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India: Wheat institute expects record output of 105 mt

Favourable weather is seen aiding the wheat crop across key growing regions across Central and Northern India, even as sowing of the main rabi cereal crop is coming to an end. As of February 1, wheat was planted on about 297.24 lakh hectares, marginally lower than the acreage in the same period last year.

“The crop’s condition is very good and the prevailing cold climatic conditions are favourable. We are looking at a record crop of around 105 million tonnes this year,” said GP Singh, Director of the Karnal based Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research.

Though the overall acreages are marginally down so far, the favourable climate and increase in acreages under the high-yielding varieties such as HD2967, WH1105 and HD 3086 should result in a record output, Singh said.

Further, there have been no major instances of pest attacks or diseases, Singh added. Also, there are no abrupt changes expected in the weather pattern over the next few days according to the forecast by the IMD, which should help the crop, he said. The winter has been unusually cold this year across most parts of the country.

The wheat crop is currently in the pre-flowering stage in various regions, while in some early planted areas grain formation has started taking place, a grower in Haryana said.

So far, the climate has been favourable for the crop, but eventually the output will all depend on the weather in March and during harvest time, he said.

The Agriculture Ministry has set a production target of 100 mt for wheat this year. According to the Fourth Advance Estimates, wheat output during 2017-18 stood at 99.7 mt .

So far, wheat planting has marginally risen in the largest producing state of UP over the same period last year. Also, acreages have been higher in Madhya Pradesh. “The increase in MP’s acreage is on account of farmers switching over to wheat from gram,” Singh said.

In Punjab and Haryana, there is hardly any change in the wheat acreage. UP, MP, Punjab and Haryana account for over 75 per cent of the wheat produced in India. States such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka, which faced a deficit monsoon, have witnessed a dip in area.

NCML estimates
Meanwhile, National Collateral Management Services Ltd (NCML), has forecast that wheat production would decline by 2.8 per cent to 96.9 mt over last year’s 99.7 mt, in line with the decline in acreages.

Similarly, NCML has estimated that gram production would decline to 7.1 lakh tonnes as against last year’s 11.2 lakh tonnes as severe moisture stress, observed in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka due to erratic rainfall, has impacted yields.

In Madhya Pradesh, frost has impacted gram yields, NCML said in a statement. It expects mustard prodcution to increase by 2.4 per cent to 8.5 mt due to the increase in acreage and thanks to conducive weather.
Source: The Hindu Business Line

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