Rain after paddy harvesting leaves farmers worried

Fear delay in sowing wheat in cloudy weather; pull wet straw out of their fields

Rain after paddy harvesting leaves farmers worried

Half-burnt paddy stubble is pulled by a farmer out of his field.

Afraid of delay in sowing wheat; only 15 per cent crop sown so far

Balwant Garg

Tribune News Service

Faridkot, November 16

As the region witnessed drizzling in the past 24 hours, farmers, who are afraid that they will not be able to prepare their fields for wheat sowing in cloudy weather conditions, are using manual and mechanical hay rakes to pull wet and half-burnt paddy straw out of their fields.

A thick blanket of smog is causing delay in the wheat sowing process. As the condensed drops of dew are adding moisture to the paddy stubble, farmers are unable to manage wet straw.

“After ploughing the field repeatedly, we are uprooting paddy stubble and collecting it manually,” said Avtar Singh, a farmer from Kameana village of Faridkot.

“After ploughing the fields of high moisture contents, we have to use harrows to break up lumps of the soil for leveling the field to sow wheat,” said Paramjit Singh from Kameana village.

Officials of the Agriculture Department said the sowing of wheat by November 15 was the ideal time and delay meant a loss of 1.5 quintal per acre per week.

“Usually over 90 per cent process of wheat sowing gets completed in the first fortnight of November in Punjab. But, only about 10-15 per cent of wheat crop has been sown this time in the state due to a long spell of smog and deficient sunshine,” they added.

As the active Western Disturbance and humid winds from the Arabian Sea are blowing over the region and it will stay for some more days, farmers are afraid of delay in sowing wheat.

Sutantar Kumar Airi, Director, Agriculture Department said farmers should not panic as there was enough time to sow late varieties of wheat.

However, farmers said even after preparing their field for sowing with extra inputs, rain led to formation of sand crust on the wheat seed, which had already been sown, hampering the germination and sprouting of the seed.

According to experts, farmers will have to wait for one more week as sowing in the soil with high moisture content is not practicable and good for germination of the seed.

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