Planning for better yield
wheat is sown the world over on an area touching 220 million
hectares producing 600 million tons with an average of 2700
kg. of grain per hectare.
The Main land China brings 30 million hectares the largest
are in the world followed by Russian Federation, India, USA,
Australia, Canada, Turkey and Pakistan.
As far as the highest yield is concerned, France produces
7200 kg per hectare. Who leads other countries because it
has much longer growing season of winter wheat? It is rather
more appropriate to compare our wheat grain yields with
countries of similar climatic and eco-zones, like Mexico and
Their yields are much higher owing both genetic constitution
of cultivars and environment provided to them to express
their biological potential.
Since Mexico and Pakistan are located in analogous
ecological zones therefore, introduction of Mexican
varieties in the country in sixties verities in the country
in sixties ushered an era of green revolution.
But unfortunately the pace of development could not be
maintained for long and we now lag much behind the Mexican
yields, who have gone for ahead of us producing 3900 Kg. of
wheat grain per hectare as compared to 2491 K. for us in the
year 1999, the best season.
According to FAO statistics for 1995, among spring wheat
growing countries Egypt has fantastic yield by producing
5422 kg. of grain per hectare where as Indian Punjab
producing 4090 kg. and even India leads us in average yield
by producing 2559 kg. notwithstanding three times largest
area as compared to ours.
In our country wheat is cultivated largely (80 per cent), in
irrigated areas whereas, rest in rain-fed.
The yield and production in latter part of the country is
predominantly controlled by rains during growing season,
which usually are erratic. Hence yields are much lower
during season of low precipitation.
There are of course three kinds of wheat cultivars, the long
duration, the medium and short duration varieties. The wheat
yields usually start declining after 20th Nov sowing at the
rate of 20 kg per day.
Hence efforts must be made to plant it at optimum time. In
cotton areas the sticks are by and large used as fuel in
domestic house hold. Big heaps of cotton sticks can be seen
along the roadside and in villages.
There is a great need to educate growers as to how much
yield is last due to burning of sticks. So as to restores
the soil fertility at least 80 per cent sticks may be buried
In order to enhance the decomposition half a bag of urea per
acre may be incorporated in the soil after the stick burial.
In view of numerous benefits through the addition of organic
matter from cotton sticks, may be made mandatory for each
farmer. In case wheat sowing is delayed owing to late
maturity of cotton, wheat may be sown in standing crop, if
there is low or no incidence of weeds.
However in rice tract wheat should be sown on proper time
immediately after crop harvest. In rice zone a sizable area
must be brought under this season legumes, the chickpeas and
It is of course not so difficult to reap their yields up to
1000 kg per acre, which will bring more finances to the
growers as compared to raising wheat.
Adequate quantity of
nitrogen, phosphorus and potash may be applied to harvest
maximum grain. If phosphorus is added adequately it will not
only help to realize good harvest, the following crop of
cotton shall utilize the remaining residual phosphorus,
without adding more of this element to cotton.
In my opinion there are three main factors, which largely
contribute towards low wheat yields, the optimum time of
sowing, prevalence of high intensity of weeds, imbalance use
The low level of organic
matter is also important for holding the yield. In irrigated
areas the crop is generally sown either after the harvest of
cotton or paddy.
In most of the cases it is customary that farmers neither
add organic matter nor farmyard manure to maintain
fertility, thus resulting in low yields.
In order to sow wheat at
optimum time the cotton breeders in collaboration with
cotton agronomists must try to reduce the life span of
cotton crop without hampering the yield and deteriorating
the quality of lint.
In this way not only have
substantial saving on the management of cotton but also
timely sowing of wheat to realize maximum yields.
As far as weeds are concerned
it is estimated that decline in wheat yield ranges from 15
to 40 per cent or even more in some cases, which is indeed a
great loss towards food self-sufficiency.
As my experience goes tit is much worst in certain
localities where it appears as if wheat is an unwarted and
obnoxious plant. It is in fact a glaring negligence on the
part of extension workers and the grower himself.
The extension workers with the help of farmers may try to
delineate the areas of high infestation of "Dumbi Sitti" and
The farmers in such areas may be advised to control them
through agronomic practices or herbicide treatment or
removing the weed plants just after earring because at that
stage it is easy to differentiate between both the weed and
If these weeds are not controlled now they will spread like
a wild fire in coming years in whole of wheat areas. Thee
weeds have capability to produce large quantities of seed,
which is always shed before wheat harvest.
increases at an alarming pace. These two weeds along with
"It Sit" can be used as biological warfare in agriculture.
On the other hand in barani
areas "Pohalli" is quite a common weed, which can be easily
seen while travelling by air, road or rail after the harvest
The abundance of this weed undoubtedly is a main factor for
low yield in the area. The Pohalli remain green much after
harvest of crop. At that time it is an appropriate time to
launch a campaign to eradicate it by uprooting and burning.
Two or three exercise will
help to whip out the weed in barani areas. Henceforth this
year may be declared a Pohalli eradication year. The road
sides and sides of rail tracks may also be cleared of it.
The pace of yield increase per hectare during past twenty
years has been awfully poor rather frustrating since 1980 to
The population growth
however, over whelmed the increase in yield per unit area
therefore; the enlarged demand of wheat consumption was met
by bringing more area under crop.
Which certainly is not a good omen. But for how long
increase in area under crop shall come to our rescue. This
problem has to be tackled through serious and wise planning
First of all we shall have to get rid of non-technocrats
from lowest level to highest in the ministry of food,
agriculture and livestock and induct able selfless
agricultural scientists but not the pseudo ones.
More funds have to be infused
for research and transfer of technology. At the same time we
must motivate the general public to diversify the so-called
dietary pattern, is greatly imbalanced, which required to be
substituted by balanced through intake of nutritive food, so
as to reduce unnecessary burden on wheat.
Besides this we must
substantially boost yield per unit area. Thus placing this
area under oil seeds, vegetables, fruits, pulses, and
Also considerable area may be
brought under fodder to raise ore animals for milk and meat
production. Last but not the least we ought to arrest
With the improvement in agronomic practices we must try to
equate with Egyptian or across the Punjab wheat yields in
less than three or at the most five years.
Storage facilities: There are many stored grain pests, which
destroy a considerable quantity of produce while in store in
Efforts may be made to
eliminate the losses. If these losses are controlled it is
possible that we may not have to import food grains any
Daily Dawn, 10 December 2001