The prevalence of cold weather condition in the last couple of days that followed unusually high temperature during last few weeks is likely to help the rabi crops consisting of mostly wheat, pulses and oilseeds.
According to Indu Sharma, project director, Directorate of Wheat Research, Karnal, the standing crop of wheat needs at least couple of weeks of cold climate to help in germination. “Temperature has been unusually high in the last couple of weeks. This cold weather conditions would help the standing crops to a large extent,” Sharma told FE.
According to data released on Friday, wheat has been sown in close to 29 million hectare, which is around a million hectare less than the previous year or from the normal sowing. Overall gap in the winter-sown crops as compared to last year have shrunk to just above 3%, the data released by ministry of agriculture stated.
This could bring huge relief to the farm sector which had already faced two consecutive years of deficient monsoon. With the exception of coarse cereals, the sowing of rabi crops like pulses, oilseeds and rice have been just below the last year’s figure.
The total area sown under rabi crops is reported at 577 lakh hectare against 595 lakh hectare reported a year ago. Last week, 565 lakh hectare was under winter crops. The government is aiming to increase rabi grain production by 5% to offset an estimated 2% drop in kharif grain output and rabi sowing is expected to continue for next couple of weeks, an agriculture ministry official said.
The area under pulses has been reported at 136 lakh hectare which is just below 139 lakh hectare achieved in the previous year. “The production of pulses has remained almost stagnant within the range of 13 to 19 million tonne during 2005-2015,” the government’s Mid-Year Economic Analysis released recently stated. However, coarse cereal sowing has jumped by more than 6% compared to last year.
The procurement of wheat is slated to begin on April 1, 2016 by Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies. These agencies have 23.7 million tonne of wheat stock at the start of the month which is far excess of the requirement.
Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh recently had stated that sowing of rabi crops like wheat has been affected due to both drought and floods this year. “Agricultural crops have been affected for the third straight seasons due to adverse weather conditions in last 18 months,” he said. In 2014, kharif (summer) crops were affected due to 12% deficit rains, while rabi (winter) crops like wheat got damaged due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm.