Torrential rains accompanied by hailstorm affected standing potato crops at Nanjanad and nearby places like Kappathorai, about 15 km, from here on Tuesday.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Wednesday, Joint Director of Horticulture N. Mani said that the hailstorm, which was unusual for this part of the year, badly damaged potato crops of about 250 farmers over 300 acres.

Pointing out that the crops were about two months old, he said that they had reached the bulking stage. In about 30 to 40 days, they would have been ready for harvest.

Though the rainfall recorded at the Nanjanad farm of the Horticulture Department was only 22 mm, the accompanying hail stones had broken the stems of the plants. Hence, chances of recovery were poor.

To a question, Mr. Mani said that the financial loss per acre would be about Rs.50,000.

He added that if the wet weather continues, potato crops in various places would be affected by late blight disease and tea bushes by blister blight.

In view of the weather, the main lawn of the Government Botanical Garden here will be cordoned off for about a fortnight.

Heavy rains flooded low-lying areas at Pandhalur and surroundings like Athikunna. Storm water also damaged a few houses.

Rainfall

During the 24 hour period ending 8.30 a.m. Wednesday Burliar recorded 50 mm rainfall, Coonoor:- 30, Devala - 26, and Ketti - 22.

In about 30 to 40 days, the potatoes would have been ready for harvest, say farmers.

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