Agri Business

‘March rains may bring down wheat output’

TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on March 17, 2020 Published on March 17, 2020

More than 3.5 lakh hectares of the wheat crop were affected by the rains between March 10 and 12   -  A_M_Faruqui

IIWBR director hopes it will still be a bumper crop for the cereal this rabi season

Rains, accompanied by high-speed winds and hailstorm, over the last week have affected rabi crops, including wheat, in many parts of the north Indian region and experts fear the production loss could be in the range of 1-2 per cent in the case of wheat.

“We estimate that wheat production to come down by 1-2 per cent as adverse weather conditions affected several areas in the region. The wheat output will still be much higher than last year as we are looking at a record bumper production this year,” said GP Singh, Director of the Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, an Indian Council of Agricultural Research lab located at Karnal in Haryana.

Clear weather ahead

“But, no further damage is expected as the weather is slated to be absolutely clear till April, when wheat harvest will happen,” Singh said. However, even one per cent loss could be substantial as the projected wheat output during the current rabi season is around 109 million tonnes.

The wheat crop has been affected in many districts in Haryana, including Ambala, Fatehabad, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Panipat and Yamunanagar. Chandrabhan, a wheat farmer from Fatehabad district, said the estimated 10 per cent wheat growing areas in the district were affected by water-logging which weakened the roots.

An agrometeorology scientist at the Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana said the farmers who ignored the advisory to not irrigate the fields on account of impending rains suffered the maximum loss. Several districts in Punjab witnessed heavy rains, strong winds and hailstorms.

An official source with the Punjab Agricultural Department said that more than 3.5 lakh hectares of wheat crop has been affected during the rains between March 10 and 12, which led to lodging of the crop in many parts.

Other crop loss

The inclement weather affected other crops too. In Rajasthan, for instance, crops have been hit over an area of 4.53 lakh hectares across 19 districts. The worst affected were Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur regions of the State, according to a State agricultural department official.

As per details available with Rajasthan Agricultural Department, 1.66 lakh hectares of wheat, 1.88 lakh hectares of mustard, 82,000 hectares of horticultural crops and 38,000 hectares of chana were affected by the rains.

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Published on March 17, 2020
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