The farmers in Punjab will be sowing late harvesting varieties of wheat in nearly 20 per cent of the area targeted for the winter crop. As per the farm experts, 100 per cent sowing couldn’t be completed in the “ideal period” as a prolonged monsoon this year resulted in late harvesting of paddy due to which fields couldn’t be readied in time for wheat.
This season, a total of 34.90 lakh hectare area has been targeted under wheat crop. Farmers had sown wheat on 28.37 lakh hectares (81 per cent of targeted area) till November 25. the late harvesting varieties would now be sown in the remaining nearly 19% area (or 6.53 lakh hectares).
The ideal period of wheat sowing, as recommended by the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), is from November 1 to November 15, which can be extended by one more week for normal varieties with minimum loss to the yield.
While monsoon gets over in Punjab by September 30, this year it extended till October 10.
“I used to harvest my paddy (non-Basmati) and Basmati crop by October end and November 10, respectively. This time I could harvest the crop only by mid-November. Then after taking the produce to Mandi, I started preparing the field this week. Now, the sudden rain has further delayed the sowing,” said Jagdeep Singh, a farmer in Pathankot.
He said that he will have to sow late varieties of wheat, but compared to the normal varieties, “their yield is is 3-5 quintals less per acre”.
Satnam Singh of Jalandhar district, who owns 40-acre land in Jandhusingha village, too said his paddy harvesting was delayed due to which he had to opt for late variety wheat. “Per day delay after the timely sowing period leads to a loss of one quintal per acre. So a delay of five days means loss of five quintal per acre,” he said, adding that this is the third year that wheat sowing has been delayed.
“In 2017 it was dense fog for first two weeks of November which delayed the sowing, while in 2018 late heavy rain played spoilsport. This year, it is extended monsoon”.
Director, Punjab Agriculture Department, Dr Sutantra Airy confirmed that wheat sowing has been completed in jut over 80 per cent of the targeted area.
“Both non-Basmati and Basmati harvesting got delayed this time, which led to the delay in wheat sowing. Farmers who adopted ‘Happy Seeder’ would not be affected much because they had sown wheat using the machine immediately after paddy harvesting. With Happy Seeder, there is no need to prepare the field or clear the paddy stubble”.
Meanwhile, most of the farmers in Punjab have opted for HD-2967, HD- 3086 and WH 1105 varieties, which give 22 to 28 quintals yield per acre. Among the late varieties, farmers are sowing PBW-752, PBW 373 and PBW 590, which mature in 128 to 140 days, and give an yield 16.5 to 19 quintals per acre.