Wheat grains are of uneven size and shrivelled, having no uniform colour and the moisture content is higher than the permissible limit fixed for procurement by government food agencies.
hese initial indicators about the quality of the wheat grain emerged from areas in Amritsar district where harvesting commenced on Wednesday, a day after Baisakhi.
The effect of the inclement weather conditions that prevailed in Punjab was clearly visible in the quality of the harvested grains.
The areas where harvesting began were those that had experienced less rains and hails as compared to other parts of the district. If the quality of grains in these areas got affected, one can imagine what the quality would be in the areas that were worst hit by rains and hails. The harvesting is yet to commence in such areas.
FALL IN YIELD
Balwinder Singh, a farmer at Beharwal village, who was among the first to commence harvesting in Chogawan Block, looked slightly dejected when he scooped a handful of wheat grains of ‘HD-1105’ variety. The grains were all from one field, the first one which he harvested with a combine harvester.
One look and he knew the grain quality was not up to the mark. He tossed the grains from one hand to the other and then handed these over to Balwinder, chief agriculture officer (CAO) Balwinder Singh Chinna and agriculture development officer (ADO) Gurdip Singh, both of whom had arrived at the village to get first-hand information about the wheat yield. The two officers were as curious as the wheat grower to know the extent of damage that the unseasonal rain and hail had caused.
The officials pointed to the uneven size of the grains, stating that it should have been of uniform size as the sowing in the field was done on the same day. The officials also distinguished healthy grains from unhealthy on the basis of colour.
“Shrivelling of grains occurred as the temperatures were low in March and April due to the rains, when these should have been high as this is the maturity phase. As a result the grain matured before acquiring its normal healthy size,” Chinna said, while pointing to high night temperatures in February and early March, which is the milking stage of the crop.
The CAO pointed out that the uneven size and shrivelling would lead to fall in the weight of the grains, hence the yield per acre would decline.
Chinna advised Balwinder to dry the harvested grain properly in the sun before taking it to ‘mandi’ for selling.