The continued accumulation of heavy frost on plants for the past few days is feared to have damaged 75% of the tomato crop in the district, while potato growers may have suffered losses over 20%.
Information gathered by Hindustan Times on Wednesday showed that while wheat growers are happy due to the rain and ongoing chilly weather, farmers who had sown vegetables fear losses in the season.
According to the Karnal-based Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), on Wednesday 7.2mm rainfall was recorded here, while the minimum temperature was 10.2° Celsius. This month, nearly 37mm rainfall was recorded in the city.
District horticulture officer (DHO) Madan Lal said nearly 3,600-hectare land was under tomato cultivation in Karnal.
“This season, we were expecting a total production of 94,000 metric tonnes (MT), but the field inputs said nearly 70 to 80% has been damaged due to frost. Similarly, potato production is also feared to have dipped by 15 to 20%,” said Lal.
Horticulture farming is heavily concentrated in villages near Taraori, including Takhana, Padhana and Shamgarh.
Lal said there was no way to prevent damage to vegetable crops from natural reasons, except indulging in protected farming, which ensures no loss in productivity due to harsh climactic condition.
“The agriculture department is motivating farmers to adopt new-age farming techniques, including polyhouses and low tunnels, on which the state government offers heavy subsidies. Sprinklers are helpful in combating the impact of frost, and farmers are gradually beginning to use them,” said the DHO.
Meanwhile, agriculture experts said the ongoing low-temperature season was ideal for wheat.
“This month, deadly yellow rust was detected in patches at three different wheat fields in Indri sub-division, but it was contained in time. The present atmospheric condition, with high levels of humidity, is favourable for the fungus that causes yellow rust, but we are fully geared for it. Farmers have been provided chemicals for timely spraying, but there is no latest input indicating the occurrence of the disease in any wheat field,” said Karnal agriculture deputy director Suresh Gehlawat.