Delay in sowing of wheat likely to expose crop to heatwave, fear experts
The spillover of the monsoon till the third week of October had delayed the paddy harvest and the sowing of wheat. In eastern India, harvesting of paddy is yet to start.
NEW DELHI: Delay in the sowing of wheat in the ongoing rabi season is becoming a cause of concern as it will expose the crop to more heatwave-like conditions impacting the productivity and quality of wheat grains. The staple food grain production has been severely impacted in the last two years due to the
The spillover of the monsoon till the third week of October had delayed the paddy harvest and the sowing of wheat. In eastern India, harvesting of paddy is yet to start. According to the latest data, the wheat acreage is five per cent down compared to the previous year with 86.02 lakh hectares (LHa) compared to 91.02 LHa of the previous year. Till last week, the deficit was 11 per cent. The government is planning to bring in 100 LHa under the wheat acreage by month’s end.
The winter crop is more susceptible to heat. The moderate temperature of February-March helps the wheat flower to take shape into a robust grain. Wheat gets ready to harvest in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh by late March and in Punjab and Haryana by mid-April.
This year, the concern of scientists and government officials is not unwarranted. The El Nino weather phenomenon is stronger the last year and will lead to a relatively warmer winter which is adverse to the wheat crops.
However, some scientists dismiss the warning. “The two heat tolerant wheat seeds varieties DBW 187 and DBW 303 will neutralise impact,” Gyanendra P Singh, Director, Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research told this newspaper.