NATIONAL COORDINATED WHEAT PROGRAMME
Bread wheat is the most widely grown crop in the world. Approximately one sixth of the total arable land is cultivated with wheat. Due to its importance as a food and feed source, and to its enormous genetic variability in phenological response to photoperiod and temperature, wheat is grown in most regions of the globe in locations ranging in altitude from a few meters to more than 3000 m above sea level. Classification into spring or winter wheat is common and traditionally refers to the season during which the crop is grown. For winter wheat, heading is delayed until the plant experiences a period of cold winter temperatures (0° to 5°C). Spring wheat, as the name implies, is usually planted in the spring (can be sown in autumn in countries like Pakistan that experience mild winters) and matures during summer.
In Pakistan, wheat being the staple diet is the most important crop and cultivated on the largest acreages (8.303 million hectares during the growing season 2005-06) in almost every part of the country. It contributes 13.7 percent to the value added in agriculture and 3.0 percent to GDP. Over the past three decades, increased agricultural productivity occurred largely due to the deployment of high-yielding cultivars and increased fertilizer use. With the introduction of semi-dwarf wheat cultivars, wheat productivity has been increased in all the major cropping systems representing the diverse and varying agro-ecological conditions.
PLANTING & HARVESTING TIME
Wheat crop should be sown before 10th November in order to get maximum production. The crop grown afterwards reduces yield @ 12-16 kg per acre per day. The cultivation of wheat after December is dead late and reduction in yield would be up to 50 %. Therefore, wheat should be planted on time to get optimum yield. Harvesting of wheat crop should be carried out when the crop reaches maturity and the grain contains 16-17 % moisture. Normally in Pakistan, wheat harvesting starts from end of March in south and continues till end of July in northern parts.
Moisture should be conserved during monsoon by using deep tillage technology. Resistant improved wheat varieties should be planted after treating the seed with recommended fungicides to control seed born diseases. Irrigations at the time of tillering and grain formation are critical. Nitrogenous and Phosphatic fertilizers should be used in a ratio of 1:1 or 1: 1-1/2. Potassium fertilizer must be used if wheat is planted after rice or sugarcane and in sandy soils which had continuously been irrigated by tube well water. Weeds must be destroyed by using appropriate chemical weedicides depending on types of wheat. Harvesting should be done few days earlier in case of semi dwarf improved varieties to avoid shattering damages.
Recommendations of International Wheat Seminar 2006 &
WHEAT IN PAKISTAN
Pakistan has been divided into ten production zones because of great agro ecological areas where wheat is grown. The zoning is mainly based on cropping pattern, disease prevalence and climatological factors. However, production zones need to be revisited.
Pakistan, wheat is grown in different cropping systems, such as; cotton - wheat,
rice - wheat, sugarcane - wheat, maize - wheat, fallow - wheat. Of these,
Cotton-Wheat and Rice-Wheat systems together account about 60% of the total
wheat area whereas rain-fed wheat covers more than 1.50 m ha area. Rotations
with Maize-Sugarcane, Pulses and fallow are also important.
Improved semi-dwarf wheat cultivars available in Pakistan have genetic yield potential of 6-8 t/ ha whereas our national average yields are about 2.5 t/ha. A large number of experiment stations and on-farm demonstrations have repeatedly shown high yield potential of the varieties. There are progressive farmers of irrigated area who are harvesting 6 to 7 tonnes yield per hectare. However, farmers yield ranges 0.5 to 1.3 tones per hectare depending on the amount of rainfall. The yield in irrigated area ranges from 2.5 to 2.8 tones per hectare depending upon the amount of water available and other factors.
CONTRIBUTING TOWARDS YIELD GAP
The above discussion concludes that there is around 60% yield gap in wheat, which needs to be narrowed. Wheat production in the country, however, has been well below potential and variable. The major reasons for low productivity and instability includes: delayed harvesting of kharif crops like cotton, sugarcane and rice, and consequent late planting of wheat, non availability of improved inputs like seed, inefficient fertilizer use, weed infestation, shortage of irrigation water, drought in rainfed and terminal heat stress, soil degradation, inefficient extension services. Moreover, farmers are not aware of modern technologies because of weak extension services system.
