ROURKELA: Disruption in agricultural operations due to erratic rainfall has raised fear of low paddy yield among farmers of Sundargarh district.
Initial paddy cultivation over 1,80,813 hectare of the total 2.09 lakh hectare agricultural land in the district was hit due to deficit rainfall of 50 per cent and 47 per cent in June and July respectively. Inter-cultural operations over 1,32,949 hectare of land and transplantation over 47,864 hectare were completed after much delay following revival of monsoon in August.
The district received an average of 447.48 mm rainfall in August against the normal of 393.9 mm. Hemgir, Kuanrmunda, Lephripada, Bargaon and Nuagaon blocks received whopping 640 mm, 610 mm, 503 mm, 549 mm and 547 mm of rainfall respectively in the month.
Similarly, Subdega, Sundargarh, Balishankara, Kutra and Bisra blocks received surplus rainfall of 487 mm, 441 mm, 484 mm, 410 mm and 443 mm respectively, while Lathikata and Tangarpali blocks got close to normal rainfall. However, other blocks like Rajgangpur, Bonai, Lahunipara, Gurundia and Koida blocks received deficit rainfall between 316 mm to 360 mm in the month.
The normal average rainfall for the month of September in the district is 211.5 mm. But, in the past nine days, while Lephripada, Tangarpali and Sundaragarh blocks have received between 142 mm to 181 mm of rains, several other blocks have received deficit rainfall with Lathikata recording a mere 13 mm and Nuagaon 29 mm.
Farmers apprehend low crop yield due to delayed inter-cultural operations. Sources said, paddy seedlings grew older in nurseries due to delay in transplantation. Short, medium and long duration paddy crops are meant for 120-125 days, 135-145 days and 150-160 days and delay of over one month in inter-cultural and transplantation operations has delayed rice tillering which would reduce crop yield.
Bonai District Agriculture Officer PH Kerketta said inter-cultural and transplantations operations had started from the first week of August due to deficit rainfall in July. He said standing paddy plants are in the growth stage but face the prospect of low crop yield.