The winter or rabi plantings is almost coming to an end and acreages under crops such as wheat and gram have touched new highs this year raising the prospect of a record foodgrain harvest. The plantings were boosted by comfortable water levels in reservoirs and higher soil moisture levels.
The rabi rice planting this year is up by about a fourth at 21.13 lakh hectares (lh) as transplantation goes on in States such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Odisha and West Bengal among others.
With regard to wheat, sowing has ended even as planting data continues to trickle in. The wheat acreage is higher by more than two million hectares with states such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh reporting higher coverage. The process of grain formation is set to begin in the early planted varieties. Prolonged foggy and cloudy weather condition at this stage is seen as a concern. The crop needs sunshine at this stage, said Indu Sharma, Director at the Karnal-based Directorate of Wheat Research.
Though outbreak of yellow rust – a fungal disease was reported in Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana and Punjab, it is kept under check. “The availability of fungicides has helped us to keep yellow rust under check,” Sharma said. If the weather condition is conducive and there’s no major outbreak of any disease, wheat output could touch 100 million tonnes this year, she added.
Apart from wheat, the acreage under gram has also touched a new high, exceeding 101 million hectares. Except for urad, the acreage under pulses such as field pea and moong are higher than last year. The total area under pulses is higher by 12 lh at 156.7 lh. The acreage under coarse cereals such as maize and barley is also higher this year. However, jowar acreage is lower than last year mainly on account of decline in Maharashtra.
The area under oilseeds has so far touched 89 lh, about three lh more than last year. The acreage under rapeseed mustard stood at 71.16 lh, higher than last year, but lower than the record acreage of 72.22 lh witnessed in 2010-11. The acreages of groundnut and sunflower are marginally lower than last year, while that of safflower and sesame were higher than last year.
Source: The Hindu Business Line