“Based on the surveys conducted by ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat & Barley Research (IIWBR), Karnal in collaboration of State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs), it is found that wheat crop situation is normal,” said agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar in his written response to a Parliament question.
Asked whether the temperature touching as high as 35 degrees Celcius last month would adversely affect wheat production this year despite good production estimates, the minister said, “In the Northern Indian plain, the maximum temperature in February was hovering around 32-33 degree C in most of the area, and this temperature is unlikely to impact the wheat grain growth adversely as crop canopy temperature can be easily modulated by 2-3 degree Celsius less than air temperature by irrigation.”
Referring to higher temperatures in other regions, Tomar said, “In central and peninsular India, the temperature always remains comparatively higher against northern plain throughout the crop growth period and crop phenology is naturally adjusted accordingly. Therefore, in these areas also, the temperature as high as 35 degree C is also not going to impact wheat yield adversely.”
On advisory to the farmers to deal with the situation, the minister said, “The scientists of ICAR have issued the advisory of giving light irrigation to modulate the crop canopy temperature favourably as and when required…Further, foliar spray of 200 litres per acre is recommended to minimize the heat shock.”
He informed that all extension agencies from Central and State governments along with ICAR/SAUs visit the farmers’ fields regularly and provide timely advisories to the farmers, wherever heat stress conditions can have adverse effects.