Rain not only affects standing crop, but also causes damage to already arrived crops in various grain markets of the state. According to experts, rain will result in increasing the moisture content in the crop, which is lying uncovered.

Untimely rains accompanied by hailstorms at several places in Punjab have raised concerns about the standing paddy crop, which may ultimately hit the state’s share into the central pool.

“Rain at this point of time is most damaging for the paddy crop, as it may lead to grain shattering, as well as flattening of standing crop,” Punjab Agriculture Director B S Sidhu told PTI in Chandigarh on Friday.

Rains, along with hailstorms, have lashed key areas for growing paddy crop including Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Nawanshahar in Punjab.

“Over 50 per cent of paddy crop (including basmati and non-basmati) in Punjab is yet to be harvested and rains at this stage will certainly affect crop yield,” Mr Sidhu asserted.

Punjab this year brought 27.50 lakh hectares of land under paddy crop and it is eyeing an output of 165 lakh tonne. Paddy lifting started on October 1 and close to 50 per cent of the total crop has just arrived in grain markets of the state for procurement.

Till now, 57.96 lakh tonne of paddy has been bought by government agencies and private millers in Punjab, an official of Punjab Food and Supply department said. Punjab this year expects to lift 137 lakh tonne of crop for the central pool.

Paddy sown over 4 lakh acres in Punjab and Haryana was damaged in heavy rains in July earlier this year. Rain not only affects standing crop, but also causes damage to already arrived crops in various grain markets of the state. According to experts, rain will result in increasing the moisture content in the crop, which is lying uncovered.

Reports pouring in from various grain markets have suggested that heavy paddy arrival has choked the grain markets in the state, forcing farmers to wait for several days for their crop being bought by agencies and millers.

Significantly, experts have already predicted a drop in paddy yield of Punjab by 5 per cent this year, on account of not sowing high yielding variety PAU 201, coupled with reduction in plantation area and inclement weather conditions.