With the sowing of wheat almost over in the north region, the area under the winter crop is expected to cross the targeted 35-lakh hectares in Punjab.
In Haryana also, it may reach the desired 25.05-lakh hectares. In Punjab and Haryana, state agricultural officials have confirmed 98% and 95% of the targeted area, respectively, as covered.
"Based on field reports from Punjab, the area under wheat is expected to go past the 35-lakh-hectare mark for this Rabi season," a senior official in the Punjab agriculture department has said. "So far, 34.52-lakh hectares is covered, compared with 35-lakh hectares in the corresponding period last season."
In a few pockets in the cotton belt of Bathinda and the sub-mountain area of Hoshiarpur, the sowing of wheat will be complete in another few days.
Punjab had projected 35-lakh-hectare coverage area even before the sowing season, for it had ended at 35.28-lakh hectares last season.
In Haryana, wheat sowing is over on 24-lakh hectares. The target is to cover 25.05-lakh hectares, to go past the 25.22-lakh-hectare mark achieved last year. Punjab and Haryana eye an output of 285-lakh-ton wheat for the Rabi season, 8% lower than the all-time-high crop production in last season. The sowing was delayed by about week because of the late harvesting of paddy.
Punjab expects an output of 161-lakh-ton wheat, at 46.96 quintals from each hectare, while Haryana's aim is 124-lakh ton (49.50 quintal from every hectare). Experts don't foresee any shrinkage in the area, as farmers have been pitching for substantial increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat in the wake of an increase in the cost of inputs such as fertiliser, diesel, and labour.