India. January rains expected to boost planting of wheat, chickpea & mustard crops


A spell of rain is expected to lash the northern and northwestern regions over the next 24 hours, which agriculture experts say would help boost planting of wheat, chickpea and mustard.

Rains at this time of the year are beneficial for the standing wheat crop as well. Agriculture officials and companies said this would help improve yields and production will be higher than last year. But potato and other vegetable crops could suffer from cold and frost conditions if temperatures dropped further.

“We are expecting the first good spell of winter rain on January 6-7 across Punjab and Haryana as per the India Meteorological Department forecast. We can expect yields to increase, which will further boost production,“ said Gyanandra Pratap Singh, director of the Karnal-based Indian Institute of Wheat & Barley Research.

The agriculture ministry is targeting a record 96.50 million tonnes of wheat output for 2016-17, compared with 93.50 million tonnes in 2015-16. “Farmers will save on irrigation cost and the rains will saturate soil and give maximum benefit to the crop," said Singh.

“So far it has been a dry winter. We need rain urgently,“ said Angshu Mallick, chief operating officer at Adani Wilmar that sells wheat, oil and pulses. “This will provide higher oil content in mustard and yields will go up for wheat and chana."

The weather office has forecast minimum and maximum temperatures to fall by 2-4 degrees post 48 hours, which will boost the growth of rabi crops. “The rains which are expected during the coming days would be favourable for the mustard crop as the crop requires moisture during this stage.

The favourable climatic conditions this year have raised hopes of a bumper mustard crop in 2016-17, if there is no adversity reported in coming months," said Vivek Puri, managing director of Puri Oil Mills, which sells mustard oil under the P Mark brand.

Dry weather conditions in November-December have not made any major impact on the total area covered under rabi, or winter-sown, crops this year.


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