The threat of damage loomed large over the standing wheat crop after spells of rain and high-velocity winds in various districts of Punjab on Saturday, with the agriculture department claiming to have rushed its teams to carry out field assessment.
Hailstorms in southern districts of Patiala, Bathinda, Sangrur and Barnala only added to the farmers’ worries.
Waterlogging was also reported in fields in many areas.
Agriculture experts believe that if rainfall and high-velocity winds continue in the coming days, the quality of grain will be affected, making it vulnerable to shriveling, blackening and discolouration besides resulting in a reduction in the overall yield.
Also, it will add to the moisture level of the grain.
Nearly 35 lakh hectares of land is under wheat cultivation this rabi season.
State agriculture department director Sutantar Kumar Airi said the district agriculture officers have been directed to conduct survey of fields to identify damage to the standing crop.
“We can only come up with figures related to the damage to the crop once we get field reports from the districts. I have sought a detailed report from all districts lashed by rain. The teams are taking stock of the situation,” the director said.
Satwant Singh, a farmer from Jassomajra village in Patiala district, said his crop got flattened after rain and hailstorm. “Though arrangements were made to drain out water from the fields, it is going to be a herculean task to save it from further damage,” he said.
Airi said the department is keeping tabs on weather conditions and are maintaining contact with the farmers so that the necessary steps can be taken on time.
“The rise in temperatures in the coming days will surely help the farmers overcome the possible damage to the crop. But rainfall, at this stage and the days to come, is a cause of concern,” he added.
The department has asked the farmers to not harvest their crop till it gets dry.
During the rabi season this time, the crop was in good health and no pest or yellow rust attack was reported.
Paramjit Singh, director of Punjab Agricultural University’s regional research station, Bathinda, said it is not rain but hailstorm that will damage the crop at this stage.
(Inputs from Bathinda)