Rains, hailstorms unlikely to have major impact on rabi crops: Agriculture Ministry

By: | Published: March 14, 2016 12:44 AM

Unseasonal rains and hailstorms in some places over northern states of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh during the last two days is unlikely have any major impact...

Unseasonal rains and hailstorms in some places over northern states of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh during the last two days is unlikely have any major impact on output of rabi crops such as wheat and mustard, a senior official with the agriculture ministry said on Sunday.

“The impact of rains in the last two days on the standing rabi crops is limited and localised,” Trilochan Mohapatra, Director General, Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) told FE. However, he said that possibility of rains during next couple of weeks prior to the harvesting of rabi crops may adversely impact the output.

Meanwhile, India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its latest prediction for the next two days has stated “heavy  rain  and thunderstorms are likely  in Chhattisgarh, West Bengal & Sikkim,  Assam and north eastern states such as Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura”.

The met department has also said the western disturbance along with the induced upper air cyclonic circulation which caused rainfall in the last two days likely to move gradually east and northeastwards.

However, IMD has warned “a fresh western disturbance is likely to affect western Himalayan region from 16th night and adjoining plains of northwest India from 17th March”.

During last two days rains and hailstorm had lashed some parts of Punjab and Haryana and there are reports of damages to standing crops in few places. A scientist with Ludhiana-based Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) said that the wheat crop sown early had flattened in some places in Punjab while the rains in the last two days would help the late sown wheat varieties. ”However the weather pattern during next couple of weeks would be crucial for rabi output,” the scientist from PAU said.

Meanwhile, IMD in its advisory to farmers has suggested postponing of irrigation, inter-cultural operation and application of plant protection measures and fertilizers to the standing crops in rain-hit areas of northern India.

“Harvest the matured crop immediately and keep the harvested produce at safe places. Provide adequate drainage in standing crop fields to avoid water stagnation,” the advisory has noted.

Farmers mostly in north-western states witnessed unseasonal rains during March-April last year just prior to the harvesting of rabi crops. These rains resulted in more than 9% fall in wheat output to 86.5 million tonne (MT) in 2014-15 from 95.8 MT reported in the previous.

However, the sharpest fall was witnessed in the case of mustard whose production in 2014 – 15 declined by more than 20% to 6.2 MT from 7.8 MT reported in the previous year.

These unseasonal rains were preceded by a deficient monsoon during June – September, 2014 when the overall rainfall deficit was 12% of the normal rainfall. Last year also the rainfall was deficit by 12% following which 10 states declared drought.

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