The ongoing cold wave has raised the hopes of farmers in Punjab and Haryana with agriculture experts maintaining that the wintry spell will make up for the loss in wheat yield due to delay in sowing of the crop.
In Punjab, where wheat is sown over 34.90 lakh hectares this year, experts say they are expecting a yield of 165 lakh tonnes against the last season’s 177 lakh tonnes. Last year, wheat was sown over 34.95 lakh hectares.
In Haryana, wheat is sown over 24.4 lakh hectares this year against the last year’s 25.58 lakh hectares. The state producted 123.8 lakh metric tonne wheat last season, and the agriculture department hoping to get 117.8 lakh metric tonne yield this time.
“Our target is conservative, thus there is the possibility of the yield remaining higher,” said JS Bains director, Punjab agriculture department. Lack of sunlight due to smog at the time of sowing in mid-November was a disadvantage for farmers. Now, the cold spell with enough sunlight will be a boon for the crop. Hopefully, it will cover the loss,” Bains said.
The experts had predicted a fall in wheat yield after sowing on nearly half of the to-be cultivated land got delayed and continued even after November 15, the ideal sowing time. Farmers had to postpone sowing as there was no sunlight due to smog for at least 10 days in mid-November.
Experts from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and the agriculture directorate hope the cold spell to continue beyond till March to get a good yield. “Also, some fog and frost help the crop grow,” said Bains.
Due to a mix of adequate sunlight and cold spell, photosynthesis triggers the growth of wheat plants. If this spell continues till early March, it can translate into a bumper crop, experts say.
Experts from Haryana Agricultural University (HAU), Hisar, echoed the same view. Additional director (agriculture department) Suresh Gahlawat and joint director Jagraj Dandi said while cold conditions were favourable for the crop but frost and hails were not.
IS Panwar, head, wheat section, HAU, said, “There is no threat to the crop as there is no severe frost in the state these days,” he said.