Delayed monsoon means delayed sowing. And, delayed sowing could only translate into huge losses. Paddy transplantation usually ends in June, but this year, the process is still on with about 10% area yet to be completed. But, in areas where it has already been planted, farmers are finding it hard to keep water in fields.
"I wanted to transplant paddy earlier, but my tube well wasn't working and I had to get a new tube well installed. The problem is that variety PR-118 that I am planting takes longer to mature and this may prove difficult for me to market it as it would mature at the end of the season," said Dara Singh, a farmer from Sikanwala village.
"Early transplantation of paddy has led to huge expenses, as there has been no rain so far and the saplings are drying. The farmers have to run generators to irrigate standing crops, which is a costly affair at Rs 1,500 per day. Besides, at places where transplantation was done by migrant labour, plants withered as labourers had washed roots of saplings before transplanting," said Jaswinder Singh, a farmer from Dhilwan Kalan.
Naib Singh, a farmer from Ghania village said: "In our area, about 10 to 15% transplantation is still left. Even the labourers sit idle when we fail to fill the fields with water."
"I want to transplant basmati in eight acres, but I will have to wait till it rains. In case the monsoon is delayed, I would not be able to transplant basmati, as the already-sown paddy crop needs frequent watering," said Rupinder Singh, a farmer from Bargari.
Gurmeet Singh, a farmer from Kotkapura village, is also waiting for rain to transplant paddy on his three acres.
About the erratic power supply, Dara Singh said they have been getting eight-hour supply for the last two days only. "Though the transplantation work has been delayed, yet it won't have much effect on the yield," said Kaur Singh Dhillon, chief agriculture officer, Faridkot.
But, delayed transplantation is good for groundwater, as the sub-soil water does not decline if the paddy is transplanted after June 20, he said.