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More rain predicted for next two days, Punjab farmers worried

The poor weather last week had damaged nearly 10 per cent of crop and flattened a further 10 to 12 per cent of standing crop, with experts suggesting that chances of their recovery are quite slim in light of the fresh rain.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
March 18, 2016 1:53:17 am
Punjab, farmers, Punjab farmers, Punjab rain, rain, weather, punjab weather, punjab news Farmers show wheat crop flattened by the strong winds and heavy rain last week. Express

THE WEATHER forecast of rain and winds in various parts of Punjab, over the next two days, has begun to worry the state’s farmers, already reeling under the damage caused by the three-day inclement climate last week.

The poor weather last week had damaged nearly 10 per cent of crop and flattened a further 10 to 12 per cent of standing crop, with experts suggesting that chances of their recovery are quite slim in light of the fresh rain.

Farmers are now being advised to dig trenches on the sides of their field to ensure that excess water does not damage standing crop. Dr S S Gosal, eminent scientist and a member of the board of management at Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), said that if the predicted rainfall is light and falls in intervals, it will aid standing crop which, he said, needs a little cool weather during this season for healthy grain. He, however, said that any sort of rain will prevent the recovery of crop, flattened due to the recent heavy rain and strong winds.

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“The flat crop gets partially detached from the soil and will not be able to receive nutrients from it. Even the photosynthesis process will get hampered, thus resulting in weak and stressed grain which will adversely affect the yield,” Dr Gosal said. “The flat crop is prone to protein and starch composition which will lead to moisture in the grain, affecting storage and processing. Sometimes such grain can even be affected by fungus,” he added.

Agriculture development officer Dr Amrik Singh said the slow rain will turn flat crop black due to heavy moisture. Punjab Mandi Board (PMB) vice-chairman, Ravinder Singh Cheema called for the implementation of ‘crop insurance’ to save farmers from huge losses. “Compensation fixed for crop damage does not even meet the input cost,” he said.

Punjab Agriculture director Dr Gurdial Singh said crops partially flattened can recover if bright sunshine is witnessed in the coming days. “We have seen in the past that semi-flat crop recovers in bright sunshine after heavy rain. We are hoping for the same this time too,” he said.

According to the reports received by the agriculture officials, around 7,000 to 10,000 hectares (17,000 acre to 25,000 acres) of area under wheat has been damaged, either completely or partially, in most districts of Punjab.

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