Wheat crops in important states are damaged by rain and storms
The wheat harvest has been harmed by rain and squally weather in virtually all major producing states, but it may take weeks to determine the full degree of losses, according to preliminary assessments by a commission set up in anticipation of impending early-summer heatwaves.
According to a report released on Sunday by the India Meteorological Department, storms, rain, or hail might continue to affect almost the whole nation for another two days. There are now a number of active rain-bearing systems, it stated.
But, save isolated areas of Gujarat and Konkan in western India, no wheat-growing state has experienced crop-shriveling hot periods this month as forecast.
India is on high alert for heatwaves that might have a negative impact on the economy, particularly on agriculture, electricity production, and water supply. The issue has been reviewed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has also outlined emergency measures.
However, the weather began to change around the middle of March, and according to farmers, meteorologists, traders, and officials, the past week's gale-force winds and precipitation have harmed wheat in Uttar Pradesh, the state with the largest crop, Madhya Pradesh, the second-largest producer, Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan.
This year's crops must be adequate due to a lack of wheat and rising food prices. Compared to a rise of 16.12% in January, cereal prices increased by 16.73% in February. The highest-ever predicted wheat production by India is 112.3 million tonnes. It must be harvested by the end of March.
A scientist from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research stated, on condition of anonymity, "At this time, rain and heavy storms may harm fully matured wheat, inundate fields, but to what amount is impossible to determine before official survey data come in.
The expert said that even while harvesting would now be put off, the total losses "should balance out" since wheat crops that are not yet fully ripe "will have additional time, particularly because the danger of harvest-time heatwaves has almost entirely disappeared".
The Met department said that during the last 24 hours, there has been significant rainfall in Punjab, Haryana, Odisha, Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu.
"My harvest is down by half. According to Budh Singh, a farmer from Amritsar and a regional chairman of the farmers' collective Bharatiya Kisan Union, "winds easily knock them off when rains soil the grain.
Traders said that the price of wheat had dropped. It's similar to receiving rain on the day of a wedding celebration. The situation was typical. Grain harvests were left out in the open by farmers. Spot prices have decreased, according to wholesaler CP Gupta in Kota, Rajasthan.
According to a second official, producers in Madhya Pradesh, which has an early crop cycle, have harvested about 50% of the crop with greater yields, but there are worries about the other half.
Mahesh Palawat, a meteorologist with the private forecaster Skymet Weather Services, said that numerous areas, including Khajuraho and Bhopal, saw hail, rain, and gusts of up to 80 km/h.
Wheat, gram, and mustard crops have been damaged in Uttar Pradesh's Lalitpur, Jhansi, western UP, Banda, Chitrakoot, Rae Bareli, Amethi, and Noida. According to Lucknow University's Sudhir Panwar, the harm in Bundelkhand seems to be extensive, and farmers should get compensation.
Further rain in Haryana, according to experts, might cause the harvest to be delayed.
"At this time, we are unable to evaluate crop damage, but we have requested data from the state," the Haryana Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said. We are awaiting the final results, although there are reports of minor hailstorms in several areas of the districts of Kaithal and Rewari.
Sandeep Tyagi, a farmer in Karnal's Gharaunda, stated: "The majority of the early-sown wheat types are at the half-ripened stage; flattening of the crop at this point may cause immature wheat grain to shrink, resulting to a reduction in production."
According to proprietors of the tea farms, unseasonal periods of intense rain and hail have also hurt tea plantations in north Bengal.
The Dooars area has the most severely impacted plantations.
"We have lost at least 20% of the crop from the initial flush, which sells for the highest price. According to Shib Kumar Saria, proprietor of Rohini Tea Estate, one of the impacted plantations, harvesting began on March 10.
According to agri-warehousing agent Amit Kochhar, not all rain is negative since it will replace soil moisture after a dry, warm winter, particularly in peninsular India. There are worries that India may have an El Nino weather trend this summer that would disrupt the monsoon.