Wheat is a major crop of India. Although there is huge variation in climatic conditions, Wheat is grown in all parts of India. Geographically India has been divided into six Wheat growing zones, namely:
1. Northern Hills Zone (NHZ)
The northern hills Zone comprises of western Himalayan regions of J&K (except Jammu and Kathua distt.), Himachal Pardesh (except Una and Paonta valley), Uttaranchal (except Tarai area), Sikkim and hills of West Bengal and N.E.States.
This Zone has Wheat growing area of 0.8 mha which is predominantly rainfed. Av. productivity of wheat in this zone is 16.64 q/ha. The major constraints in wheat production in this zone is water stress, yellow and brown rusts, late sowing and low plant population.
2. North Western Plain Zone (NWPZ)
This zone comprises of Punjab,Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan (except Kota and Udaipur divisions) and Western U.P.(except Jhansi division),Jammu and Kathua districts fo J&K, Una district and Paonta valley of HP and tarai region of Uttaranchal Pardesh.
This zone has wheat growing area of about 9.5 million hectares. The average productivity of wheat in this zone is 39.4 q/ha. The major wheat production constraints of this zone are weed infestation particularly Phalaris minor and wild oat, Yellow and brown rusts, Karnal bunt, powdery mildew, foliar blight and termites.
3. North Eastern Plain Zone (NEPZ)
This zone comprises of Eastern Uttar Pardesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bangal, Orissa, Assam, Sikkim and plains of far eastern states under irrigated conditions.
This zone has wheat growing area of about 9.5 million hectares and average productivity of wheat in this zone is 25.1 q.ha. This zone hasthe second highest share in total wheat production of India. Major constraints of this zone are leaf blight & brown rst, delayed sowings, lack of seeds of improved varieties, weed like bathua; wild oat and phalaris minor, low plant population and zinc deficency.
4. Central Zone (CZ)
This zone comparises of Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, Chattishgarh, Jhansi division of UP and Kota and Udaipur division of Rajasthan
This zone has wheat growing area of about 4.5 million hectares and average productivity of wheat in this zone is 24.1 q.ha. This zone is recognized for growing quality durums for export. Major constraints of this zone are leaf & stem rust, termites, rodents and pervalant drought conditions
5. Peninsular Zone (PZ)
This zone comparises of Southern states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa and plains of Tamil Nadu.
This zone has wheat growing area of about 1.5 million hectares and average productivity of wheat in this zone is 29.8 q.ha. Besides bread and durum wheat, dicoccum wheat is also popularly grown in this zone. Major constraints of this zone are leaf and brown rust, attack of aphid, grain discoloration and water stress.
6. Southern Hills Zone (SHZ)
This zone comparises of hills of Tamil Nadu and Kerala comprising the Nilgiri and Palni hills of southern plateau.
This zone has wheat growing area of about 0.2 million hectares and average productivity of wheat in this zone is 10 q.ha. Major constraints of this zone are attack of termites followed by lodging, attack of birds, delayed sowing and black rust.
Technical Officer, IARI, New Delhi