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Irrigation in Wheat Cultivation

Irrigation in Wheat Cultivation

Adequate soil moisture is required for the normal development of wheat plant at all the stages of growth. The crown root initiation stage and heading stage are the critical stages when the plant suffers most due to moisture stress.

The following schedule of irrigation should be followed for the dwarf wheat varieties.

In case of dwarf high yielding varieties, a pre-sowing irrigation (Palewa irrigation) should be given and the crop is sown afterwards when the field becomes operable.

1. First irrigation: The first irrigation to the standing crop should be given 20-25 days after sowing that is at the crown root initiation stage. In cooler regions like hilly tracts and in late sown wheat, it is advantageous to apply first irrigation approximately 25 to 30 days after sowing. Delay in applying this irrigation results in upsetting synchronous tillering, subnormal heads, poor root development and finally poor grain yield.

2. Second irrigation: Second irrigation is given at tillering stage, within 40-45 days of sowing.

3. Third irrigation: At late jointing stage, within 70-75 days of sowing, the field is irrigated for the third time.

4. Fourth irrigation: At flowering stage, within 90-95 days of sowing the fourth irrigation becomes due. Irrigation at this stage is also important because during this period plants suffer most from soil moisture deficiency. The grain number and size are reduced considerably

5. Fifth irrigation: At dough stage, within 110-115 days after sowing it has been noticed that if any of these irrigations are delayed or missed, the yield is reduced to the tune of 5-10 quintals/ha.

The total number of irrigations required will vary depending on the soil type, winter rain fall and amount of water applied for irrigation. Under limited supply of water the following schedule of irrigation should be observed for the best utilization of available water.

1. Where only one irrigation is available, give it at crown root initiation stage (CRI stage) i.e. 20-25 days after sowing.

2. Where two irrigations are available, first should be given at crown root initiation stage and second one at flowering stage.

3. Where three irrigations are possible, first irrigation should be given at CRI stage, second at late jointing (boot stage) and the third one should be given at milk stage.

These recommendations strongly stress the importance of irrigation at CRI stage. It has been found that each week delay in first irrigation for CRI stage results in yield reduction of 2-3 quintals per hectare.

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.