Business Standard

Wheat does not catch cold in the North bumper crop expected

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The output this year may exceed the 84 mt target by 3 mt in the ongoing rabi season, believe scientists.

The prevailing cold weather in the northern states will have a positive impact on the wheat crop. Scientists believe the output this year may touch 87 million tonnes in the ongoing rabi season, 2011-12, against the targeted production of 84 mt.

Last year, again due to conducive weather and technology deployment, output was 85.9 mt. Sowing is still on in in some parts and is likely to be completed in another week.

The cold wave, followed by rain in the northern parts, has cleared the fog which could otherwise impact the crops, as it reduces the photosynthesis period, thus impacting productivity. A cold wave is generally considered good for the wheat crop, as it favours the plant’s physiology

Indu Sharma, director at the Wheat Research Institute, Karnal, told Business Standard: “The prevailing weather would help productivity. Provided there is no (further) abnormal change (in weather), wheat production this year could touch 87 mt. Last year, production was projected to be 82 mt but reached 85.9 mt due to conducive weather.The area under wheat this year is likely to be 29 million hectares, more or less the same as compared to last year.”

Said S K Thind, in charge of the plant clinic at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, “We expect yield to increase by five to 10 per cent this year in the northern states.”

The cool temperature, said Sharma, would check the sporadic rise in yellow rust attack. which will further help in increasing the productivity. Also, a higher temperature, as was seen till December 20, reduces the number of ‘tillers’ in a plant.

In Punjab, wheat sown area should remain about 3.5 million ha, about the same as last year. The state agriculture department is expecting production of 15.54 mt this year. The sown area for Haryana wheat is about 2.4 million ha and it is eyeing 11.7 mt this rabi, compared to 11.6 mt last year.

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