Govt committee to monitor high temperature impact on wheat crop

Delhi on Monday recorded season's hottest day at 33.6 degrees C

Sanjeeb Mukherjee New Delhi
Photo: Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

Delhi recorded the season’s highest temperature of 33.6 degree Celsius on Monday, even as the Centre indicated that it had set up a committee to monitor the impact of the rise in temperature on the wheat crop.
According to some meteorologists, temperature in Delhi on Monday was among the highest in the last 10 years and could signal the early onset of summer this year. The temperature was recorded at Delhi’s base Safdarjung Observatory.

The India Metereological Department meanwhile in its late evening update said that tthe maximum temperature is likely to remain above normal over many part of the northwest west India by 5-7°C during next three days.   
It warned that this higher day temperature might lead to adverse effect on wheat as wheat crop is approaching reproductive growth period, which is sensitive to temperature. 

"High temperature during flowering and maturing period leads to loss in yield. There could be similar impact on other standing crops and horticulture," the met department said. 
In its advisory to farmers, it urged farmers to regularly check if crop appears to be under stress, light irrigation can be provided. 

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To reduce impact of higher temperature, add mulch material in the space between two rows of vegetable crops for conservation of soil moisture and maintaining the soil temperature, it said. 
Meanwhile, on the panel, Union Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja told reporters that the government had set up a committee to monitor the situation arising due to increase in temperature on the wheat crop. “The committee will issue advisories to farmers on adopting micro irrigation,” he said.

The committee, to be headed by the agriculture commissioner, will also have members from Karnal-based Wheat Research Institute and representatives from major wheat growing states, he added.
The secretary, however, said the rise in temperature won’t impact the early-sown varieties. He said heat resistant varieties too have been sown on large tracts this time.

On the temperature in Delhi, Mahesh Palawat, vice-president of meteorology and climate change at private weather forecasting agency Skymet, said the rise in temperatures in February was unusual.
He said the maximum temperatures at most places over Himachal Pradesh, western Rajasthan, parts of western Himalayas, parts of east Rajasthan, Saurashtra and Kutch, Konkan and Goa as well as at one or two places over Uttarakhand and Gujarat were significantly above normal.

“The two weather factors that we (Skymet) can identify for this unusual rise in temperatures is that though successive western disturbances are approaching western Himalayas they are not giving any significant rain or snow. Secondly, the gap between these western disturbances is very less. Therefore, the cold winds from north are not setting in, which would have arrested the rise in temperatures,” Palawat told Business Standard.
Secondly, there is the anticyclone over the northeast of the Arabian Sea, which has now moved over southwest Rajasthan.

“Due to this anticyclone, hot and dry winds from Baluchistan, South Sind and Thar Desert are reaching northwest India as well as Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Absence of any significant weather activity, bright sunshine, dry and hot winds are responsible for this unusual spike in temperatures,” Palawat added.
He said Skymet does not foresee any relief for northwest, central and parts of the west coast of the country in the coming week, adding that warmer than usual temperatures will adversely impact the quality and yield of crops.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday withdrew a heat wave warning alert that it had issued for isolated places in Kutch and Konkan regions due to sea breeze leading to a drop in temperatures.
The Met office had on Sunday said that isolated heat wave “conditions are likely over Kutch and Konkan during the next two days”.

A heat wave is declared if the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40 degrees Celsius in the plains, at least 37 degrees Celsius in coastal areas and at least 30 degrees Celsius in hilly regions, and the departure from normal is at least 4.5 degrees Celsius.
Last March, the warmest March recorded in the country since 1901, heat caused a decline of 2.5 per cent in wheat yields. 

First Published: Feb 20 2023 | 8:42 PM IST

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