Technologies for increasing wheat
By M. Ather Mahmood & Dr
Pakistan is predominantly an agricultural country. However,
the yield of almost all the crops obtained is far less than
The cop production technologies developed through research
are there but their adoption remains limited. This requires
an efficient and effective information flow about
agricultural technologies from the researchers to the
is the country’s most important agricultural commodity and
contributes 13.7 per cent to the value-added in agriculture
and three per cent to the GDP. Its share in the total
cropped area is 37 per cent.
Being staple food grain, it contributes 42 per cent of total
calories required per capita per day. The wheat straw is
also important as fodder. Consequently, it occupies a
central position in agricultural economy and policies.
A wide gap exists between the national average yield (about
2586 kg/ha), progressive farmers’ yield (about 5000 kg/ha)
and potential yield (about 6800 kg/ha).
Pakistan has been a net importer of wheat for the past
several decades. This situation is not enviable. It is
believed that the future increase in wheat production will
come through yield enhancement since land resources will
The area under wheat should preferably be decreased to
accommodate pulses and oilseed crops to overcome the gap in
their supply and demand. Efforts to increase the wheat
productivity have always been the concern of the researchers
who have developed technologies for its production.
The agricultural department publishes brochures and booklets
for recommended production technologies for each crop. These
are considered as recommended technological package.
The technological package includes varietals selection, land
preparation practices, sowing schedule, seed rate,
fertilisers, irrigation schedule, weed control, insect pest
and disease control and harvesting. By adopting these
recommended technologies, the farmers can get higher yield.
The Technology Transfer Institute (PARC), Faisalabad has
undertaken a study to assess the adoption of wheat
production technologies in the rice-wheat and mixed cropping
zones of the Punjab.
The survey was conducted in three important districts of the
rice-wheat zone namely Sialkot, Gujranwala and Sheikhupura
and three districts of mixed zone namely Faisalabad, Jhang
and the T.T. Sigh. A total of 180 wheat growers were
randomly interviewed (90 from each zone) for the collection
of requisite data.
The main findings of the survey are summarized as follows:
Land preparation is the first and important activity to be
performed for wheat production. The study results reveal
that about 83 per cent of farmers prepared the land as
recommended by experts.
Crop production largely depends on the choice of variety.
The seed must be healthy, cleaned and treated to get higher
yield. If the choice and practices are right as recommended
by the experts for that particular area, then there will
definitely be higher yield.
About 78 per cent of the respondents sow the recommended
varieties. However, the major reliance is still on Inqilab
Timely sown wheat gives higher yield and delayed sowing
affects the yield. The wheat experts said that one day delay
after November 20 reduced the yield from 15 to 20 kg per
acre. The problem of delayed wheat sowing in the rice-wheat
zone is due to late rice harvesting.
Similarly, the reason behind late planting of wheat in the
mixed cropping zone is the late vacation of the field mainly
by sugarcane crop. The survey results reveal that only 54
per cent of the respondents sow wheat in time.
Farm experts emphasise the practice of line sowing rather
broadcast method. However, farmers generally practice
broadcast method for wheat in order to save time and
The survey results highlight the same fact that only 27 per
cent of the growers practice line sowing as per
recommendation of the department.
The recommended seed rate for timely wheat sowing i.e.,
before November 20 is 50kg per acre. If the sowing is
delayed to December, then the recommended seed rate is 70kg
The farm level practice is very contrary to it, the farmers
generally apply seed 40kg per acre for timely sowing and
little late sowing, and 50kg per acre for December sowing.
Only 45 per cent of the farmers apply seed as per department
Fertiliser is a key input for better crop production. The
timely and balanced use of fertiliser increases the yield by
five to 10 maunds per acre. The farmers of survey area
generally apply nitrogen and phosphorous fertilisers but
they don’t apply the potash fertiliser.
The survey results reveal that only two per cent of the
growers apply fertiliser according to the recommendation of
the department. The obvious reason for low fertiliser
application is its price.
Wheat crop generally requires three to four irrigations at
different stages of growth. There are three critical stages
i.e., first irrigation normally 20-25 days after sowing,
second at boot stage and third at milk stage of grain
development. About 88 per cent of the respondents apply
irrigation as recommended by experts..
Weed control is important to get higher yield of wheat crop.
It is estimated that weeds reduce the yield by 30 to 40 per
cent. There are about 75 per cent of the respondents who
The results of the study clearly indicate that some
recommended technologies like land preparation, varieties,
irrigation and weed control are well adopted while others
like sowing time, sowing method, seed rate and fertiliser
application are not so well followed.
Following are some suggestions to improve wheat productivity
based on survey results.
* The majority of the farmers fail to timely sow their crop
due to number of reasons. There is serious decline of yield
due to late planting. We should develop technologies to
minimise this problem.
*Similarly, sowing method and seed rate of the majority of
the farmers are not as per recommendation of the
agricultural department. So, there is strong need to
increase the rate of adoption of these technologies.
*The application of fertiliser is the lowest among all the
wheat production technologies. The reasons of low
application need to be seriously reviewed and properly
*The adoption of weed control practices is high among the
sampled farmers. Efforts should be made to further improve
the weed control practices.
*Improve awareness about the recommended technologies.
Courtesy: The DAWN