New Delhi: The area under wheat cultivation has climbed to an all-time high of 30.2 million hectares so far in the ongoing rabi season, boosting prospects of a record production this year, the Agriculture Ministry said Friday.
Although the condition of the crop is good as of now, the ministry is keeping a watch for yellow rust, a fungal disease, which has been detected in Jamuna Nagar in Haryana, it added.
Wheat was grown on 28.63 million hectares in the same period last year. Sowing of wheat, a major rabi crop, starts in October and harvesting takes place from April.
"This is a record wheat acreage. The previous record was 29.9 million hectares in 2012-13 rabi season. Hopefully, if weather conditions remain conducive, we can have record wheat production," Agriculture Commissioner J S Sandhu told the agency.
The country had produced a record 259.29 million tonnes of wheat in 2011-12. In the following year, output fell marginally to 255.36 million tonnes.
Sandhu said another 5-6 lakh hectares are expected to be covered under wheat in the coming days, especially in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
So far, Uttar Pradesh has sown wheat on 9.68 million hectares against a target of 9.73 million hectares, while Madhya Pradesh has planted the crop on 5.39 million hectares against a target of 5.9 million hectares.
Bihar has sown wheat on 2 million hectares against a planned 2.32 million hectares, he added.
"But the bad news is that yellow rust disease has been detected in Jamuna Nagar in Haryana and we are keeping a watch on it," said Sandhu.
A meeting has been scheduled next week to discuss the preparedness of wheat-growing states to tackle the disease, he added.
Besides wheat, rice, pulses, coarse cereals and oilseeds are also grown during the rabi season. The total area under rabi crops has touched 59.19 million hectares so far, much higher than the 56.98 million hectares in the year-ago period.
First Published: Friday, January 3, 2014, 18:14