The ongoing cold weather conditions in the northern India are proving beneficial for the wheat crop and the experts are expecting a bumper crop this year.
Indu Sharma, director, Directorate of Wheat Research (DWR), here told Hindustan Times on Tuesday that the present climatic conditions were extremely favourable for the wheat crop but the farmers should maintain a constant vigil on fields against any detection of deadly yellow rust.
“Rains that hit the wheat growing area last week were beneficial for the wheat crop as these will have a positive impact on its overall production. If similar cold continues without heavy showers in the next few weeks then we can easily cross the last year’s production of 95.9 million tones,” said the director of the institute, an important constituent of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), which is the nodal agency for wheat research activities in the country.
Last year, more than 29 million hectares of land was under the wheat cultivation and the data sent by the wheat growing states to the DWR sees a dip of 3% reduction in the total area.
“Marginal decrease in the area is not alarming as we expect higher yield per acre due to the favourable conditions. As certain areas have delayed harvesting of sugarcane crop due to various local factors, the late sowing of wheat will be picked up in the leftover pockets,” she said.
However, Sharma said that in case of more rains, the wheat growers should not let the rain water stagnate in fields as it can be harmful for the crop.
"Farmers should avoid stagnation of water in the fields as accumulated water could adversely affect root system of wheat crop which will have negative impact on overall output," she said while stressing on keeping the drainage system clean in the fields.
With cloudy weather conditions congenial for yellow rust attack on wheat crop, farmers are advised to keep a vigil on their fields to spot the disease attack on crop, if any, for remedial action.
“The next one month is very crucial and farmers should regularly visit their fields to keep a tab on yellow rust attack on wheat crop,” Sharma said.
The fungal disease of yellow rust is a major threat as it attacks leaves of the crop and forms yellow stripes, affecting its photosynthesis process, which, in turn, leads to withering of the grain size.
“Recently, a small patch of fields near Rupnagar in Punjab is found infested with the yellow rust but it was contained in time. Though there is no input of crop hit by the fungal disease, farmers should immediate contact the local agriculture officials for a timely spray of recommended fungicides,” she said while adding that a team of DWR scientists was touring different areas to take stock of the wheat cultivation.
Sharma said that high yield varieties including HD-2967, DBW 625-50 and PBW-50, which are non-susceptible to the yellow rust, were among the major six varieties sown this year.