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Posted at: Jan 18, 2018, 12:39 AM; last updated: Jan 18, 2018, 12:39 AM (IST)

Dry spell threatens Rabi crop

Over 70% cultivable area rainfed | This month state received 0.2 mm rain
Dry spell threatens Rabi crop
Alarming Dry weather may spell doom for farmers and also hit the production.

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 17

The spectre of drought looms large over mid and lower hills due to the prolonged dry spell during January, threatening Rabi crop prospects.

The Kharif crop target of 893.90 lakh MT has been achieved as the monsoon rain deficit was only 15 per cent, which is considered near normal, but the Rabi target of 751.35 lakh MT will be hard to achieve as the dry spell has caused a loss of 8 to 10 per cent as per the preliminary assessments and it could increase if the dry spell continues.

As over 70 per cent cultivable area is rainfed, dry weather could spell doom for farmers and also hit the production. The total grains and vegetable production for 2017-18 has been fixed at 33.96 lakh MT against 32.48 lakh MT this year.

Wheat is the main Rabi crop sown over 3.60 lakh hectares and the impact of the dry spell is maximum on it and if the rain god does not relent, the target of the 6.70 lakh MT wheat production will be difficult to achieve, said Director of Agriculture Des Raj Sharma, adding that the impact of dry weather was not much on vegetable, potato, oilseed and other crops.

The rain deficit is nearly 100 per cent during the month and till date, the average rainfall was 0.2 mm against the normal rainfall of 45.5 mm and farmers are worried as the local MeT office has predicted dry weather in the region for six days.

The area under pulses has been increased from 8,000 to 12,500 hectares and production target has also been scaled up from 5,000 to 45,000 MT. Further the vegetable and potato production for both Kharif and Rabi crops has been fixed at 15.40 lakh MT and 2 lakh MT against 15 lakh MT and 1.50 lakh MT and the continued dry spell can cause damage to vegetable crops also.

The post-monsoon rain deficit was also high at 46 per cent and there was not enough moisture in the soil for germination of seed and the farmers are apprehensive that if the rain or snow do not occur, their seed will go waste and it will be too late to sow the crop again.

The woes of the farmers are compounded due to occurrence of frost and severe cold wave conditions in mid and lower hills which could damage the vegetable and oilseed crops, especially mustard, which is sown in abundance.


Met predicts dry days

  • Wheat is the main Rabi crop sown over 3.60 lakh hectares and the impact of the dry spell is maximum on the crop

  • If the rain god does not relent, the target of the 6.70 lakh MT wheat production will be difficult to achieve

  • Farmers are worried as the Met office has predicted dry weather in the region for six days

  • There is not enough moisture in the soil for germination of seed. The farmers are apprehensive that if the rain or snow does not occur, their seeds will go waste

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