Millennium Post

Wheat output may fall 2% due to unseasonal rains

India’s wheat production is expected to decline by up to two per cent in the current crop year from the previous record of 95.85 million tonnes achieved in 2013-14 due to unseasonal rains, a government research body said on Monday.

Presently, the wheat crop is in matured stage and the current spell of rain in major grain growing states especially Punjab and Haryana is considered to be very bad for the standing crop as this could increase moisture level affecting quality of the grain and delaying harvesting by 10-15 days, it said.
Already, the major rabi crop wheat has suffered damage at over 62 lakh hectare due to unseasonal rains and hailstorms, which occurred in three phases between February 28 and March 16, as per the Agriculture Ministry data.

“Looking at the crop damage, there are chances that overall production could come down by up to two per cent this year as against the last year,” said Indu Sharma, head of the Directorate of Wheat Research at Karnal. The wheat crop year starts in July and ends in June.

However, there is still a hope from late-sown wheat crop. “If yields from late-sown crop are better and unaffected by bad weather, wheat production could most probably be same at the previous year’s level,” she said. Of the total wheat sown area of about 28 million hectares, about 15 per cent is sown late, she added. Noting that the current spell of rain is not good for the standing wheat crop, Sharma said, “This rain may not affect yields much because the grain is already matured by this time. But it could lead to quality loss.”

The crop is already moist. Any rain at this point of time enhances moisture level causing black point in grain, discolourisation and lustre-loss, she added. She also suggested that farmers need to watch out and ensure there is no stagnation of water in their fields. Because of rains, wheat harvesting could also delay by 10-15 days in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, she added. Normally, wheat is harvested from April 15 onwards in these states.

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