High-velocity winds accompanied by a brief spell of rain which swept across Punjab on Wednesday have added to the problems of the farming community. The freak weather has come at a time when the paddy crop is being harvested and it will affect the yield. The high-speed winds led to lodging of the ripe paddy crop as well as the PUSA-1121 basmati variety, both of which are ready to be cut.
“Lodging has occurred at several places and this will have minor effect on the yield. Luckily for the farmers, the spell of rain was very brief or else the quality of the grain could have been affected,” a senior official of the Amritsar agriculture department told HT.
Lodging will also add to the input cost of the farmers as the fallen crop will have to be harvested manually. It is difficult to harvest fallen crop using combine harvesters.
Amritsar deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat said the harvesting of paddy and basmati will, however, be delayed by a day or two as combine harvesters operate best when the crop is dry.
Agricultural experts say the lodging of crop and waterlogging in fields will not only affect the quality of grain but also make harvesting an arduous task.
“Rainfall at this stage is not good for paddy. It is also going to delay the crop harvest, besides delaying the cultivation of wheat. As per the plan, wheat cultivation should begin in the last week of October but there will be delay this time,” said Gurmeet Singh Buttar, additional director, extension education, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).
“Owners of combine harvesters may charge more from farmers as it becomes difficult for machines to harvest a lodged crop and it involves more time. Moreover, the possible of discolouration of grain cannot be denied.”