Non-Availability of Seed
Scientists working in different research institutes of the country have developed a stream of new varieties, which have improved the crop yield over years. The rapid diffusion of modern varieties of rice and wheat in irrigated areas is well documented. New varieties maintain disease resistance to evolving pathogens and enhanced genetic yield potential. However, the non availability of seed of improved varieties to farmers is not only resulting in lower yield but also placing them on the risk of crop failure due to disease.
In Pakistan, farmers generally plant wheat late due to late harvesting of kharif crops (cotton, rice, sugarcane and summer crop growing areas) which results in low yields because the crop is exposed to heat stress at grain filling period leading to the formation of shriveled grain. Currently, only 20% of wheat is being planted at optimum planting time (15th October to 15th November). Any delay in planting would reduce yield drastically. Non-availability of soil moisture in rainfed areas also delays wheat sowing in these areas. A comparison of wheat planted fortnightly from November 10 shows that the loss due to late planting could be as high as 42 Kg / ha / day (1% loss per day). There were 8, 16, 32, and 50 percent reduction in wheat grain yield for each fortnightly after 10 November.
With increase in are sown to modern high yielding varieties, the fertilizer use continued to expand rapidly. Fertilizer use increased from 125 Kg /ha in 2000 to 144 Kg / ha in 2004. In term of nutrient availability, nitrogen increased from 98 to 114, phosphate from 26 to 30 Kg / ha in the corresponding period. However, the use of phosphate remains low, which have made N: P ratio unbalanced i.e. 3.72 : 1.0 to 3.82 : 1.0 in 2004. The current nitrogen use is higher than the potential requirements of crops, while phosphate use is below the requirements of crop.
In Pakistan, from 1982 to 2002, the irrigated area has increased from 15.48 to 18.22 million hectares. The irrigated area under wheat has also increased from 5.962 in 1985-86 to 7.00 million hectare in 2002-03. The major part of irrigation water is not utilized by the crops and the combined effect of leakage, wastage and seepage amounts to 40% loss. Wheat crop need water for the whole growth period, but their are some stages which are more vulnerable to water shortage and any water shortage during this period may result in serious yield loses. The shortage of irrigation water at crown root initiation, booting and early grain fill period results in significant yield losses.
In Pakistan, wheat grain yield losses due to weeds are estimated between 12 to 35 percent (Ahmad et al. 1998). The losses in yield depend upon weed species, degree and duration of weed infestation in field. Because of their well adoption to wheat crop and heavy seed bearing capacity, some weeds such as: wild oat (Jungli Jai), Bird's seed grass (Dumbi sitti), goose foot (Bathu) and field bind weed (Lehli) are known as high damaging weeds.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
In 1977-78 a disease epidemic of yellow rust inflicted heavy losses to the wheat production in the country. As a consequence, it was realized that there is need of strengthening the agricultural research in the country. Therefore, the government decided to reactivate the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) as the coordinating body for agricultural research programs on major crops in the provinces. Since the inception of Wheat, Barley and Triticale Program, considerable and continuous role has been played by it in conducting research and developmental activities to increase the production of wheat in different agro-ecological zones of Pakistan and thereby, increase farm income. The program adopts a multi-disciplinary approach in order to evolve stable, high yielding wheat varieties and also develop and update a package of crop management practices. The program has initiated following major activities to realize the increased wheat production in the country:
of Research Collaboration/Linkages
Effective research linkages have been established three international wheat research centres and 26 national and provincial wheat research organizations.
Acquisition, Evaluation and Distribution
This program has developed an organized system to introduce and distribute wheat germplasm to the breeders of the country belonging to different federal and provincial research organizations, after acquiring it from different international sources. Through this mechanism, high yield potential, disease resistance and good quality traits have been incorporated into new varieties.
Uniform Testing and Variety Release
It is a network for evaluating the candidate lines in different agro-ecological zones developed by the breeders of both provincial and national Wheat research institutes under the supervision of National Coordinated Wheat Program. So far, more than 100 varieties have been released in the country through National Uniform Testing Program.
The Coordinated Wheat Programme of PARC plans Annual wheat Meeting every year. About 60 participants from 25 different research and extension institutions and international centres participate in this meeting where different research and production issues are discussed in detail. Moreover, achievements of different cooperating units are also presented along with next year's plan of work. In the end, future strategies and recommendations are finalized to enhance the wheat production in Pakistan.
