Smog effect: Delay in sowing of wheat may hit crop yield, only 40% of target met so far
TARN TARAN: The delay in sowing of wheat in Punjab, caused by smoggy weather and a dip in temperature, may hit the crop’s yield this season.
So far, only 40% of the total area expected to be under wheat has been sown.
Talking to HT, agriculture director JS Bains said, “We expect a total of 34.90 lakh hectares under wheat cultivation by November 14, but the crop has been sown over only 14 lakh hectares yet.”
He said the period from November 10 to 15 is the ideal time for the cultivation of wheat as it ensures optimum production.
“Any delay beyond this implies a loss of 1.5 quintal of production for a week’s delay. The delay was due to lack of sunlight as smog has engulfed most parts of the state. However, delayed winters conditions in March-April can compensate for the loss,” he added.
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) vice-chancellor BS Dhillon also said that the delay in wheat sowing beyond November 15 means loss of productivity.
He suggested farmers to avoid burning paddy stubble as it leads to delay in wheat sowing.
Tarn Taran district chief agriculture officer (CAO) Partap Singh said, “Only around 30% farmers have so far sowed wheat in the district. The story is similar in other districts also. Though farmers can sow the crop till December 10, it will affect the produce.”
He added, “After the paddy season is over, fields are wet with water. Ideally, there should be ample sunlight to dry fields, which is not happening. Till the weather is cleared, farmers have the reason to be worried.”
He said with late sowing and less yield, income of farmers will also take a hit.
Surjit Singh, a farmer of Bhura Kohna village in Tarn Taran, said, “PAU suggests PBW625, HD2967 and HD3080 seeds for sowing wheat, but these varieties were good only till November 15 and the agriculture department has not yet received PBW550 seeds, which can be used for late sowing.”
“The change in weather has farmers worried as the prevailing low temperature has not allowed enough sunshine to make fields suitable for sowing wheat,” he added.
“Last year, I sowed wheat in the second week of December. This led to low yield. On other hand, my neighbours sowed the crop in the first week of November and got comparatively higher yield,” Mukhtar Singh, another farmer said.
“The first week of November is most favourable to sow wheat. With each passing day, we are losing on precious time,” said Avtar Singh, a farmer of Bhikhiwind.
The district CAO, meanwhile, claimed residue burning is not the reason behind smog in Punjab and Haryana. He said, “Climate has been changing in western countries and we cannot cite stubble burning as the reason behind the change in weather this year.”
The delay in wheat sowing beyond November 15 means loss of productivity. Farmers should avoid burning paddy stubble as it leads to delay in wheat cultivation. BS DHILLON, PAU vice-chancellor