A year after Sangrur district produced maximum wheat per hectare in the country, the feat is difficult to match this rabi season.
The continuous complaints of shrivelled grains not only affected the yield per hectare but also are set to decrease the overall production in the district. After 30% of wheat in the district is harvested, the agriculture department has weighed it to be only 52 to 53 quintals per hectare (depending upon varieties) as opposed to 55.05 quintals per hectare recorded in 2012.
In 2011, the district recorded 51.89 quintals per hectare of wheat production. This season, it has almost 2.85-lakh hectares under wheat, from which the authorities expected around 12.50-lakh metric tonnes of production, estimates that are now revised to 11.50 lakh MT, down from 12.10 lakh MT last year.
Experts attribute low production to the sowing of HD 2967, PBW 601 and local wheat variety Badbar, which Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) had not recommended. "Shrivelled wheat grains because of the lack of moisture, as the weather was dry, have lowered the production figure, so far," said chief agriculture officer (CAO) Rajinder Singh Sohi. "It came to light after farmers reported lower production per hectare to our field teams."
Rajwinder Singh of Mangwal village, who brought his yield to the Sangrur grain market on Wednesday, said he had sowed wheat over 15 acres and low output had disappointed him. "We found in interactive session with farmers that most of them had skipped a mandatory spell of irrigation in the past 15 days because of the fear of rain. It created drought-like conditions in wheat fields before the start of harvest," said Sohi.
Declined output is a trend across the district. The present figures would surely affect the total-production mark in the district, said Sohi.
What a fall
52-53 quintals per hectare after 30% harvest, so far, this year
55.5 quintals per hectare last year
Fooled by the weather
* Most farmers had skipped a mandatory spell of irrigation in the past 15 days because of the fear of rain, creating drought-like conditions in fields before the start of harvest
* Low production is also attributed to the sowing of HD 2967, PBW 601 and local wheat variety Badbar, which Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) had not recommended