SRINAGAR: Dry spell persisting in midwinter could affect the crop production in Kashmir Valley, according to the experts.
Head of the Agronomy Division at Kashmir’s SK University of Agriculture Science and Technology (SKUAST-K), Dr K N Singh, told Kashmir Reader that timely snowfall helps in survival of the crops such as oats, wheat, and mustard early on, and also suffices their water requirement in the growing stages.
“If it snows within the next few weeks, the crops will get the much needed moisture content and optimum temperature. But the delay in or absence of snowfall will result in decreased crop production,” he said.
The germinating crops, Dr Singh said, have the capability to resist frost, but “prolonged frosty conditions are not helpful for growth.”
Dr Singh said the frosty and sunny condition could affect the fruit production as well.
“Almond bloom could happen early if sunny conditions prevail in the coming weeks. But the healthy production of fruits needs moisture in the soil,” he said.
“Snow cover on the ground always insulates the fields, helping fruit production in the longer run,” he added.
For farmers like Muhammad Amin Bhat, who has planted oats on most of his farm at Baramulla in north Kashmir, the prospects of crop production aren’t good.
“With low snowfall, irrigation may take a hit and low moisture content in the fields will eventually hit the crop growth,” he said.
The farmers had a bad experience recently as floods destroyed the standing crops right before the harvest.
“Most of the crops were damaged by the floods while the salvaged produce is of the inferior quality. Now the prevailing drought-like conditions are making things look scary,” Bhat said.
Dry winter may also take a toll on the vegetable production.
Dr Nayeema Jabeen, head of the SKUAST-K’s Olericulture Department, told Kashmir Reader that dry weather conditions can hit the production of the seeds as well as of the crops.
“Most of the seeds to be harvested in September were hit by the floods. The present seed crop is bearing brunt of the frost-like conditions,” she said.
“We are getting reports that germination of pea has been already affected by the cold, dry weather. The subzero temperatures would affect the seed production of cabbage, and kale,” she added.