Led by higher acreage in wheat, coarse cereals and oilseeds, the area under all crops in the current rabi season almost touched last year’s acreage. If the weather remains conducive till March-end, India may again witness a harvest bumper of rabi crops. though there could be a drop in the yield of a few crops due to delayed plantings.

According to data released by the Agriculture Ministry, the area sown under all crops during the 2023-24 rabi season (October-March) was 687.18 lakh hectares (lh) until January 19, which is 0.3 per cent lower than 689.09 lh during the corresponding period of last year.

Offsetting lower coverage

Wheat acreage reached 340.08 lh as of Friday compared with 337.5 lh in the year-ago period. Uttar Pradesh reported the sowing area of the key winter cereal at 102.29 lh against 97.46 lh a year ago, up by 5 per cent, and Madhya Pradesh reported 87.1 lh against 83.3 lh, up by 4.6 per cent. These two States helped offset the lower coverage in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Bihar, too, reported about 40,000 hectares more under wheat. The acreage in Punjab and Haryana is almost at par with the year-ago period.

But winter-grown pulses acreage dropped 4.6 per cent to 155.13 lh compared with 162.66 lh, as gram (chana) acreage declined by 6.2 per cent to 102.90 lh from 109.73 lh and urad by 13.6 per cent to 6.03 lh from 6.98 lh. But lentil acreage rose by 5.7 per cent at 19.51 lh from 18.46 lh.

The sowing area under all coarse cereals reached 53.83 lh, up by 6 per cent from 50.77 lh. Both jowar and maize acreage is up. Jowar coverage was 23.52 lh, up by 6.8 per cent from 22.02 lh and maize at 21.29 lh, up by 3.5 per cent from 20.57 lh. Barley sowing is also up by 9.8 per cent at 8.19 lh against 7.46 lh year-ago.

Mustard tops 100 lh

Mustard acreage crossed 100 lh, the first time to reach 100.15 lh as of January 19 - 2.3 per cent more than 97.88 lh in the corresponding period a year ago. However, the final area under mustard may see some pruning as seen in the past after verification with actual production and arrival of the crop.

All rabi oilseeds acreage has been reported to be at 109.88 lh, up from 108.82 lh year-ago, in which groundnut area is down by 11.6 per cent at 4.52 lh from 5.11 lh. Though groundnut is a kharif crop, it is also grown in about 7 lh during winter, mainly in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Paddy acreage reached 28.25 lh against 29.33 lh year-ago and maximum area 11.60 lh has been reported from Tamil Nadu, followed by 9.46 lh in Telangana.