Initial reports of harvested wheat suggest that there has been no impact on the yield as it was feared in the wake of an abnormal rise in temperatures in February. Besides, the weather bureau’s prediction of possible rain in the North-West over the next few days may help the wheat crop and ease concerns about lower output.

“Over 40 per cent of the wheat crop has been harvested in Madhya Pradesh and there is no concern about productivity. With an earlier than normal harvest to begin in Punjab and Haryana, there is no risk to the crop at least on account of any rise in temperature,” a senior Agriculture Ministry official told businessline. Farmers are expected to start harvesting wheat from around March 20 in Punjab and Haryana due to early sowing, the official said.

Harvest in Punjab and Haryana normally begins in the first week of April and picks up after that Baisakhi Festival There was higher than normal temperature in some districts of Gujarat last month that prevailed for a few days..

IMD news

Scattered light/moderate rainfall with thunderstorms, lightning and gusty winds (speed 30-40 kmph) are likely over the wheat-growing states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar during March 15-17, and over Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh , Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan on March 16-17, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday.

Under the influence of a Western Disturbance, isolated to scattered rainfall with thunderstorms and lightning are likely over the western Himalayan region during March 13-15 and over Punjab and Rajasthan on March 13, it said.

Scattered rain will help prevent a rise in temperature, said Gyanendra Singh, Director of the Karnal-based Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR). The forecast received from IMD said the maximum temperature will remain below 35°C and the minimum below 15°C.

Weather in favour

“Weather will favor the crop, which is normal now. If it is scattered rainfall, it will be positive for the crop since it will help retain moisture levels. Grain filling is already completed in the early and timely seen crop,” said the IIWBR director. It does not look like there will be any substantial rise in temperature in the next 12-15 days, he said.

The government has estimated production at a record high of 112 million tonnes (mt) this year. The output of the winter-grown cereal dropped to 106.84 mt in 2021-22 from 109.59 mt in 2020-21 due to an unusual heatwave in March-April that affected the yield. But traders and experts estimated the production at not more than 100 mt which is reflected in the open market price of the grain.

The area under wheat in the current season has increased by 0.4 per cent to 343.23 lakh hectares (lh) from a year ago with Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh registering an increase in coverage, while Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab witnessed a decline.

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