Hailstorm hits mustard and green pea crops in Rajasthan, western UP

Rain also accompanied the hailstorm in several parts of the NCR, Punjab, among others
Standing mustard and green pea crops in some parts of Rajasthan, western Uttar Pradesh, and the National Capital Region (NCR) were hit by hailstorm on Thursday evening. Wheat, the biggest foodgrain in the rabi season, however, seemed to have escaped any adverse impact, according to preliminary reports.

A clearer picture will emerge over the next few days as reports start pouring in.

Officials said the wheat crop had not yet reached the flowering stage. So, the hailstorm would have had little impact. The mustard crop, however, was at a stage where the yield could be hit.

“For wheat, we have not received any report of large-scale damage to the standing crop,” said G P Singh, director of Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research.

Rain also accompanied the hailstorm in several parts of Haryana, including Faridabad; Punjab; north Rajasthan; and western Uttar Pradesh, including Jhansi.

“We have reports of damage to standing green pea crops in Bundelkhand and Ghaziabad in the NCR, and also mustard crops in Rajasthan,” said A K Singh, deputy director general, horticulture and crop science, Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

He added, “For wheat, this rain and hailstorm might actually be beneficial, saving the cost for one round of irrigation.”  Singh also said the maximum impact would be on peas.

According to the first Advanced Estimate of horticulture production for 2018-19 (FY19), India produced 5.52 million tonnes of green peas, marginally more than the 2017-18 (FY18) (5.42 million tonnes).

Mustard is one of the main oilseeds. In Rajasthan, the crop had reached maturity. In FY19, mustard seeds have been sown over 6.93 million hectares — 3.44 per cent more than last year.

The crops that escaped damage on Friday might not be so lucky if hail and rain return later this month.

“A western disturbance is developing. This might cause rain in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh around February 11-12. Another disturbance might cause rain in the northern plains around February 14-15,” said Mahesh Palawat, chief meteorologist, Skymet. He added that the severity might be less.

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