Wheat Growers In Punjab, Haryana Fear Crop Loss As Temperature Hits Above-normal Range

Wheat Growers In Punjab, Haryana Fear Crop Loss As Temperature Hits Above-normal Range

Updated: 1 month, 4 days, 10 hours, 56 minutes, 27 seconds ago

Parwinder Singh, a farmer from Punjab's Kapurthala district, like many wheat growers in the state, is fearing loss of crops due to above-normal temperature in the past few days.

Singh, a farmer from Talwandi Mehma, said at this time of the year, "the crop does not need very warm days. If temperatures continue to remain above normal for several days, it can adversely impact the wheat crop".

While the maximum temperatures in Punjab and Haryana have been hovering above normal limits for several days, minimum temperatures too had registered an increase. But for the past two-three days, the minimum temperatures have been hovering close to normal range.

Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said, "Sudden rise in temperatures and their continuation for several days can impact the grain quality and yield." However, Kokrikalan said that good thing is that during the past couple of days the minimum temperatures have seen a slight fall and mornings are cooler.

"Still, warm weather prevailing at this stage during the afternoon hours is a major concern," he said.

Haryana agriculture minister J P Dalal told PTI as of now the situation is not alarming though farmers have been advised to be ready to take measures like light irrigation in case the maximum temperatures keep on rising in mid-March.

"There is no cause for any alarm yet," Dalal said.

In Punjab and Haryana, which together account for 25 per cent of India's wheat production, late-sown wheat is in the flowering stage, while the early-sown lot is in the milking stage.

Gurvinder Singh, Director, Punjab Agriculture, also said there is no need for alarm yet.

"We are advising wheat growers to apply light irrigation as per requirement.

"Farmers who have the facility of sprinkler irrigation can irrigate their field with sprinkler for 25-30 minutes in the afternoon in case of further rise in temperature," he said.

The director, Punjab agriculture, said the farmers who have sown wheat using the mulching method won't have to face much impact of rise in temperature.

In 2022, wheat production had fallen in Punjab, which had witnessed abnormally high temperatures in March.

If during grain formation stage, weather remains quite warm for several days then it leads to shriveled grain and affects crop quality, Singh said.

He said last year wheat production in Punjab was 148 lakh metric tonne, which was 14 per cent lower than the preceding year.

"This year we have targeted the production at 167-170 lakh MT," Singh said, adding the area under wheat crop is 34.90 lakh hectares.

"Last year, there were rains in January and later temperatures increased in February and March. No doubt the day temperatures currently are hovering 2-3 degrees above normal, but night temperatures are near normal, so we are hoping the situation won't be like last year," he said.

However, "we have set up teams at district level", which will give regular advice to farmers, he said.

In case of strong windy weather, irrigation should be stopped to avoid lodging that may result in yield loss, according to the advisory issued earlier this week by Karnal (Haryana)-based ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR).

The advisory came as the temperatures in Punjab and Haryana have been hovering few degrees above normal for the past few days.

It further said in case of sudden rise in temperature, two sprays of potassium chloride 0.2 per cent at jointing and heading stage may reduce the losses.

Farmers were further advised to regularly monitor their wheat crop for yellow rust disease.