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Wheat
India is one of the main wheat producing country . After the Green Revolution in the 1970's and 1980's the production of wheat has shown a huge increase. The major States that are involved in the cultivation of wheat are those located in the plains like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. They account for nearly 70 per cent of the total wheat produced in the country. Punjab and Haryana yield the highest amount of wheat because of the availability of better irrigation facilities. The production of wheat in other States like West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh has grown with the provision of better irrigation facilities in the area.
Wheat is a Rabi crop that is grown in the winter season. Sowing of wheat takes place in October to December and harvesting is done during the months of February and May. The wheat crop needs cool winters and hot summers, which is why the fertile plains of the Indo-Gangetic region are the most conducive for growing it. Though well-drained loams and clayey loams are considered the ideal soil for wheat, good crops of wheat have also been raised on sandy loams and black soils of the peninsula region.
Soils with clay loam or loam texture, good structure and moderate water holding capacity are ideal for wheat cultivation. Care should be taken to avoid very porous and excessively drained soils. Soil should have neutral pH. Heavy soils with good drainage are suitable for wheat cultivation under dry conditions. These soils absorb and retain rain water well useful.
Good quality and productivity of wheat is possible only if a locally adapted, high yielding disease resistant variety is chosen for cultivation in a particular area. A number of dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties have been available in the market for cultivation in different agro-climatic zones. Selection of varieties depends mainly on the following factors: Method Of Sowing, Crop Rotation, Pest and Disease, Irrigration Facilities and Climatic Conditions.
Wheat seeds are usually sown through drilling or broadcasting though hand sowing is also prevalent at some places. Drills that are attached to tractors or bullocks ensure that the seed is deposited at a uniform depth. For timely sown and irrigated wheat, a row spacing of 15 to 22.5 cm is followed. 22.5 cm is considered to be the maximum spacing. For late but irrigated wheat, row spacing of 15 -18 cm is the maximum. Dwarf varieties of wheat should be planted in the second week of November at a depth of around 5 to 6 cm. In case of conventional tall varieties, the sowing depth should be 8 or 9 cm. Usually, deep sowing is done in dry, rough and light soils whereas shallow sowing is done in moist soils.
Transplanting of wheat seedlings can be carried out if sowing is delayed. Under rain fed conditions, the furrows are left open after sowing whereas in the case of irrigated wheat, a wooden plank covers the furrows. If wheat is grown under irrigated conditions, 4-6 irrigations are needed. The first irrigation should be given at the crown root initiation stage, 20-25 days after sowing. The wheat crop should be irrigated a few more times if the soil is very light or sandy. Depending on the availability of water with the farmer, a schedule for irrigation can be worked out.
The wheat crop is harvested after the grains harden and the straw becomes dry and brittle. The harvesting time varies from zone to zone. Rain fed crops reach the harvesting stage much earlier than irrigated crops. However, the yields of rain fed crops are much lower. Grains are thoroughly dried before storage to remove all moisture. Storage pits, bins or godowns should be moisture free and fumigated to keep away pests.
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