Wheat starts arriving in market, but higher moisture content a problem

  • Raghbir Singh Brar, Hindustan Times, Faridkot
  • Updated: Apr 14, 2015 00:00 IST

Though the wheat crop will take at least 4-5 more days to be fully ready for harvest, yet the arrival of wheat has started from some parts of the district where the soil is sandy or less fertile, that leads to early maturity of the crop.

"About 2,000 quintals of wheat arrived in the Faridkot grain market on Monday, but most of the produce has moisture content higher than the permissible limit and remains unsold. As per the norms, the produce should not have more than 12% moisture content but, due to rain, it is still higher. But, it would be ready for procurement tomorrow," said Kulbir Singh Matta, district mandi officer (DMO).

"The moisture content is a problem. Most of the wheat brought to the market has moisture content ranging from 15% to 22% which is very high and simply needs to dry up by thinning in the grain market. We appeal to the farmers to let the crop dry in the fields so that they do not have to face problems in the market. The wet produce leads to problems because the farmer insists upon to sell it while agencies do not purchase it," said Mohinder Bansal, cashier of the Aarhtia association from Faridkot.

The alleged shortage of combine harvesters during the peak season, and risk of fire during the season also creates panic among small farmers to reap the crop early. Some straw reaper owners also harvest the crop with higher moisture content to sell the wheat straw at higher rates in the beginning of the season. Tejinder, who owns a straw reaper harvested two acres of the crop on Sunday.

"I harvested my two acres of crop on Sunday but it is yet to be sold," said Tejinder Singh, a farmer in the grain market, Kotkapura.

Tejinder had sown an unrecommended variety of wheat which is locally known as Urbat and it matures early. "I only expect an average yield from it, about 20 quintals per acre, against the previous year's 24 quintals. However, the crop was not lodged by the rain or winds and stood upright," he said.

"Most of the wheat crop would take at least four or five days to be ready for harvesting if the days are sunny. As the harvesting starts, there may be a pressing demand for combine harvesters," said Parminder Singh, who owns a combine harvester.

The days of manual harvesting are gone as now most of the produce is reaped mechanically. The shortage of labour and easy availability of straw reapers has almost finished manual harvesting, which was usually done for making wheat straw.

Faridkot district has about 64 rural market yards and three main markets in towns of Faridkot, Kotkapura and Jaitu and five agencies Punsup, warehouse, Marked, Punjgrain and FCI will procure wheat from the district.

Officially, the procurement was to take off from April 10, but bad weather has delayed it by a week.

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