Agri Business

Rise in acreage, surge in yields to push rabi wheat production to new highs

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on January 28, 2020

Aided by record planting and rising yields, wheat production in the country is seen touching a new high this year.

Initial projections by both government and private entities suggest that wheat output could hit 108-110 million tonnes in the 2019-20 rabi season, an increase of 5.68-7.64 per cent over last year’s 102.19 mt.

Assuming the projections come true, wheat production would have seen an increase of about 25 per cent over the past decade from 86.87 mt in 2010-11. Wheat acreage as on January 24, according to the Agriculture Ministry, stood at a record 334.35 lakh hectares, about 12 per cent more than the 299.08 lakh hectares in the same period last year.



A higher minimum support price coupled with the surplus monsoon and post-monsoon rain in October boosted soil moisture levels, making conditions favourable for farmers to bring a larger area under wheat. Further, a shift from chickpea to wheat in Madhya Pradesh also resulted in higher acreage.

Farmers prefer to plant wheat in the irrigated areas of North India due to assured procurement by the Food Corporation of India at MSP, which has been fixed at ₹1,925 per quintal this year.

GP Singh, Director of the Karnal-based Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, said the output could exceed 110 mt this year. “We are keeping our fingers crossed. To be on the safe side, we are projecting it in the 108-110 mt range,” Singh said.

“Even if the output increases to 108 mt, it will be a big jump of around 6 per cent over last year. We have not seen such an annual increase except in the initial years of the Green Revolution,” Singh added.

The crop condition is good across all major producing regions and the forecast of a western disturbance in February augurs well for the crop in the Indo-Gangetic region, where wheat is cultivated on about 20 million hectares, he said.

Post-harvest, management company National Collateral Management Services Ltd, in its first estimates, has forecast wheat output to increase by 6.27 per cent at 109.03 mt. “Bountiful rains have boosted crop prospects in the rabi season. This year is likely to see record foodgrain production led by the wheat crop along with corn and jowar. Oilseeds and pulses may end up lower than previous year,” said Siraj Chaudhry, MD and CEO, NCML.



Published on January 28, 2020

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