Bumper harvest! Wheat acreage rises 9.6% so far

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December 14, 2019 3:14 AM

As the temperature has dipped in most of the northern states in past two days with widespread rains, sowing will further pick up in next one month, sources said. Government data show that major eight reservoirs in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan had water level at 74% of their capacity against a normal 63%.

Bumper harvest, Wheat acreage, Wheat production, Wheat, rabi cereal crop, economy newsThe temperature in January and February is a crucial factor in the growth of wheat crop (Reuters)

India may see another bumper year of harvest of wheat, the main rabi cereal crop, with the acreage 9.6% higher (year-on-year) so far. Total rabi acreage was up 5.1% y-o-y at 48.71 million hectare as on Friday and 77% of normal rabi area. The latest data on rabi acreage has allayed fears that delayed sowing owing to extended monsoon may adversely impact the crop.

As the temperature has dipped in most of the northern states in past two days with widespread rains, sowing will further pick up in next one month, sources said. Government data show that major eight reservoirs in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan had water level at 74% of their capacity against a normal 63%.

Areas under wheat were at 24.80 million hectare as on Friday, against 22.63 million hectare in the year-ago period, the agriculture ministry said. If the trend continues, the total area under wheat may reach around the targeted 31.7 million hectare at the end of the sowing season, against five-year average of 30.56 million hectare. India had record 102.19 million tonne of wheat production in 2018-19 crop year (July-June).

“We have varieties like HD 2967 and others which are heat tolerant and the delayed harvest will not affect yield this year,” said Trilochan Mohapatra, head of ICAR. He said as of now there is no concern to wheat and the current weather is conducive with good moisture level. The output will not be lower than last year, he added. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are the major two states where the area under wheat has increased while in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, it is slightly lower.

The temperature in January and February is a crucial factor in the growth of wheat crop. The India Meteorological Department has not predicted the maximum temperature during the winter, but has said there is relatively ‘higher probability’ for above-normal minimum temperatures in the core cold wave zone that includes wheat growing states during December and February.

Among other crops, area sown to pulses remained slightly lagging at 11.92 million hectare (down 1.4%) so far this rabi season. Even area sown to oilseeds remained lower at 6.82 million hectare (down by lower by 3.5%). However, Coarse cereals acreage was higher by 11.7% at 4.03 million hectare.

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