There has been a decline in the yield of wheat this year as compared to the bumper yield last year.
The decline has been to the tune of 4 quintal per acre. The yield is not much below the mark if we take the recommendations of the Punjab Agricultural University about wheat varieties and their average per acre yield into account.
According to the PAU, the average per acre yield of the latest varieties such as HD-2967 and PBW-621 is 21.4 and 21.1 quintals, respectively, and some of the farmers have got even 22 quintals. But what has left the farmers disappointed is when they compare this year's yield to that of the last year.
"Last year, I had got around 26 quintals per acre from the variety PBW-343, but this year, I got about 22 quintals from HD-2967 and PBW-621. Though it is average, but if compared to that of last year, it is 4 quintal lower, which means a loss of Rs 5,400 per acre," says Jagroop Singh, a farmer from a Kotkapura village.
"The PBW-343 variety, which was released in 1995 and was discouraged by the agriculture department due to being prone to yellow rust, has left the farmers sulking. Its yield has been from 16 quintals to 18 quintals this year. Though the government agencies did not distribute its seed to discourage its sowing, some farmers chose to go ahead with it by using the last year's seed on their own," says Sukhmander Singh, a farmer from Sarawan village.
This variety has been popular among the farmers across the state for over a decade because of its yield and good quantity of wheat straw from its residue.
"I had sown PBW-343 on about 15 acres besides the new varieties on an equal area, but I had to spray two fungicides on it to protect it from yellow rust and on an average, this year I have got 19 quintals per acre from all fields, but last year, it was about 24 quintals," says Jagjit Singh, a farmer from Panjgrain Kalan village.
"Only HD-2967 and PBW-621 have given the maximum per-acre yield this year while most of other varieties have flopped in comparison to the last year. Another local variety called Orbat has also given a satisfactory yield, but PBW-343 was badly affected by yellow rust this year and hardly any farmer would opt for this variety next year," says Amardeep Singh, a farmer from Wara Daraka village. He got about 20 quintals per acre while it was about 24 quintals last year, he adds.
"In most cases, the per-acre yield has been around 18 to 20 quintals. But thanks to favourable weather, last year it was much higher. Farmers make their budgets according to the last year's yield, so they are suffering. They should never take the highest yield into account for calculations as they cannot always be maintained," says Rupinder Singh, a farmer from Bargari.
"The yield of wheat is down by about 3 to 4 quintals per acre than that of the last year; however, new varieties have shown encouraging results. Though the temperature has been favourable, probably the recent rain and cloudy sky when the crop was nearly mature has affected the yield. Some of the crop has also fallen due to recent high-velocity winds," says Kaur Singh Dhillon, chief agriculture officer, Faridkot.
Ashok Kumar Goel, secretary, ahrtiya association, Kotkapura, says, "On an average, the wheat yield is from 15% to 20% lower than that of last year. Farmers say the uncertain weather has affected the crop when it was in the grain-formation period. Irrigation has also been a problem because they say they were afraid to irrigate the crop for it might affect the yield. Uncertain weather coupled with other factors may be the reason behind the decrease in yield."