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Increasing heat unlikely to impact wheat crop, says IMD

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, Apr 1 (PTI) The increase in temperatures will not have any impact on the harvest-ready wheat crop, the IMD said on Monday.

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India is set to experience extreme heat during the April-June period, with the central and the western peninsular parts expected to face the worst impact, India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said during a press conference.

The Met office said maximum temperatures are very likely to be above normal by 2-3 degrees Celsius over many parts of north India and the east and the west coasts, and near normal over the rest of the country, during the wheat harvesting period.

However, there is no heatwave warning for wheat producing states, except Madhya Pradesh, the IMD chief said.

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"Temperatures are around 37-40 degrees Celsius in Madhya Pradesh at present and are likely to go up to 42 degrees next week. Since 90 per cent of the wheat harvesting in the state is over, there will be no effect," he said, citing data from the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

Even if temperatures go above 35 degrees Celsius, there will be no impact in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, he added.

India produced 110.55 million tons of wheat during 2022-23. Of this, Uttar Pradesh accounted for 30.40 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 20.56 per cent, Punjab 15.18 per cent, Haryana 9.89 per cent and Rajasthan 9.62 per cent.

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An early onslaught of heat waves impacted the wheat crop in India in 2022, with production declining to 107.7 million tons from 109.59 million tons in 2021. This prompted the country, the world's second-largest wheat producer, to ban exports.

The wheat crop is sown in October, and harvesting in most parts begins around April.

The IMD reported that 80-85 per cent of the wheat crop was sown either early or timely between October 25 and November 30, with climate-resilient varieties planted over 70 per cent of the sown area.

This year, wheat production is expected to be around 112-114 million tons.

Government data shows that the country's wheat production increased from 99.87 million tonnes in 2017-18 to 110.55 million tonnes in 2022-23, and the area under wheat cultivation rose from 29.67 million hectares to 31.78 million hectares during the period. PTI GVS GVS SZM

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