Wheat production may be over 115 million tonnes (mt) this year, exceeding the government’s second advance estimates of 112.02 mt and also the target of 114 mt due to 4-5 per cent rise in yield.

However, the government has not been able to procure wheat from States other than Punjab and Haryana per plan after private trade increased their buying amid low level of stocks.

The country’s wheat production was 110.55 mt in 2022-23 crop year (July-June).

“Farmers have been reporting an yield of 26-32 quintal per acre (between 6.5 tonnes and 8 tonnes per hectare) in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh this year,” Agriculture Commissioner PK Singh told businessline. Singh said that harvesting in Punjab was slow this year while it has already been completed in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Multiple factors at play

There are four-five factors that mainly helped more number of farmers to harvest higher wheat this year whereas earlier a few progressive farmers were only getting better yield, said Gyanendra Singh, Director of Karnal-based Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR).

Singh said Punjab has reported an average 7.5 quintals per hectare more yield this year taking the average productivity to about 5.3 tonnes, while details from other States are yet to come. The wheat production is likely to cross 115 mt, he added.

There was no disease, the area was marginally higher from last year and throughout the year the weather was conducive, IIWBR’s Singh said. He also said climate-resilient varieties of wheat were covered in over 80 per cent of the area of 34.16 million hectares — up from 33.92 mh in the previous year

Further, he said that the longer duration of 145-150 days of wheat varieties with timely sowing has also contributed to higher yield. Earlier, the harvesting used to be from around April 10 in Punjab and Haryana, whereas it picked up only after April 20 this year, he said.

The government estimates show wheat production to be 35.48 mt in Uttar Pradesh, 23.48 mt in Madhya Pradesh, 16.13 mt in Punjab, 11.21 mt in Haryana, 10.42 mt in Rajasthan and 6.33 mt in Bihar.

Procurement ops

However, wheat procurement, though significantly improved in last few days, still reported to be 17 per cent lower at 152.34 lakh tonnes until April 25 against 183.77 lt year-ago.

The government is hopeful of procuring 210 lt as targetted from Punjab and Haryana whereas the main problems are in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, sources said.

The Centre on April 23 relaxed quality specifications of wheat so that there may be some improvement in the purchases.

Under the relaxation in the Uniform Specifications of wheat in Madhya Pradesh, the Centre will buy the grain if it is “Shrivelled and Broken” upto 15 per cent without value cut, whereas the normal criteria is up to 6 per cent. The limit of Luster loss of wheat is relaxed up to 50 per cent without any value cut for Madhya Pradesh.

For Rajasthan, the Centre will buy the grain if it is “Shrivelled and Broken” upto 20 per cent without value cut and the limit of Luster loss of wheat is relaxed up to 70 per cent.