Hot days ahead but augurs well for farmers, says weatherman

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) The pre-monsoon rains will be negligible this season leading to excessive heat in April and May, but this augurs well for farmers, weather analysts have said on Tuesday.

The India Meteorological Department has already declared heatwave condition in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. On Monday, Barmer in Rajasthan sizzled at 44 degrees Celsius.

The excessive heat is being attributed to low weather activity, however this is good for farmers, meteorologists said.

According to private weather forecaster Skymet, unlike 2013 and 2014 crisis, this year's Rabi crop is safe as the current weather pattern shows deficient pre-monsoon rain, which would lead to excessive heat.

"The current pattern shows the summer would be harsh and the pre-monsoon rain would be low... the Western Disturbance could lead to drizzling in the beginning of April, but overall effect would be low over the major agricultural belt," Mahesh Palawat, Skymet Director, told IANS.

Western Disturbance is a storm system originating in the Mediterranean and Caspian Sea, under whose influence northwestern regions of the Indian subcontinent get rain or snowfall.

Heavy pre-monsoon rains in April and May lead to loss to Rabi crop such as wheat, chana and arhar dal. The huge loss to arhar dal production in 2014 was said to be a major reason behind the surge in price of the tur or arhar dal in 2015.

The pre-monsoon rain with winds and occasional hailfall in April and May in 2014 caused loss of the wheat and arhar yield that year.

The mango production in Uttar Pradesh was also hit by heavy winds in May 2014, which caused the loss of early fruiting.

"In 2014, entire arhar and wheat crop was damaged due to heavy rains and hails... Most of it occurred at the time of harvest. If rains are light, then its not a problem, but heavy rains cause a lot of issues," Umesh Chandra Pandey, a progressive farmer based in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, told IANS.

The harvest period of the Rabi crop is from April last week to May first week.

--IANS

kd/py/vt