Heat wave in Northern India causes anxiety for harvest-ready wheat farmers

India Meteorological Department (IMD)’s prediction of continued heat wave across the Punjab and Haryana with no respite for the next five days will reduce the quality of harvested wheat since the grain thrives in cold weather

Both Punjab and Haryana States are major contributors of wheat to the central pool. Unusual warm weather conditions, accompanied by a prolonged dry spell in Punjab and Haryana have left farmers and experts concerned, who fear that prevailing climate conditions will not just harm the quality of the ready to harvest wheat crop, but could also delay and increase the cost of cultivation for sowing cotton, the summer (kharif) season crop.

Mostly because more water will be required for irrigating and that would increase the input cost, especially in the regions which lack irrigation facility.

The maximum and minimum temperatures have been hovering appreciably above normal in most parts of Punjab and Haryana, and any respite is unlikely in the coming days. The prevailing maximum temperature is 7-9 degrees celsius above normal over Haryana and 8-9 degrees Celsius over Punjab.

Wheat is typically a temperature-sensitive crop, which thrives in cold conditions. A warm temperature is required only during the harvesting. But this year, the temperature has been unusually higher in comparison to the previous years and due to this sudden rise, the ripening process has advanced, disturbing the growing pattern, which has shriveled the grain and will impact the yield and quality. The size and colour of the grain have already suffered damage so returns from the yield are likely to drop significantly.

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