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India predicted to cross 1 mt-mark in wheat output

NEW DELHI: India, the world's second largest wheat grow..

NEW DELHI: India, the world's second largest wheat grower after China may see a bumper wheat harvest this year with agri-scientists estimating production at 100 million tonne. Normal temperature, no pest infestation and a forecast for more rainfall and chilly weather in January will boost the crop prospects, they said.

India received a bumper crop in the previous year at 98.38 million tonnes. For 2018-19, the government has set a target of 97.50 million tonnes.

“The wheat planting is almost done and information from our 33 centres in the wheat-growing zones tell us that we are looking at a bumper crop. I am expecting wheat production to touch 100 million tonne this year,” said Gyanendra Pratap Singh of the Directorate of Wheat Research in Karnal, Haryana.

Singh said that with majority of the wheat-growing area in north India having normal temperature, they were optimistic about the production.

“It is early for me to say on the production figures and in one month we will have definitive idea, but looking at the current condition I am very hopeful of having a bumper crop. The main area in north zone are using seeds of recent varieties released in 2013-14. The environmental condition is good and we expecting rainfall in plains of north India in the first of January,” he said.

Further, our scientists traveling in fields have not seen any infection of yellow rust anywhere till now in Punjab, Haryana and west Uttar Pradesh, said Singh.

The early sown crop was is in tillering stage and late planted crop was in germination stage, said Singh who has been travelling to fields. “I am seeing a good wheat crop, wherever I travel. There is no cause of concern,” he said.

On being told that the wheat planting area was 3.63% less than the previous year at 26.27 million hectare, Singh said that he didn’t see any reason for worry. “It take time to collect and collate planting data. Due to smog, this year the planting got delayed but it will easily touch the target of over 30 million hectare,” he said.

The normal area under wheat planting (fiveyear average) is 30.41 million hectare.

Prerana Desai, vice-president at Edelweiss Agri Research, said it was early to comment on the crop production. “In areas where was late rains, wheat sowing window was the only option open for farmers while in traditional sowing areas of Rajasthan and Bundelkhand the planting may be less due to moisture stress. In a fortnight a clear picture may come,” she said.

Companies procuring wheat said that one needs to watch out for temperature during the winter months when the plant was in an important stage of growth. The drop in night temperatures and rains would be beneficial for the wheat crop, they said.

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