Unseasonal rain and hailstorm in the past few days have damaged wheat crop in some parts of Punjab as well as Haryana and the Centre is closely monitoring the situation, a top official said on Monday.
“The rain and hailstorm in some districts of Punjab and Haryana have caused damage to the wheat crop. The strong wind and rain have flattened the standing wheat crop in some places,” agriculture secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak told PTI.
No damage to mustard and gram crops has been reported so far. However, the extent of loss to wheat and other rabi crops is being assessed by state governments, which are yet to submit the complete report, he said.
With the Met department forecasting more rains this week, the secretary said, the Centre issued crop advisories three days ago to state governments and was keeping a close watch on the situation.
Asked if there was any damage to horticulture crops, Pattanayak said mango crop was affected to some extent due to rains in Maharasthra in the previous week but not this week.
The current spell of rains is beneficial for late-sown crops provided there is no wind or hailstorm, he added.
On mustard crop, ICAR deputy director general (crops) JS Sandhu said there was “no cause of concern as of now” as 60-70% of the crop has been harvested. In case of wheat, harvesting has just begun in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
“If heavy spell of rains or hailstorm occur in the coming days, similar to what had happened in the last year, then it would be a cause of worry,” Sandhu said.
Last year, unseasonal rain and hailstorm during March-April period had damaged the wheat crop significantly, resulting in sharp fall in production by 9.32 million tonnes. The quality of wheat was also hit forcing the government to relax norms for procurement of the grain from farmers for the central pool.
Wheat output is estimated to rise to 93.82 million tonnes in the 2015-16 crop year (July-June), as against 86.53 million tonnes in the previous year, despite drought.