Rainfall, thunderstorms pose threat to wheat crop

April 8th, 2009 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, April 8 (IANS) Heavy rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms in Chandigarh and in the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh is posing a serious threat to the ready-to-harvest wheat crop in the region, officials said Wednesday.
“There would be certain damage to the standing wheat crop due to this heavy rain and strong thunderstorms. We have reports that apart from heavy rains today (Wednesday), there were thunderstorms at some places of the state,” Punjab Agriculture Director Balwinder Singh Sidhu told IANS.

Asked about the extent of the damage, Sidhu said: “It’s still raining in the region and it’s too early to assess the exact damage to the crop. At this stage, these thunderstorms with high velocity winds are the biggest threat to the wheat crop.”

A senior official of the agriculture department here said this untimely rain was also hampering the wheat from reaching the big grain markets in the country. The rain has slowed down the procurement process of wheat, which has started April 1.

Added Sanjay Kumar, a scientist at the National Wheat Research Centre here: “Widespread rain accompanied by high velocity winds and hailstorm in mid and low hills has caused damage to the wheat crop.”

He said if the rain persisted, it could damage more than 20 percent of the total crop.

According to officials, the region will get increased rainfall in the coming days.

“There is a possibility of increased rainfall and thunderstorms in Himachal Pradesh and in most of the regions of Punjab and Haryana in the coming days,” said Chatar Singh Malik, director of meteorological centre, Chandigarh.

He said the rain would “definitely affect the quality of the final product. The wheat grains would lack their usual lustre and carry moisture with them leading to problems at the procurement stage”.

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