Potato ready for harvest in Punjab may be affected by late blight
The hailstorm that hit parts of northwest India on Wednesday and Thursday has hurt the standing mustard crop and vegetables, particularly peas and potato, but will be good for the rabi wheat crop.
Late blight feared
The potato crop ready for harvest in Punjab may be hit by late blight, a disease that the growers dread.
Farmers from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan told The Hindu that the mustard crop in Rajasthan and Haryana has been affected, whereas vegetables grown around Delhi and parts of Uttar Pradesh and potato in Punjab have been damaged in the storm.
Drop in temperature, moisture will help
An agriculture scientist told The Hindu that the drop in temperature and moisture will help the standing wheat crop which is still to flower.
But the crop that has flowered, such as mustard (in Rajasthan and Haryana), would have suffered in the storm.
“The cold wave will be beneficial for the tiller formation in the standing wheat crop. Fortunately, the crop has not reached the grain formation or the flowering stage and will be able to withstand the hail,” he added.
According to farm scientists, the “winter rain” is normal and usually good for vegetative growth, fodder and grass.
A meeting of the Crop Weather Watch Group in the Ministry of Agriculture on Friday was informed about concerns in the sowing of wheat and pulses which is lagging behind compared to last year in the corresponding period.
The area under wheat so far is 294.98 lakh hectares compared to 295.93 lakh hectares sown last year till this time. Pulses have been grown in 142.33 lakh hectares as against 143.26 lakh hectares in the corresponding period last year.
However, the total area under rabi crops is slightly higher this year at 592.02 lakh hectares as against 591.56 lakh hectares in the corresponding period last year.
The area under coarse cereals and oilseeds, however, is higher than last year.
As the India Meteorological Department predicts further rain and thundershowers at many places over northwest India, the Agriculture Ministry is watching the situation.