The increased frequency of western disturbances in the state has delayed the arrival of wheat at 'mandis' this season. The harvesting has been delayed by nearly 15 days and as a result only 8,000 metric tonnes of wheat has been procured from 'mandis' of Ludhiana district by the district food and supplies office till now as compared to 8,700 MT wheat during the corresponding period the last season.
The recent rain and cloudy weather has increased moisture content in the grain and farmers have to wait for their wheat to be lifted till the moisture level comes down.
The official procurement of wheat in the 'mandis' has started from April 1, but as the arrival is not much the department is waiting for more wheat to come, said district food and supplies controller Sona Thind. She added that, "We can only lift clean wheat, having moisture content not more than 12%. The cloudy and rainy weather coupled with high moisture level is stopping us from lifting wheat."
District mandi officer Narinder Pal Singh said 10,726 MT wheat has arrived at the 'mandi', out of which 1,916 MT has not been lifted because of high moisture content up to 15-16%. He said farmers were provided with sufficient plastic sheets to cover each and every heap of wheat lying at the 'mandi'.
Whether the rain would cause damage to wheat, Madhumita, wheat section expert of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), said farmers need not to worry much. She said as per the situation now, there would be no loss to yield of wheat as compared to last year.
She added that the extended cold weather is good for wheat crop and moderate rain would not affect the wheat plants standing in fields as the crop has ripened by now. But she suggested farmers not to harvest the standing crop till weather clears up. She said due to high moisture in the wheat harvesting had been delayed.
"The yield is expected to be more than the last season and that's reason that the agencies are preparing to lift 8.9 lakh MT wheat from market as compared to 8.63 lakh MT last season," said Narinder Pal Singh, district mandi officer.
Rain with thunderstorm expected today
LK Dhaliwal, director, School of Climate Change and Agricultural Meteorology, PAU, said rain with thunderstorm may occur in the district on April 19 (Saturday). She said the rain was due to western disturbances and the frequency has increased this time. Dhaliwal said weather could open up with the sun on or after April 20 and thus farmers should wait to harvest till it clears up.
There was 3.4 mm rain in Ludhiana on Thursday and Dhaliwal said this much rain would not have an adverse effect on the standing crop. The rain has also brought down the minimum and maximum temperature by 2 notches making weather pleasant for city residents.
Farmers not happy with MSP
Farmer Ranjit Singh from Sujatwal village who had brought his wheat to 'mandi' said this time rain has played a spoilsport. They had to invest much on wheat as the cost of labour has increased manifold. Moreover, farmers are not happy with the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat which is `1,400. The government has increased MSP by `20 only as compared to last year, which is below expectations, said Manpreet Singh member of PAU Kisan Club.