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Himachal Pradesh: Prolonged Dry Spell Drying Up Rabi Crops of Kangra Farmers; Threats to Citrus Fruits

Farmers and fruit growers in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district are concerned because the prolonged dry spell has not only dried up their rabi crops such as wheat, barley, and mustard, but also threatens to damage their citrus fruits.

Shivam Dwivedi
Lack of rain has had a negative impact on non-irrigated areas, and if the situation continues, the crops could suffer massive damage.
Lack of rain has had a negative impact on non-irrigated areas, and if the situation continues, the crops could suffer massive damage.

The farmers had planted these crops near the end of October when it had last rained. There has been no rain since, and the region remains drought-like. Most agricultural land in the Kangra Hills is rainfed, with few irrigation facilities. Wheat alone is planted on approximately 92,000 hectares in the district.

 

According to agricultural experts, the lack of rain has had a negative impact on non-irrigated areas, and if the situation continues, the crops could suffer massive damage. Orange, kinnow, and galgal crops have also been affected, as the fruit is not growing in size, shape, or quality.

CSK Palampur Agriculture University has advised farmers in the state to sow wheat varieties later. The total rainfall received in the state during the 2022-2023 rabi season until December 22 was 58 mm, which was 13% less than the normal of 66.3 mm, Prof HK Chaudhary, University VC, informed media.

 

Rainfall in Bilaspur, Mandi, Shimla, and Sirmaur has been about 20% above normal, while Chamba, Kangra, Kullu, and Solan has been about 19% below normal. Hamirpur, Kinnaur, and Lahaul-Spiti districts received deficit rainfall ranging from 20% to 59% below average, while Una received more than 60% below normal precipitation.

VL 892, HS 490, and HPW 373 are among the wheat varieties recommended for sowing (Him Palam Gehun 3). Furthermore, for wheat sowing, farmers should use a higher seed rate of 6 kg per kanal or 150 kg per hectare.

 

He also stated that due to the prolonged dry spell, there was a risk of aphid insect attack on the wheat crop. Farmers should monitor their crops regularly and use the recommended insecticides to control the pest. Similarly, aphid incidence in vegetables, particularly cole crops, can increase and must be monitored and controlled.

 

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