets. At higher altitudes wheat cultivation is common during winter season. 2.1.3. Agro-Ecological Systems Besides, Tamil Nadu can also be classified under four Agro-ecological systems. There are 16 zones showing distinct soil characteristics under Hill Ecosystem, Upland ecosystem, Plain Ecosystem and Coastal ecosystem. Soils of Agro-Ecological Systems i) Hill Ecosystem Deep to very deep, clayey and gravelly clay soils of the Nilgiris, hot humid to per humid (rainfall 1500- 2500 mm) ecosystem with Length of Growing Period (LGP) more than 210 days. Shallow to medium deep (with rocky phases), loamy to gravelly clay soils of south Sahayadris, hot humid / per humid transitional to moist semi-arid (rainfall 900 – 1700 mm) ecosystem with Length of Growing Period (LGP) of 210 days. Shallow to moderately deep (with rock phases) red soils of Eastern Ghats, loamy to clayey with gravels, hot moist semi-arid to dry semi-arid transition (rainfall 750 – 1000 mm) with Length of Growing Period (LGP) between 150 – 180 days. ii) Upland Eco-system Moderately deep to deep gravelly loam to gravelly clay soils of upland, hot semi-arid dry ecosystem (rainfall 750 – 1000 mm) with Length of Growing Period (LGP) between 150 – 180 days. Moderately deep to deep, gravelly loam to gravelly clay soils, semi-arid to arid transitional ecosystem (rainfall 750 mm) with Length of Growing Period (LGP) between 90 – 120 days. Deep to moderately deep, clayey black soils in association with gravelly clay red hill soils of upland, hot semi-arid dry to arid transitional ecosystem (rainfall<750mm) with Length of Growing Period (LGP) between 90-120 days.
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