Against the country-wide trend of 25 per cent less kharif sowing due to dry June month, Punjab state has shown opposite trend and has already completed the 52 per cent sowing of Kharif season crops, which is 20 per cent more compared to the last season. Thanks to over 15 lakh tubewells in Punjab and availability of canal water mainly in Malwa region.
Punjab Agriculture Department had targeted to sow 36 lakh hectares area under Kharif crops which included sowing of rice on 29 lakh hectares, including six lakh hectares Basmati rice and 23 lakh hectares paddy, four lakh hectares under cotton, 1.60 lakh hectare under maize, one lakh hectare under sugarcane, and around 40,000 under pulses, ground nut and sesamum.
The data sourced from the Punjab Agriculture Department, till June 24, Punjab had completed Kharif sowing on 18.68 lakh hectares, which is nearly 52 per cent of the total sowing, against the 11.50 lakh hectares on the same date last year which was around 32 per cent of the total kharif crop sowing. Mainly Paddy, pulses (moong, mash and arhar), maize, sugarcane, cotton, groundnut and sesamum crops are sown during kharif season.
Till June 24, the transplantation of paddy was completed on 12.87 lakh hectares, which is a way higher the 6.87 lakh hectares sown during this period in 2018. It also implies that Punjab has already completed paddy sowing on 56 per cent of the targeted area.
“We have completed paddy sowing at least four lakh hectares more between June 25 to June 29 and now only 25 per cent sowing of paddy is left,” said a senior Agriculture Department officer.
The cultivation time of Basmati would start from the second week of the July month.
Among other kharif crops sugarcane too had shown upward trend as 95,002 hectares had been sowing against 95,000 last year, pulses too had recorded over 5000 hectares sowing against 4000 hectares last year.
Cotton too has recorded sowing on over four lakh hectares against 2.67 lakh hectares last year. Only maize has show little downward sowing with trend at 67,000 hectares against 84,000 hectare last year.
As far as paddy sowing goes, Sangrur district topped with 1.91 lakh hectares sowing till June 24. Patiala is at the second place with 1.39 lakh hectares, while Ferozepur is third with 90,000 hectares.
Only Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Mohali and Ropar districts have been doing slow transplanting and covered the area close to its last year’s corresponding figures which is good for state.
Rest all districts have achieved double the area putting huge pressure on the ground water as paddy sowing needs stagnate water up to two to three inches for over six weeks continuously.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department, Chandigarh office, Punjab has received 50 per cent less rain during June. Only Fathegarh Sahib for 46 per cent surplus rain in June, while Ludhiana and Bathinda got Normal rain. All other districts are facing deficit rain.
Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) officials said that due to heavy sowing of paddy in June month the toll on ground water is too big.
“No doubt that canal water is available in the Malwa region, but most of the farmers in Punjab prefer tubewell water because power supply to run over 14 lakh electrical tubewells is free to them,” said another PAU officials, adding that they had already suggested to extend the date of paddy sowing till June 25 but government instead had advanced it by one week this year which is not a wise decision. Running of 15 lakh tubewells on a single day would extract 4.80 lakh million liter in a day.
Agriculture Director, Punjab, Dr Sutantra Airy said that though there are several short paddy varieties available now in the state which can be sown in the month of July, but still farmers prefer varieties that require early sowing.