Sowing wheat and mustard — the two main rabi crops — picked up pace during the week ended November 4. While mustard-sowing covered almost 72 per cent of the normal area, the same for wheat rose almost 436 per cent as compared to last year.
Mustard is usually sown in 6.4 million hectares, and sowing in almost 4.6 million hectares is complete till Friday.
Traders said in the next 10-15 days, bulk of the sowing for mustard should be complete, which is a good sign and should ensure a big harvest, if the weather remains favourable in the next few months.
In case of wheat, early sowing trends indicate that there could be a rise in acreage due to shift of farmers from other competing crops such as gram and ancillary pulses towards wheat in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and even Gujarat.
Some reports said a big swing towards wheat might also happen this year as farmers do not want to repeat the mistakes of last year when a sudden surge in temperature in the fag end of the harvest season brought down per-hectare yields.
Overall, till November 4, all rabi crops have been sown in around 9.74 million hectares, which is almost 17 per cent more than the area covered during the same period last year.
Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its November forecast said intense winter might elude North India as maximum temperatures will remain above normal.
As far as moisture levels are concerned, the Met department said post-monsoon rains across the country are expected to be about 23 per cent more than normal in November with bulk of showers concentrated in southern parts of the country that gets Northeastern monsoon.
The national average rainfall across India in November is about 29.7 millimetres. The rains should further aid planting of rabi crop, where the soil moisture levels are already good due to almost 47 per cent more than normal rains in October across India.
Wheat prices are trading around Rs 2,700 per quintal in the open market in Delhi and its adjoining areas, which till a few months back was being quoted about Rs 2,400 per quintal.
The current market price is much more than even the revised MSP for the next season— to start in April 2023— that has been fixed at Rs 2,125 per quintal, amongst the highest in recent years.