Rabi crops were sown in 41.55 million hectares of land till December 2. This was 8.54% more than the same period last year and only 0.27% less than the normal area, which is the average of the past five years.

The pace of sowing, which grew 35% during the previous week, fell further to 27% during the week ended December 2, which many experts said was natural as sowing comes to an end.

In a statement released on Friday, the agriculture ministry strongly refuted any impact of demonetisation on sowing of rabi crops and said that in most states including Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, the area under rabi crops has grown more than the same period last year, for example.

“In UP till December 2, rabi crops have been sown in around 7.08 million hectares against 6.05 million hectares sown during the same period last year. In Madhya Pradesh, the total area under rabi crops is 8.13 million hectares against 6.07 million hectares during the same period last year,” said agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh.

However, some experts said that the comparison with 2015 is strictly not feasible as last year was a big drought year.

The data also showed that till this week, wheat has been sown in 17.39 million hectares – 14% more than the same period last year.

However, the area covered under wheat was still 8.25% less than the normal area, the average of the past five years.

Oilseeds have been planted in 7.07 million hectares of land till Friday, which was 1.99% more than the normal area and 10.11% more than the area covered during the same period last year.

Pulses, of which chana is the biggest crop, has been sown in 11.29 million hectares of land till December 2. This is 8.66% more than the normal acreage, but 13.14% more than the same period last year.

More than 65% of the total rabi area has been covered till this Friday. With sowing now entering its last phase, all eyes would be on the final harvest as the temperatures during this winter season in most parts of the country are expected to remain above normal.

However, this might have any impact on the standing if the temperatures rise during the crop maturing time and that too for a prolonged period.

The India Meteorological Department in its first ever winter season forecast has said that the forecast indicates that during the 2016/2017 cold weather season, temperatures (mean, maximum and minimum) in all the sub-divisions are likely to be ‘warmer than normal’.

“There is also a high 83% probability of minimum temperatures in the core cold wave zone during the 2016/2017 cold weather season to be above normal,” the IMD said.