New Delhi, Jan 12 (PTI) Area sown to wheat remained lower by 4.66 per cent at 295.53 lakh hectares so far in the ongoing 2017-18 rabi season in view of less coverage in some states, according to agriculture ministry data released today.

Farmers had planted wheat in 309.99 lakh hectares in the same period last year.

Wheat is the main rabi crop, sowing of which started in October and harvesting will begin from March. More than 80 per cent area has been sown as of now.

As per the ministry’s data, area sown to coarse cereals also remained lower at 53.88 lakh hectares so far in the current rabi (winter) season, as against 54.40 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.

Similarly, area sown to oilseeds crops remained lower at 78.62 lakh hectares as against 81.61 lakh hectare in the year-ago period.

However, rice acreage improved to 20.57 lakh hectares from 15.04 lakh hectares, while that of pulses rose to 160.91 lakh hectares from 154.05 lakh hectares in the period.

Rabi crops have been planted in total 609.51 lakh hectares so far in the 2017-18 season, lower than 615.09 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.