Even as farmers recover from the damage caused by the recent untimely rain, a fresh western disturbance, expected to cause thunderstorms and hail in isolated places, can spell fresh trouble for them.
Experts suggest farmers should complete their harvesting operations early depending on local factors. The untimely rain in the first week of March caused an estimated loss of around 10-30% in rabi crops.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the western disturbance persists as an upper air trough in mid-troposheric westerlies roughly along longitude 60.0°E and north of latitude 28.0°N.
The system will deepen up to the central Arabian Sea during the next 12 hours.
BP Yadav, head of IMD’s weather forecasting division told HT: “There can be scattered rain and thunder showers accompanied by isolated hailstorms in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, West Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha and central Maharashtra on Sunday. The impact will gradually decline after Monday.”
“A fresh feeble western disturbance will affect the Western Himalayan region from March 11 onwards. Rain and thundershowers will continue to occur at a few places over central India and adjoining Maharashtra.
Experts say farmers should go for early harvesting of mature crops, wherever possible, to prevent further loss.
“Farmers who had sown early should try and harvest their crops, including wheat and mustard, at the earliest. Irrigation channels should be cleared so that there is no inundation of water in the field. All farmers should inspect their plants and uproot damaged fruit crops. Wherever the plant is lodged, efforts should be made to give it mechanical support and make it stand,” said N Chattopadhyay, deputy director general, Agricultural Meteorology Division, IMD, Pune.
Regarding fruits, Chattopadhyay said not much could be done about mangoes. “Grapes and apples can be covered with hail net. Oranges, which have become mature, can be harvested.”
“Farmers should go for early harvesting operations depending on the region and the local factors,” said KK Singh, head Agromet services, IMD.