A heavy rainfall this year has benefited the kharif crops and agriculture experts are expecting a bumper paddy crop, which will be a boon for the crisis-ridden farmer community.
As per the data assessed by Hindustan Times, 241 mm rain was witnessed in 2015, while this year, 312 mm rain has been recorded so far, which is 71 mm more than that of the previous year. It has increased the humidity level and brought down the temperature. Such a climate condition is considered good for the crops, especially paddy, said officials of the agriculture department.
A good rainfall has not only met the irrigation needs of basmati and other paddy verities, but also neutralised the harmful pests.
In the current season, the area under paddy is 1,80,000 hectares in Amritsar district. As basmati-growers had to bear losses during the last season due to less price and the absence of the minimum support price (MSP), the area under basmati verities (PUSA 1509 and PUSA 1121) has decreased as compared to the previous year. While basmati verities have been sown on 1,10,000 hectares this year, non-basmati verities cover about 70,000 hectares.
If the rain factor is put aside, eventhen a better yield is expected as the area under non-basmati paddy verities, which bear more yield than basmati, has increased. Good rainfall will further held increase the yield. Apart from this, it would save one spray, said agriculture experts.
Chief agriculture officer Dr Balwinder Singh Chhina said normally the paddy crop is attacked by leaf folder, a pest which eats leaves in case low rainfall is recorded. Due to good rainfall in recent days, the incidence of leaf folder has decreased. Besides, the crop is also free from any other disease, he said.
Chhina, however, advised the growers to be conscious in spraying pesticides and shun over-dos. “The farmers should spray only when the number of pests increases. A few pests do not damage the crop, but, still some farmers spray costly chemicals, adding to their cost. They should avoid such sprays,” he added.
Agriculture development officer (ADO) Gurdeep Singh said the department conducted workshops, training camps and kisan melas time to time to make farmers aware about various farming techniques, including measurement of economic threshold level (ETO), which tells them about a number of pests, which attack the crop. He said the farmers should have knowledge of this technique to prevent unnecessary sprays.