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Wheat Package of Practice

Scope :

Wheat is as remunerative as rice and gives 3-4 tonnes of grains with good management practices. The crop requires less water than rice and about 3 hectares of wheat can be grown with the amount of water required for one hectare of paddy. The command areas of dugwells, lift irrigation points, tanks, MI projects, water harvesting structures and tail end areas of canals offer scope for wheat cultivation. Moreover, a third crop of pulses, ragi or sesame can be taken with light irrigation in summer after harvest of wheat.

Varieties :

The varieties recommended for different sowing dates are as follows:

Sowing time Suitable varieties
Timely sown ( November 15 –

30)

HD 2824, HD 2733, PBW 343, PBW 443, HUW

468, K 9107, HP 1761, HP 1731, Sonalika

Late sown (December 1 – 25) HW 2045, DBW 14, NW 2036, HD 2643, NW

1014, HP 1744, HP 1633 (Sonali), Sonalika

Very Late ( Dec. 26 to January 7) Raj 3765, PBW 373

All these varieties mature in 95 to 100 days. As wheat is a thermo-sensitive crop, it matures earlier in coastal than inland districts of the state.

Field preparation :

Apply all the farm yard manure (5t/ha) at final land preparation. The field should be properly prepared to obtain a clean, friable and levelled seed bed to facilitate line sowing. Divide the field into small basins of convenient size (5 x 3 meter) for controlled irrigation. Field channels may be laid in alternate plots so that each channel can irrigate the plots on either side of it. Excess irrigation is harmful for wheat. Therefore, controlled irrigation by dividing the field into subplots is essential for getting high yield.

For the light soils of coastal districts bose plough should be used, whereas for the heavy soil, implement factory heavy soil mould board plough should be used. Power tiller with rotavator and tractor with cultivator are most suitable for land preparation in all types of soil.

Seed treatment and sowing :

Seed treatment protects the crop from seed borne diseases like loose smut, helminthosporium leaf spot and alternaria blight. For loose smut, soak seeds in water for 5 to 6 hours and dry in hot sun for 4 to 5 hours in a very thin layer. Treat each kg of seeds with 1.5 g of vitavax power thoroughly. Only quality seeds with more than 80% germination be used for sowing. Seed treatment drum should be used for treating the seeds before sowing.

The second fortnight of November is the optimum period for sowing wheat. Tiller initiation takes place at about 18 days after germination. Low temperature of 21oC or less favours tillering. The coldest period falls between 15th December to 15th January and this period prolongs in the inland districts upto 20th January. Wheat should, therefore, be sown by the end of November at the latest. In the interior districts and hilly areas, where the winter is more prolonged and severe, sowings may continue till the end of December. Early sowing before 1st week of November results in early emergence of earheads and very low yields. Wheat may be sown when coconut oil solidifies with the onset of winter.

Seed rate and spacing :

Use 125 kg seed/ha for normal sowing and 150 kg/ha if sown late in December. Sow the seeds in lines 20 cm apart for inland districts and at 15 cm apart for coastal districts and late sowing under both the situations. Line sowing facilitates weeding, maintain adequate plant population and gives higher yield. Sow the seeds at a depth not exceeding 5 cm in moist soil by seed drill or behind the plough and compact soil by laddering.

Fertilizer use :

Apply fertilizer on the basis of soil test recommendation. Where soil test is not possible, apply 80-50-40 kg N-P2O5-K2O/ha for inland districts and 60-40-30 kg N-P2O5- K2O/ha for coastal districts. Increase the fertilizer dose to 120-60-40 kg N-P2O5-K2O/ha for Hirakud command and 100-50-50 kg N-P2O5-K2O/ha for Koraput dsitrict. It is best to apply half of nitrogen and all the P and K 3 to 4 cm below the seed at sowing. The remaining half of Nitrogen should be applied at 18 to 21 days stage just before hoeing and weeding so as to incorporate the fertilizer into the soil. In light soil, nitrogen may be applied in 3 splits i.e. 25% basal, 50% at 18 to 21 DAS and 25% at 35 DAS. In acid soil liming @ 1-2 t/ha 15 days before sowing depending on pH of soils will help in increasing the yield. Phosphorus can be applied as 50:50 mixture of rock phosphate and superphosphate to economize cost of fertilizer and to increase yield. Under limed situation rock phosphate to be substituted by SSP.

Interculture :

The crown roots appear in the third week after germination. Weeding, manuring and irrigation at this stage help root growth and development and also better tillering. In heavily weed infested field weeding earlier at about 15 days stage is necessary. Nitrogen top dressing can be done between the lines before hoeing and weeding so that the fertilizer gets incorporated into the soil there by reducing losses and increasing fertilizer use efficacy. For weeding wheel hoe and wheel finger weeder can be used. For effective control of weeds, apply pendimethalin @ 1 kg/ha as spray in 500 litres of water one day after sowing. At 30 days after sowing again apply, 2,4-D (80%) @ 0.75 kg/ha or methabenzthiazuron (70%) @ 1.2 kg/ha.

Irrigation :

The critical stages of water requirement are crown root initiation, tillering, jointing, flowering and grain filling. Excess irrigation and standing water in the field is harmful as the

plants become yellow and yield decreases. At sowing the top 5 cm of soil should be moist to facilitate quick germination. In loamy sand soils, sow the seeds and irrigate. In loam and clay loam soils give a soaking irrigation, prepare the land and sow the seeds. Otherwise, the field has to be given light irrigation. The first irrigation should be given at crown root initiation stage 18-20 days after sowing, soon after top dressing, hoeing and weeding which helps root growth and tillering. In very light soils, it may be necessary to irrigate the crop at 10 to 12 days after sowing. Thereafter irrigate at an interval of 12 to 15 days depending on the texture of the soil. The last irrigation may be given when the plants start yellowing and grains are at the hard dough stage. Each time irrigate 6 cm of water.

Plant protection :

Hand compression sprayer or low volume sprayer can be used for applying pesticide and insecticide.

Harvesting :

Flowering takes place between 45-65 days. Thereafter it takes another 45 days for wheat to mature and be ready for harvesting. When the plants are completely yellow and the grains dry up and become hard, wheat will be ready for harvest. One test is to bend the neck of the earhead and if snaps, then wheat is ready for harvesting. Another test is to take a grain and bite it and if it breaks with a cracking sound then the crop is ready for harvest.

Improved sickle can be used for harvesting wheat. Vertical conveyor reaper (power tiller or tractor operated) is recommended for harvesting if available with the farmer.

Threshing and winnowing :

Wheat thresher should be used for threshing and cleaning of wheat which reduces the cost of threshing and increases the quality of bhusa.

IMPACT POINTS :

1.Division of the field into small size plots
2.Line sowing and timely weeding at 18-21 days stage.
3.Top dressing, hoeing, weeding and irrigation at crown root initiation stage.