Ahead of wheat sowing and with the beginning of other crops of the rabi season (October to March), Punjab has just 22% of the required urea, one of the major fertilisers for both rabi and kharif crops. The state requires around 13.50 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) urea for rabi season when nearly 35 lakh hectare area, which is 85% of the total rabi crops area in the state, is to be brought under wheat and over 6 lakh hectares under other crops, including oil seeds, potato, winter maize, grams and vegetables.
Punjab was to receive 2.5 LMT urea in October but because of ‘rail roko’, it could not be transported.
According to sources in the Punjab Agriculture Department, the state requires around 21 lakh tonnes of fertilisers in rabi season, incuding 13.50 LMT urea and 5.50 LMT di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), another major fertiliser which is mainly required for rabi crops. The remaining required fertilisers are MOP (Muriate of Potash) and Super.
Till September, Punjab had a stock of 3 LMT urea and 2.50 LMT was to come in October. The supply of the remaining 8 LMT will be received in November to January, including 4.5 LMT in November when the wheat sowing will be done.
As per the recommendations of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana, 110 kg urea is required per acre of the wheat crop but in Punjab, the majority of farmers use three bags of 45 kg each per acre which means 135 kg per acre for wheat crop.
The agriculture department officials said that three doses of urea are applied for the wheat crop starting from sowing time in November to early January when the crop is almost 45 to 55 days old.
As far as DAP is concerned, Punjab already has a stock of 4 LMT available out of the required 5.50 LMT as the state was to get the supply of 80,000 tonnes in this month but due to the rail roko, it could not reach.
The officials are hopeful that by the time these fertilisers are required for the wheat crop in the month of November, the farmers may lift dharna.
There are two main crop seasons: kharif (April to October) and rabi. The use of urea is almost the same in both the seasons, which is 13.50 LMT in each season, while the use of DAP is more in rabi season and less in kharif season.
Former Punjab joint director (fertilisers) Dr Jagtar Singh Brar, who retired on September 30, had told The Indian Express the state still has time to get the supply of urea and DAP because the sowing of wheat will start by October-end. The ideal time for sowing starts from November 1.
It is learnt that farmer leaders may take a decision about it soon ahead of wheat sowing because the timely application of the fertilisers on the crops is important.
In Punjab, the farmers have been sitting on rail tracks since September 24 against the passing of three agri laws by the Centre due to which no freight and passenger trains are running in the state.
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