Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, April 24
The state has recorded an all-time high average per acre wheat yield of 21.5 quintals, which is way ahead of the highest average per acre yield of 20 quintals in 2011-12.
A combination of right weather, prolonged cold conditions, sowing of right varieties of wheat by farmers, enhanced farmer awareness and timely pest and yellow rust control in the Doaba region has led to high production in Punjab.
The state was expecting 125 to 130 lakh metric tonnes of wheat arrival in its mandis this time against 119.76 lakh metric tonnes arrived during last year. Punjab, which has 35 lakh hectares under wheat cultivation was expected to produce around 180 lakh metric tonnes this time as against 176 lakh metric tonnes of the crop produced during rabi season of 2017.
Though 125 to 130 lakh metric tonnes will straight away land in mandis for sale, the rest of the crop will be used by farmers and other consumers for domestic consumption.
Farm experts observed that the biggest role in enhanced production of wheat in Punjab was played by timely control of yellow rust and aphids — the deadly pest, which sucks sap from leaves and maturing grains.
The Punjab Agriculture Department had set up 238 surveillance teams for the control of yellow rust, which mainly attacks wheat crop in districts falling in Shivalik foothills like Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, parts of Jalandhar, Ropar, parts of Nawanshahar and Mohali.
“The awareness of farmers about right kind of wheat varieties also contributed to enhanced wheat production this year in a big way. Mostly, they preferred to go in for ICAR-recommended wheat varieties like HD-2967, HD-3086 and PAU-725 for sowing this time and their ability to detect the right varieties has paid rich dividends. They also helped the department in a big way in timely pinpointing yellow rust attack, which saved costs on spray of fungicides like Propiconazole,” said Dr Jasbir Singh Bains, Director, Agriculture Department, Punjab. He said harvesting season was set to get prolonged for at least a weak due to persisting cold weather conditions, particularly during night and early morning times.
Jalandhar-based farm expert Dr Naresh Gulati says, “Instead of proving to be a dampener, spell of rains in the end of December and first half of January proved beneficial for wheat crop. It rather nurtured the crop and there was no discolouration of grains. Unlike in the past, there was virtually no effect of yellow rust on the crop this time,” said Dr Naresh Gulati.
Ensure smooth lifting: Ashu to officials
Chandigarh: Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu on Tuesday said the department would ensure timely procurement of wheat. Addressing officials of the department, Ashu said they should perform their duty with utmost devotion and honesty so that smooth procurement and lifting of wheat crop could take place. TNS
Factors at play
- Optimum, prolonged cold conditions
- Timely control of yellow rust, aphid
- Sowing of right kind of wheat varieties by farmers
- Increased awareness among farmers about crop diseases and effects of weather conditions
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