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Maize and Barley, Farmers First Choice in This Rabi Season

Farmers have indicated a preference for maize and barley this year, but they are losing interest in other crops including jowar, bajra, and ragi, according to data.

Chintu Das
Barley - the most preferred crop
Barley - the most preferred crop

During the current Rabi season, the area under coarse or nutri cereals has decreased by nearly one lakh hectares as of January 14. Sowing of coarse cereal crops like as maize, barley, jowar, ragi, and bajra has been completed on 47.82 lakh hectares (lh), compared to 48.91 lh a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

In Rabi season, the average area under coarse cereals is 56.05 lh. Farmers have indicated a preference for maize and barley this year, but they are losing interest in other crops including jowar, bajra, and ragi, according to data. 

Increased Acreage 

According to Sujay Rakshit, director of the Indian Institute of Maize Research in Ludhiana, maize output is better in rabi than in kharif. "States like Bihar, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra have the most coverage." "Maize cultivation is fast growing in West Bengal, and yields are rising in both Bihar and West Bengal," Rakshit remarked. According to him, more farmers are choosing maize over rice since rice requires a lot of water. Maize, on the other hand, only requires 3-4 watering cycles

"Imports from maize-growing states are used in the feed sector. Punjab, for example, imports maize from Bihar and West Bengal. "We predict strong yields throughout maize-growing states this season," Rakshit remarked. 

According to a trade analyst, maize output would be excellent in Tamil Nadu as well. 

Playing With The Weather 

With mandi prices on the rise, the area under maize will expand in states like West Bengal, as it did so in 2020 when jute prices plummeted. Quality kharif maize is already arriving in southern India, according to dealers. 

According to Suresh Singh Chauhan, General Manager, AMDD Foods Private Ltd, if not for the untimely rains, the area under maize in Bihar may have increased. "Rains hampered maize planting to some extent, causing farmers to plant wheat," he explained. 

In Gujarat, the area planted to maize was 88,715 hectares, down 18% from the three-year average of 1.08 hectares. Sowing is slightly lower this year than last, yet crop prospects may be harmed by unseasonal rainfall. 

Maize is grown over 2.75 million hectares in Maharashtra. 

Other Cereals 

In Telangana, a significant reduction in paddy land during the rabi season has had little effect on coarse cereals. According to the latest numbers published by the State's agricultural department, the three primary crops of maize, jowar, and bajra could only meet the typical average acreage. 

While most other rabi crops have increased in area, coarse or nutri cereals, such as sorghum (jowar) and maize, have seen a decrease in Gujarat. 

"Last year, jowar and maize prices were not appealing. "There were also alternative crops like wheat and chana, which pushed many farmers to abandon nutri cereals," Ramesh Bhoraniya, a farmer from Rajkot district, explained. "More unseasonal rains are forecast in the north and central Gujarat regions later this week." As a result, the maize harvest may be affected," warned a district agriculture officer in central Gujarat. 

In the western State, cereals such as bajra (pearl millet) and ragi (finger millet) were planted on a total of 9,509 hectares, up 6% over the average of 8,987 hectares. Gujarat's sorghum cultivation was measured at 14,255 hectares on January 17, 2022, down 42 percent from the three-year average of 24,494 hectares. 

In Maharashtra, coarse or nutri cereals account for around 22 lakh hectares of the over 56 lakh hectares under rabi. This season, 13.51 lh are under jowar in the state. 0.11 lakh hectares are dedicated to other grains. 

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