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Sowing Wheat early in Eastern India can Increase yield by 69%: Study

  • Category
    Economy
  • Published
    12th Aug, 2022

Context:

Moving paddy transplantation forward by two weeks can lead to a 36% greater wheat yield.

Background:

  • Cornell University, the United States, has found that the sowing dates of wheat have maximum influence on its yield. It supersedes all other crop management, soil, and varietal factors.
  • The study has found that by adjusting sowing dates in eastern parts of India will increase production by 69 per cent.

About the study:

  • The researchers have studied in 2.25 million hectares of farmland cultivating wheat-paddy in Bihar and seven adjacent districts of Uttar Pradesh.
  • In this region, the wheat is sown between early November and late December, with harvest extending from late March through April. Rice alternates with wheat on the agricultural calendar, with farmers growing rice in the wet season and wheat in the dry one.
  • The study divided the data into three:
  1. Early (before November 20),
  2. Medium (November 20 to December 4) and
  3. Late (after December 4).

Key Findings:

  • Advancing the rice crop calendar by up to two weeks will help wheat productivity.
  • The yield increased by 69 per cent for fields sown in early November (5.4 tonnes per hectare) compared with those in late December (3.2 tonnes per hectare).
  • A bulk of the sowing, 59 per cent, takes place after December 1st and moving it up by two weeks can lead to a 36 per cent increase in yield.
  • Rice productivity will not be hampered by early wheat sowing.

Significance:

  • Policymakers need to take note of this and help design an agriculture calendar so that paddy transplantation can happen earlier.
  • A calendar that balances both wheat and rice yields is needed. Moving to short-duration paddy varieties might be one solution.
  • The data can be crucial for resilient climate farming in the country.
  • Planting wheat earlier helps the crop avoid heat stress as it matures.
  • The greater production will help ensure food security and farm profitability as the planet warms.

Factor

Rice (Kharif Crop)

Wheat (Rabi Crop)

Temperature:

Between 22-32°C with high humidity.

Between 10-15°C (Sowing time) and 21-26°C (Ripening & Harvesting) with bright sunlight.

Rainfall

Around 150-300 cm.

Around 75-100 cm.

Soil Type

Deep clayey and loamy soil.

Well-drained fertile loamy and clayey loamy

Major Producers

West Bengal > Punjab > Uttar Pradesh > Andhra Pradesh > Bihar.

Uttar Pradesh > Punjab > Madhya Pradesh > Haryana > Rajasthan.

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