As farmers shift to oilseeds, wheat acreage drops 2%

Wheat sowing in the current rabi season dropped 2.4 per cent to 248.67 lakh hectares (lh) as of December 10 from the year-ago period, mainly due to farmers shifting to other crops in Haryana, Gujarat and Bihar. Other wheat-growing States recorded either the same area as last year or higher.

“The shifting to mustard from wheat is very clear this year because of high prices of the oilseed crop since last year. Government should take a cue from this trend on its crop diversification plan as price is the main driver to motivate farmers,” said AK Singhal, a trader in Hapur, who deals with grains and pulses. The wheat acreage in Uttar Pradesh, too, may marginally fall from last year’s 99 lh at the end of the season, he said. Currently, it has reached 73.55 lh, marginally higher from year-ago period.

Over 82 per cent of the normal sowing area of 625.14 lh under all winter-sown crops has been covered and it is up by two per cent from the year-ago period. Total area under all crops recorded at 513.25 lh (503.63 lh).

Mustard output

The acreage of mustard/rapeseed has jumped by 23.8 per cent at 81.66 lh from 55.97 lh. For 2021-22, the government had set a target of 75.8 lh with a production of 12.24 million tonnes (mt), which will be, in all likelihood, breached. Mustard output was 10.1 mt in 2020-21. Total area under oilseeds have jumped to 88.5 lh (72.13 lh), mainly because of higher area under mustard.

Cumulative rainfall from the period October 1 to December 10 has been 51 per cent more than normal for the country as a whole and over 85 per cent of the area has received normal are higher rainfall during this period.

The area under pulses is slightly higher at 129.74 lh (129.28 lh) in the year-ago. The season’s normal area (five-year average) is 146.14 lh. The acreage of gram (chana) has increased about 2 per cent at 92.89 lh from 90.68 lh.