Agriculture

A Comprehensive Guide to Wheat Cultivation in India: Step-by-Step Process

Updated on 14th May, 2024, By Arpit Srivastava
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A Comprehensive Guide to Wheat Cultivation in India: Step-by-Step Process
Wheat is the second most staple food crop in India after Rice. The various states of Wheat cultivation include soil and climate requirements, land preparation, sowing, manures and fertilizers, irrigation schedule, inter-cultivation, and harvesting.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Wheat Crop

Wheat’s scientific name is Triticum aestivum L. It is a Rabi season crop and the second most important cereal crop, which plays a significant role in the food and nutritional security of India. More than 50 per cent of the world's total population depends on wheat for around 20 per cent of calories. It is a staple food of North India, widely consumed in the form of chapatti.

The history of wheat in India is deeply rooted. It is believed that the Aryans were the first to introduce wheat grains to the country. Wheat's centre of origin is South Western Asia, marking its historical significance in our culture.

India ranks second among the top wheat-producing countries in the world after China. The overall wheat production in 2021-22 was 106.84 million tons. The major wheat-producing states in India are Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Punjab.

Steps of Wheat Cultivation in India

The wheat cultivation process involves several stages, which are discussed below:

Soil & Climate Requirements for Wheat Cultivation

The soil required for wheat cultivation is well-drained and fertile black soil. Since wheat is sensitive to water logging, heavy soil with poor drainage is not suitable for wheat cultivation.

Wheat is a highly adaptable crop that can be grown in tropical, subtropical, and temperate zones. It can tolerate severe cold and hail, however growth resumes with warm weather. A dry and cool climate with a temperature of 20 to 25 degrees Celsius is best suited for the growth of Wheat crops.

Land Preparation for Wheat Cultivation

A well-pulverized but compact seedbed is best suited for better and uniform germination of the seeds. You need to apply pre-sowing irrigation for irrigated wheat after harvesting kharif crops. Prepare the land in Waaphasa condition (a condition where both water and air are accessible to the roots proportionally). It can be created by ploughing the land two times using MB Ploughs and then harrowing and levelling the land. The land should be free of rootlets, stubbles, weeds, etc., which can be done using Disc Harrows.

Sowing Method of Wheat

Wheat is a winter-season crop. The ideal wheat crop duration is from October to May. The seeds can be sown using happy seeders, preventing stubble burning, which is used to remove paddy crop residues from the land.

Sowing Timing

The best month for the sowing of wheat is from October to December. The wheat sowing timing is categorized as early sowing (November 1st week), timely sowing (10th to 15th November), and late sowing (25th November to 15th December). Only selected varieties of wheat with short durations should be used during late sowing.

Seed Rate

The seed rate depends on the size and condition of the seed. The rate is as follows:

  • Small Seed: Small seed varieties like J-1-7, Kalyansona and GW-40 have a lower seed rate, around 100 kg seeds per hectare.
  • Bold Seed: The bold seed varieties like J -18, J-24, Sonalika, Lok 1, etc., have a seed rate of 125 kg seeds per hectare.
  • Late Sowing Seeds: The seed rate of the late sowing varieties is kept 25 per cent higher than the recommended seed rate.

Seed Treatment

The seed treatment controls soil-borne diseases like seedling rot and root rot. You can do it with fungicides like Captan or Thiram.

Sowing Method

Seed drills are used to sow wheat seeds. However, with technological advancements, new farm implements, including super seeders and happy seeders, are widely used for seed sowing.

Spacing

A row spacing of 20 to 22.5 cm is recommended for normal sowing. However, in case of late sowing varieties, a closer row spacing of 15 to 18 cm is recommended for better yield.

Manures & Fertilizers Used in Wheat Crop

Different conditions require different composition of fertilizers for better production, such as:

A well-decomposed compost or Farm Yard Manure can be used in a quantity of 10 to 12.5 tons per hectare during land preparation. It helps increase the nutrient availability in the soil and enhances soil fertility.

For well-drained and sandy soil, nitrogen use should be split into two parts: fifty per cent during the first irrigation and the other half during the second irrigation. Urea should be avoided for basal applications of nitrogen because of the high dissolving capability of nitrogen in the water.

During intensive cropping, growing more than one crop on the land may lead to Zinc deficiency. Thus, 25 kg of ZnSO4 per hectare should be applied in the field to overcome the Zinc deficiency. Zinc can also be used in standing crops.

If the soil is affected by salt, then Calcium at the rate of 1.25 tons per hectare should be used in the field at an interval of two to three years in the form of gypsum. It helps enhance the soil structure.

Irrigation Schedule in Wheat Cultivation

Irrigation is an important aspect of wheat cultivation, and it should be done at regular intervals. The irrigation schedule may vary depending on the soil and climate conditions. Normally, wheat crops require eight irrigations for better yield.

  • The first irrigation should be provided at the CRI (Crown Root Initiation) stage.
  • The second irrigation should be provided after 12 to 13 days of sowing of seeds.
  • The rest of the irrigation should be provided at an interval of 8 to 10 days.

Inter-cultivation in Wheat

Some common weeds found in wheat fields are Chenopodium album L and Cyperus rotundus L. However, the wheat crops must be free from weeds for at least 45 days after sowing. Weeding is done using hand hoe, wheel hoe, or bar harrow. However, the traditional weeding practices involve one hand weeding which used to be done after 3 to 4 weeks of sowing. This weeding process has become costly nowadays because of the insufficiency of labour and increased labour costs.

Harvesting of Wheat Crops

The wheat crop is ready for harvesting when the grains of the crop become yellow and dry. The ideal harvesting time is when there is 25 to 30 percent moisture level in the grains. Harvesting is done manually or using wheat harvesters. If a wheat harvester is used, then there is no need for threshing as the final output is already in the form of threshed grains.

In case of manual harvesting, the crops are tied in bundles and taken for threshing using a wheat thresher. Once the threshing process is complete, the clean crop grains should be kept under open sunlight for 7 to 8 days to dry. It reduces the moisture level in the grains, and then the grains are kept in safe storage.

MSP for Wheat in India

MSP stands for minimum support price which is governed by the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation on the recommendation of the CACP (Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices). As per the government data, the minimum support price of wheat in 2023-24 is 2125 rupees per quintal. To ensure remunerative prices to wheat growers of India, wheat price has been increased by 110 rupees per quintal compared to the previous year, 2022-23, which was 2015 rupees per quintal.

Frequently Asked Questions on A Comprehensive Guide to Wheat Cultivation in India: Step-by-Step Process

1. Is wheat a kharif or rabi crop?

Wheat is a Rabi crop.

Wheat cultivation involves several steps, including soil and climate requirements, land preparation, sowing, manures and fertilizers, irrigation schedule, inter-cultivation, and harvesting.

A well-drained and fertile black soil is best for growing wheat crops.

The root length of wheat crops is generally between 50 to 100 cm.

The wheat cropping period is from October to May.

Wheat crops take around 4 months to grow.

The water schedule is generally eight times for whole cropping period for the wheat crops.

Arpit Srivastava
Published By
Arpit Srivastava
Arpit holds a B.Tech degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Babu Banarasi Das Northern India Institute of Technology. He is a professional content writer having skillset of writing top quality research based content for various niche and industries. With over 7 years of experience, he holds expertise in writing SEO-friendly content on a wide range of topics related to agriculture, tractors, and farm implements. In his free time, he loves to explore new places, try different cuisines, and play sports like cricket and badminton.
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