Untimely rains flatten wheat, chickpea crops
Rains, accompanied by strong winds and hailstorm, across North and Northwest India have flattened wheat, chickpea, mustard and other crops at several places.
Agriculture scientists, however, said the current spell of rains is beneficial for crops provided there is no wind or hailstorm. The weather office has forecast clear sky in the region till March 18, when another system might develop over northern India.
Crop destruction would be a severe blow to farmers as they have already suffered due to poor monsoon rainfall in the past two years and severe damage to the intervening rabi crop last year, which perished under hailstorms and waterlogging.
“Strong winds and rains have flattened standing crops of wheat in many districts. Girdawari (process to assess crop losses due to poor weather) has been ordered in some blocks in Amritsar,” said Gurdial Singh, agriculture director in Punjab. The damage would be minimal if the weather remains clear over the next few days, Singh said.
According to Singh, waterlogging has been reported in fields that were irrigated in the past few days. The damage is more in areas where farmers have gone for early sowing of wheat, he added.
Reports of flattening of standing wheat crop have come in from most districts in Punjab, including Pathankot, Jallandar, Muktsar, Patiala, Barnala, Kapurthala and Moga. In Haryana, strong wind has affected wheat and mustard crop in Bhiwnai, Karnal, Hisar, Faridabad, Sirsa, Ambala, Rohtak and Kaithal. The damage is more in case of mustard crop that is nearing maturity. Ajay Jakhar, chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj, said there was no hailstorm in his village (in Punjab’s Fazilka district), but there was widespread damage to crops in the neighbouring Sri Ganganagar district of Rajasthan.