Untimely showers damage more than 25% wheat crop in Doaba

  • Parampreet Singh Narula, Hindustan Times, Kapurthala
  • Updated: Mar 16, 2015 20:36 IST

Untimely rains in the Doaba region have dashed the hopes of wheat farmers ahead of the harvest season.

Potato farmers have already borne huge losses due to the unseasonal rains.

Untimely rains measuring from 22 mm to 26 mm have lashed different parts of the region five to six times over the past two weeks damaging the wheat crop and disturbing the rotational cultivation of kharif crops leading to delay in the harvest of potato in the region.

The region has also witnessed hailstorms a few times.

According to the recent survey conducted by the agriculture department, more than 13,000 hectares of total wheat cultivated area of 1.10 lakh hectares in Kapurthala district will face damage.

Dr Manohar Singh, chief agriculture officer (CAO) Kapurthala said that 25% to 50% crop has been damaged in most of the fields while there are rare fields which have been fully damaged due to rainfalls and hailstorms.

The stagnant rain water in the fields has led to weakening of the wheat plant stems due to which they have started to wither in addition to damaging the grain and affecting their colour.

The crop which has to be harvested between mid-April and mid-May grows well if irrigation of the cop is stopped three months before harvest. But with rainfall once in a week there is a possibility that wheat production may be down by as high as 50%.

Rupinder Singh Raja, a farmer who has cultivated wheat on 20 acres, said that including expenses such as seeds, irrigation, labour, pesticides and fuel, a farmer would have spent nothing less than Rs 14,000 per acre this season, productivity on which is 20-22 quintal/area.

"Sudden rainfalls have damaged half of the crop due to which farmers will not be able to fetch their expenses spent on crop during cultivation," he said.

Raja said that according to the minimum support price (MSP) one quintal wheat sold for Rs 1,400 and a farmer earns around Rs 35,000 per acre after selling wheat and fodder out of it.

"This time farmer will hardly get the cost of production of Rs 14,000 per acre due to the damage inflicted by the rain," he said.

The only way to recoup some losses seems to be shifting other crops. "The farmers who have lost their whole crop, should substitute it by cultivating moong crop," CAO said.

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