Wheat Traveling Seminar is another useful activity of the Wheat Coordinated Programme of PARC which provides not only an opportunity to the wheat scientists to jointly assess the status of the standing wheat crop but also gives them opportunity to observe and interview the farmers and extension workers regarding their local problems. The National Uniform Wheat Yield Trials planted in different parts of the country are also evaluated and potential varieties identified. Above all, the seminar provides an opportunity for the scientists to identify priority research areas.
present, the Wheat research programs are giving due emphasis on the following
a. Drought/Heat Tolerance
d. Crop Management
Drought/Heat Tolerance: Pakistan has been facing water shortages and drought conditions for the last several years except 2004-05 (wet year) due to lesser rains and high temperatures with the result wheat production both in irrigated and rainfed areas is being hampered. In order to minimize the effects of drought and high temperatures, drought and heat tolerant varieties need to be evolved in addition to the judicial use of available irrigation water.
Diseases: Diseases, especially rusts (Stripe/Yellow Rust, Stem Rust, Leaf Rust and emerging scenario of Powdery Mildew) are major biotic stresses of wheat crop which inflict heavy losses when in epidemic form. Therefore, breeders and pathologists are given priority to develop disease resistant and high yielding varieties in order to cope with threats created by ever changing rust races by using approaches like durable resistance.
Salinity: It is another menace to which wheat is exposed in saline areas of Pakistan. Therefore, there is need to evolve salt tolerant wheat varieties for such ecologies by introducing salt tolerant genes like BADH using novel breeding techniques.
Crop Management: Farmers generally plant wheat late in rice-wheat, sugarcane-wheat, and cotton-wheat areas of Pakistan due to late harvesting of these kharif crops which results in drastic low yields because the crop is exposed to heat stress at grain filling period leading to the formation of shriveled grain. Currently, only 20% of wheat is being planted at optimum planting time (15th October to 15th November). To achieve good yield, wheat sowing should be carried out well in time. Any delay in planting would reduce yield drastically. For example, wheat planted after 10th November would reduce the yield as high as 42 kg/ha/day (1% loss per day). There will be 8, 16, 32 and 50% reduction in wheat grain yield for each fortnightly after 10th November. In late-planted wheat, the yield reduction is due to shorter growth period and high temperature at crop maturity. Late-planted crop has lower germination, fewer tillers, smaller heads, shriveled grain and lower biomass than the timely-planted crop. Therefore, the change in sowing time from present to two weeks earlier could result in addition of 2.0 million tones in national wheat production.
In rice-wheat area use of zero-tillage drill can help in timely planting. Similarly, relay cropping can be used in cotton-wheat zone in which cotton field is irrigated without cutting the cotton crop and then moist wheat seed is broadcasted. Bed sowing is another good option in cotton zone which results in early planting, water saving and better wheat crop stand.
In sugarcane zone government may ensure timely purchase of sugarcane from growers by sugar mills so that wheat could be planted in the area well in time and thus increasing the crop production. At present, due to delay of wheat planting in this zone, about 10-15% yield is reduced.
Crop breeders can also help by developing/evolving short duration rice and cotton varieties using modern breeding techniques so that wheat could get ample time to complete are normal life cycle leading to greater production.
IN AREA AND PRODUCTION
AREA, PRODUCTION AND YIELD OF WHEAT IN PAKISTAN
Target (85th FCA meeting)
Source: Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Livestock, Federal Bureau of Statistics
FOOD VALUE AND USES
Wheat, as a human food is prized for its taste and as source of calories, protein, and certain vitamins and minerals, is the world most important crop. Its importance is derived from the properties of its Gluten, a cohesive network of tough endosperm, proteins that stretch with the expansion of fermenting dough, yet hold together to produce a "risen" loaf of bread. Only the grain of wheat, and to lesser extent the grain of rye, has this property. In addition to its utilization for bread large quantities of wheat are utilized for unleavened bread such as "Chapati" in Pakistan and India, for pastry products, and for semolina products. These uses, combined with its nutritive value and storage quality, have made wheat a staple food for more than one-third of the world's population. In general, hard varieties are used for bread flour and pasta, and soft varieties for cake flour. Low grades of wheat, and by-products of the flour-milling, and distilling industries, are used as feed for livestock.
