More rainfall next week may affect crop output: IMD

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New Delhi | Published: February 9, 2019 6:05:29 AM

Rai also said the extent of damage from the hailstorm that lashed northern India on February 7 is yet to be received and wherever it is there, production loss cannot be ruled out. He said the impact of water logging due to heavy rains would be minimised since there was sunshine on the next day. Among the mustard-growing regions — western UP's Mathura, Bulandsahar, Noida, Rewari in Haryana and Bharatpur in Rajasthan — are the affected districts due to hailstorm as per initial reports from states.

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As farmers in northern states brace for another round of rainfall next week, experts said frequent showers during this time may damage chana and mustard — the main pulse and oilseed of the rabi season. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast a fresh western disturbance that will affect western Himalayan region and plains of the north-west region from February 13.

“The early-sown mustard crop in western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana is at pod-filling stage and harvesting will begin from last week of February,” said P K Rai, director of Bharatpur-based Directorate of Rapeseed-Mustard Research. So far, the mustard crop is disease-free in all the areas according to 22 coordinating centres of the directorate. Rai said that if rains persist, there can be fungal diseases which may result in premature ripening or the pods producing discoloured seeds.

Rai also said the extent of damage from the hailstorm that lashed northern India on February 7 is yet to be received and wherever it is there, production loss cannot be ruled out. He said the impact of water logging due to heavy rains would be minimised since there was sunshine on the next day. Among the mustard-growing regions — western UP’s Mathura, Bulandsahar, Noida, Rewari in Haryana and Bharatpur in Rajasthan — are the affected districts due to hailstorm as per initial reports from states.

Director of Kanpur-based Indian Institute of Pulses Research, N P Singh, said the pulses grown areas have not received hailstorm and the rains will help both chana and masur crops. Officials in Madhya Pradesh, the largest producer of chana, said the overall production may not be impacted and may be same as last year’s level of about 54 lakh tonne. The hailstorm and rains are very localised in a few villages and the major producing districts are not affected, the officials said.

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The weather bureau also said that another western disturbance may affect western Himalayan region from February 10, but the rainfall belt has further shifted eastwards now and thunderstorms, hailstorms at isolated places are likely over east and north-east India on February 10-11.
The wheat crop, the main cereal of rabi, may not have been affected from the hailstorms, agriculture scientists said, as it is still in late-tillering (production of multiple side stems) stage. The crop is yet to reach the crucial flowering and pollination stage, so there is no danger to wheat, they added. If the temperature continues to be low as predicted by IMD, it will help wheat productivity.

Meanwhile, the crop acreage in the current rabi season is down by 4.26 percent at 610.92 lakh hectare as of February 8 compared to the year-ago period, agriculture ministry said. The sowing area under wheat has reached at 297.54 lakh hectare as of Friday against 299.84 lakh hectare in the corresponding period last year. Pulses coverage is down by 6 percent at 155.12 lakh hectare while oilseeds area at 80.4 lakh hectares a tad below last year’s 80.98 lakh hectare.

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