Wheat yield drops by 8% due to sudden heatwave in Punjab
The wheat yield as per the experiments in Punjab is less than ten-year production average of 48.70 quintals per hectare due to the sudden heatwave in March
: Wheat crop in the current rabi season in Punjab has suffered a considerable yield loss of at least 8% along with a decrease in the quality of the produce, owing to sudden heatwave at the grain maturing stage.
As per the results of the crop cutting experiments, carried out by the agriculture department, arrived so far, the wheat yield has slid to 44.76 quintals per hectare from last season’s 48.68 quintals. Other than the loss to productivity, the yield fall is a financial loss to the state farmers of more than Rs. 8,000 per hectare.
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, the yield fell to 42.95 quintals. Wheat is sown in the state on 34 lakh hectares.
Gurvinder Singh, director, agriculture, said that the experiments were conducted on samples collected from 2,352 locations in the state. “Out of this, results of 238 locations have come and the productivity loss is considerable,” he said, adding that the situation is alarming but the department is waiting for all the results.
“Hopefully, the situation will improve because the test results have come from the area which suffered the maximum brunt of the sudden heatwave that started in the state in mid-March month. The late harvest might have been saved,” Singh elaborated.
It will take two more weeks for the results of all crop cutting experiments to be finalised.
Not only the production, quality of grain has also suffered because the crop has a higher content of shriveled and lustre loss grain, more than the procurement norms set by the food corporation of India (FCI).
“Our university (Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana) is working on new varieties which are terminal heat tolerant,” said Makhan Singh Bhullar, who heads PAU’s department of agronomy.
The university is also taking feedback on the yield from farmers who adopted the method of the in-situ method for disposing of the paddy straw. “Our view is that crop has not suffered as much in these farms, which we want to corroborate with field reports,” he added.
The state food and civil supplies department has made arrangements for the procurement of 135 lakh tonnes of wheat in the current season.
However, due to the yield loss, the lesser arrivals are expected in the state mandis.
The wheat procurement started on April 1, and within 15 days, 33 lakh tonnes of freshly harvested wheat has arrived for procurement.
The total wheat production this season was pegged at 175 lakh tonnes which is expected to fall to 155-160 lakh tonnes.
What is crop cutting experiment?
One marla in a farm is earmarked for crop cutting experiments at 2,000 to 2,500 locations in the state at the time of crop harvest – wheat in rabi and paddy in the kharif seasons. The area chosen for the experiment is selected by the state revenue department. The state agriculture department cuts the crop and weighs the produce to assess the yield. The department maintains yearly yield records of the crops for research and analysis purposes.