Farmers wary as heat wave may hit late-sown cotton crop

Bathinda, May 28:  With the mercury soaring in the Malwa region, cotton farmers are a worried lot as the hot weather may take a toll on their fields.

Farmers and agricultural experts apprehend that the increasing temperature may lead to cotton leaves getting burnt. This may be more prevalent in fields where cotton was sown late. Incidentally, the sowing of cotton got delayed in many areas due to inadequate canal water supply in the sowing season.

GS Romana, senior farm economist, PAU, said, “The temperature has been very high for the last about a week, which doesn’t augur well for the cotton crop, particularly the one that has been sown late. Farmers going for cotton sowing now will be at the maximum risk as their crop may witness scorching. Besides, the farmers who have sown their crop using borewell water may also face the problem.”

He said the re-sowing of the cotton crop might also not work for farmers who suffer crop damage due to soaring temperatures. According to him, the cotton crop sown with proper pre-sowing irrigation using canal water may survive the onslaught of the weather.

Bikar Singh, a farmer from Mansa district, said, “We didn’t get the canal water supply in time as our village falls at the tail-end. By the time the canal water reached our village, it was too late. Now, the increasing temperature has put me in a spot. I am not sure whether to go for the cotton crop now.” He said if the weather conditions didn’t turn favourable, he may opt for paddy this time.

Kundan Singh, another farmer from Bathinda, said he was concerned that he may have to sow the cotton crop again, which would lead to increase in the production cost. Besides, the seeds will not be easily available now.
BKU Ekta Ugrahan leader Shingara Singh Mann said, “A number of farmers could not sow cotton crop in time as the government neither facilitated the canal water supply nor electricity when it was needed the most. Had the farmers sown cotton well in time, their crop could have grown enough to survive the hot weather conditions, but now its possibility is bleak.”

Last year, the area under cotton in the state had gone up from 2.56 lakh hectares to 3.83 lakh hectares. Though the Agriculture Department had aimed for 4 lakh hectares this year, as per an estimate, cotton sowing has taken place in only 2.66 lakh hectares till now.

Source Tribune India