A minor amount of wheat is used as a coffee substitute, and wheat starch is employed as a sizing for textile fabrics. Wheat is a staple food in Pakistan and constitutes 60% of the daily diet of common man. Average per capita consumption is about 125 kg.
Pakistan's economy has taken a new turn with the country for the first time entering the wheat export market with the shipment of 35,000 tons to Iraq in 2001. Depending upon production and inland consumption, export quantity varied from year to year.
Source: Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan 2004-05
PRICE BEHAVIOR / SUPPORT PRICE
Market prices of wheat were on decline when new harvest reached in the market and were on higher side during off-season (Monthly whole sale prices of wheat at Lahore is given as under):
Value: million Rupees
Source: Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan 2004-05
ESSENTIAL PREREQUISITES FOR SEED PRODUCTION
The goal in plant breeding is to develop high yielding wheat varieties. To realize this goal, extensive breeding programs are underway in different National and Provincial Research Organizations in Pakistan. The returns from the investment in breeding research and variety development are manifested through the increased production and superior quality from the new varieties. Before the potential benefits from an improved variety can be manifested, variety must be distributed widely and sufficient seed must be produced so that the variety can be reached at the farmers' door steps. Following are the prerequisites for seed production:
Purity of variety
Recommended variety should be planted for specific area.
Timely sowing and harvesting
Judicious use of inputs
Pakistan has set field and seed standards which are summarized below:
labeled standards referred to seed standards
Source: ICARDA. 2002. WANA Catalogue of Field and Seed Standards. Third Edition. No. 25/02. Aleppo, Syria
DISEASE AND PEST PROBLEMS
Diseases, especially rusts (Stripe/Yellow Rust, Stem Rust, Leaf Rust and emerging scenario of Powdery Mildew) are major biotic stresses of wheat crop which inflict heavy losses when in epidemic form. A simple one year disease epidemic could cause a 2-3 billion rupee loss to the country because of reduction in wheat yield (an example of 1977-78 epidemics). Therefore, breeders and pathologists should join hands to develop disease resistant and high yielding varieties in order to cope with threats created by ever changing rust races by using approaches like durable resistance.
FUTURE RESEARCH THRUSTS
Breakdown of existing genetic resistance
Site specific response of genotypes/technologies
An increased incidence of different stresses
i) Biotic: (rusts, powdry mildew, nematodes, termites, rodents, aphids, BYDV)
ii) Abiotic: (drought, heat, salinity, cold)
Quality wheat meeting the local and export standards/demands
- Gluten, Protein, Zinc
- Cadmium, KB, Striga
More emphasis is needed on Resistance Breeding, Improved Quality, Disease Monitoring and Gene analysis.
TRENDS, STORAGE FACILITIES, PROBLEMS
Total world trade has grown slightly this year, and import demand has shifted substantially from Europe to Asia as China has returned as the world's largest market and Pakistan has also stepped up imports to a 6-year high. Export competition has intensified due to larger crops in many of the world's major supplying countries. EU-25 and Black Sea exports have recovered from last year's lows and are concentrated in key Mediterranean markets. With record production and the prospect of a huge stock build-up, the European Commission has resumed wheat export subsidies for the first time in 18 months. The effect of this decision on trade over the next few months is likely to be limited as the subsidy levels granted have been fairly low so far and import buying typically fades during the next few months. However, if the EU grants higher subsidies, the intensified competition could drive prices down to North African and Middle Eastern markets, and perhaps stimulate additional demand.
Procurement Releases and Stocks of Wheat for the period 2000-2006 are summarized below:
(in ‘000’ tons)
Pakistan falls in top ten wheat producing countries of the world and ranks at No. 9 in terms area under wheat cultivation. We are No. 5 in terms of yield per hectare and stand at No. 8 in terms of production. However, it is very hard to compare the yield of different countries due to differences in climate, crop management in various cropping systems, and type of wheat (winter / spring wheat). Major wheat producing countries of the world are given below:
Source: FAO Stat. 2004
Approved Varieties Recommended for Barani and Irrigated Areas [Click here for more...]
|Dr. Nafees Sadiq Kisana||National Coordinatoremail@example.com|
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[Last updated: April 16, 2007]