Wheat covered in Bathinda's grain market during the rain on Friday. (Sanjeev Kumar//HT)
Wheat covered in Bathinda's grain market during the rain on Friday. (Sanjeev Kumar//HT)

Wheat growers worried as rough weather may delay harvesting, procurement

According to Punjab Agricultural University’s observatory at the Bathinda-based regional research centre, Bathinda and adjoining districts will witness rough climatic conditions till April 21
By Vishal Joshi, Bathinda
PUBLISHED ON APR 17, 2021 02:02 AM IST

Inclement weather that gripped Punjab’s Malwa belt on Friday afternoon has left farmers in the region anxious as it is likely to delay wheat procurement and harvesting by four to five days in different places.

Wheat procurement in Fazilka, Muktsar, Mansa, Moga and Bathinda was affected due to the weather.

Gurvinder Singh, joint director, department of agriculture, said even mild rainfall may cause immense damage to the standing crop at this juncture.

“An advisory has been issued to farmers through extension teams about the unfavourable conditions. Windy and rainy conditions may lead to a drop in yield and we are keeping our fingers crossed,” he said.

Muktsar district food and supplies controller Vandana Kumari said climatic conditions may delay the purchase by four days.

“An alert for rain was sent by the state headquarters and ample arrangements were made in advance to cover wheat gains in mandis. But as showers enhance moisture level beyond permissible limits in grains, we are not expecting any fresh purchase at most centres in the districts for the next few days,” she said.

According to Punjab Agricultural University’s observatory at the Bathinda-based regional research centre, Bathinda and adjoining districts will witness rough climatic conditions till April 21.

“Most parts of the region are likely to experience light showers. South Punjab may witness wind velocity of 40km/hour in the next five days,” said Raj Kumar, an agrometeorology scientist at PAU.

Fazilka chief agriculture officer Surinder Singh said that of the 2.10 lakh hectares in the district, only 40% crop has been harvested.

“Harvesting may get delayed by up to four days due to the sudden change in weather conditions. Presently, the situation is not alarming,” he said.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that state government’s purchase agencies are battling a shortage of gunny bags at different centres in south Punjab.

Hargobind Singh of Bajak village, who has been camping at Ghuddha procurement centre since April 8, also complained of non-availability of gunny bags.

He was worried that showers would play a spoilsport for farmers further delaying crop purchase due to increased moisture content.

“A district mandi official visited the centre on Wednesday and assured to start procurement from Thursday. I am worried as it is the time to start sowing cotton seeds and I am stuck at the mandi for the last eight days,” the farmer said.

Another farmer at Teona purchase centre in Bathinda said he was delaying harvest on most part of his 15-acre wheat cultivation due to slow purchase at the mandi.

“My brother has been waiting for his turn since procurement began officially on April 10. Gunny bags reached here yesterday and purchase is tardy this time,” he said.

However, Bathinda food and civil supplies controller Jaspreet Kahlon maintained that the district was getting a regular supply of gunny bags and the field staff had been instructed to expedite the procurement process.

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