Effect of Rains on Wheat Crop

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    In News

    • The unusual rise in heat followed by an untimely spell of widespread rain left wheat-growing farmers worried.

    Wheat and its cultivation in India 

    • It is Rabi Crop and is the main cereal crop in India.
    • It has wide adaptability. It can be grown not only in the tropical and subtropical zones but also in the temperate zone and the cold tracts of the far north, beyond even the 60-degree north altitude. 
    • It can tolerate severe cold and snow and resume growth with the setting in of warm weather in spring 
    • It is sown in October-December and harvested during April-June.
    • Soil: It is grown in a variety of soils in India. 
      • Soils with a clay loam or loam texture, good structure, and moderate water-holding capacity are ideal for wheat cultivation.
    • Wheat-growing states in India:  Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Gujarat

    Impacts and Concerns Related to recent weather events 

    • According to the IMD, fairly widespread rains along with stormy winds lashed several parts of the major wheat-growing States in the country under the influence of consecutive western disturbances. 
    • Wheat is sensitive to both heat stress and rain/ thunderstorms during the terminal grain filling and ripening period. 
    • When accompanied by high-velocity winds, make the stems prone to “lodging” or bending and even falling flat on the ground.
    • The crop damage scenario also comes against the backdrop of persisting high inflation and food security woes globally amid geopolitical uncertainties.

    Governments View

    • The Centre is optimistic that wheat production would be close to 112 MT on account of an increased acreage (area) of wheat and better yield this season, despite a slight production loss due to recent adverse weather conditions.

    Way Ahead 

    • A sizable section of farmers asserts that the inclement weather has adversely damaged the standing wheat crop.
    • Moreover, if the country’s wheat production drops below the government estimate it could lead to a hike in prices of wheat and wheat-based products in the domestic market, 
    • Any decline in wheat production can also lead to a potential foodgrain security issue.
    •  If the production is less, then the possibility of market intervention by the government is also quite bleak as its priority would be to maintain the buffer stock.

    Source: IE