Untimely rain accompanied by strong winds in the key wheat-growing States of Punjab and Haryana on Monday has left farmers worried as it could damage crops and delay harvesting.
“Parts of Punjab and Haryana experienced rain and gusty winds this morning. There is a possibility of intermittent rain over the next two days,” said Surinder Pal, director at the India Meteorological Department, Chandigarh.
Harvesting of wheat, the main rabi crop sown from late October to December, has already started in both the States but is yet to gain momentum as rain at regular intervals during the entire winter season has delayed harvesting. The wheat procurement season in Punjab and Haryana began on April 1.
P.S. Rangi, an agriculture expert and former adviser to the Punjab State Farmers’ Commission, said the current spell of rain would not have damaged the standing crop extensively.
“However, the crop which has already been harvested and is lying in the fields may have been damaged,” he said, adding that if overcast conditions prevail and it continues to rain in the coming days, the wheat crop would absorb the moisture and harvesting could get delayed.
Punjab is expecting a bumper wheat crop touching 180 lakh tonnes this year. Last year, the wheat output was 177 lakh tonnes, according to data from the State agriculture department.
Sanju Gudeyana, a farmer leader with the Bhartiya Kisan Union in Haryana’s Yamunanagar, said rain and strong winds lashed Bilaspur, Chahrauli, Sadora and Naraingarh regions in the morning, flattening standing crops and causing extensive damage. “Farmers are at the receiving end due to this untimely rain,” he said.