Wheat is a widely consumed staple food crop in the world. It is a cool season crop and preferred during the winter season in the tropics. It ranks first among all the food grains in terms of area and production while, in India it is a second important food crop next to rice. To ensure a successful wheat crop, it is essential to understand the process of wheat planting and techniques involved in growing a healthy and productive wheat crop.
Wheat Crop at a Glance
Botanical Name: Triticum aestivum L.
Common Name: Gehu (Hindi), Kanaka (Punjabi), Kotumai (Tamil), Gothambu (Malayalam), Godhuma (Telugu).
Crop Season: Rabi season
Crop type: Field crop
In general, wheat grows well in a wide range of soils especially in medium to heavy soils. However, well drained loamy and clay loam are the most ideal textural classification for the cultivation of wheat crop.
Wheat cultivation can be done in dry and chilled environmental conditions, and hence it is referred to as a winter season crop. For successful wheat planting, maintaining the ideal temperature is crucial. The temperature range from 16 to 21.1˚C and an annual rainfall between 750 to 1000 mm is suitable for optimum growth of wheat.
Package of Practices for Wheat Cultivation
The crop needs a seed bed that is clean, well-pulverized, fine and wet. If the wheat farm has less moisture than is necessary for this sort of tilth, pre-sowing irrigation should be provided. When working in an irrigated ecology, the first ploughing should be done with a soil-turning plough, and later three to four harrowing followed by planking. In rainfed regions, disc harrowing should be done after each productive rainfall during the monsoon and planking should always come after each harrowing to prevent clod development and moisture loss.
When to grow Maize crop
The optimum wheat planting time ranges between 1st fortnight of November to 1st fortnight of December.
Seed rate and Spacing
In general, wheat seeds should be sown in lines at a spacing of 22.5 cm × 10 cm with an optimum seed rate of 100 to 125 kg/ha. If sown late a seed rate of 125 to 140 kg/ha is recommended. About 20 to 25 days after planting wheat, thinning is required to maintain the ideal plant population.
Before cultivation of wheat, treat Shoot fly infestation can be controlled by treating the seeds with confidor super (Imidacloprid 30.5% SL) at the rate of 0.3 ml for 1 kg wheat seeds. Seed treatment with vitavax power (Carboxin 37.5% + Thiram 37.5% DS) at 3g/kg seed for 6 hours is recommended to prevent loose smut of wheat.
A wheat crop needs 300 to 400 mm of irrigation water. At critical periods, the crop is extremely vulnerable to water stress. The most critical stages for irrigation in wheat crop are Crown Root Initiation stage, Jointing, Heading and Dough Stage.
Manures and Fertilizers
To avoid unnecessary fertilizer application and boost profitability in wheat farm, the fertilizer should be administered based on the results of a soil test. Application of N, P and K at rates 120:60:40 kg/ha is recommended in irrigated environments. Apply half of the nitrogen as a basal dosage and the remaining half during the first irrigation at 30 to 45 days after sowing or planting wheat.
Hand weeding twice at 30 and 45 DAS is recommended for better weed control. In case of labour shortage, pre-emergence application of Stomp Xtra (Pendimethalin 38.7 % CS) at 600 ml/acre and post emergence application of Total Herbicide (Sulfosulfuron 75% + Metsulfuron 5% WG) at 16 gm/acre during 30 to 35 DAS can be recommended for efficient control of weeds in the wheat farm.
Crop Protection (Pests and Diseases)
Pests of wheat crop
|Pink Stem borer
Common diseases affecting wheat crop
|Black or stem rust
|Puccinia graminis tritici
|Brown or orange rust
|Ustilago nuda tritici
Harvesting and Threshing
Crop has to be harvested using sickles when the crop turns completely yellow and left in the field to dry. Further, the grains are separated from the ear by threshing which is followed by winnowing and packing.
Average yield from Wheat farm
The yield of wheat usually ranges between 3 to 4 t/ha on average.
DBW 222, PBW-502, HD 3385, HD 3226, DDW 47.