The country's wheat production is expected to be good this year amid higher coverage, according to Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda.
The sowing of wheat, the main rabi (winter) crop, that began in October has been completed. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Punjab are the top three states having the maximum area under wheat coverage.
"As per the sowing data, wheat has been covered in more area and we expect good production this year," Munda told PTI.
As per the ministry's data, the total acreage under the wheat crop remained higher at 336.96 lakh hectares till the last week of the current rabi season of the 2023-24 crop year (July-June), as against 335.67 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.
On January 3, Food Corporation of India Chairman and Managing Director Ashok K Meena indicated that the country could achieve a new record in wheat production at 114 million tonnes in the ongoing 2023-24 crop year provided weather conditions remain normal.
Wheat production stood at a record 110.55 million tonnes in the 2022-23 crop year, compared to 107.7 million tonnes achieved in the preceding year.
Sharing about wheat crop prospects this year, a senior agriculture ministry official said the crop is in good condition and there are no reports of any damage to the crop till date.
"The current cold weather condition is good for the growth of wheat and other rabi crops," he said.
Climate-resistant seeds have been sown in more than 70 per cent of the total wheat area covered in both Punjab and Haryana this year, he said.
The two states have sown wheat in a total area of around 59 lakh hectares this year, the data showed.
Meanwhile, the agriculture ministry has started issuing regular advisories to help farmers take care of the wheat crop after the completion of sowing.
As per the latest advisory for the period covering January 16-30, the ministry has asked farmers to complete the application of nitrogen fertilizer up to 40-45 days after sowing. Farmers have been asked to apply urea just before irrigation for better results.
In case of late sown, if farmers notice both narrow and broad leaf weeds in their wheat field, they have been advised to spray herbicide Sulfosulfuron 75WG of about 13.5 grams per acre or Sulfosulfuron plus Metsulfuron of 16 grams per acre in 120-150 litres of water before the first irrigation or 10-15 days after irrigation.
Keeping in view the favourable humid weather for yellow rust disease, farmers are advised to visit their crops regularly to observe 'stripe rust' (yellow rust) incidence.
To tackle lodging in early sown wheat crops, farmers have been asked to provide 'growth regulators' in high fertility irrigated conditions. For frost management, light irrigation should be applied to wheat crops taking due care of the Met Department forecast.
The Met Department has forecast rain in northeast and central areas of India during January 16-30 and the temperature is expected to drop below normal in the forthcoming week.
The government is taking proactive steps to help farmers prepare to save the wheat crop in the events of extreme weather conditions.