Agri Business

Wheat holding up to fog, ground frost; caution on pest attack

VINSON KURIAN VISHWANATH KULKARNI Thiruvananthapuram/Bengaluru January 9 | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on January 09, 2018

After a brief respite on Tuesday, the dense fog, severe cold wave and ground frost conditions are expected to return to North and North-West India over the next four-five days.

While the weather conditions had raised concerns over the standing wheat crop, the cereal may hold its own against the onslaught of a persisting fog and ground frost. The prevailing foggy and frost conditions in parts of North India are unlikely to have any impact on the upcoming rabi wheat crop, according to agricultural scientists.

“The current weather condition is seen to be conducive for the wheat crop, which is still in vegetative stages. Had the crop reached the flowering stage, this weather could have had some impact,” said Gyanendra Pratap Singh, Director of the Karnal-based Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR). Singh said the country is headed for a bumper wheat harvest this year and the crop size could exceed 100 million tonnes, mainly on favourable weather conditions.

“Wheat sowing is in final stages and we expect the acreage to be stagnant around 30.2-30.3 million ha,” Singh added. Agriculture Secretary SK Pattayanak has already stated that the wheat crop would be at an all time high of 100 million tonnes on higher yields and acreage.

Simultaneously, the IIWBR has issued an advisory about a possible outbreak of fungal disease blast. “So far, there has been no incidence of any disease or pests on the current wheat crop. However, as a precautionary measure, we want growers to be vigilant,” Singh said. Wheat blast, which is capable of causing yield losses of 40-100 per cent, had surfaced in neighbouring Bangladesh in 2016. As Bangladesh shares a long border with India and the climate in about 11 million hectares of West Bengal and other states, IIWBR wants the growers to be vigilant against any possible outbreak.

Published on January 09, 2018
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