Cold weather beneficial for wheat but not for vegetables

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Ludhiana, Jan 23 (UNI) The frost occuring in Punjab and Haryana is likely to adversely affect a number of crops including winter maize, sugarcane, potato, peas and tender vegetable nurseries.

However, the cold weather conditions are expected to be beneficial for wheat and oilseed crops, as such conditions promote tillering and suppress the insect-pests and diseases due to extremely low temperature.

The experts o Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) have suggested to the farmers to apply light irrigation in the evening to protect the crops against frost.

Giving details of the prevailing weather conditions, Dr G S Bains, Head, Department of Agricultural Meteorology at PAU said that January, 2008 received maximum frost. So far there were twelve frosty days as against five considered to be normal for the month.

The normal minimum temperature for the month of January was 5.1 degrees Celsius but the weatherman recorded 2.6 degrees, 0.2 degrees, 0.8 degrees and 2.4 degrees on January 1, 2, 3 and 20 respectively. Dr Bains said that the mercury dipped further to minus one degree and even below at certain places on January 21 and January 22 that was responsible for wide spread frost.

He further added that the gross minimum temperature on the soil surface remained as low as minus 4.0 degrees and minus 5.0 degrees on January 21 and 22 respectively.

Tracing the possible reasons for this cold wave, Dr Bains highlighted that the snowfall in the upper ranges in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir coupled with north-westerly winds in the region were responsible for the prevailing weather. The current occurrence of frost has broken the records of the past three decades, Dr Bains added.


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