Wheat sowing is up by 10 per cent as of Friday during the ongoing rabi season, thanks to an early start in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The area under the cereal crop by the end of the month will indicate what the production of wheat will be as planting in December will likely affect the crop yield if there is another heatwave that was witnessed during March-April this year.

The overall sowing under all rabi crops has increased by 6 per cent to 178.17 lakh hectares (lh) as of November 11 from the year-ago period. This makes up nearly 30 per cent of the normal area, which is 633.18 lh for all rabi crops.

Delayed monsoon retreat

Wheat has been sown on 45.21 lh so far, higher in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. But, planting has been a tad lower in key wheat procurement States of Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.

Sowing of wheat, the main cereal of the winter season, begins normally in November and harvest operations are carried out during March-April. However, many areas in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh plant wheat in October and harvest the crop earlier than other regions. But due to delayed retreat of monsoon from Gujarat and MP, the sowing commenced late this year.

Pulses acreage is a notch lower at 54.66 lh against 55.41 lh in the year-ago period. Chana (gram) area is up one per cent at 39.52 lh from 39.12 lh a year ago.

The area under oilseeds has reached 58.11 lh, up by 12 per cent from 51.50 lh. Out of this, the area under mustard is up by 14.8 per cent at 55.35 lh compared with 48.20 lh a year ago.

Delayed planting

Mustard used to be sown in and around Rajasthan’s Bharatpur, the main hub of the oilseed crop bordering Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, in the second fortnight of September and every year it is getting delayed. Though current data show that it is higher from the year-ago period, ideally it should have been over by October-end as it is a 130-140 days crop and the yield gets lowered when it is harvested after summer sets in the region, experts said.

Coarse cereals have been sown on 13.14 lh, down 10 per cent from 14.59 lh a year ago, while winter-grown paddy has been transplanted on 7.05 lh against 5.99 lh, up by 18 per cent, according to data released by the Agriculture Ministry. Rabi maize area is up at 2.50 lh from 2.22 lh while sowing in the main producing State of Bihar is yet to commence.