Updated 12:07 pm, Nov 12, 2018

Punjab: Smog delays wheat sowing, but farmers reluctant to blame straw burning | SNE

By  THE INDIAN EXPRESS .
Nov 15, 2017

BURNING

The best period for sowing the wheat crop is about to end in Punjab. But Harjinder Singh Tanda has not been able to sow a single acre yet. Now, he is worried that late sowing will affect the yield adversely, but he has no option but to wait for some more days. The reason: there’s too much moisture in the fields, and the dense smog from crop stubble burning has prevented the sun from breaking through.

Harjinder Singh owns 15 acres land in Tanda village of Khadoor Sahib in Tarn Taran district. After paddy harvesting he sows wheat on 10 acres and green peas (matar) on five acres. By now last year, and in previous years, he had completed the sowing for wheat.
“Iss vaari dundhan ik mahina pehle he aa gaiyan te mere khet ajje gille ne, hun inan nu dhup chahidi hai par phiechle 10 dina ton dhup hi nahi aa rahi jis karke kanak di bijai nahin ho paa rahi (This time fog has engulfed our area a month early due to which my fields are quite damp and sowing in not possible without having proper sunshine to dry the fields. But there has been no sun for the past 10 days due to which sowing is delayed),” he said.
Harjinder concedes that he was among the thousands of farmers who burnt crop stubble to prepare his fields for wheat sowing quickly. “I burnt the stubble in all my 15 acres. What else could I have done. I don’t have the machinery. Everyone burnt their fields,” he said.
Now, he is worried about the consequences of late sowing. “Sowing after November 15 means less yield. Late sowing could decrease yield by two quintal. Timely sowing gives us 22 to 24 quintal wheat per acre,” he intoned. After harvesting peas on five acres, he sows a late wheat variety on this land too in December. “But the yield of that is just 16-17 quintal per acre against 22-24 quintal/acre which we get from timely sowing of wheat,” he said.
According to the Agriculture department the best wheat sowing time in the state is from October-end till November 15 (after this period yield gets affected). Officials confirmed that wheat sowing was set back because of the dense smog due to stubble burning by farmers.

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