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Tuesday, Dec 21, 2004

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Dry weather prevails over Kerala

Our Bureau

DRY weather has prevailed over Kerala during the four days ending December 19, according to the Agromet Bulletin issued by the Met Office, Thiruvananthapuram.

Forecast valid until the morning of December 22 spoke about mainly dry weather in all districts. Outlook for the two subsequent days did not indicate any change.

Mean minimum temperature varied between 18C and 22C in various districts. Cochin International Airport recorded the lowest of 16.1C on December 18. The minimum temperature was 4C below normal in Alappuzha on December 19 and 3C below normal on the 16th. In Ernakulam, it was 3C below normal on December 18.

Mean relative humidity varied between 43 per cent and 70 per cent in various districts. Mean cloud coverage varied between 1 okta and 5 okta and mean wind speed between 2 kmph and 12 kmph.

Stage and state of crops: The `Mundakan' paddy crop has reached the `boot leaf' stage. Water management, plant protection and final weeding operations are proceeding. The late-planted crop is nearing the panicle initiation stage. Plant protection measures against stem borer, rice bug and sheath blight are apace. Intercultural operations such as mulching with green manures, plant protection measures and provision of shading for young plants are on in coconut gardens, pepper, arecanut and cardamom even as harvesting operations progressed.

In rubber, winter leaf fall has resulted in the stoppage of tapping in most of the planted areas. Monthly top dressing is progressing in banana as also in tapioca. Harvesting is progressing in pepper, turmeric and ginger. Cashew and fruit trees are in the flushing to flowering stages. New planting is progressing in banana, tapioca and seasonal vegetables in areas with irrigation facilities. Nutmeg also saw harvesting pick up speed. Intercultural operations are also taking place in these crops.

Farm advisory: Weeding, water management and a second top dressing for the late-planted Mundakan crop can be continued. Paddy fields should be closely watched for sheath blight and rot disease in the boot leaf stage too. Control measures should be adopted against plant hoppers and rice bug in the fields.

In coconut, a mite attack is imminent and community spraying using neam-garlic emulsion should be adopted to control the attack. This will also help reduce the incidence of coried bug attack. Leaf rot and stem bleeding are likely to persist.

Rhinoceros beetles should be hooked out while harvesting coconuts and plant protection measures taken against possible red palm weevil attack. It is also time for starting with irrigation in coconut gardens wherever facilities are available. An alert should be mounted for mahali in arecanut, leaf spot and die back in clove and fruit rot in nutmeg, tea mosquitoes in cashew.

New planting can be continued in banana, tapioca and seasonal vegetables in areas with assured irrigation facilities. In rubber, based on leaf fall intensity, tapping may be temporarily withheld for overcoming winter stress.

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