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Summer showers in Kerala

Our Bureau

THE week ended February 4 saw six districts in the State recording rain of varying intensity, the first since the withdrawal of the monsoon year.

According to the latest Agromet Advisory issued by the Met Office here, Ernakulam, Idukki, Kollam, Kottayam, Palakkad and Pathanamthitta districts recorded `excess' rain, while Alappuzha and Kannur had normal precipitation. No rain was recorded in Kasaragod, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Thrissur and Wayanad.

The four-day period ended on February 4 saw Kollam alone recording excess rain. `Scanty' or `no rain' was recorded in the rest of the districts.

The mean minimum temperature varied between 21 deg C and 25 deg C, with the lowest minimum of 19.8 deg C being recorded at the Cochin International Airport on February 3.

Mean relative humidity varied between 66 per cent and 79 per cent, mean cloud coverage between 1 okta and 5 okta and mean wind speed, 2 kmph and 10 kmph.

The forecast valid until February 7 spoke about mainly dry weather for the State. The outlook for the two subsequent days did not indicate any significant change.

State and stage of crops: The Mundakan paddy crop was nearing the stage of earhead ripening. In the Kuttanad areas, the crop was approaching the milky stage of earhead development and plant protection measures have since been initiated. Irrigation and mulching continued in all crops, while processing of pepper, clove and cardamom was in progress.

Fruit trees had reached the flowering to fruit setting stage. Banana, tapioca and seasonal vegetables were in different stages of growth, which saw new planting, gap filling, fertiliser application and harvesting gather pace.

Advisory for four days: Paddy fields should be drained two weeks prior to harvest. In coconut gardens, the onset of summer may bring with it attack by black-headed caterpillar. Affected leaves should be cut down and burnt. Spraying of one per cent Bordeaux is recommended in severe cases, in case bio-control measures prove ineffective.

Control measures may also be adopted against tea mosquito in cashew and mango hopper in mango to largely synchronise with fruit-setting in the trees.

Mulching with green or dry leaves and crop waste may be taken up for conserving soil moisture.

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