India is set for a record wheat output, thanks to the recent rains and prevailing cold weather conditions in the north.
The rainfall would benefit the crop in key growing states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan, agricultural scientists said.“If there is no major changes in the weather conditions, we can expect a better wheat output compared to last year,” Indu Sharma, project director, Directorate of Wheat Research (DWR), a Karnal-based institute under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, told FE.
As per the last agriculture ministry data, wheat had been sown in more than 29.4 million hectares, which is marginally lower than last year's net sown areas. India produced close to a record 94 million tonnes of wheat during 2011-12.
However, scientists agree that wheat production during 2012 –13 will depend on the prevailing temperature during the month of February-March. “We hope to harvest a record output if temperature does not rise abruptly in February-March," S Ayyappan, director-general, ICAR said.
Because of bumper wheat production, the government had purchased close to 39 million tonnes (41% of the total output) of wheat mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh during 2011-12. Sources said government-owned agencies such as FCI and state government agencies are expected to lift close to 40 million tonnes of wheat from farmers during the forthcoming procurement season for 2013-14, which is scheduled to start on April 1.
Meanwhile, the agriculture ministry is closely monitoring reports of yellow rust that adversely impacts the crop. DWR said strip rust or yellow rust was reported for the first time in a village in Punjab recently. “Due to cool weather and possibility of rain, dew and fog in the coming days, farmers are advised to check their crop regularly for yellow rust,” an advisory issued by DWR stated.