The tea industry in Assam is apprehensive of losing 10-15% of the crop during March and April due to the drought-like situation
GUWAHATI: The Tea Research Association Tocklai, the oldest and the largest tea research institute in the world, on Friday issued detailed advisories on the management of adverse stress conditions due to a drought-like situation in Assam.
In a special bulletin, it said that the drought-like situation calls for a well-planned field management approach by the tea estates based on Tocklai’s scientific research findings over the years to mitigate the adverse stress effects as much as possible both for short term and long term sustainable tea production.
“Application of MOP (2%) at fortnightly intervals should be continued in the severely moisture-stressed areas. Plucking needs to be very judicious and careful in this period, particularly in the sections kept unpruned. Tipping allowance should not be changed or reduced in pruned or skiffed bushes and tipping should be done on predetermined height after recovery,” the bulletin said.
It said close monitoring for pests and diseases is very important during the stress period and all spraying should be done early in the morning or late afternoon hours, not in strong sunshine and high temperature. The bulletin further added, “Ground application of fertilizer should be avoided during a moisture-stress period. It should be done only after receipt of adequate rain. Long term strategic field management practices should be carefully put into practice to combat such situations in future.”
According to the Tocklai Met Observatory, the South Bank region of Assam this year saw rain deficit during the period January-April in each and every month when compared to the long term normal as well as total rainfall in the past five years. The cumulative deficit in rainfall is also prominent in the current season as compared to both long term average and the last five years.
The tea industry in Assam is apprehensive of losing 10-15% of the crop during March and April due to the drought-like situation and hailstorms.
The crop harvest of the tea estates across Assam has been badly affected due to the prevailing moisture-stress conditions resulting in stunted growth, wilting, defoliation and dying branches, which has even led to the withdrawal of plucking temporarily in some estates.