Our Bureau, New Delhi, March 17

The government has said wheat harvest has just begun with 8 per cent of 343.26 lakh hectare (lh) area under the crop this season has been completed, so far while 47 per cent of 168.27 lh of the area under rabi pulses has been harvested.

Releasing the update in the harvesting of rabi-grown crops, the Union Agriculture Ministry on Thursday said wheat in most of the States is at flowering or booting or maturity stage while harvest has begun on a minor scale in a few states. Standing crop condition is good, it said. The government has estimated the production of this key cereal at a record 111.32 million tonnes (mt). Wheat harvest picks up in Punjab, Haryana normally after ‘Baisakhi’ festival.

Among the rabi pulses, harvesting of chana is over in 46 per cent of 114.95 lh and masur (lentil) in 44 per cent of 17.71 lh. With the planting of oilseeds hitting a record 102.79 lh this season, farmers have cleared 55 per cent area, so far. Harvesting of mustard has been completed in 57 per cent of the 91.63 lh under the crop.

The harvesting of rabi-grown maize and other coarse cereal has been completed in 55 per cent, each while total planted area under all coarse cereals including maize was 51.31 lh this year. Maize acreage was 19.31 lh.

Out of total rabi acreage of 700.83 lh this year, farmers have complted harvesting in 27.17 per cent or 190.41 lh, so far, the ministry said.

Separately, the ministry also said the planting area under the summer crops, sown after rabi harvest and before the kharif season, reached at 38.03 lh as on March 17, which is marginally higher from 37.83 lh year-ago. About 4 lh have been covered during past one week, data show.

Overall summer rice acreage is lower at 25.39 lh compared with 26.65 lh during the corresponding period last year. About 3.46 lh area coverage has been reported under pulses as against 2.74 lh during the year-ago period as both sowing of moong and urad is higher. The sowing area under oilseeds was reported at 5.26 lh, a notch down from 5.45 lh in the year-ago period.

Among the summer coarse cereals, the maize area is higher at 3.1 lh from 2.48 lh in the year-ago period.