Even as the Punjab government has decided to start the wheat procurement process by April 15, the crop is not expected to reach the grain markets before April 20. The prevailing weather conditions are expected to delay harvesting, say experts.
However, the Punjab government is keeping its fingers crossed and is hoping that the prevailing wet spell passes without causing much damage to the rabi crops, especially wheat.
Weather experts have predicted mild rain in Punjab and Haryana till April 9 followed by a dry spell of 10 days. “Mild rain will not damage the wheat crop which maturing. We hope the rain is not accompanied by high-velocity winds and hailstorm,” said Punjab agriculture minister Tota Singh. He said the prevailing low temperature would improve the yield.
The grain has started maturing but it may take a few more days to reach the harvesting stage, said a state agriculture department official. The crop is expected to mature during the dry spell of 10 days after April 9, he added. The department, which predicted a yield of 170 lakh tonnes, expects it to improve. The food and civil supplies department expects 125 lakh tonnes of wheat to arrive for procurement in the markets.
Rain, thundershowers brings down mercury
Light to moderate rain and thundershowers that lashed Punjab and Haryana on Monday and Tuesday brought the mercury down.
Ludhiana recorded the highest rainfall in the state at 19 mm in the past 24 hours. According to the Chandigarh Meteorological Centre, Patiala and Amritsar received 4 mm and 3 mm of rainfall, respectively. In Haryana, areas around Chandigarh witnessed rain with Ambala recording 6 mm of rainfall.
The rain also brought down the day and night temperatures. The maximum temperature was recorded between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius, 10 notches below normal, in most parts of Punjab and Haryana.
The weatherman has predicted light to moderate rain and thundershowers at a few places in both the states on Wednesday. The weather is likely to remain dry on Thursday and Friday. It will again turn cloudy with a possibility of rain on Saturday, said weather experts.