February Heatwave: February Heat May Damage Wheat Crop: IMD

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued an advisory to farmers on Tuesday, warning them of the effects of a higher than usual daytime temperature.

“The higher daytime temperature could result in an adverse effect on wheat as the wheat harvest approaches the reproductive growing season, which is temperature sensitive,” the IMD said in a statement. “High temperatures during flowering and ripening lead to reduced yields. There could be similar impacts on other standing crops and horticulture.”

The maximum temperature in key wheat-growing states of Gujarat and Maharashtra was 35 to 39 degrees Celsius, the weather bureau said, 3 to 5 degrees Celsius above normal over northwest, central and western India, where wheat is a key Rabi crop.

Last year, a similar rise in temperature in wheat-producing states caused wheat production to fall to 106.84 million tons from 109.59 tons in 2021, leading to an export ban for the world’s second-largest wheat producer.

This led to an increase in private purchases of wheat, leading to a significant reduction in government procurement. Grain prices rose unusually in January, forcing the government to sell wheat on the open market to millers and other traders.

On Monday, IMD said there had been an unusual rise in temperature in February, predicting heatwave-like conditions in parts of Gujarat and the Maharashtra-Goa region.

In its recommendation on Tuesday, the weather bureau advised farmers to check if crops appear to be under stress, saying light irrigation can be provided in such a situation. “To reduce the effects of higher temperatures, add mulch material in the space between two rows of vegetable crops to conserve soil moisture and maintain soil temperature,” it said. Aside from wheat, the high temperature could affect other standing crops and horticultural crops, the IMD said.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/february-heat-may-damage-wheat-crop-imd/articleshow/98127411.cms February Heatwave: February Heat May Damage Wheat Crop: IMD

Luke Plunkett

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