Experts fear 5% dropin wheat production

  • Vishal Joshi, None, Karnal
  • Updated: Apr 07, 2015 23:30 IST

Ahead of wheat harvesting days in Haryana and Punjab, experts apprehend that adverse weather conditions may bring a fall in wheat production by 5% nationally.

On Tuesday, major wheat growing belt of Haryana including Karnal, Kurukshetra, Kaithal and Panipat, and other adjoining districts witnessed moderate showers.

Agriculture experts said that rains at this stage means loss to farmers and the national foodgrain stock.

Wheat harvesting begins in the first week of April and the Haryana government has made elaborate arrangements of wheat procurement at all identified places since April 1.

However, rains have delayed harvesting and the grain markets are wearing a deserted look.

According to the agriculture ministry's estimates released in February before the unseasonal rains set in, India's wheat production was estimated at 95.76 million tonnes (MT) in 2014-15, marginally lower than the 95.85 MT in 2013-14.

However, now farmers are worried for their crop as the frequent spells of rain, hailstorm and winds are damaging crops at the time when wheat grains are ripening and crops are ready for harvest.

"This winter season, the weather conditions remained highly conducive for wheat and a bumper crop was expected. But at the fag end of the season, unfriendly weather played a spoilsport. Ongoing weather conditions may lead us 5% wheat grain loss this year," Indu Sharma, director of Karnal-based Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR), told Hindustan Times on Tuesday.

Sharma advised farmers to ensure that the excess water is completely drained off from their fields to control crop damage.

She said that rains at this stage means reduction in yield and discoloration of wheat grains. Stacks of harvested crops kept in the open in the fields would start rotting in lower portions and conditions would lead to germination of highly moist grains.

"As rains lead to flattening of plants, farmers should not resort to harvesting till fields are dried. Real loss could be assessed only on the basis of yield by the affected farmers," she said.

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