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Farmers of Punjab, Haryana & MP asked to defer harvesting

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New Delhi, March 18: As unseasonal rains and hail are expected in the next few days due to western disturbances, India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday advised farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh to postpone harvesting of wheat and other rabi crops.
In case of matured crops, the IMD has advised farmers to harvest crops like mustard and chickpea in some states at the earliest and store them at safe places. Farmers have also been asked to withhold irrigation to wheat crop to avoid lodging.
In the last 24 hours, IMD said light/moderate rainfall and thundershowers were observed over most parts of the country. Even hailstorm was observed over Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, West Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rayalaseema in Andhra Pradesh and North Interior Karnataka in the last 24 hours.
In its latest forecast, the IMD said isolated thunderstorm, lighting, squall and hailstorm is expected over Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh on March 19; over West Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and East Rajasthan on March 20; and over Uttarakhand on March 21.
The likely strong wind/hail may damage standing crops, injure people and cattle at open places, and partial damage to vulnerable structures due to strong winds, it said.
In this likely scenario, the IMD advised farmers to “postpone harvesting of crops in Punjab, Haryana and West Madhya Pradesh; if already harvested, store at safe places to avoid losses.” Farmers have also been asked to withhold irrigation to wheat crop to avoid lodging.
Rajasthan farmers have been advised to carry out harvesting of matured mustard and chickpea at the earliest store them in safe place.
Similarly, east Madhya Pradesh farmers have been asked to harvest mustard, chickpea and wheat immediately and store them in a safe place.
In Maharashtra, farmers have been asked to harvest wheat, pulses and grapes immediately.
“Postpone harvesting of crops in Marathwada. Use the skirting bags or aluminium-coated paper for grape bunches to protect from rains. Use hail nets to protect orchards,” the IMD added.
Speaking to PTI, Rajbir Yadav, wheat breeder at Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), said the current unseasonal rains, hailstorms and gusty wind are not good for the standing wheat crop and could impact its yields.
Wheat is a main rabi (winter) crop and harvesting has already started in some parts of the country. The government has projected a record wheat output at 112.2 million tonne for the 2022-23 crop year (July-June). (PTI)

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