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HindustanTimes Sat,02 Aug 2014

Protect crops from heat wave say experts

PTI  Chandigarh, June 06, 2014
First Published: 23:22 IST(6/6/2014) | Last Updated: 23:26 IST(6/6/2014)

The intense heat wave conditions in northern regions now, may lead to the burning of crops, including cotton, experts said on Friday. They advised farmers to protect crops by irrigating their fields.

Blistering heat wave conditions have been prevalent in Punjab and Haryana with mercury soaring to around 42-46 degree Celsius in most parts of both states.

"The heat wave conditions can cause severe damage to cotton crop at this stage as it is most sensitive to heat wave. The intense hot weather conditions can lead to burning of plants and damage those at germination stage," said SS Gosal, director (research) of the Punjab Agricultural University. With cotton being sown at this stage, any damage to crop because of heat wave will ultimately impact the overall yield of crop, he said.

LS Brar, director of the Punjab Horticulture Department, said that the heat wave could damage crops such as Lemon, Pumpkin, Melon and baby Pumpkin. "Plants get wilted because of hot weather and this impacts photosynthesis activity," said Brar.

"Only light irrigation at this stage could save crops from heat wave. Farmers should regularly monitor their crops and apply light irrigation in fields," said Gosal.

He pointed out that sometimes seeds of Bt cotton, a genetically modified variety of cotton, would not withstand the hot summers in Punjab as they were developed in other climatic conditions.

Punjab and Haryana have targeted to bring 5.30 Lakh hectares and 6 Lakh hectares, respectively, under cotton cultivation this season.

Similarly, paddy nursery which is almost ready for transplantation could also be affected because of the heat wave. "During heat wave, there can be tip burning in paddy nursery which cannot be transplanted during sowing," he said.

Paddy sowing will start from June 10 in Punjab with 26.50 Lakh hectares land to be under the cultivation of this crop.

However, officials from the agricultural departments of Punjab and Haryana said that there have not been any reports of crop damage due to the intense heat, yet.

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