Widespread rain during the past few days in parts of Punjab and Haryana could delay the harvesting of the standing wheat crop by at least a week, officials said on Wednesday.The rain started on Sunday and according to the India Meteorological Department, a fresh western disturbance could bring more rain in the region on April 15 and 16. This forecast has only increased the worry of the farmers.“We are expecting a fresh western disturbance to affect the region between April 15 and 16. This could bring more rain in many parts of Punjab and Haryana,” Surinder Pal, director, IMD, Chandigarh, told The Hindu.“The recent rain has not caused much damage to the wheat crop, but if it rains more in the coming days, coupled with strong winds, then definitely it could be a cause of worry. Otherwise the crop condition looks good and Punjab should produce a bumper wheat crop this season,” said P.S. Rangi, an agriculture expert and former Punjab State Farmers Commission adviser.Mr. Rangi said that if overcast conditions prevail and it rains, the wheat crop would absorb the moisture, which would naturally delay harvesting. “If the weather prediction stands true, then the harvesting of wheat could be delayed by at least a week,” he added. Wheat, the main rabi (winter) crop, is sown between late October and December, while the harvesting of the crop starts from April first week. The current wheat procurement season in Punjab and Haryana began on April 1.‘Keep produce dry’“The showers during the past few days have been fairly widespread in the State. There have been no reports of major damage to the standing crop. The arrival of crop may get delayed if it rains more in the coming days. We are making the farmers aware that they should keep their produce dry so that they don’t face any problem in selling their crop,” said Jasbir Singh Bains, director, Punjab Agriculture Department.