Erratic rain wont affect wheat crop output, say scientists

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 4 2014, 11:26am hrs
Erratic rainfall in many parts of key wheat-growing areas such as Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh will have little impact on the countrys crop output, scientists with the agriculture ministry have said.

There haven't been any reports of large-scale damage on standing crops and we need no more rain now. There's not been any widescale impact on the crop because of the recent spell, Indu Sharma, director of the Karnal-based Directorate of Wheat Research (DWR) told FE.

Sharma said the record production target for the current year would be met provided there is sunny weather in the next few weeks. There has been only marginal impact of the recent rains on the standing crop, she noted.

After hailstorm and rain hit Punjab, the second-biggest producer of wheat in the country, KV Prabhu, deputy director (research), Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), said, The damages have not been large-scale and this year there are no major reports of an outbreak of yellow rust disease in the standing crop.

"Grain formation has been largely good. However, more rain and low temperatures are not desirable for the next few weeks. We require photosynthesis for faster formation of grain," Prabhu noted.

He said farmers should ensure that there is no water-logging in the field at this crucial stage of crop formation. The wheat variety HD 2967, developed by IARI, has been sown in close to 60% of the wheat-growing areas across the country.

As per the ministry of agriculture data, wheat has been sown in more than 31.5 million hectares in the 2013-14 season against 29.8 mh last year.

The second advance estimate released last month anticipated a record wheat output of more than 95.6 million tonne (mt) from the current season.

DWR has also warned that there are some areas in Punjabs Pathankot district, bordering Jammu and Kashmir, which have been hit by yellow rust diseases. Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that wheat at Rs one per kg will be provided for eight months to farmers who have suffered over 50% crop loss due to rain and hailstorm in the state.