The government's second advance estimates released last month have pegged wheat output at 106.21 million tonne for 2019-20 crop year (July-June), up by 2.5% from a year earlier.
The current spell of rain lashing many parts of India in the last two days has not damaged winter crops, according to initial reports from states. However, prolonged rainfall along with strong wind may lower yield as crops like wheat, mustard and chana are about to be harvested. The government’s second advance estimates released last month have pegged wheat output at 106.21 million tonne for 2019-20 crop year (July-June), up by 2.5% from a year earlier.
Rainfall at this stage may not cause any damage to standing wheat crop, but any downpour with high-velocity winds and hailstorms can definitely be a concern, officials said. “If the rain is not accompanied by high-velocity winds, there is no need to worry,” said Punjab’s agriculture director Sutantar Kumar, according to a PTI report.
Many parts of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, western Uttar Pradesh have been recording fairly widespread rain and thundershowers since Thursday due to a ‘Western Disturbance’ lying over the Ladakh region, private weather forecaster Skymet said.
A cyclonic circulation is persisting over Punjab and adjoining parts of Haryana. Heavy hailstorm activities were also observed in Jaipur and adjoining areas while parts of Haryana and north-west Uttar Pradesh also received isolated hailstorm, the agency said.
Skymet has predicted that the weather system will further shift eastwards by March 7 and, as a result, rain and thundershower activities from the western parts of Punjab, Haryana and north-west Rajasthan will start reducing from Saturday. A few parts of west and central Uttar Pradesh may witness heavy rain and thundershower activities until Sunday.
A trough is extending up to Bihar across Uttar Pradesh. Rain along with strong wind above 50-60km/hour speed can flatten standing wheat crop depending on the field conditions, agriculture scientists said. Officials in the agriculture ministry said the wheat crop was safe from any pest or disease so far this season, except locust attack in few districts of Punjab bordering Pakistan that was subsequently contained.
“Wheat production will not be less than 108 million tonne as the yield is likely to increase to 3.6 tonne per hectare from about 3.5 tonne per hectare last year,” said G P Singh, director of Karnal-based Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR).
Meanwhile, Bihar has announced Rs 60 crore compensation to farmers who have lost at least 33% crop damage after as many as 31,929 hectare got affected from unseasonal rain and hailstorms in the last week of February in 11 districts.