The shortfall in wheat crop sowing continues marking a five per cent deficit for the second consecutive week. As of Friday, only 46 per cent of the usual rabi season area has been planted. The total acreage for all winter crops has now reached 349.99 lakh hectares (lh) as of November 24, constituting 54 per cent of the season’s normal area. However, this figure reflects a decrease of 5.3 per cent compared to the 369.74 lh recorded during the same period last year.

According to latest data, planting of the key winter cereal has been reported to have reached 141.87 lh — 4.8 per cent lower than 149.05 lh in the year-ago period. The Agriculture Ministry has been relying on 60 per cent area coverage of wheat with climate-resilient varieties to minimise any impact of El Nino.

However, during November 18-24 wheat coverage stood at 55.85 lh (58.03 lh year-ago).


Rabi pulses acreage has reached 94.74 lh compared with 103.59 lh, down by 8.5 per cent even though higher area has been covered under lentil (masur). The sowing area of major rabi pulse chana (gram) is down by 11.8 per cent to 66.19 lh (75.07 lh) and that of lentil up by 5.9 per cent at 12.74 lh (12.03 lh).

In coarse cereals, the sowing area has reached 22.95 lh (25.43 lh). Jowar acreage has been reported down at 14.06 lh (15.12 lh) and maize acreage down by 17.9 per cent at 4.81 lh (5.85 lh). Barley sowing, too, is lower 9.6 per cent at 3.65 lh(4.04 lh).

The only bright spot this rabi season is the higher sowing of mustard which has already exceeded the normal area and reached 77.78 lh (77.74 lh). Overall rabi oilseeds acreage has been reported to be 82.01 lh (82.53 lh), in which groundnut area is down by 27,000 hectares. Though groundnut is a kharif crop, it is also grown on about 7 lh during winter, mainly in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Paddy acreage reached 8.41 lh, against 9.15 lh a year ago and maximum area has been reported from Tamil Nadu.