Heatwave impact: Wheat yield falls by 13.5% in Punjab - Hindustan Times

Heatwave impact: Wheat yield falls by 13.5% in Punjab

By, Chandigarh
May 11, 2022 03:00 AM IST

The loss in the wheat yield was recorded during the 2,200 crop cutting experiments across Punjab at the time of crop harvest due to sudden heatwave in March

Punjab has witnessed a fall in the wheat yield by an average of at least 13.5% in the current rabi season as compared to the previous year, owing to the sudden heat wave in March, with Fatehgarh Sahib district in the state reporting the maximum output loss.

Heatwave impact: Wheat yield falls by 13.5% in Punjab (HT)
Heatwave impact: Wheat yield falls by 13.5% in Punjab (HT)

The loss in the wheat yield was recorded during the 2,200 crop cutting experiments across the state at the time of crop harvest.

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In the previous 2021 season, average wheat yield per hectare was recorded at 48.68 quintals a hectare, which this season has fallen to 42.07 quintals, suffering a loss of 6.61 quintals.

The wheat yield fell due to sudden heat wave in March when the crop was at maturing stage, leading to sudden drying up of the crop.

All the 23 districts in the state reported fall in the yield. Fatehgarh Sahib suffered maximum loss with 30% fall in yield followed by Patiala (23%) and Nawahshahr (22%). Other districts in the state that reported 20% or more loss are Sangrur and Ropar where loss of 21% was recorded.

Districts which reported 10% or more loss includes Mohali 16%, Moga 15%, Jalandhar and Ludhiana 14%, Bathinda, Ferozepur and Fazilka 11%, Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala 13%, Faridkot and Mansa 10%.

Tarn Taran suffered a yield loss of 9% followed by Amritsar (7%), Gurdaspur (6%) and Barnala (5%).

The yield, as per the experiments, is less than ten-year production average of 48.70 quintals per hectare. In 2019 and 2020, it was steady at 50 quintals and in 2012, the yield crossed 51 quintals. In 2015, it fell to 42.95 quintals. Wheat is sown in the state on 34 lakh hectares.

As against 175 lakh tonnes of total expected wheat production in the state, only 151 lakh tonnes was produced, which is a cause of worry as state’s contribution to at the national level, which was pegged to 135 lakh tonnes this season, fell to 96 lakh tonnes.

“It’s a straight loss of 7,000 to 8,000 crore to farmers of the state and government should compensate the farmers,” said Nek Singh, a farmer from Nabha near Patiala.

The loss to productivity is a cause of financial loss of 13,300 per hectare to the state farmers. This has also caused a loss of at least 500 crore towards revenue collection for sale of the crop, in terms of rural development fund and mandi fee collections.

“Loss is huge but we can’t help it when weather suddenly turns harsh with rise in temperature in March,” said director agriculture Gurvinder Singh.

Not only the production, quality of the crop also suffered due to the higher content of shrivelled grain, more than the procurement norms of 6% set by the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

A team of scientists visited the state to access quality loss for the second time last week. It has submitted a report to the Centre’s ministry of food and public distribution. So far, relaxation for the loss in the quality of the grain has not been allowed, despite the fact that procurement has nearly ended.

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    Gurpreet Singh Nibber is an Assistant Editor with the Punjab bureau. He covers politics, agriculture, power sector, environment, Sikh religious affairs and the Punjabi diaspora.

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