March 15, 2020 4:18:04 am
As heavy rain, accompanied by hailstorm in some areas, lashed many parts of the country over the last few days, major wheat-producing states have recorded more than 100 per cent “higher than normal” rainfall during first 11 days of March, according to latest data available with the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare.
While assessment of the damage caused by the unseasonal showers to the Rabi crop is not known immediately, experts said the early-March rain may impact the mustard harvest.
Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research’s director Dr G P Singh told The Sunday Express that early March rain and hailstorm, which is a localised event, will have very little impact on wheat output. However, it may have a negative impact on the mustard crop, which is ready to be harvested, Singh said.
According to the latest report of the Crop Weather Watch Group, available on the ministry’s website, during March 1 to 11, the country recorded 16.9 mm rainfall – 82 percent higher than the ‘normal’ rainfall of 9.3 mm. However, the top six states which contribute more than 90 per cent to the total wheat production of the country have recorded manifold higher than normal rainfall in early March. For instance, Uttar Pradesh, the largest wheat-producing state, recorded 23.8 mm rain from March 1-11, which is 667 per cent higher than the normal rainfall level of 3.1 mm during this period.
Similarly, Punjab (311 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (168 per cent), Haryana (702 per cent), Rajasthan (685 per cent) and Bihar (604 per cent) have also recorded much higher rainfall than is normally recorded in this period.
According to the 2nd advance estimates 2019-20, “Production of wheat during 2019-20 is estimated at record 106.21 million tonnes. It is higher by 2.61 million tonnes as compared to wheat production during 2018-19 and is higher by 11.60 million tonnes than the average wheat production of 94.61 million tonnes.”
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